Archive | May, 2018

Phil’s truck got rummaged!!

31 May

 

Well, after the run-in I had with the bum who was stealing out of recycling bins up and down my street last week, I heard from my good neighbor Phil today that his pick up truck had been “rummaged.” Parked in his driveway, more than 90 feet off the public street onto his property, surrounded by security lights. He said it must have been late in the night, because he and his wife like to sit out in their backyard until at least 11 pm. 

Allowing these freaks to walk through our neighborhoods on trash day, going through our stuff –  like I said before, it doesn’t stop with our trash/recycling bins, it leads to our cars and our sheds and right into our homes. They watch and learn, they know who goes to bed early, and who gets up early. They know when we got to work, and when our kids go to school. They know who is gone all day.  They know more about us than our neighbors. They know we leave what amounts to money in our recycling bins, and that Waste Management doesn’t pick them up until after noon. In my neighborhood it’s about 2:30 pm. Mayor Morgan told me they don’t get his recycling bin until after 3 pm. 

Here’s a solution for those who have created the problem – Waste Management needs to switch the pick-ups – start picking up recycling first, come back in the afternoon for the trash. I take my bins out by 8 am, the trash truck comes by 9:30. After the trucks have got everybody’s trash bins, they head back to Chico as recycling trucks. I’m not asking WM to buy more trucks – although that would have seemed reasonable given they were more than doubling their customer base. I’m just asking, pick up the recycling first, you are causing a crime problem. 

Recology had separate trucks, and both my bins were empty by 11:30. Make that 11:27 – I saw them, every week, and you could set your clock by the recycling truck. 

The mayor expressed his total lack of concern, telling me he liked the late pick-up because sometimes he forgot to put his bins out in the morning. 

Sean Morgan should get a button on his mouth, with a 5 second delay and a  team of experts that get to decide whether each remark should be uttered or flushed. He’s his own worst enemy – actually, his mouth, which seems to be completely disconnected from his brain, is his own worst enemy.

It’s frustrating talking to a person so entitled and yet so stupid. I would like to ask him – “Sean, how far would a bum make it up your street? At all? Before Peter Durfee or some other member of Chico PD was right up his/her ass?”  But he’s got a short attention span – he launched into an attack on Mark Herrera without answering the questions I’d already asked him. 

They come through my neighborhood by way of the city bike trail, the road to Bumville – also known as Bidwell Park. 

They’re also being allowed to camp at the “parklet” there where Pine and Cypress turn into Mulberry, at Little Chico Creek. People laying with all their garbage on the (finally) mowed grass. The garbage piles again line the creek, right behind the new low-income housing facing on Olive. Just a few blocks down, at Mulberry and 20th, there sits the old Victor building, site of a neat little landscape business, with freshly painted over tags every day, windows smashed out and boarded, weeds growing waste high all the way around. Up and down 20th and on toward Park, you see bums camped out between bushes all along the sidewalks. Garbage everywhere. Where’s code enforcement? 

But if a bum scratches a tag into the window of your Downtown business and you don’t get it replaced fast enough, Chico code enforcement chief of flatulence Leo DePaola will hit you with $180 fine. Where do those fines go? Right into DePaola’s back pocket? I’m just asking. 

Where’s the plan here? Who the hell is in charge? 

Ask a bum.

 

 

 

 

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It’s all about the pensions – just say NO! to tax increases

30 May

By the time you’re reading this, SCI, a consulting group, will have held two sessions at the Municipal Auditorium to convince Oroville residents how wonderful and profitable the marijuana industry will be for our city. That remains to be seen.

This is what we do know. Five Oroville city councilors took the vote on this issue out of the people’s hands. They are paying a consulting firm to stage an event so they can pretend they are listening to you and care what you think. The city is aggressively putting two tax measures on the November ballot, a sales tax and a marijuana tax. Leading up to the vote you will hear cries of insolvency, bankruptcy and public safety concerns. These are meant to nudge you into voting “yes” on both tax measures.

If the truth is to be known, this city’s No. 1 problem is the unaffordable mismanaged CalPERS retirement obligation. City councils cannot propose enough tax revenue to erase decades of unbridled incompetence by CalPERS managers or previous city councils who overpromised with no regard for taxpayer dollars.

