Archive | March, 2018

Election Time – ask your supervisor candidates what they will do about Chico’s growing transient problem

30 Mar

Looks like some bum’s cache has been had over by other bums as well as animals. 

As soon as the weather turned warm we started noticing evidence of illegal camping in Bidwell Park. My husband came across this pile in the dense overgrowth between Bryant Avenue and Hwy 99 overpass, near the little Redwood grove north of Chico Creek. 

Look at all those bicycle rims.  My husband said there was a lot of copper wire in the pile, along with tools, spilling out of the old bike cart buried there in the mess. I think it’s safe to assume much of the stuff here has been stolen out of work vehicles or garages, sheds, whatever.

Yesterday the Enterprise Record ran an editorial – “Chico needs to stop going around in circles on crime problem…”   

What he misses is how the county exacerbates the problem  by bringing in homeless and mentally ill people for the $550 a day they bring with them. The county takes transfers from other counties, for the $550 a day, don’t be dumb. They can hold these people whether they want to be here or not, for 45 days. Without a calculator, that’s about $23,000, per person, every 45 days. According to Behavioral Health director Dorian Kittrell, that adds up to about $63 million a year. 

Now translate that $63 million into crazy people wandering our streets – just last night we heard this report on Ch 24 news:

Chico Calif.—On Wednesday March 28th Chico Police Officers were dispatched to a suspicious man on the 1800 block of East 8th Street.

 The reports said that the man was acting erratic, screaming and could be holding a knife.

The man fled from the officer and then turned back and headed toward the officer.

The officer successfully deployed his department issued Taser and struck the man.

The Taser was able to keep the man incapacitated until further police officers arrived on scene and put the person in custody.

During the attempts to place the man in custody, he violently bit and resisted an officer.

The man had to be placed in a full body restraint system known as a WRAP because of his continued violence.

It was determined that the man needed medical attention based on his behavior and was transported to a local hospital.

The man was admitted to the hospital due to health concerns.

He has not been identified at this time.

No, he hasn’t been identified, and I’m guessing we won’t hear much more about it. This guy bit a cop – that’s kinda crazy, wouldn’t you say?  These are the kind of people Butte County Behavioral Health is bringing here, holding for 45 days, and then releasing on their own recognizance. I’ve  been told they are offered a ride out of the “Puff” – psychiatric hospital – to any of several local shelters, but are not required to take it.

When a woman was found dead along Hwy 99 near Butte College Chico campus, I searched her name and found her last known contact with police was in Oroville, where she was reported by a resident to be wandering in a private yard muttering to herself. The police didn’t arrest her, but said they offered her a ride, which she refused. She wandered off into the night and the next anybody saw of her was a half rotted corpse laying in the bushes along the freeway.

I don’t think the system is working, do you? 

It’s a good question for your county supervisors – two Chico supes are up for re-election this year. Larry Wahl is running again, but Maureen Kirk has stepped aside. Four challengers have stepped up to take their seats, that’s good, they try harder when they have to jump and snap for it. 

District 2 incumbent Larry Wahl,   https://www.buttecounty.net/boardofsupervisors/SupervisorLarryWahl.aspx

Challenger Debra Lucero,   https://debralucero.us/

In District 3 there are 3 candidates:

Tami Ritter,   https://ritterforsupervisor.com/

Bob Evans,  https://bobevansforsupervisor.com/

Norm Rosene,  https://www.normrosene.com/

 

 

 

 

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Is it regionalism or life style choices that have the California GOP fighting within? And, who really runs Butte County GOP?

25 Mar

I don’t think I owe anybody at Butte County GOP any apologies. 

Oh, maybe Larry Wahl. I believe Larry Wahl has made sincere attempts to further the gas tax petition, but he doesn’t run Butte County GOP.  Jim Nielsen and his staffer Saulo Londono run Butte County GOP.

Londono, who wears two hats as Nielsen’s office manager and Butte County GOP manager,  is the guy who told me in a phone call that I was being misled by “somebody from San Diego“. He said Nielsen was “devoting his personal resources” toward the petition effort…   “to make sure it gets across the finish line…”  Sounded pretty vague, so I wrote him a note asking who paid for the petition gatherers at Safeway.

