Well, DUH!

4 Aug
Every dog has her day, and I’ll say, I am enjoying the latest titter about the pension deficit – as if people just heard about it?

Finally David Little says, “But asking government to solve a government-created problem is like asking the fox to tuck the hens into bed every night.”

But he offers the solution, as if he hasn’t known it all along: “Meanwhile, city councils need to quit handing out pay raises and benefits increases as if somebody else is paying for them.

He says, “ But convincing government to cut benefits to current employees — colleagues, co-workers, friends — isn’t easy.”

I’ll say same about convincing our local media to report this stuff.  This has been an issue for over 10 years. When I’ve tried to say something about what I’ve seen at meetings, the local media has treated me like a zoo monkey who throws her own excrement.

I’ll never forget taking my then-6-year-old to a morning meeting at which then-mayor Scott Gruendl was broaching this problem for the first time. He stood up to one of those tablets on a stand, with multi-colored Sharpees, and he proceeded to doodle as he rambled about our financial problems. At that time he didn’t say anything about the pensions, he just said “we” had spent all “our” money.

At one point he started to open the red Sharpee, but laughed nervously and put the cap back on. He said, “we don’t want to scare anybody…but seriously, this is bad, this is really bad…”  He fumbled with the colored pens, leaving caps off – that really bugged my kid, who was always expected to take care of his stuff.


My son, now 22, asked me on the way back to the car, “if we’re in so much trouble, how come Scott’s got all those pens?”  He mentioned the caps being left off, and I realized what he was really saying – these people are capricious  with other people’s money.

For years when I attended meetings, sitting alongside fellow howling cur Stephanie Taber, I tried to tell people, in my own white trashy way, what was going on. At one point I realized at least two of our city council were having some sort of drug – or sanity? – problem. Meanwhile David Little ran an editorial about what a nice lady Mary Flynn Goloff was because she hand delivered him a jar of her “home made” jalapeno jelly.

That guy would not recognize Satan if he rode into town on a goat.  He’s been too friendly with these people, he has no objectivity.  He actually thinks some people are better than others because of their position in life. 

So excuse my absolute shock when I read his recent editorial, condemning council’s recent approval of a $9,000 raise for city mangler Mark Orme, to cover his new, slightly increased pension share. Right on the heels of a “lions, tigers and bears” discussion of the pension deficit. Oh My!


Editorial: Pension reform won’t come from government employees

 POSTED: 08/03/17, 12:34 AM PD. T | UPDATED: 17 HRS AGO
 Back in April, Chico’s vice mayor asked the city staff to research what can be done about the ticking time bomb that is pension debt. The council finally got a report on the matter this week and the short answer was: not much.

So far, the city’s response has been much like most city, county and state governments. They describe an awful problem, wring their hands a little, then say “Oh well, we looked into it.”

But asking government to solve a government-created problem is like asking the fox to tuck the hens into bed every night.

Vice Mayor Reanette Fillmer’s request to learn about the pension liability was a vital one. The overview the council heard Tuesday night is one repeated to most city councils statewide, and the same one state legislators are hearing. The obligations for governments to pay generous pensions for its current employees when they retire is eventually going to cause big problems, they are told. If a course correction isn’t made, government will be faced with having to cut services to pay pensions. And since the biggest part of local government budgets is police and fire protection, those visible cuts would finally get people’s attention.

By then it would be too late. So government needs to act now. But convincing government to cut benefits to current employees — colleagues, co-workers, friends — isn’t easy.

That’s why elected officials need to act. They’re elected by the people to make sure our government remains solvent. It does us no good to repeat over and over again, as City Manager Mark Orme did on Tuesday: “This is not a Chico-specific issue. This is a statewide issue. This is something we’re all going to have to face.”

Yes, we know. So face it.

Instead, the councilors and the city talked about all the things they can’t do, the steps they can’t take. They didn’t leave much hope that anything would get resolved anytime soon.

Normally, we hope for citizens to lead the way with voter initiatives. But the California Public Employees Retirement System has its interests protected. The only way a city can get out of CalPERS requirements is to withdraw entirely and pay huge up-front costs.

“We can’t just leave CalPERS without paying $175 million,” said Mayor Sean Morgan.

