Archive | December, 2017

2018: We need to dismantle the Hobo Highway leading into Chico

30 Dec

Another year is coming to a close, I like to scroll over to “Archives” and see what I was doing a year ago.

At this time last year I was posting a lot of pictures of bums camping in Bidwell Park. I’ll tell you what – my husband still hits the park trails with my dog every morning, and even though the weather is dryer than this time last year, he hasn’t found any campers in our section of the park. Yesterday, feeling guilty about taking a shorter walk the day before, he took Biscuit down into the depths, following the meandering bum trails through the overgrowth – not even a trash pile.

One morning about a month ago he found the remains of a camp, but by the time we mounted up on our bike to head to the grocery store later that morning, the camp had been cleaned by a group called Chico Community Watch. They have a city staffer as liaison, kind of a supervisor – which means we essentially pay this volunteer group over $100,000 a year plus pension and benefits. 

Jack Lee, in his blog Post Scripts, has an interesting interview with member Trevor Skaggs here:

The interesting part of the interview is where Skaggs essentially admits that when providing any kind of service for the transients,  “ you kind of setup a slippery slope, you are providing services that make Chico an amenable place for individuals to migrate here from other locations. “

Yes, I feel volunteers like this just exacerbate the problem, while allowing highly compensated city staff to shirk their responsibilities. Why would I want to pay the property taxes that support salaries over $100,000, plus very generous benefits packages, and then wade into the park and pick up human filth? 

And it’s not just the city of Chico – Chico Area Recreation District is currently in talks to take over maintenance of Bidwell Park. CARD has a $7.2 million budget projected for 2018,  $5.2 million spent on salaries and benefits, mostly for about 30 full time employees, who have managed to rack up over $1.7 million in pension deficit. Will they expect volunteers to clean up after the bums?

They will pursue a bond or assessment on our homes in 2018, but haven’t announced yet whether it will be on the general ballot or a mailed ballot. 

I don’t think it’s a permanent solution either – they might chase the bums out of Bidwell Park – temporarily – but they just move to other parts of town. North Chico has had two sprawling homeless camps, one near a trailer park mostly inhabited by elderly people. Residents reported not only illegal camping but public defecation and urination in their door yards, and even threats from transients.

Chico has become a destination on the Hobo Highway, and we need to stop offering the services that are bringing them here. How about a few services for tax paying residents? 

Here’s  the street out front of my house – when do I get some services? 

So yes, I plan to go on complaining about the transient problem in 2018. That’s a resolution. 


Chico Housing Action Team needs to follow same permitting process as any other shelter

27 Dec

Chico Housing Action Team is looking for volunteers to man secret shelters in various neighborhoods around town.

This is why I can’t use the mail box at the end of my driveway. This is why I have to  get up at 5:30 am to take out my trash bins. This is why I  can’t leave my garage door open for air while I’m running my dryer, or step inside for a drink while I’m working on my bike or car in the driveway.

Within the last two years there have been break-ins and other crimes within doors of my home and rentals.  Ironically, a neighbor of mine who used to work at the Torres Shelter had a window broken out of her vehicle, parked in her driveway. She said nothing was taken but I would say she got robbed of whatever she spent having the window replaced. A neighbor across the street had her window broken and her purse taken. I know it’s stupid to leave your purse in your car, but this was in broad daylight right within sight of people’s front windows. Another neighbor said she’d seen a transient and heard the sound of breaking glass but he was gone by the time she got out of her house.

For weeks a neighbor had a homemade sign in front of his house – “Please bring back my cordless drill, no questions asked…” He had left it in his driveway while doing some work, gone inside to  get another tool, tarried to listen to something on the radio, and gone back outside to find his drill gone.

My next door neighbor texted my husband one morning asking us to “be on the lookout for my red weed whacker…” which had disappeared from her back yard shed. This was particularly alarming to me as her shed is located well within her back yard, not visible from the street, surrounded by a fence with a gate, and right along side my garage.  She admitted she doesn’t lock her  gate – didn’t – but, the thief would have had to walk the length of her driveway, right under her kitchen window, to get to the gate. That’s pretty bold.

Reminded me of the man who came stumbling in through our back yard during a dumping downpour one evening. We were sitting on our porch, and we suddenly noticed a figure in the darkness, walking across our fenced back acre, open our garden gate, stumble across our garden, and then open the gate into our immediate dooryard. He was wiped out wasted, on something, didn’t know where he was, told us he’d fallen while climbing over our back fence. He would have had to travel across other neighbors’ property to get into our back yard. I wanted to call the police, but my husband reminded me that would be far more trouble than it was worth, and, taking this man by the arm, escorted him out our front door yard gate, out our locking driveway gate, to the street. He asked, “which way to the park?” and my husband pointed him on his way.