“I am the one who called Jim Nielsen’s office yesterday, and believe I had a phone response from you. You referred to Carl Demaio as “somebody from San Diego” so I don’t know how much you know about the gas tax petition, but will ask,  who is paying the signature gatherers who are currently collecting signatures on the gas tax petition (as well as many other petitions for various initiatives) at Safeway stores around Chico? “

His e-mail response was as vague as his phone message.

Juanita-

Thank you for your inquiry. As I stated in my voice message to you, the information you received is not accurate. The Senator is very committed to the repeal of the gas tax. He has held multiple rallies to collect signatures and has donated a lot of financial resources to the effort. 

The local Butte GOP is also committed to the repeal campaign, having used its platform to collect signatures and sponsor rallies. The Butte GOP does not have a year round office, so while there is no place for pickup of signature forms, the Butte GOP has the forms and has delivered several packages when they are requested. 

To answer your question, I assume that the petition gatherers are being paid by the Repeal campaign, and as I’ve stated the Senator is not only in support but has already donated significant financial resources. 

I also know that Congressman LaMalfa and Assemblyman Gallagher are just as committed as well.

Hope that answers your questions. We will continue to fight hard to repeal the gas tax and we thank you for your enthusiasm. Feel free to reach out to me directly if you have other questions or concerns. 

Saulo

Some problems with this response:

  • “the information you received is not accurate” – then insinuates I was told Nielsen was not committed to the repeal – no, I told him Carl Demaio had said he did not get any response from Butte County GOP – was that inaccurate?
  • “a lot of financial resources to the effort” – really? how much? And paid for what?
  • “The local Butte GOP is also committed to the repeal campaign, having used its platform to collect signatures and sponsor rallies” – Well,  Butte GOP may think they are committed, but that statement is not true – Butte County GOP did not sponsor the rallies, they were set up by local businessman Bud Caldwell, owner of Northgate Petroleum as well as the gas station where the two rallies were held.
  • “Butte GOP does not have a year round office, so while there is no place for pickup of signature forms”   Whoa!  doesn’t even have a Butte County office? no place to sign? I’d say, why bother with Butte GOP at all? In the time it takes to get ahold of Londono (who took two days to respond to me), you could download, print, sign your own petition and have it in the mail. 
  • “I assume that the petition gatherers are being paid by the Repeal campaign”   In other words, they are not in contact with Demaio’s people, they won’t mention Demaio’s name, and the campaign is called “Reform California” not “the Repeal campaign“.   He again claims Nielsen “has already donated significant financial resources.”  To whom? For what? 
  • “I also know that Congressman LaMalfa and Assemblyman Gallagher are just as committed as well.”  Yeah, well they’re both up for reelection too – just another co-inky-dink? 

 

Saulo Londono is a carpet bagger. I got a local Republican to admit Londono is not even from Northern California, does not maintain any office in Chico. I had frankly assumed that his beef with Carl Demaio was regional, but then I did a little further digging. 

I didn’t know, Carl Demaio is an openly gay politician, having publicly married his partner about two years ago. I’m going to guess, this is why local Republicans don’t want anything to do with him. At first I couldn’t believe they’d be so petty, in this day and age, but I think there’s a huge power struggle going on in the GOP, and lines are being drawn based on lifestyle choices. A paranoid, “them vs us” mentality has taken over. 

But they expect to take advantage of Demaio’s hard work and financial contribution by using the petition drive for rallies for their reelection campaigns. Cute.

I don’t know about the statewide Republican party, but Butte GOP is in trouble. Take a look at Chico Democrats sometime – all run by “local” people. You might not like Bob Mulhullond, but he’s lived here for about 40 years, you see him at the grocery store, the gas station, and public meetings he is not paid to attend. Former council member and long time politico turned embezzler Dave Guzzetti, scumbag that he is, sacrificed a child to Chico public schools.  Mark Stemen has been working and living in Chico for at least 15 years, having graduated from Chico State in the 90’s and returning to take a job. 