There may come a time when that buyout looks like a bargain.

Meanwhile, city councils need to quit handing out pay raises and benefits increases as if somebody else is paying for them. The problem is, somebody else is paying for them — our children and grandchildren, who will be stuck with the tab long after current elected officials leave office.

Citizens are tired of hearing what can’t be done. Let’s hear what can be done.

8 Responses to “Well, DUH!”

  1. bob August 4, 2017 at 6:39 pm #

    I will just quote the Colonel:

    Editorial: Pension reform won’t come from government employees

    The politicians are also public employees and get benefits from the public and they certainly get campaign contributions from public employees and their unions.

    So if pension reform won’t come from public employees who will it come from and how?

    And what is the non-public employee taxpayer supposed to do? Refuse to pay taxes?

    And I would remind you that this editor and his paper supported two bond measures in the last election which have increased the taxes on our homes. And why were these bond measures created in the first place? I will tell you why, public employee compensation, particularly unfunded pension liability.

    The only thing we know for certain is that politicians will continue this charade as long as they can and in the process bleed the taxpayers white.

  2. bob August 4, 2017 at 6:45 pm #

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if in the next election when Taber or someone else offers up a tax increase Little and his paper will be all for it forgetting that the roads have gone to h#ll, the parks are run down…fill in any number of other problems here…because of the insane compensation of city employees, especially the pensions which have caused short falls in funding everywhere.

    He couldn’t see that same issue with the schools when he supported those two bond measures last election.

  3. bob August 4, 2017 at 6:49 pm #

    As far as the local media, for the most part they are just stooges who write what the powers that be tell them. Every once in a while they get up on their hind legs and bark a Little…like Little did here but then they go back to being the lap dogs that they are.

    • Juanita Sumner August 5, 2017 at 4:47 am #

      Yeah, I’m afraid very few people are seeing all the conflicts here. Taber assures us the “new” management Downtown has been acting above board and in the public’s best interest, meanwhile one after another report of the pension deficit. Yeah, Little endorsed both of the school bonds, and then, just a few months later, ran a story about CUSD crying poormouth over the new demands from CalSTRS, Bultema saying they’d have to cut programs.

      Remember, if you focus a beam of light hard enough on one spot, the resulting hotspot can burn. We need to demand that Orme be fired.

      • bob August 5, 2017 at 7:58 pm #

        We have to put some heat on the local politicians who are enabling all this.

        I remember when Sorensen had his blog before he became a politician and bureaucrat. Oh, he was real good on the pension issue back then. And now? Crickets…. We need to put the sore in Sorensen.

      • Juanita Sumner August 6, 2017 at 5:15 am #

        I agree. Sorensen, Fillmer and Coolidge are up in 2018, and need to be shown the door. Fillmer is getting a lot of credit for bringing this up – she wants new hires to pay more, but let Orme and the rest ride it out to retirement. Remember, she has worked for public agencies, one in Tehama County, then another agency that is connected to CalPERS, she claims to be a Human Resources expert, but when I asked her if she was in line for a public pension, she said she didn’t know.

        Fillmer and Coolidge are obviously already campaigning, but I wonder about Sorensen. He seemed to be appealing to the public with his NO vote on the trash franchise, having stated, “let’s call it what it is – a trash tax” way back when the conversation started. But, he seems so burnt out, I wonder how much of a campaign he’ll make. I think Tricerri will run again, and if he and Sorensen both run, they will steal votes from each other and put a liberal in Sorensen’s seat.

        I don’t know if majority matters – they all vote to fund the pensions, and none of them have fixed the roads or taken care of the park.

  4. bob August 6, 2017 at 8:26 am #

    It seems we have a revolving door of clowns in the city council. They are all public employees or suck off the gooberment teat in one way or another.

    They don’t represent us and never will. They represent the special interests and that includes themselves.

    Dang, I have to give credit to Little. Did you see his editorial today, “David Little: Who’s looking out for the taxpayer?”

    Certainly no one in city hall as he rightly points out.

    • Juanita Sumner August 7, 2017 at 10:59 am #

      No, I’m behind the wheel, I haven’t read that one yet, will do.

      Thanks for keeping me on the ball, or trying to – damned ball, keeps running over me!

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