People treat us with suspicion because we have locked gates.  An insurance man once denied us coverage, saying Farmers wouldn’t insure us with a locking gate. A police woman who was investigating an incident at our neighbors once left a phone message for us – she said she’d encountered our locked gate while looking around our property. She had no explanation for being on our property.  She said she had thought to climb over it, but didn’t want to “taco it.” We were out at the time, the idea that a police officer would come on to our private property over a locked gate was pretty shocking. That gate cost over $100, and some big ass cop would have bent the hinges and required a new gate. How’d you like to come home and find your property damaged, and a note from some fat-ass pig saying, “Oh, uh, sorry…taco’d your gate looking for a perp…”   She didn’t even explain what had happened, didn’t identify the neighbor who had called in the complaint, nothing. She seemed to think it was weird we had a locked gate. 

But CHAT is allowed to take transients in at secret sites around town, with no public permit process.


Hey – while you are gathering around the tree with a cup of cider in your face, the city of Chico is getting ready to stick it to you in 2018!

22 Dec

I got  the agenda for the January 2 2018 city council meeting

and here are some immediate observations:

  1. Looking at the police contract up for consideration, I see our cops are hugely overcompensated and given many perks and benies but are still demanding raises. While city mangler Mark Orme insists this contract will only cost $37 more per employee per year, he doesn’t give the figures and he doesn’t even mention how many employees the police department has.  I went to the State Controllers Government Compensation charts and I see cops in Chico make well over $100,000/year, plus nice benefits packages, and I’m wondering – how long can we afford salaries that compare with those in much bigger cities?

    2. They’re raising the cost of housing and other fees to pay for it.

    3.  The clerk isn’t posting city council minutes again. She’s only posted selected meetings since about July.  She constantly complains about not being able to use the equipment.  She just got a raise to more than cover her own pension share – which is less than 10 percent.  Presson’s salary is comparable to a police officer.  

Presson always includes a little personal note with the agenda – she wishes all of us and our families a great holiday season! Well, her Christmas, with that kind of salary, much be just ginchee! 

All I want for Christmas this year is for the CalPERS building to implode and collapse back into Hell where it came from.

Image result for calpers building sacramento

As for Chico PD? I hope their kids all grow up and leave.  

As for the rest of you – make a resolution for 2018 to stop putting up with this shit.



No Kidding – our city is headed for deep doo-doo

21 Dec

This is a repost from November, 2015.  

I sent the letter below last Saturday, I had to resend, although Dave Little excused himself – “just a lot of letters in the queue”  Sure, okay, at least he printed it before this item goes to council.

There’s another Finance Committee meeting scheduled this coming week. They will pick up the conversation they left in the “workshop” I’m speaking of below. This time they will talk about how developers have got off without paying sewer fees, and how the sewer fund has been in arrears for years. From the staff report, available here:

“For over a year, City staff have highlighted the impact of reduced revenues received from development for sewer capacity fees. As a result, the City’s general sewer operating account has picked up the significant annual loan obligations required to pay the state for the capacity expansion made to the sewer treatment plant.”

Yeah, I’ve been following this conversation – what they don’t mention is, like the Private Development Fund, the Sewer Fund has been dipped into to pay salaries, benefits and pensions for people who have never even been in the neighborhood (where property owners complain they are being eaten by flies from the poorly managed plant, staff admitting they dump raw sewage in the Sac River during heavy rainstorms…)  They don’t mention the constant tug-o-war going on between the sewer operation and M&T Ranch – both suck water out of the river for operations, which has left City of Chico leach lines “on the rocks” on several occasions, leading to millions in repairs paid by taxpayers.

Our sewer plant is a disaster, but city of Chico keeps trying to hook more people up, cause they want those fees to pay – you got it – the Pension Liability.  Now they are holding a carrot out to Paradise? Wow, this is just getting surreal. 

So, I’m just glad Little finally decided to run my last letter, I already feel another one forming in the old Brain Pan.  I wish you folks would write too. Our biggest question being – all these years you been letting the developers off, you been charging private homeowners by frontage – meaning, the length of your property that meets the street. Developers pay a flat rate – why not homeowners? Here we been subsidizing development for years, and the fund is still RED.  

$taff has been embezzling. I realize, the developers have been getting a better deal than we have, but we all been taking a screwing from $taff. 