Meanwhile – here’s something funny – when I googled Londono, I found he had come to America from Brazil as a child with his parents, eventually moving from Colorado to San Diego to attend college. He came to Sacramento via Fresno, having only achieved citizenship in 2014.  He took over the Butte County GOP  a few years later. I just don’t believe he could possibly have any notion of our local needs with a track record like that. I don’t believe he could be committed to anything but his own resume.

I don’t like Chico Democrats or the Democratic Action Club, they’re a nasty pack of trough dwelling dogs ruining the manger for everybody.  But fighting a locally-based and entrenched group with some snot-nosed carpet bagger is just an invitation to your own ass-kicking. 

 

 

There’s still time to sign the gas tax repeal petition – tell your friends!

23 Mar

I hope more people will yak up this gas tax repeal effort – I just sent a letter to both local papers. It only took me about 45 minutes from start to finish – and I had pots on the stove.

It didn’t take very long for the 2018 gas tax and car registration increase to affect our quality of life – I’ve already noticed higher prices on staple groceries. Today the news confirmed as much  – Yoplait and Cheerios are up in price,  “due to transportation costs”. 

This tax increase has no “low income subsidy” –  poor families will pay a higher percentage of their income, just to get to work and buy food.  

Gas tax proponents claim the money will go to fix roads, but according to the San Diego Tribune, only half the money would be dedicated to traffic infrastructure, “The other half of the money would be spent largely at the discretion of local municipalities on a variety of projects.”  

The city of Chico already receives gas tax from the state, as well as over a million dollars a year in “franchise fees” from PG&E, Comcast, and Waste Management, for use of city streets, and look at the condition of our streets. 

California registered voters can still  sign the gas tax repeal petition that is being circulated by “Reform California”.  Signature gatherers have been working at Chico Safeway stores.  You can also download the petition to print, sign and send in at http://www.reformcalifornia.org/

Juanita Sumner, Chico CA

 

I may have to apologize to local GOP – but probably not

22 Mar

Well, whattya know! There are signature gatherers at Safeway on Mangrove, and they are carrying the gas tax petition – along with a pile of other petitions I had no interest in signing.

I’ve walked past these people a couple of times, but because they have a big sign up for another petition I had no interest in hearing about,  I just ignored them. It looks like that’s all their collecting signatures for. They aren’t very professional either. I’ve met professionals before – these gals were hired out of the EDD, just to make a few bucks. I’d prefer to get somebody who knows something about the process, when we finally talked to the gals at Safeway they were clueless – one of them had her toddler in tow.

But who paid them? That’s my next question. When I contacted Jim Nielsen’s office, I got a call back from a really snotty guy who didn’t identify himself, referred to Carl Demaio as “somebody from San Diego” and said I’d been given “misinformation.”  He assured me that Nielsen was supporting this effort “with his personal resources” – but he didn’t say a word about the signature gatherers at Safeway, so I’m going to assume he knows nothing about them and they were paid for by Demaio and the folks at Reform California.

“somebody from San Diego”? That’s the kind of smack talk that’s going on within the Republican party, that’s why they can’t get anything done.

I also got a call from Larry Wahl, who said he’d seen signature gatherers at Safeway too – but he sure seemed surprised. I e-mailed him back and asked him who paid for them.  He also referred my e-mail to some guy at the Butte County GOP – Saulo Londono. Londono also runs Nielsen’s office, so I’m guessing he’s the mystery man who called me in response to my e-mail to Nielsen.  Great! Nice people running the GOP these days!

So, you know, I can admit it when I’m wrong – if the local GOP has paid for those local signature gatherers, well, my apologies. But I don’t think they did. I don’t think they even knew they were there until they went out for groceries.  We’ll see if I get any answers out of this Londono guy. 

 

Our local GOP are not working hard enough to overturn the gas tax – just posturing for re-election?

21 Mar

I’ve been trying to follow the progress of the Reform California gas tax repeal petition. I’ve received updates from Carl Demaio’s office – they are asking for donations to pay signature gatherers to continue collecting signatures until their new deadline of April 23. The additional signatures are needed because Governor Brown has demanded a full count of the petition – this could delay the filing and they’d miss the November election.  If they submit 10 percent MORE than LEGALLY REQUIRED, they are confident they can qualify in 30 days with a random sample. 

