We have to watch the city of Chico for the illegal use of taxpayer money to promote their revenue measure

24 Jun

The other day I was saying we need to watch the city of Chico for signs they are spending taxpayer money to push their revenue measure – here’s an article about the state of California using public funds to defeat the gas tax repeal:


“Under California Government code, officials cannot spend taxpayer money  ‘..to support or oppose the approval or rejection of a ballot measure, or the election or defeat of a candidate, by the voters. ‘   according to California Government Code 54964.”

I’ve seen the signs, and it’s obvious they are part of a campaign to defeat the repeal. The projects they are trumpeting about are band-aid patch jobs. Take Chico, for example. A year ago the Enterprise Record reported, “Chico’s obsolete, deficient bridges need attention.” 


Many of the city’s bridges are no longer functional, and a few have deficiencies needing attention, according to Caltrans inspection reports from 2016.”

The article describes the condition of the old Guynn Avenue bridge – “The narrow Guynn Avenue bridge over the Lindo Channel in Chico features rusted metal, crumbled railings, and grape vines climbing up the girders.” The reporter, observing a truck with a trailer crossing the bridge, adds, “ The bridge creaks and shakes under even the lightest loads. ”   He also says the bridge will be replaced, but not when.

I don’t remember hearing anything about that bridge being replaced, but I do remember city public works staffer Brendan Ottoboni  saying at a recent meeting that they were dropping a whole list of projects because there was no funding.

Right now the city is undertaking 4 inch scrape and slop jobs on higher visibility roads like Cohasset and Esplanade. The contractor, Rene Vercrussen of Knife River Construction, says these jobs are being paid for with gas tax proceeds.  Why not replace some of the bridges listed in that story?  I know for certain the bridge between East First Avenue and Floral is in similar condition to the Guynn Avenue bridge, and the same goes for the bridges on Pine and Cypress at Humboldt. 

I believe they are working on Cohasset and Esplanade because they will be seen.  I realize, those roads are heavily used, but tell that to somebody who has to cross one of those bridges every day to get to work, get their kids to school, and get groceries and other supplies. 

And, I believe those “repaving” jobs are not being properly done, we’ll see if they last until the election. 

The Repeal California people have a good argument to make about the use by the state of public funds to promote a tax measure. State staffers are spending thousands of dollars on signs that promote the use of the gas tax, that’s obscene when you consider these high-profile projects are a drop in the bucket. 

I believe the city of Chico will pull the same sort of stunts – they want not only to keep the gas tax increase but float a local bond measure for street improvements.    We have to call them on it. 

Get more information about supporting the gas tax repeal at 



5 Responses to “We have to watch the city of Chico for the illegal use of taxpayer money to promote their revenue measure”

  1. bob June 24, 2018 at 11:52 am #

    Good old Rene, Little published a letter from him the other day telling everyone what a wonderful job Knife River is doing and how you better not repeal all those tax increases. You better keep the money flowing to him and his company. He’ll put a Knife in your wallet!

    And what’s with Little? He didn’t publish your letter. Or if he did he must have hid it away because I didn’t see it at chicoer.com.

    And he published an editorial telling us how wonderful it is that the politicians are starting to talk about increasing taxes, supposedly to fix the roads.

    What was it? Six, seven months ago? Anyway, back then he published editorials about the pensions and how they were adversely affecting things like roads. Now, he doesn’t mention pensions at all.

    • Juanita Sumner June 24, 2018 at 12:15 pm #

      If I don’t see it within the next few days I’ll resend.

      Yeah, Vercrussen is doing his part to secure his own interests. Frankly, I think somebody should look into the city’s bidding process.

  2. peter June 27, 2018 at 9:00 pm #

    I saw recently that the Guynn Bridge replacement has a plan and a timeline: http://www.chico.ca.us/capital_project_services/GuynnBridge.asp

    • Juanita Sumner June 28, 2018 at 5:11 am #

      The announcement is from October 2017, for an informational workshop. I see they announce they’ve received funding but I don’t see any timeline – when will they actually do the work?

      In that time they’ve managed to do a half-million dollar remodel on council chambers – wait til you see the pics I got yesterday.

    • Juanita Sumner June 29, 2018 at 5:17 am #

      Peter, where can I find the timeline you mention?

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