The question is, should we give them more of our money, which at best, will only postpone the inevitable? Oroville city voters can choose to tax themselves once, twice or not at all. We get to decide if the city is overreaching once again.

— Lorraine Christensen, Oroville

This is why we don’t have a sales tax increase on the upcoming Chico ballot – because Tom Lando is too busy trying to push this measure through in O-ville. He’s tricky, but it’s tough to be in two places at one time. He’s hoping to shove through as many local tax increases as he can so we won’t be able to drive out to shop somewhere else. 

Well here’s how I voted – let’s see if you can do better!

29 May

Election just one week away – I already mailed in my ballot. If you haven’t mailed your ballot yet I’d recommend turning it in manually at your precinct or at the county clerk’s office in O-ville. 

I don’t like to tell people how to vote, so I’ll tell you how I voted and make predictions. 

In the District 2 Supervisors’ race I think Debra Lucero will mop the floor with Larry Wahl – Wahl has hardly made any campaign. Lucero is determined to  get that $64,000/year salary plus benefits, don’t get in her way. She’s going to be a disaster for Butte County, but sitting here I can’t think of anything good Wahl accomplished during his tenure. Easy come, easy go.

In District 3, I don’t think Ritter has a rat’s ass of a chance, I think there will be a run-off between Rosene and Evans. I don’t think Rosene has enough experience. I’m not crazy about Evan’s pro-developer attitude, but he’s a nice guy, you can walk up to him at Safeway and have a real conversation. Rosene doesn’t have anything but “public safety!” What the hell does that mean? 

 The other race that concerns me is Butte County Assessor – in a nutshell, Diane Brown has the experience, she’s worked at the assessor’s office for years, and she’s approachable. She also lowered assessments on over-valued properties when she could legally do so, which helped families all over Butte County hold onto their homes. Stone claims he’s been on the appeals board, helping people fight over assessment? Let’s see the records, they’re supposed to be public, but I sure can’t find any evidence of Stone’s claims.

Stone is also claiming to be Hispanic? What?

Have I missed anybody? Neither Mike Ramsey nor Candace Grubbs are being challenged for their long-term positions. We need term limits on these people. 

As for the state ballot – I voted for John Chiang for Governor, even though he doesn’t have an ice cube’s chance against Newsome (who in my family we call The Joker). Chiang is the guy who got us the publicpay.gov site, he’s the guy who told us about the pensions. 

The other state office I am concerned about is US Senate – how can we convince Dianne Feinstein to fold up her legs and go home? She’s had her run, and it’s been bad for the rest of us. But you know, once people get that kind of money and power it’s a wrestling match getting it away from them. Knowing nothing about most of her challengers, I tried to figure out, who had the best chance of beating her, at least drag it out to November. My husband and I both held our noses and voted for Democrat Kevin Deleon. No, I don’t really want him for senate, but he’s the best crack we have at taking votes from Feinstein. Aside from landing a house on her ugly old ass.

As for the propositions:

NO on 68, the bond act. These vaguely written bonds have got to stop, there are so many loopholes it’s like a sieve.

As for 69, YES, these taxes have been enacted and until we are able to appeal in November we want these assholes to be spending whatever money on actual road repairs. But “improving transit” is still a loophole – they can use these funds for stuff like that stupid “experimental” bike lane recently installed Downtown.  Let’s work hard to get that repeal passed in November. 

70 was confusing, I hate cap and trade, but it seems like this bill would control the spending. I voted YES.

NO on 71 – read it. They want to delay the results of the election. Carl Demaio pointed out, this would mean, even if we repeal the  gas taxes, they would continue to be collected until the vote has  been “certified” – they can hold out on that, and we continue to pay! What a scam.

YES on 72 was a no brainer for me – I’ve spent considerable time rigging “water capture” systems to keep the base of my house from rotting out from under me. To think Randall Stone could come over and reassess my house for more on the basis of rain barrels is ridiculous. 

I have got so discouraged lately, I almost didn’t vote. In fact, after  last election, all that bullshit out of the clerk’s office about lost ballots, I was considering telling Grubbs to take my name off the rolls. But I woke up – you can’t bitch about it if you don’t vote. And I like to bitch about stuff.

Chamber Special Report: $3 million for more cops, $90 million to fix roads – $130 million for the pension deficit?