My letter, run this morning:

A consultant’s report given to the city Finance Committee says homeowners pay about 130 percent of the true cost of building permits while for-profit developers pay less than the cost of services they receive  from the city. But this is not the entire reason for a $9 million deficit in the private development fund. 

Consultant Chad Wolford explained, while we cut our workforce heavily, we failed to cut “overhead” – that is, the management positions that take most of our budget. 

Next door, the Internal Affairs committee tackled the subject of civility as I watched our mayor attack a local developer who came to the podium to question the allocation of a $6 million pension deficit on the private development fund. Mayor Mark Sorensen listed two other options – “keep moving in your direction…racking up a million dollars a year in debt…” he told Pete Giampoli.  Sorensen’s other option was to take the money out of the General Fund, already empty because of such transfers. 

The unspoken option is  cut management positions. One recently hired finance department employee, salary over $100,000, attended the meeting for no apparent reason.  He gave no report, sat in the audience, and left the building several times during the meeting. 

This is why we’re in trouble – we have too many redundant positions, getting over $100,000 in salary and paying little toward their benefits. Most of our management employees are longtime CalPERS participants who pay less than 10 percent of their pension premiums. 

Juanita Sumner, Chico

Here’s why the price of housing will never go down in Chico – houses will get smaller, but the price per square foot is going to keep climbing

20 Dec

Thanks Dude, for this article from –

CalPERS has decided to raise the stakes by $50 billion, and critics are saying they are investing in “bubbly stocks”. As defined by Wikipedia, “a bubble occurs when investors put so much demand on a asset that they drive the price beyond any accurate or rational reflection of its actual worth.”

In past CalPERS has failed to bring in anticipated returns because they’ve made bad investments, first based on bribery, and later, on philosophy – buying stock in “green” companies that failed miserably. I believe those “philosophical” investments were also based on bribery or other influence but that hasn’t come out yet.

Here in Chico CalPERS failure will determine the cost of our housing market, since developers/homebuyers are expected to pay for the salaries, health benefits and pensions of Downtown $taffers. Last night council deadlocked over fees – Mark Sorensen correctly stating that there is no data to support lower fees for high density builders, and Karl Ory throwing up that ages old argument that has led us on the BOOM and BUST trail again and again – we need more housing for the “workforce.”

15 years ago, it was, “more starter housing for young families.” They change the words but it’s still the same – more profits for developers, more fees and property taxes for the city.

This city has suffered two big BUSTS in my adult lifetime. I learned about the economy when, in 1989, my family bought an entirely over-inflated house. Within three years prices went through the floor again, and when we tried to sell we couldn’t even get what we paid. Families all over town, like us, were paying over-inflated mortgages and property taxes, which means no “discretionary” income.

In the early 2000’s the market was flat and the developers turned to their friends in elected positions – like Larry Wahl and Dan Herbert – to campaign for “starter housing for young families”. They wanted lower fees – Dan Herbert almost went into tears complaining about the $17,000 in fees he’d just paid to build his new house, he just kept repeating that over and over at the council meeting. 

That campaign led to the biggest building BOOM in Chico history. But wait! Prices didn’t go down! Houses went from the$90,000 range to over $300,000 within eight months. 

And of course by 2010 the BUST rolled in, with foreclosures all over town. Foreclosures never went away, we still have many foreclosures in Chico.  Right now Zillow is listing 68 foreclosed homes. Over the past two years I’ve lost five neighbors to foreclosure, while one foxy old bastard next door actually re-bought his own house at auction, reducing his mortgage debt by about $100,000. 

That should tell you, some of these housing prices are just made of air…

The BOOM we are experiencing now has all the hallmarks of the previous BOOM – housing prices up sharply, sales quick and high over the Summer. I sold a home this Summer because I saw that, and I wanted to unload before the prices hit rock bottom and stayed there for years to come. We essentially sold the place at Open House, within the first two weeks, for asking price. I had feared the realtor had asked too much, and was surprised at the full price offer.  They were ready to jump through hoops for us to get the house, they were almost annoyingly pushy. 

Two realtors I spoke with when I was selling told me uneasily they expect a BUST by Spring 2018. Already I’ve noticed sales are slowing, but  that just might be a Winter thing. We’ll see.

CalPERS is going to take California down. 






Go ahead and laugh, you’re paying for it

17 Dec

I was spreading an old issue of the Chico Enterprise Record under my dog dishes and I noticed a story I had missed.