I know, there’s a screwing around every corner of government business, but rules are rules.

I don’t have money to donate, but I’d like to encourage you to print out another sheet and try to get a couple more signatures yourself, send them in. 

http://www.reformcalifornia.org/

I am usually leery of big campaigns, I wasn’t eager to download something from a website and send it in the mail.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe local GOP are sincere in their support of this effort. When I heard about their rallies at Sinclair’s gas station in Chico, I tried to contact Senator Jim Nielsen and Congressman Doug Lamalfa about opportunities to sign locally, but received no response from either. So, in early February, I e-mailed the Reform California campaign to ask if any of our local GOP were collecting signatures. Demaio himself answered me back:

“We don’t have any locations in Butte County to sign, we tried reaching out to the Butte County GOP but they never returned our requests.”

I e-mailed Nielsen, Lamalfa and Butte County Dist. 2 supervisor Larry Wahl – all of whom showed up at Sinclair’s – telling them what Demaio said, and asking if it’s true. I told Nielsen and Lamalfa I won’t vote for them if they don’t do more to help with the petition. I’m not in Wahl’s district, but I told him I’d like to have something to run with in supporting him – I’d rather have Satan himself than Wahl’s opponent, the salary seeking Debra Lucero. 

So, print out some petitions, try to get your registered voting friends to sign – and remember, if they are from different counties they need to fill out separate petitions. And, take a minute to write/call  these three posturing ninnies, tell them they need to get their asses out there and get more signatures.

Doug Lamalfa    https://lamalfa.house.gov/contact/email-me

Jim Nielsen   http://nielsen.cssrc.us/content/my-offices

Larry Wahl     LWahl@ButteCounty.net

 

 

This pension scam is a lot more complicated than I realized

19 Mar

Dude sent me an interesting article recently that sent me on a snoop.  It’s taken me days to plop out this post because I just kept reading more outrageous stuff. 

https://www.dailynews.com/2018/03/12/new-retirees-in-gardena-pasadena-and-riverside-make-200000-pensions/

We now have pensions over $200,000/year – pensions – money given to people for sitting on their asses with their mouths open like seals at the San Diego zoo. 

“Transparent California released the figures Monday as part of an ongoing campaign to raise awareness about the growing costs of California’s pension system, according to Executive Director Robert Fellner. The total amount spent on retirement benefits rose to nearly $21 billion last year, a 43 percent increase from 2012.”

“‘It is siphoning resources from public services, it is driving taxes higher,” Fellner said. “The real driver of this cost is the generosity of these benefits.'”

I immediately think of Chico’s worsening streets, the disgraceful condition of Bidwell Park, and the bums overrunning all of our public spaces.   If we complain we are told we need to pay increased sales tax, with more bonds and assessments from the school and rec districts. 

And like Fellner says, it’s the benefits – both pensions and health benefits. We’ve talked and talked about the pension deficit here – but I’ve never gotten around to the benefits deficit… it makes me sooooo dizzy.

Southern California seems to have the most egregious offenders.

“In Pasadena, pension costs have nearly surpassed the cost of current employees in the city’s Police Department, according to Mayor Terry Tornek. “

Even though Pasadena and other cities have started new hires paying more, it’s not enough – there are too many old employees. I predict many cities, like Pasadena, will have sales tax increases on this November ballot.

“when the retiree payroll is bigger than the current payroll, it’s not a good situation,” he [Tornek] said. The skyrocketing costs of pensions is one of the reasons Pasadena plans to ask voters for a sales tax increase later this year. Employees already pay more toward their CalPERS contributions and more than $5 million of that burden has shifted from the city to employees, Tornek said.

“Obviously, we’d take some legislative or some legal relief, but we still want to be fair to our employees and we want to be competitive in the marketplace,” Tornek said.”