24 May

Chico Chamber started marketing their proposed sales tax increase measure five years ago. Below is the link to their “Special Report,” the product of five years of committees, task forces, clandestine surveys, and other ploys recommended by various consultants. 

Below is the link to their “Special Report”.

They list four “priorities for Chico – “police, roads, pensions and fire.” Don’t let the order in which they are listed fool you – that’s not indicative of priority. $3 million for the cops, $90 million for roads, and $130 million for pensions

The report summary says the Chamber would like to get the public involved in the discussion, but given the way Katie Simmons has scheduled the “community meetings,” there really hasn’t been much public participation – mostly Chamber and City officials. 

The Chamber wants a sales tax increase to pay for all this stuff. Do you really want to pay for the pensions? You’ve already paid more than the employees. 

Read that “special” report here:

http://chicochamber.com/public/uploads/CC_January_Special_Report_FINAL.pdf

Chico Chamber ramps up sales tax increase campaign – And when you ask them, “How much should we give?” Ooh, they only answer “More! More! More!”

24 May

This press release below was made yesterday by the California Chamber of Commerce and forwarded by Chico Chamber of Commerce. Time to watch the county and city clerk’s office for a ballot measure. 

What this release doesn’t tell us is that Tom Lando is one of Chico’s biggest pension hogs – especially when you consider he never paid anything toward his pension. Current City Mangler Mark Orme pays less than 10%, and he’s been given a pay raise every time he’s agreed to pay a percent or two more. That’s like throwing gas on a fire – every time you raise his salary you raise his pension.

Here’s an old link – make note, at the time I ran this post, Lando was getting about $135,000, just in pension, it doesn’t include his health, vision, life insurance, etc. Look at that – $11,000/month. There are families in this town living on $19,000/year. 

https://chicotaxpayers.com/2012/01/30/heres-why-lando-wants-to-raise-your-sales-tax/

That information is from 2012 – do you realize, pensions go up every year – “cost of living adjustment” – based on a percentage of the already gross amount. So, I’ll opine – he’s getting around $150,000 a year in cash and benefits. On top of that, Lando runs a consulting firm, the city has paid him consulting fees for various tasks. 

But now Piggy wants more! Read on!

From Michelle Woods at Chico Chamber:

SACRAMENTO, CA — The California Chamber of Commerce honored business executives from Chico and Torrance today with its 2018 Small Business Advocate of the Year Award, recognizing them for outstanding advocacy on behalf of small businesses.

The CalChamber announced the awards in Sacramento before more than 200 attendees at the CalChamber Capitol Summit.

The 2018 Small Business Advocate of the Year Award recipients are:

  • Mark Francis, president and CEO, Golden Valley Bank, Chico;
  • Tom Lando, principal, Tom Lando Consulting, Chico; and
  • Michael Shafer, owner, The Depot Restaurant, Torrance.

 

Mark Francis and Tom Lando

Lando was chairman of the board of directors for the Chico Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center in 2011 and currently chairs the chamber’s Legislative Action Committee. Francis was chairman in 2015 and spearheaded the chamber’s Community Vision, which not only guides local policy decisions, but has become a sought-after model for chamber advocacy throughout the nation.

At the direction of the Chico Chamber Board in early 2017, Mark and Tom spearheaded the effort to better understand how business priorities like a safer community and improved roads are indelibly linked to changing city finances.

Together, Lando and Francis co-chaired the groundbreaking Task Force on City Revenues and Expenditures, the first of its kind in the Chico Chamber’s 110-year history, which resulted in the publication of a special report and call to action. The task force investigated the solvency of Chico’s finances—past, present and projected—and delivered a bold and forceful recommendation that the City Council consider a revenue measure to fund business priorities outlined in the Community Vision.

The City of Chico is one of 11 cities its size in California to maintain a baseline sales tax rate of 7.25%. The region is largely tax averse.

The task force worked throughout 2017 to study four key areas affecting city finances—pension, fire, police and roads—and outlined needs, expectations and costs. Lando and Francis hosted several task force meetings with city officials to gain a deep understanding of the city’s financial status and met weekly to follow statewide news on pension reform, sales tax policy, the gas tax and other impacts, always weighing local opportunities and challenges.