The Butte County Association of Governments – BCAG – runs the B-Line.

When I looked at the schedules for the B-Line, I was reminded how riding the bus really sucks. Have some fun – use those schedules to get yourself to the airport, in less than an hour. Because you can drive there in less than 20 minutes from just about anywhere in town, and then you have your car for whenever you want to leave. Please note – there are hours long blocks without service in the middle of the day and then only two buses leaving the airport at the end of the work day. And no stops – it’s an EXPRESS line. You get on Downtown – which means, you have to get Downtown.

Which leaves the use of the bus to catch a plane almost out of the equation – because the buses aren’t for the airline passengers, they’re for employees of airport located businesses. The story says they need at least 64 people a day to pay for this line, and so far they’ve managed to convince about 30 to ride.   Until then, the taxpayers will subsidize this line while BCAG tries to convince employers to buy monthly passes. 

Do you have a car?” is one of the first questions most employers ask. “Missed the bus” is the last excuse you want to pitch at your boss – sounds made up. Until you see the schedules, one misstep and you will be left for an hour. That’s not your boss’ problem, unless he’s Ken Beerman or Dan Got-t-shirts, who are also pitching the New Urban Life Without a Car. Of course, Ken Beerman lives in Forest Ranch, on a private road. Gonzales lives Downtown – if you can get picture of him boarding B-line I will give you a crisp five-spot.

The story is a push piece – thank you Laura Embedded Reporter! The reporter actually tries to tell us employees should take the bus to avoid road damage to their cars. 

“While there is no precise data on the cost of wear and tear on vehicles encountering potholes on Cohasset Road, AAA has determine that nationally potholes cost drivers about $3 billion annually.

Hitting potholes and deep cracks can damage tires, rims, struts, steering and suspension, according to AAA, but what may be worse is that the damage may not be immediately noticeable and deepen as travel continues.”

But the city has no immediate plans to do anything about the road, despite the current jingle for commercial air service.  

“While the city will be improving Cohasset Road in 2018, repair stops short of the airport.

“‘Yes, we are working on the design for road rehabilitation on Cohasset Road from about East Avenue to Eaton Road. This will not do anything to widen or improve Cohasset to the airport from Eaton Road,’ Chico Public Works Director/Engineering Brendan Ottobani wrote this publication on Wednesday.”

That’s interesting. You will not find that kind of information in any story about the city streets, the garbage franchise, or the pensions. But here she uses it to try to get people to ride the bus. 

You really think it costs $250,000 to run one bus half a dozen times a day out to the airport and back? No. BCAG wants  that money for salaries and pensions for themselves. The director of this agency is compensated at over $200,000 year.  Eleven employees – not counting board members – are paid over $777,000/year in wages and another $350,000 in pensions and health benefits.

The board is made up of other salaried individuals, including two county supervisors and council members from every town in Butte County, as well as representatives of other public agencies like CARD. Yes, CARD director Ann Willmann, for example, gets paid over $100,000/year plus pension and health insurance to sit in these meetings, facilitating the looting.

According to various sources online, the average transit bus driver in California makes between $30,000 and $40,000/year. I didn’t see anything about benefits. I don’t know where to look to see what they spend on the buses but I’m going to guess that’s less than they spend on the driver. So that leaves a couple of hundred thousand a year to go into the coffers, to pay those management salaries and benefits, or pay down BCAG’s pension deficit.  

These government entities – of which there are far too many – drum up a confusing babble, they seem to contradict each other around every corner. Here the county is pushing a bus line that nobody really wants, while the city won’t fix the road. Why don’t they just use the grant funding to fix the road? 

How ’bout Urseny’s little pitch about air quality – “Buses also help curb air pollution from vehicles.”  That’s bullshit – buses are not only gross polluters, they grind the roads to a pulp. All to carry 33 passengers a day – what’s that, five passengers or less per trip? All the way across  town? 

The airport is a viable business park, many businesses there are tenants of the city of Chico. But their landlord won’t maintain the road in. Meanwhile a group is using city funding – yes, the city paid $15,000 for that last consultant – trying to re-establish commercial air service – but they don’t think the airlines pay attention to stuff like this? 

Go ahead and laugh – you’re paying for it.



Dave, Dave, Dave – when you gonna learn?

16 Dec


Wow, what a world we live in. All these accusations of “inappropriate behavior” coming out of Hollywood and Washington, and even right here in Chico!

Guzzetti is being investigated “for reportedly using nearly $12,000 of Chico Conservation Voters campaign funds on gambling, dining, groceries, bookstore charges and personal computer services, the FPPC says.”

