Archive | November, 2017

Team Chico Police meeting

12 Nov

Thanks Jim for attending this meeting and sending us this report.  If only more people were willing to attend meetings, maybe we’d be able to force change in the way things work (or in Chico, the way things don’t work)  . Thanks for speaking up Jim.

Wednesday November 8th I went to the Team Chico Police public safety meeting held at Round Table Pizza on Pillsbury. It was mostly a PR type event, several officers and the Chief were there. They talked a little about better security around your business and home. Video cameras were strongly recommended as a deterrent. I have had them at my house for over 10 years.

The Chief said that they will be fully staffed in the coming months with the inclusion of the three park rangers.  So I asked what full staffing means and is that enough. The Chief said that full staffing is what the City Council has approved in the budget, and he gave a political roundabout answer to my second question.

 

They promoted use of the Nextdoor app and the Chico PD app. Be sure to note the serial number of bikes, since that can make a big difference when they stop a transient. The officer said they often run the serial number of the bums bike. Unless there is a report of it being stolen they can’t do much. Same with all your personal property, note the serial number and take photos.

 

They also asked to call the non-emergency number to report any suspicious activity; 897-4900.  They asked to call the non emergency number to report nonemergency suspicious activity. You will still need to fill online reports of theft.

 

Several people made comments about how the bike path is a big crime problem. One apartment manager asked if the bike path could be closed. The Chief said that we would have a very hard time closing the bike path with the pro-bike attitude in Chico, he wants more TV cameras to monitor the problem areas. However he noted that they don’t have the staff to monitor the cameras in real time.

 

Overall I felt like it was a less fulfilling than I expected, however I’m not sure what I expected.

 

Jim Matthews

I boldfaced the non-emergency number because that is big news to me. For the past year or so Chico PD has encouraged the use of their online reporting mechanism, and I’ll tell you right now, that sucked. The citizen was expected to log in, give personal information beyond their name and address, and select a password – oh gee, we all need more passwords cluttering up our lives!  The online reporting scheme sent a pretty clear message to citizens from Chico PD – “We don’t care about your petty problems…”

I guess it’s okay to report a theft online – it’s already happened, and then I assume I’d have a copy of the report. 

I don’t know about cameras, they can  be expensive, and they don’t stop crime, they just get a furry picture that might or might not be identifiable. I see more of them around town, we’ll have to see if that brings up the number of arrests. 

Good question Jim – how much staffing is enough? They’ve given those numbers in past, based on population, and we’ve always been within three officers of full staffing. A question I would like to ask is, will the chief take a pay cut and be willing to pay more of his own pension to guarantee full staffing?

Nextdoor was a disappointment for me – for one thing, they asked me for my social security number to sign up, when I wouldn’t give that, I was sent a post card with a code number to sign up. That’s security? And after I’d already been signed up for weeks, they sent me a notice that said I had to agree to let them mine my personal information and monitor my online activities so they could sell that information to advertisers.

The entire time I was on Nextdoor, I saw more people’s comments directed toward selling some sort of service/products than I saw comments exchanging information about crime. My next door neighbor uses Nextdoor to advertise parties at which she sells stuff like cosmetics and housewares, and my ex-tenant uses it to sell Avon. 

Only a couple of neighbors used it to report stuff like, shed broken into, package stolen at Christmas time, etc. One person posted every “suspicious” person who walked by his house, but that wasn’t helpful. 

All the police “app” amounts to is faster access to the online reporting mechanism. Just put 897 – 4900 on your speed dial!

Sure, record your serial numbers, take pictures – if only for your insurance company, cause the cops aren’t going to get your stuff back, that’s laughable. I don’t own a $2500 bike, so who cares, right?  Most of the stripped bikes I see are less than $150 bikes, and they’re all over town. There’s one hanging in a  tree out at the new subdivision on Hwy 32 East.

Anybody out there with a story about a cell phone or other small electronic device or cash stolen out of a car or house and returned by Chico PD? These people steal stuff that fits in their pocket.