Task force findings were communicated to the public via the chamber’s most recent state of the city address and through a publication entitled Special Report. A call to action was made directly to the Chico City Council to consider a revenue measure to preserve and enhance the quality of life in Chico, a risky yet pivotal move by a chamber of commerce in a tax-averse region.

In nominating Francis and Lando for the CalChamber award, Katie Simmons, president and CEO of the Chico Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center, wrote: “Mark and Tom deserve to be recognized equally for their tremendous insight, influence and service to the Chico Chamber of Commerce. This pivotal community conversation would not happen without the knowledge, dedication and time Mark and Tom give to the chamber and our community. Their work is relevant across all communities in California struggling with the very same issues.”

No on 68

23 May

As I’ve been keeping track of Revenue measures coming toward the ballot, I see Chico Area Recreation District board of directors is endorsing proposition 68, a bond that promises  just about everything under the rainbow.

4.1 billion dollars for “state and local parks, environmental protection projects, water infrastructure projects, and flood protection projects.” Wow Dorothy, pennies from Heaven to solve all our problems!

I assume the CARD board expects to get money from this bond. Like most public agencies, CARD is in deep pension doo doo and needs every dime they can get. An agency with less than 35 full-time employees of their total 400, CARD, like other public agencies, has managed to rack up almost 2 million dollars in pension deficit. Management pays only 2% of her pension. Other staffers pay only 6%. Yet these people, like other public employees, expect to get 70 to 90% of their highest years earning in retirement. How would they possibly expect a scheme like that to work? They expect the taxpayers to pay for it, that’s how.

So, while they plot to put their own local revenue measure either on the ballot in a special election or in your mailbox as an assessment vote for property owners, they also endorse a state measure, hoping to cover all their bases? Yeah wouldn’t it be nice if they could pass both measures!

Opponents of the measure remind us that this bond is essentially a loan and your grandchildren will be paying the interest on it.

Don’t be a sucker, vote no on proposition 68.

 

 

 

Want the bums out of your recycling cans/sheds/garages/cars? Stop putting CRV in your bins, donate it to the Work Training Center

20 May

I was working in my tenant’s yard the other day, waiting for the Waste Management trucks to pick up our bins so I could bring them off the street. I don’t like to look at garbage cans, I wish my neighbors would bring theirs in more promptly.

As I was pulling weeds and cleaning up stickers and tree trash, I heard the jangling of glass coming from across the driveway at my neighbor’s house. I looked up to see a car, engine running, stopped in front of her house, and a disheveled man was standing over her open recycling bin with a ban, routing out her CRV containers.

Busted, he tries the friendly approach. That didn’t last long.

This is illegal, and it’s disgusting – as I watched him, I realized why there’s always a fine layer of litter up and down the streets of our town – he was spraying loose trash all over the place as he routed out her valuable recyclables.

Whenever I see something like that, I try to get a picture. Oftentimes that’s all it takes to make the person stop what they’re doing and leave. The man stopped and waved at me – “Hi”, he says, all friendly.

“What are you doing?” I asked, although it seemed stupid to ask. He answered me that he was trying to make a living the best way he could. I told him it was illegal to steal out of recycling cans – that’s when he started cursing, calling me a “bitch” and assuring me that many people thanked him – might even offer him a sandwich! Or a few bucks!

As he went on about how hard it is to make a living these days, I  thought of my sons, both minimally employed at tedious manual jobs, bosses unable to afford to give them more than 28 hours a week because of Obamacare and California Covered. I think of my husband, and all the years he worked on his hands and knees to support the family, saving what we could because we knew there would be no pension.

And I kept taking pictures, my hands shaking hilariously as this man called me “bitch” and asked me “what you gonna do about it?”  I told him I would call the police, and I kept my camera on him.

That’s when he got in his crappy little car, revved the engine, throwing gravel at my neighbor’s fence, and started moving toward me as I stood behind my garbage bins with my cellphone to my face.

Here he’s got his car headed straight for me, as I stand next to my garbage bins. There were pedestrians up and down the street, including a woman with two small dogs.

He made a pretty lame attempt to threaten me with his car, but it was a threat none the less.

I had an applicant for one of my apartments, I had to turn her down when I saw that she was at the time being charged with trying to run over her boyfriend with her car. That’s called “intent to commit great bodily harm,” and she was arrested and charged. I thought she would be a threat to my neighbors and other tenants, and maybe myself or my husband or kids, so I sent her on her way.  

