Do you think you should be on the hook for pensions of over $100,000/year?

29 Dec

In 2019 I resolve to keep local tax increases in the news. When I saw this story in the Yuba County based Territorial Dispatch I realized this is something Chicoans need to know about – yes, your elected officials and public staff will lie, cheat and steal for more money to pay their teetering pension deficits. I  don’t care what color lipstick they put on their pig – public safety, street maintenance, a baseball stadium! – it’s all about the pensions. 

Chico’s pension deficit, by the way, is now over $140 million. That’s why the city is looking to either raise the local sales tax or smack a bond on our homes. I think the employees should have to pay it – why should taxpayers making an average $43,000/year be on the hook for pensions of over $100,000/year? 

So, I wrote a letter to the Enterprise Record about it, write yours too!

On December 21 a Sacramento law firm filed an action on behalf of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and two other plaintiffs in Yuba County Superior Court to invalidate Measure K – the “Public Safety/Essential Services Protection Ordinance”. Measure K, a one cent sales tax increase, appeared on the November 6 ballot and received 54.1% of the vote. The suit contends the measure needed two-thirds voter approval as a “special tax”.

County officials deny Measure K is a “special tax”. The text of the measure begins, “To maintain and protect essential services such as 9-1-1 emergency medical/fire response; improving wildland fire containment; maintaining 24-hours sheriff’s patrol; attracting/ retaining jobs, businesses, and qualified sheriff deputies; and other essential services…” Read the ballot title again – how can Yuba County supervisors claim this measure was a general tax? 

Other critics have questioned the use of taxpayer money to promote the measure, which is illegal in California. Regardless, the city of Chico and Chico Area Recreation District are currently working with consultants behind closed doors to bring forward separate revenue measures for the 2020 ballot. Taxpayer money is being spent not only on consultants but on staff time devoted to raising our taxes. 

While CARD has yet to disclose the kind of measure they will pursue, city officials have suggested a bond or sales tax increase for street maintenance – that would constitute a “special tax,” and would require 2/3’s vote.  

Don’t just vote and turn your back – pay attention, know your rights, get ready to hold local officials accountable.


7 Responses to “Do you think you should be on the hook for pensions of over $100,000/year?”

  1. Jim December 31, 2018 at 6:13 am #

    The problem is that the cost of these expensive benefits is costing all of us in reduced services. This is the reason we can’t afford adequate police and fire protection.

    • Juanita Sumner December 31, 2018 at 12:51 pm #

      I just can’t believe people like Mark Orme think it’s perfectly okay to stick other people for his ridiculous lifestyle. It’s got to stop. We need to resort to “shaming”.

    • Juanita Sumner December 31, 2018 at 12:57 pm #

      Thanks for this late Christmas present! I agree the fines are chump change but I’m just glad to have this issue in the news.

      And thanks for the link to the Press Telegram, I run across this online newspaper every now and then, it’s a good source for what’s going on around the state and nationally. I notice an article about cops in Long Beach going on a records destruction binge before the new transparency laws take effect – so typical of government entities – liars, cheats and thieves who will do anything to keep from getting caught.

      • bob December 31, 2018 at 1:20 pm #

        Organizations like Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association have to sue the government to get it to obey the laws. And even if they win no one in government is fired, demoted or even reprimanded.

        And certainly no bureaucrat or politician is ever held civilly responsible for damages so when a cash judgement is issued it’s the taxpayers that pick up the tab.

        I bet not a single cop in Long Beach will be held responsible for the records destruction. You’d think that would be a felony.

        And remember, the government can lie to you and that’s fine but if you lie to them you go to prison. Just ask people like Martha Stewart.

      • bob December 31, 2018 at 1:23 pm #

        This just shows you the taxpayers can’t win. If they don’t fine them enough it has no effect on the bureaucrats behaviour. And no matter how big the fine is the taxpayer has to pay it! IS THIS A RACKET OR WHAT??? When will people learn what a rip-off government is???

        The FPPC imposed a fine of $7,500, which critics of BART, including Senator Steve Glazer, rightfully complained was inadequate and no deterrent to future misconduct with taxpayer funds. In fact, the minimal fines may incentivize illegal activity because the ROI (return on investment) is frequently in the millions, if not billions, of dollars. Not only that, because the fines themselves are paid with taxpayer dollars, there are rarely any real-world consequences imposed on public officials who misappropriate public funds for political advocacy.

      • Juanita Sumner December 31, 2018 at 2:07 pm #

        Elected officials and staff are protected by city ordinance in Chico – if they do get sued or charged with anything the taxpayers have to provide them with lawyers. This clause is in staff contracts, and elected officials are “indemnified.” So, when they make horrible decisions – even if they admit to having been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, as in the case of Mary Flynn Goloff and Scott Gruendl, we can’t sue them. Gruendl’s employers in Willows tried to fire him but he resigned before they could do it. Now he’s the director of mental health services in Marin County – a guy who got popped doing 102 mph through town and later admitted he’d been in rehab without telling his employers.

        It reminds me of the dog food poisoning that happened about 10 years ago. Dogs died all over the US, and an email trail was found that proved the American importers and the Chinese manufacturers had acted to conceal the dangerous ingredient from inspectors and the public. In fact they had put that poisonous ingredient in the food, knowing it was deadly, just to make the food seem higher in protein under analysis. In the process of the investigation it was found the same poison was being put into Chinese made baby formula for the same reason – Chinese infants died from it.

        So, out of the dog food case, the American company owners, a married couple, were fined $8,000 each, and the company was sued for about $24 million more to pay damages to dog owners. Meanwhile, two Chinese cohorts were sentenced to death.

        I think public employees should be held to a higher standard. And people like the PG&E management who made decisions to increase profits by neglecting infrastructure should get similar treatment – at least a serious prison term – but as you see above, that’s unlikely. Martha Stewart got five months in prison, another five months of home confinement during which she was not allowed to have any business contacts, because she was unpopular, the public was getting sick of her, and she didn’t have any friends in the government. But I’d be surprised if any PG&E officials even come to trial over the deaths they’ve caused.

        Senator Kamala Harris, as California Attorney General, did not prosecute CPUC president Michael Peevey for his illegal dealings with utility companies because she said the time limit for prosecution had passed. It’s tough to get justice or accountability out of a corrupt system, but we have to keep screaming for it.

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