Speaking of what what a “pro-bike” town we are, did Chief have any statistics on how many law abiding citizens actually use that bike path that runs alongside North Valley Plaza and Pillsbury?  It has never been safe, I was accosted there 30 years ago, and I’m sure many people have bad stories about that section of the trail. If it’s going to be allowed to remain, then we should have cops on bikes. All the trails in town should be covered by cops riding in teams on bikes. Having bike trails that are not patrolled by police is just setting up a special highway for criminals to access neighborhoods and then get out quickly.  But Chico PD won’t do bike patrol, and if they do, they want extra pay, like they  get extra pay for speaking Spanish or taking a canine in their car. 

The cops don’t seem so “pro-bike”, I have to wonder where the chief gets that bullshit. I’m guessing he’s got a can of it under his desk. 

I’m sorry to make fun, but this meeting is no different than meetings I have attended in past. They’re telling us crime is our problem, they just come along to take a report afterwards. 

California Hepatitis A outbreak makes it’s way to Utah by way of Metallica fans – when will it hit Chico?

11 Nov

A reader sent this story with the question, “How long before it hits Chico?”

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/hepatitis-crisis/sd-me-hepatitis-metallica-20171109-story.html

“The San Diego outbreak has killed 20 people and more than 370 have required hospitalization. As of Tuesday, the county has tallied 544 people infected, and new cases continue to crop up. It’s one of the worst outbreaks the nation has seen in decades.”

San Diego was the first city, I believe, to report a Hepatitis A outbreak so bad they had city staff and volunteers hosing the streets of Downtown with bleach and water. Los Angeles and Santa Cruz have also reported numerous cases. The outbreak has been linked to public urination and defecation, and homeless advocates blame a lack of public toilet facilities. 

What homeless advocates haven’t explained yet is how filthy public toilets will stem the spread of this disease, and who should have to clean them. In San Diego three tourists became infected while in town for a rock concert. While they reportedly ate at a restaurant later cited for violations, county officials believe “More likely culprits would be publicly-shared bathrooms on or off property, another unknown infected person, or any contaminated surface in or around the establishment.”

That sure makes sense to me after I’ve been in Downtown Chico and seen the filth on the sidewalks right outside the entrance of busy restaurants.

And here’s my question – when will we hear reports of workers being infected? 

In Chico a private firm is contracted by the Downtown Business Association to clean the bathrooms, but anything beyond a mop and wipe requires the involvement of city staff. Staffers are routinely called upon to unplug toilets that have been filled with a variety of objects – including clothing and trash – and that’s a job that’s going to expose you to whatever’s coming around the pike.

Public works director Eric Gustafson has recommended “Portland Loo” – but these still have to be cleaned by a person, they’re not self-sanitizing. 

I’ve been watching the situation with the Jesus Center and I’m not sure how moving a homeless shelter is going to help this situation. The problem is, there are more of them pouring in every day.

 

 

Chico PD make contract demands tonight, here’s a sampling

7 Nov

From tonight’s council agenda (I boldfaced stuff that sounded interesting to me):

Below are the proposals from the Chico Police Officers’ Association to the City of
Chico. MOU Article refer to the existing MOU.
1. Three-year MOU effective January 1, 2018 through December 31,
2020.
2. No COLA or other unit-wide salary increase for length of MOU.
3. Canine Pay. Article 5.10 and 5.7
a. Compensation: Add alternative assignment for Canine
Officer of 10% (Article 5.7D)
4. Specialty Assignments. Article 5.7
a. Traffic Sergeant: Add a Traffic Sergeant assignment at 10%.
(Currently no one is assigned to this position.)
b. FTO Sergeant: Add FTO Sergeant assignment at 5%. (This
assignment would only be paid when there is someone in
the program.)
5. CPOA Time Bank. Article 2.5(A).
a. Add an additional 100 hours to the Union Time Bank on the
city each year such that these hours are not backfilled.
6. Salary Schedule Correction. Article 5.1 and Exhibit B. Remove the
bottom pay step for Sergeant. (Step D or Step F depending on
when employee hired.)
7. Minimum Staffing on Patrol Teams with Mandatory Overtime.
Create a mandate for minimum staffing to protect citizens and
improve officer safety.
a. Mandatory Overtime to only cover sick leave, bereavement,
Administrative leave, and Training
i. A Days – Current Staff (8) Make minimum (6)
ii. A Swing – Current Staff (8) – Make Minimum (6)
iii. A Graves – Current Staff (7) – Make Minimum (5)
iv. B Days – Current Staff (8) – Make Minimum (6)
v. B Swing – Current Staff (8) – Make Minimum (6)
vi. B Graves – Current Staff (7) – Make Minimum (5)
vii. C Swing – Current Staff (6) – Make Minimum (5)8. Holiday Hours. Article 6.1 and 6.2.
a. City shall provide hours towards the employee’s Holiday
Time Bank equivalent to the employee’s regular work shift.
9. Sick Leave Accrual Rate. Article 6.4(A)(2)
a. Employees shall accrue sick leave in the amount of ten CIo)
hours per month.
10.Alternative Assignment FTO Clarification. Article 5.7
a. An employee who is assigned on a temporary basis to Field
Training Officer shall receive 5% Alternative Assignment pay
for the time the employee worked such assignment.
11.Education Reimbursement. Article 6.8(1)
a. Provide up to $1,500 per fiscal year for reimbursement of
approved educational programs and training.
b. Cap of $15,000 per fiscal year.
12.Medical Insurance Opt Out. Article 6.3 and Exhibit C
a. Increase payment to employees opting out of City’s medical
insurance plan to $500 per month into the employee’s
medical flexible spending account or deferred compensation
account.
13. Fitness. Article 6.8(H)
a. Add language to MOU allowing employees to work out
during their regular work schedule at the CPD fitness facility
and while maintaining availability for service and subject to
supervisory approval.