Yes, Dave Guzzetti seems to have been busted, AGAIN, this time with his fingers in the cookie jar. Kelly’s cookie jar.  Kelly often told me that “they only want me for my money,” but I always assumed Guzzetti spent the money on his political agenda – stuff like illegal campaign mailers. Instead we find out he’s been gambling? And using, mostly Kelly Meagher’s money, for other definitely personal expenses.

When I have looked at the reports, I’ve seen that he took a salary out of his PAC, but I figured that was all legal. It’s amazing what’s legal with a PAC. But what Guzzetti was dong with the money was not only inappropriate by FPPC rules, it could  be considered embezzlement, which involves criminal charges and possible jail time, maybe restitution. In light of what Guzzetti has admitted, I hope Ramsey presses charges, but I won’t hold my breath – Ramsey’s a Democrat.

Guzzetti is a creep, he’s been warned for sending the dirty fliers, for not making legally required reports – this has been going on for years, but he’s always wiggled out of anything serious. Now I’d like to see his ass nailed for good to the barn door. I’d like his friends like Mike Worley and Karl Ory to see just what happens when you think you can pull a fast one on the voters and taxpayers.

Here’s a funny little trip down Memory Lane – a two-part story from 1985, from the LA Times.


Why do we keep paying consultants to tell us the same thing – we will have to bribe airlines to come here

11 Dec

I finally took airport mangler Sherry Miller up on her offer to drive out to Chico Municipal Airport and check out the DVD from the November 8 “special” airport commission meeting.

I realized it had been exactly one month since the meeting, and I wondered, why am I doing this? My husband reminded me, this woman said, in two different e-mails, that if we couldn’t make the meeting it would be on video on the website to watch later. When a giant dumper opened up on the night of the meeting, I thought, why drag myself out in that, when I can watch the video in my own house tomorrow. The big meeting room at City Hall is all set up to videotape meetings, the videos of city council meetings are usually available the next day.

But Miller immediately reneged on her promises to have the video loaded onto the website, citing technical problems. When I pressed her about having promised a video she offered me the copy, but told me I had to make an appointment and drive to the airport to get it.

So I ground my teeth all the way across town, with real zeal as we drove out Cohasset Road, which is lined with garbage on either side. That is a pretty vital economic corridor, lots of viable businesses, but you’d never know that given the view from the road – asphalt pitted with potholes and cracks, narrow and broken on the edges, no visible maintenance. Weeds on either side, broken fences – Cohasset Road is the textbook definition of “blight”.  I kept thinking – this is what people like Governor Swarzenegger and Oprah Winfrey saw when they flew into CMA. Is that why President Barack Obama landed in Redding and drove south to view damage from wild fires a few years back?

The airport itself looks like post war Berlin.  Here’s a scene from a great old Jimmy Cagney movie – One, Two Three – with footage of East Berlin from 1961. It actually looks nicer in some parts than Chico Airport.

Empty lots, dotted with weeds, trash, even dumped asphalt and cement chunks. The parking lot next to the terminal, which is supposed to be for “rental fleet vehicles” is un-surfaced and has weeds growing up through the old asphalt. The rental fleet cars fill the “visitor” parking lot in front of the terminal.

There were about half dozen people waiting around the ticket counter inside the terminal. There was talk of “boarding” as I walked toward Miller’s office. So I see the airport is still used for flights, even if there aren’t many people waiting to get on one.  I’m going to guess the rental car business is busier – I know people rent cars here to drive to Sacramento or San Francisco airports.

Miller’s quarters are over to the back corner of the terminal – two rooms, with a small, private office in the back. I could see her through the windows, sitting at her computer, but was greeted by her small dog. She put the dog out into a fenced area when she opened the door for us. I couldn’t help but be jealous – wouldn’t everybody like to take their dog to work, not have to worry about leaving a pet alone all day, have a friend to take your mind off your job once in a while. Must be nice.

There was a sign-out sheet, which I filled out, and then she handed me the DVD. My husband chattered about the dog, which lightened the atmosphere slightly. I forgot to ask if I’d have to make an appointment to turn in the DVD – and then I wondered, does she even come in to the office every day? Any entire days? Or is she only there by appointment?

Must be nice.

I’d asked to have it over the weekend because I knew it would be hard to sit down and watch it over night. When I got home, I realized – it might take a day or so to figure out how to watch it. I had wanted to download it into my computer so I could try to post it on youtube – silly me. The DVD wouldn’t even play in my computer. I fiddled with it for half an hour, and then my husband came up for a snack, and he fiddled with it some more. He got it to work for a few minutes, but when I tried to rewind it a few minutes later, it froze, and continued to do so every time we loaded it. 

