Archive | May, 2017

Wake up with Lou!

6 May

Here’s a fun Saturday morning radio show – Live with Lou, at KMYC, Yuba City.

http://www.kmycradio.com/

9 am to noon, every Saturday, Marysville/Yuba City businessman Lou Binninger rants, rambles – says it like it is!  You go to the website at 9am and hit the link to the upper right. 

Right now he’s rolling along on one of his favorite topics – waste and fraud from our public employees.  “If you work for the government it’s like giving everybody in your soccer club a participation trophy…some of those people have just been sucking their assets for their whole career…this whole concept of draining the swamp…”

Yes, Lou is very conservative, he really lays into the Democrats. I’m sorry he doesn’t turn his pokey stick on the Republicans too, but I still enjoy listening to him. Right now he’s haranguing Maxine Waters for being a hypocrite. I have to agree.  Waters is getting out of touch, she really has become everything she told us was wrong when she was a young politician – entrenched power. 

Now he’s talking about the new sales tax that was passed in Marysville a couple of years ago – more money for fire and police. “They said they wouldn’t be able to respond to 9-11 calls anymore if they didn’t get this tax…”  But the money was not dedicated – that would require a two thirds vote of the public. Instead the council opted to go for a General Fund tax, which only requires about 51%. “The first thing they did with the new tax money – 1 percent on all sales in Marysville – was to raise the wages of all the employees of the city…  

Binninger says this is “bait and switchthey use a fear tactic, if you don’t vote for this, all hell is going to break loose in the city…”  And of course, once they get the money, they do whatever they want.

Here we have Chico Area Rec District and their proposed “revenue measure.” We don’t know which tack they will try – a bond on the general ballot or an assessment ballot mailed only to property owners. Most people don’t know the difference – I’ll admit, I’ve struggled with the rules. 

CARD has made many rainbow promises – switching back and forth from the Taj Majal aquatic center to claims that their facilities all over town  are suffering because they don’t have enough money or staff to maintain them. They say they want money to improve the existing skate board park, a longtime hobo jungle that has been closed more than it’s been open, due to vandalism and neighbor complaints.  CARD took it from the city about 10 years ago and one maintenance supervisor after another has thrown up his hands and walked on down the hall.

Remember that – bait and switch. CARD is already having problems deciding which story line to use – they don’t believe either story themselves, and that makes it hard to pitch. 

The real story is the $1.7 million pension deficit that  their Matson and Isom audit team said will grow incrementally as long as their employees continue to pay only 2 – 6 percent out of their own paychecks. Right now it grows by over $57,000 a year, and that will grow  – you know how to do “rabbit math,” don’t you? As their salaries and therefore their benefits packages grow, the deficit will grow. Whenever CalPERS makes demands, they will take money out of their General Fund to pay it down. In 2012, they ignored a consultant’s report regarding repairs at Shapiro Pool, they made a $400,000 “side fund pay-off” to CalPERS, in addition to the roughly $500,000 a year they already pay. 

Excuse me – we pay.

But I’ll say here, Binninger doesn’t get it either. He tells us we should be sitting at home, “bathing your kids and driving them to school,” we should be able to trust our politicians?

Wake up Lou! We should all make more of an effort to watch these people. Everybody should go to at least one public meeting a year, even just one would make a difference. If the public would start attending these public meetings, it would be like shining a flashlight on a rat. 

Furthermore, I have faith in the public – I know they are asleep now, they don’t know what’s going on in these meetings. One meeting folks, listen, really listen. Once you know what’s going on, you can’t forget, you can’t not be disgusted.

The answer is more public scrutiny, not sitting at home trusting your elected officials. Wake up!

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CARD fiddles our money – why would we support more money for this agency?

5 May

That rain sure dried up fast, eh? Thinking about watering your garden, huh? 

Well, don’t forget – according to my latest Cal Water bill, dated 4/4/17, “The State has extended the emergency drought regulation, so we ask that you continue to conserve.”  They still give me a “conservation  target.”  My extended family – including myself and my husband, Sometimes our college student son, plus our household of four tenants –  has consistently come in under our “target” for months,  but I notice, my “water bank balance” has disappeared.

Cal Water has suspended “drought surcharges,” which amounted to about $3 off the 5/8″ service charge. Instead of “water budget,” they now call it “water target”. I assume I wasn’t the only person giving the middle finger to any and all Cal Water employees I encountered around town, they finally realized – they are hated, they need to do something to clean up their image.

So, they raised rates – since April of last year the “Tier 1” price has gone from $1.55 to $1.58.  But, perversely, they continue to charge “WRAM” – Water Rate Adjustment Mechanism. When we don’t use enough water to meet “costs” (pensions and benefits), they recover the difference through a WRAM charge. So, since our usage went down from last year by 3 CCF’s, our WRAM charge went from 8 cents to $1.37. 

Way to stick it to us, Cal Water! Way to lay there and take it, Chico!

Sure my usage went down – my summertime water bills were over $100/month. I have two houses here, with two families, two yards, many trees. We lost two huge trees last year, we were just lucky they were under PG&E lines or we would have had to pay thousands to have them removed ourselves. Cal Water offers nothing to homeowners who lose trees by following their ridiculous – and still in effect! – watering rules. Repeat after me – odd numbered addresses, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, even numbered addresses, Tuesday and Thursday. Or wait a minute, is it odd numbered, Tuesday? What the helllllll!?!

So you must wonder, how has this affected public agencies?  Well, Chico Area Recreation  District seems to be unaware we are still under conservation targets.

These sprinklers run off into the parking lot at 5 Mile every morning at about 6:30 am.

I looked into the beds above – full of drought tolerant rosemary – and the ground  was hardly wet, most of the water was fanning out across the parking lot. Nearby we walked through sprinklers spraying the sidewalk. 

Our shoes got wet, but again, the ground within the planters was dry.

These plants are all drought resistant, many of them native, but every day between 6 and 7 am, you will see them being showered as though they were rain forest natives.  Except, I looked, most of the water is going onto pavement. 

I use drip in my yard, I know it has to be checked all the time. When it really gets hot the water gets hot enough to blow sprinklers off our lines, split lines, pop the nozzle off the spigot, etc. We know we shouldn’t run our sprinklers without supervision ever since we came out one evening to find our garden looking like the canals of Venice. 

This is the kind of waste that passes for “service” at the Chico Area Recreation District. It’s not their money, so they don’t give a shit, excuse my French.

You see the same kind of thing with City of Chico – a few years ago I had to report sprinklers that had been running across Forest Avenue for weeks. I had not reported those because I get sick and tired of being the haranguing hag, but when I finally told city staffer Linda Herman about it, she was very surprised and grateful. I like Herman, her kid played hockey with my kid, but I get disgusted with city waste too. 

I should send it to “Hotshots” at the Enterprise Record. They ran the pictures I sent of the city bobcat sunk into an asphalt path in the park and the damage suffered by the brand new $250,000 CARD center rose garden by Chico Creek. I’ll try to send these in too. There needs to be some kind of accountability for this kind of malfeasance and incompetence, even if it’s just one day in the public stocks.