CARD, city $taff agree on one thing – it’s time to run a revenue measure!

4 Nov

Yesterday [11/3/17] I went out early to attend a meeting of the ad hoc committee formed between Chico City Council and Chico Area Recreation District to divvy up local parks, including Bidwell Park. 

There’s a lot of funding involved in these parks, and this was essentially a grab by CARD to get some of those revenues. The last thing CARD director Ann Willmann asked before she left the meeting was when she would start seeing the $$$$ from the neighborhood parks they were about to take over.

Ad hoc meetings do not have to be noticed to the public, but for some reason the news ran a story saying this meeting would begin at 9 am. There was no agenda posted either on the CARD website or at the city website, so I had to trust the news. When I arrived at the city building just before 8:50 I was glad to see the agenda posted alongside the door – it said 9 am. I went to a lot of trouble to push though my chores and get down there on time, and hey, my time might not be worth $139,000/year plus benefits but it’s worth something.

The Enterprise Record reporter and another woman, who told me she was at the meeting to see “if I still have a job” were waiting at the door when I arrived. As time went by and nobody came to let us in, we began to speculate. 9:00 came and went, so the reporter went over to the city office to inquire about the meeting. At 9:10 we were told that the meeting notice was wrong, the meeting didn’t start until 9:30, and someone would be along to open the door for us. 

Later, when councilor and committee member Karl Ory walked in a few minutes after 9:30, he looked around at the gathering and said, “I thought we agreed on 9:30?” Committee members and staffers all laughed. 

Like Lawanda Page says in “Friday,” “Well…Fuck You!” The way they treat the public down there is just gob-stopping. Our inconvenience doesn’t mean Jack Shit to $taff.

I’m sorry to be coarse, but these people treat me like garbage, and I get sick of it. 

Let me cut to the chase – the meeting started at 9:30 and by 9:45 the words “tax”, “assessment” and “tax assessment” had been used by staff or CARD representatives three times. Two staffers, Linda Herman and Eric Gustafson, said in so many words they want the city to pursue a revenue measure, and Tom Lando, CARD board director, made it clear, again, that he also wants a revenue measure. 

Herman said at one point, “I believe we have a united front for a tax [measure]…that’s better than going at it from opposite sides…”

It sounded as though CARD has already decided on a mailed assessment, but hasn’t made the formal announcement. I’ll try to attend the next CARD board meeting, usually held around the 15th of each month, and get more clarification on that.

The rest of the meeting was a jawdropper, the way these people wheel and deal behind closed doors, the stuff they say. I can’t write that fast, but the notes I was able to get are stunning. 

These people are not out to protect our interests, that’s for sure. I’ll cover it more when I get another chance to sit down. 

 

 

Again, the city fiddles while Chico burns

2 Nov

I got a notice yesterday about a “special meeting” Downtown, starting at 8 am today. A “special meeting” only has to be noticed 24 hours in advance, and as I have understood it, is supposed to be called only in the event of some sort of emergency, like a fiscal crisis, or some item that has to be executed within an immediate time frame.