I decided to try it in our DVD player. Same thing – a blue screen came up and froze. As with the computer, I just left it and walked away, did some chores. What a morning – I had a batch of dog food on the stove, 10 pounds of frozen chicken parts thawing in the sink, bread dough rising on the counter, and it  was a gorgeous day, so I was trying to catch up on some laundry. 

Tote that barge, and lift that bale!  Somebody’s got to WORK around here!

Patience was it’s own reward as I suddenly heard the sounds of a meeting starting up, chairman’s voice announcing the Pledge, yadda yadda, and then here comes the consultant from Intervistas. The picture reminded me of my grandma’s old tv – snow! So much for the Power Point Presentation.

I don’t know who hired the consultant – Chris Warren – or who paid him – I put that question to Ms. Miller, and I’ll post her answer when/if I get it.

Warren ran through a short recent history of the airlines. He talked about the deregulation of the late ’70’s, and how that resulted in many tiny airlines, all vying for customers, offering crazy deals. He didn’t mention – we had a lot of ugly airline accidents over those days, with poorly maintained planes, overworked pilots and air traffic controllers. 

Then oil prices spiked, he recalled, and things started to fall apart for the airlines. The 80’s and 90’s were an era of “Boom and Bust” for the airlines.

As of 2000, Warren went on, the smaller airlines collapsed, many “logos” disappeared. Bigger airlines went about gobbling up the littler companies, investors came in, making the industry more “stable.”

But that wasn’t  good for smaller community airports, because the smaller airlines weren’t coming in, and the bigger airlines switched from turbo prop engines to jets.

Well, here’s what was going on in Chico at that time.  Our airport was in deficit – the city had been pilfering the airport fund to pay salaries and benefits for non-airport employees. Instead of upgrading the runway to accommodate the new jets, they bottomed out the airport fund on themselves. It got so bad – just a few years ago, city mangler Mark Orme announced we were in danger of losing the fire fighting planes because we hadn’t kept our water tanks up to code. The federal government was going to pull funding that was necessary to keep operations running. 

According to Warren, airlines are putting planes in “bigger markets.” Turbo props are becoming museum pieces for hobby pilots. Too bad for Chico – we don’t have a runway to accommodate nor do we have passengers to fill a jet.  Warren reminded us that the airlines are not going to fly a jet half full. 

I recalled the tiny group that had been in the terminal when I picked up the DVD – I only saw a couple of suitcases. This is the Big Lie – a small group of proponents keep telling us there’s a demand for commercial air service, but there isn’t any. It’s just too easy to drive to Sacramento, where they are light years ahead of us on infrastructure, and leaving us farther behind every day. 

Warren cited a 2014 report in the Wall Street Journal – “Why Small Airports Are In Big Trouble…”

To reverse years of declining traffic and fewer flights, Huntsville International Airport last year decided to offer its few remaining airlines incentives if they enhanced service to the small, northern Alabama city.

The city of Huntsville wrote up a plan to offer up to $5 million to airlines that “added flights, lowered fares, or otherwise encouraged” people to fly out of that airport.

Unfortunately the full article is not available, but there’s my segue – that’s where the consultant was leading the conversation.

Warren said that despite this trend away from smaller airports, there are “tools” the city could use to get commercial service in Chico. The first three are government grant programs – but he as quickly dismissed these avenues because we either wouldn’t qualify or they were a lot of work with little return. 

He cut quickly to the chase, just as the DVD was starting to freeze up on me again – a “revenue guarantee.”

The DVD was so bad at this point, I wouldn’t have understood what he was talking about if a previous consultant hired by the city had not explained the same scam. They want us to guarantee them – sit down – $600,000 in passenger fares, or pay them the difference. 

Again, I’ll say – there were less than half a dozen people at the terminal, and I don’t even know if they all had tickets to board. 

Warren went on to say, these funds can’t come out of the airport fund, they have to come from local government or the private sector. He chirped that if people fly “then the community doesn’t have to pay!”

And then the DVD froze and I gave up. I know he went on in depth about how they could convince the community to get behind this scam. The previous consultant suggested we put staffers in pilot and stewardess uniforms and send them to venues like Farmer’s Market – show people FLYING IS FUN!


So I was interested in hearing what this consultant had to pitch, but the DVD was a wash. 