The man swerved out into the street after he’d crossed the end of my driveway, drove a couple of doors down, screeched to a stop in the street, got out of the car and gave me the double birdy before he jumped back into the driver’s seat and took off. I had to laugh – he sure as hell didn’t stop anywhere to rifle anymore cans. I’m going to guess the car was neither his nor registered.

But I’m sick of this type of creep in my town. They are following the garbage trucks, in broad daylight, rifling through recycling bins. How does that make you feel about putting all those bank offers and credit card offers with your name on them in your garbage can?

In my neighborhood I can think of five different incidents of break-ins and petty thefts from neighbors over the last year. My kid’s girlfriend’s car was broken into, parking change stolen, garbage left in it, and then the perp took a big dump right next to the car in my private driveway, at least 100 yards off the public street.

So, I happened to have the phone number of a garbage company employee who’s been trying to help me straighten out my account (so I won’t complain about that, not now anyway…) and I called him. He asked me how it was going and I told him about the incident. He seemed concerned too – he said recycling theft is a big problem – it’s a free service, essentially, so they need the CRV to make it pay for itself. I’ve heard the garbage companies complain about this for years. Years ago, at meetings of the Sustainability Task Force, garbage company employees lobbied the city to make it mandatory for apartment complexes to have locking recycling containers.

Aside from that, he also acknowledged the problems of trash being left on the street and petty crimes increasing with the presence of the bin routers.

When I asked him what could be done about it, he suggested I report it to the cops. But, he also said, it could take them all day to come, and what good is that? I thought about reporting it online, but the website is ridiculous – you have to set up an account!

So, in total frustration, I sat down yesterday morning to e-mail Chico Mayor Sean Morgan. Morgan had just had a big public fight with local gadfly Mark Herrera  over the homeless issue, so I thought I’d find a sympathetic ear.

I told him what happened, and made two suggestions. First, Waste Management doesn’t pick up recycling in my neighborhood until after 2 pm. They are out to pick up trash around 9 am. Why not switch it the other way? Second, why can’t Chico PD pay more attention to the garbage routes on trash days – they would probably solve some “quality of life” crimes while they were at it.

Morgan, who voted along with the rest of council to impose this deal on the residents of Chico told me,

“Waste haulers pick up 5 days a week and it takes them all day to get everyone.  My bins don’t get picked up until about 3:00 (which is nice when I forget to take them down the driveway).”

Here the mayor admits that promises made by council in imposing this deal were LIES. They told us we’d have less trucks on the streets – that’s not true.  I have Waste Management trucks in my neighborhood two days in a row – they pick up my trash one day and then they get the other side of the street the next. And then Recology comes another day to deal with the church across the street.

See, the real problem is, Waste Management took the franchise knowing they didn’t have enough trucks to serve the entire town, and the city let them do that.  They have to haul the trash first, and then come back for recycling. Recology had both my bins by noon, but I am forced to deal with Waste Management.

And Morgan admits, they can’t  give us the service we had from Recology. That’s not the tune he was playing when he shoved this deal down the public’s throat.

I also suggested the police could pay more attention to the routes on pick-up days. His answer,

“Finally, next week PD team normally assigned to South Campus area is heading into the parks.  There’s only so much they can do but hopefully some of the service resistant are made to move so many times they chose another town.  California has tied our hands.  The PD can’t do much.  The DA won’t (because it’s fruitless) and the jail is full of people that should be in State prison.”

Chico PD gets over half the city budget, but they never seem to have enough officers to do anything.  That’s the sales tax increase pitch folks, don’t fall for it. No matter how much they get they just threaten to cut services if they don’t get more. 

I haven’t answered  the mayor – he went into a  ramble about his conversation with Herrera that bothered me too.  Morgan’s a fun guy to talk to sometimes, but he’s made a mockery of the office of mayor. 

Given the response I got from both Waste Management and the mayor, I’ve come up with another solution – I will be asking my tenants, and making the same suggestion to my friends and neighbors – DON’T PUT CRV IN YOUR RECYCLING BINS. If you want to make a positive difference, save it in an old bucket and take it to the Work Training Center – you can donate it, and they’ll be glad to get it.