The notice said only that it was a special meeting of the council and all the commissions – airport, art, architecture, planning and parks for a “Required Orientation Pursuant to AP&P 10-1”  This I only knew had something to do with the “code of conduct” for council members and commissioners.

My husband and I had a lot of work today, again – there’s going to be a storm tonight and tomorrow, and we wanted to be ready. But when my husband told me he needed to go out to Payless Lumber and Home Depot to get items to make repairs, I asked him to dump me off at the meeting, which was scheduled to run all day.  He said it shouldn’t take him more than an hour to do his errands, and I couldn’t really get away any longer than that, I had a lot of stuff to do today too. So I got cleaned up and hopped in the truck and he dumped me off at the old city municipal building.

It was a little after 10 am, the room was packed. Clerk Debbie Presson was about a third of the way through the presentation, telling the story of how Larry Wahl got nailed for $12,000 by the FPPC for violating some sort of rule when he was a planning commissioner.

This room, although very nicely restored, was not adequate for public participation in this meeting.

The staffers manning the door looked distressed as I approached – they couldn’t turn away a member of the public, but there we no more chairs. One of the clerks offered hers, and I was on it like white on rice. I wondered why they didn’t use council chambers, I’ve heard the repairs are finished over there. The “big room” at the old muni building isn’t nearly adequate for a joint meeting of council and all the commissioners, and still allow for members of the public or press.

The deputy clerk gave me a thick packet of more than 20 pages – a power point presentation for Board and Commission Orientation. Aside from the greetings and introductions, most of the information pertained to the Brown Act.

I’d seen clerk Presson do this presentation – complete with the same anecdotes – in about 45 minutes for the Sustainability Task Force a couple of years previous.

https://chicotaxpayers.com/2013/12/14/sustainability-task-force-meeting-a-lesson-on-open-meetings-law/

Why was this an emergency?  At some point, looking at all these people around me, I realized – they must have known more than 24 hours ahead of this meeting, most of them are employed, and would have needed a little more wiggle on the schedule. I can’t imagine telling my boss, “I can’t come in tomorrow, I have an emergency meeting to become oriented with a post I was appointed to months ago…” I saw many who had held commission positions for years, how was this meeting so “special”?

I wonder if the last minute nature of this notice was because they suddenly realized they had to notice members of the public. And since they only had 24 hours, they decided to call it a “special” meeting?

Frankly, if I wanted to nit-pick, I’d say, they only sent the notice 23 and a half hours ahead, at 8:29 am yesterday.

But, I didn’t have time to ask questions, I wanted to get to the bank. So I hustled out the door and beat a path for Wells Fargo over on Memorial Way.

As I approached the building from the corner by Morning Thunder, I noticed something didn’t look right.

Windows covered with plywood and cardboard.

When I finished my transaction I asked my teller if they’d been vandalized, and he reported they’d come to work this morning to find those windows smashed out.  He said he and other employees suspected “them,” and indicated the stretch of lower Bidwell Park right across Vallombrosa from the bank.

Right down the street from the post office annex, which recently shortened hours.

When my husband pulled into the parking lot a few minutes later and I told him about the windows he immediately asked if our security had been compromised. I felt stupid – I hadn’t asked. We drove over to Safeway to pick up some groceries. A person stood yelling obscenities in the middle of the parking lot, and we watched the Safeway security guard walk out to see what was going on. The man immediately stopped yelling and stood conversing quietly with the security guard as we entered the store.

Chico is in trouble, we need to have a “special” meeting about that.

UPDATE:  Here’s clerk Dani Rogers’ explanation about the poor noticing of this meeting:

“The agenda was not posted on the Minutes and Agendas page because there was a problem with the program that we use (Contribute) that allows us to post on the City website.  The agenda was posted on the bulletin board at the Chamber Building, the City’s designated and required posting location, on 11/1/17 before 8 a.m.”

One day I’ll do a post with all the excuses this woman has sent me – over $100,000/year in salary and a sweet benefits package and she still can’t use the software. So, all you citizens out there – either walk around 24-7 with your hands over the seat of your pants, or drive down to City Hall every day to check that bulletin board.