The airport is just another piece in the city’s pending sales tax increase campaign. They are promising unicorns and rainbows when we need better schools and jobs. And, one of the players behind “Jet Chico” is Howard Slater, one of Chico’s biggest old school developers. Here’s my guess – he wants the city of Chico to pay him to develop the airport. 

Now I have to make plans to drive out to the airport to return the dysfunctional DVD. I’ll post whatever answers I get from Miller. 


CalPERS is corrupt and nobody is doing anything about it – including the voters

9 Dec

You ever read stuff and set it down and say, “Oh, my, Gawddddd!

Look at this:

Dude sent me this story a few days ago, and I been reading it in installments, you know, trying not to have a stroke. I’ll tell you what I want to do when I read stuff like this – I want to drive to Sac-o-tomatoes and kick somebody’s ass.

“CalPERS’ unfunded liability grew $27.3 billion to $138.6 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016…”

Billion. Remember when Jed Clampett was a millionaire, and that was a really big deal?  Now they kick billion around like it’s Chump Change. 

I guess it is, and guess who’s the Chumps?  “CalPERS is also in the midst of a plan to lower its investment return assumptions to 7% from 7.5% by July 1, 2019.  A lower rate of return increases unfunded liabilities unless investment gains can cover the difference.”

Lowering their assumptions essentially means, they’re reneging on their promises to cover these crazy pensions, and we’re on the hook to pay them.

A Washington based “think tank” is  calling CalPERS on the carpet for their sketchy investment strategy.  While I heard bad investments were the result of a bribery scandal

this “think tank” tells it a different way – CalPERS officials said they were practicing “sustainable investment strategies”, like this wind farm they bought?

The report also criticizes the CalPERS board, saying they have little or no investment experience. Another “OMG” moment. We’ve got a truckload of turnips running an investment group.  At this point Jesus H. Christ is also brought into the conversation.

Think – CalPERS sold our governor and legislators on a plan that shifts the responsibility for one’s own retirement onto the general populace. I don’t think it was a very hard sell, since Governor Moonbeam and his peanut gallery all get pensions they  don’t have to pay for too.

What doesn’t make sense is why the voters keep going along with it.

I believe there is flagrant corruption and racketeering at CalPERS – members of a public board accepting bribes to buy stock that nobody else wants, at inflated prices. What are they doing, buying 80 percent of an Italian energy company? I think the Italians want out, and they just handed the California taxpayers The Bag.

We need to dump these publicly funded retirement systems and put over compensated public employees on the street. 



A new federal study finds when it comes to binge drinking Chico is the worst city in the entire state

5 Dec

Chico has a substance abuse problem.–461877443.html

“Former Chico Mayor Mary Flynn was arrested for driving under the influence, following a minor accident in Chico Sunday, December 3rd.

The 61 year old Flynn  was taken into custody at about 4:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Safeway Store on Mangrove Avenue on a misdemeanor count of  DUI Drugs & Alcohol.
Officers at the scene said no one was injured in the accident, and it wasn’t clear whether Flynn was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
She was arrested while serving on the city council in 2008, after her car hit the Great Harvest Bread Company building on Forest Avenue.
Flynn was found to be under the influence of prescription drugs, and over the counter cold medicine and cough syrup..
She pleaded guilty in October of 2009 to a reduced charge of reckless driving while under the influence of prescription drugs.
she also took a leave of absence from the council in 2014 for treatment of a dependency on prescription medications.
Flynn  served on the Chico City Council from 2006 to December of 2014 .”

The first thing that occurred to me when I saw this story was, my family shops at that Safeway, my kids shop there. We ride our bikes all through that neighborhood. We’ve seen Flynn there. I can’t help but fear for my life when I hear about this type of incident.

And then of course it all came back to me, Flynn’s long history with substance abuse – despite which, she was re-elected for a second term. 

You have to ask yourself – what kind of smack are the voters on?

When Flynn (also known by her married name, Goloff) was mayor, she was among community leaders who signed this open letter to the public:

This “call for community action” begins, “Our community has a serious alcohol problem. News accounts document this on almost a daily basis. It affects countless lives, and
tragically accounts for a number of deaths, year after year.”

It goes on, “It is not simply a fraternity problem, or a university problem, or a
south campus problem. It is a community-wide problem that will require
all of us to solve. “

The letter is also signed by then-vice-mayor Scott Gruendl, and Brian Nakamura, who was our city manager for a short time during 2012-13, so I assume this letter was written and distributed in 2013. 