Fair? That’s a load of crap. In Chico, former City Mangler and current CARD board member Tom Lando floated a memo to City Council in 2006 that tied salaries “to revenue increases but not decreases…” Read that again Pollyanna. When I asked then city council member and current county supervisor Larry Wahl why he would sign something that stupid, he told me he didn’t understand it.  How does someone that dumb get elected, Larry?

When the voters finally figured that out, Lando’s salary, for example, had gone from around $65,000/year to over $150,000/year, in just a few years. Current City Mangler Orme now makes over $220,000, just in salary. He pays less than 10 percent of his share of pension.

Furthermore,  “ those already in CalPERS prior to Jan. 1, 2013, are not subject to the act’s limitations. The “classic members” are largely why pensions of more than $200,000 are still somewhat common even after the reforms, said Dane Hutchings, the league’s legislative representative.”

“Classic members” – like Ann Willmann at CARD.  

So, the next one of these people that uses the word “fair” in reference to these pensions had better not be standing in my arm’s length, I’m done with their BS.

In Butte County, we have agencies I bet you never heard of that will have us on the hook for pensions. I found three of them on “Pension Tracker”

http://www.pensiontracker.org/agencySummary.php?id=157#summary

Did you know we pay the director of the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control over $100,000/year, and he pays less than 5 percent of his pension? I bet you never even heard of the California Interscholastic Federation, but you pay their pensions.  Then there’s BCAG, BCAQM, and many more. Through these agencies the taxpayers pay out hundreds of thousands a year in pensions and benefits for, many times, less than 10 full time employees per agency.   I  think there’s five at the mosquito abatement office. There are less at BCAG. They all have boards, they get to make their own rules, and until we start rattling their chains they will continue to loot the cookie jar. 

Workers, like the guys who actually drive around spraying the mosquitoes or mowing the play fields, are not full time and do not receive benefits. Only management get benefits in these agencies, which furthers poverty in our county. Can you imagine, doing a job like spraying mosquitoes, and having no health insurance or pension coming? Being kept as a “seasonal worker” – these people have to turn to welfare to make ends meet, and that’s not good for our economy, it’s just a further drain on the taxpayer.

When I looked at Pension Tracker, I saw the words “actuarial” and “market” valuation, and the term “smoothing.”  I’ll put it in a housewife’s terminology – and then I have to get some tortilla dough going – they have tricks to make the pension deficit look smaller to doofusses like us. I found a good blog about that –

http://neighborhoodeffects.mercatus.org/2012/06/07/actuarial-camouflage-part-i-asset-smoothing/

– I’ll try to pick it up there next time, on “Up Shit Creek Without a Paddle, with This Old Lady”.

 

Advisory – cars being predated at Peregrine Point Disc Golf Course on Hwy 32

16 Mar

About 10 years ago, my family joined a group of local disk golf enthusiasts to petition the city of Chico to legitimize a long-time “bootleg” disc golf course on Hwy 32 east of Chico – now Peregrine Point Disc Golf Course.  The course has since been managed by the Chico Outsiders, who have an agreement with the city of Chico taking responsibility for maintaining the trails and tees. But the extensive trails that lead out of the course are part of Upper Bidwell Park and the parking lot at Peregrine Point has long been used by hikers and mountain bikers and is owned by the city of Chico. 

About a year ago we noticed evidence that homeless people were camping in the parking lot – we found them sleeping in their cars. Increasingly we’ve also noticed evidence of cars being broken into.

There were piles of broken car window safety glass all over the ground.

There were obvious piles, like the one pictured above, but it was when I squatted down to tie my shoe that I realized how bad this problem really is. The sun came out for a brief moment, and all around me, the ground glittered with safety glass. I know the difference between safety glass and a shattered pop bottle. 

I don’t know who you would report to if your car was broken into at Peregrine Point. It’s city property, but I don’t know if it’s in the city limits. I do know, since it would be under $1,000, Chico PD would expect you to report it online – good luck with that. I think you can download a form to hand over to your insurance agency, if you are insured.  Neither of my kids’ cars are new, so we don’t have full coverage for them – too expensive. So, if something like that happened to one of our kids while they were shooting a round up there,  they’d be TSOL. 

My advice would be, don’t leave your car out of your sight anywhere in Bidwell Park.