In 2014, both Flynn and Gruendl announced they’d been in treatment for substance abuse and would not seek further terms. Gruendl had been released from his job with Glenn County. 

The “call for action” lists various actions that should be taken to confront our community drinking problem. 

“We need to confront the availability and low cost of drinks
at downtown bars; the advertising and bar guides that promote cheap and
excessive drinking; the lack of consequences for landlords who permit out of
control parties; the impression that some businesses turn a deaf ear to safety
concerns; the enforcement of public drinking laws; our approaches to
alcohol and drug education; the low number of Friday classes and the
amount of work assigned in all classes; and many other topics, however
difficult they may seem.”

The city entered into shaky legal ground at this point, then-police-chief Trostle advocating an alcohol tax, which amounted to a shakedown of Downtown restaurants. The discussion was halted when the city attorney announced it was illegal. The city had backroom meetings with some bar and restaurant owners and ended up giving up sidewalk to these establishments in order to get them to agree to certain stipulations – no drinks after certain hours, food has to be served, etc. 

Let me ask you – which would you rather be stuck with? A rich drunk or a poor drunk? 

Then the  city passed what I believe to be an onerous and hard to enforce “social host” ordinance that supposedly makes landlords responsible for “response costs” of police and fire to an out-of-control party. Problem was, the police are supposed to notify landlords after the first infraction, before they can levy the fee. That leaves the problem of finding out who is the property owner, notice them within a reasonable amount of time before you can cite them for another party. 

I have not had a chance to ask Chief O’Brien how many landlords have been cited and how much in fees has been collected, but I haven’t seen anything about it in the budget reports, I’m going to guess it’s impractically expensive and time consuming to go after landlords until their rental becomes a terrific problem. 

The ABC has always done stings to make sure local liquor stores take the law seriously, and almost every year they come up with some violations. I know they educate liquor establishments, but I don’t know how effective that’s been. 

I don’t know what the college has done about educating the kids, but almost every year we’ve had alcohol related deaths of students, riotous behavior Downtown on the weekends immediately following start of school, and now this  – I found the following story on the KHSL Action News website, run less than a month ago:

“A new federal study finds when it comes to binge drinking Chico is the worst city in the entire state. That is according to Financial News Company 24/7 Wall Street.

They reviewed data from the CDC on the binge drinking habits in metro areas in each state.

They found that in Chico, about 21% of adults take part in heavy drinking.That number is higher than the state average of 18%.

They have also found that over 34% of the driving deaths in Chico are alcohol related.

According to Randall Stone from the Chico City Council, “With a statistically much younger population, and 17,000 of the 93-thousand population in fact not even counting in those, are undergraduates in college in an only CSU system with a residential campus, I’m not only surprised by it, but so what.” Stone went on to say that in the past 5 years Chico State has been making great strides in reducing alcohol consumption by students, and credits the new administration that’s more willing to work with the city.”

I don’t know if I agree with Stone that the college has been doing anything, but I will agree, it’s not just college students, it’s “21% of adults” – the colleges only bring in about 35,000 kids, and they don’t all live in Chico proper. We can’t assume they all drink either. So, I’d say, it’s a safe bet, a lot of our drinking problem is with the population at large.

I’ve often wondered as I’ve driven on the freeway at morning or evening Rush Hour – how many of these people are on drugs, prescription or otherwise? How many have already had a few alcoholic drinks today? 

We re-elect people who have known problems. Here’s something that should make you  very concerned – Mary Flynn got a job at a charter school here in Chico and Scott Gruendl is currently assistant director of San Mateo Health Services, in the mental health department.

Even after their substance abuse history, and even after Gruendl’s partner Nicholas Gruendl filed in Butte County Superior Court for a restraining order for domestic violence. He filed for divorce a week or two later.

We are a community of enablers. In the story posted at the KHSL website, there are several disparaging comments about Flynn’s latest arrest, and then former Butte County district attorney’s office employee Helen Harberts makes this comment:

“I am saddened. This disease is characterized by relapse. Hopefully a good outcome will occur. DUI is never acceptable. Working recovery is the business of a lifetime. Substance abuse is an equal opportunity disease. It impacts all groups. If you think you may need help, don’t wait. Get help. “

Another woman praises Harberts for making a nice comment. “Helen what a great reply! No hating no BS people are so mean & crude on these comments you are a pleasant surprise!”

First of all, there was nothing crude about the previous comments, they were all very reasonable reactions to the situation. Second, Helen Harberts was a co-worker and enabler of this man:

With people like this in public positions in our community is it any wonder we have these problems?