Orme “estimates” 10 – 15,000 refugees living in Chico, based on “nonregistration, couch living, trailers parked on streets…”

12 Apr

I don’t know how you feel about roundabouts, but one fact we know for sure – they bring a lot of money into the city by way of grants.

From the Chico Enterprise Record, “According to senior traffic engineer Bikramjit Kahlon, the cost of the project is between $5 and $6 million. ‘It just depends when we go out to bid,’ he said Monday. The city’s match is about $1 million, with Caltrans funding the remainder amount.”

Eaton Road roundabout proposed for traffic, safety

$5-6 million for one roundabout? Most of that will go into the salaries Downtown. An old contractor I know says “boots on the ground labor” and materials make up about 2% of the cost of these public jobs.  This is one way Staff turns money we paid toward maintenance of our roads into their salaries and pensions.

Here’s a thought – how’d you like to see that million the city is kicking in on the street in front of your house? How far would that million go toward the streets in your neighborhood? 

And again, they are using Camp Fire refugees as bait.  Read these excerpts.

“Even before the Camp Fire pushed thousands more new residents into Chico, the intersection was known for commute-time traffic jams and lines of traffic out to the freeway, along with traffic accidents.”

“thousands more new residents”?  I had to ask reporter Laura Urseny if she has any hard numbers on how many evacuees have settled in Chico since the fire. She had none, but asked city manager Mark Orme if he had any. “He [Orme] said he doesn’t have hard numbers from FEMA because of nonregistration, couch-living, trailers parked on streets etc. He said  the city is still using the  10,000-15,000 estimate.”

So, Orme drives by your house, sees a trailer in your driveway, and assumes it’s full of evacuees? Sees somebody sitting on your couch through a front window and assumes you have a “couch liver” in your household? On this basis he assumes and reports that we have “10,000-15,000” new residents in our town?

Excuse me, this guy gets over $200,000/year in compensation, and he expects to give up this kind of crap?

Unfortunately he’s  got a willing media to help him pull the wool over our eyes. Urseny skirts the truth, but keeps promoting the lie – “The project has been proposed for a long time, but has been sped up with the city’s dealings with Camp Fire impacts. However, Kahlon said there is no FEMA-related funding in the project.” If this project was truly necessitated by the Camp Fire evacuation, or any impacts, the city would be getting FEMA funding.

They started this campaign before the fire was even out.  “The project was discussed during a public meeting about Camp Fire impact on Chico last year, but has been in the works much longer.”  Here Urseny mentions a proposed refugee housing project that was rejected, but still includes it as a “Camp Fire impact”.  “Initially, a FEMA proposal called for Camp Fire mobile homes to be placed on a vacant parcel on Eaton Road between Highway 99 and Cohasset Road, but that residential project has been abandoned.  Nevertheless, the traffic on the current two-lane road is huge, impacted by Chico’s growing population, but also by residential subdivisions developing in north Chico.”

In the same edition that Urseny ran her promo piece, there was this map:

Map: See where Camp Fire evacuees have moved across the country


“Relocation destinations are also listed below from most to least popular, in terms of the number of households registered with FEMA now living there. FEMA only provided information about individual counties in California, not other states.”

In other words, if you had insurance on your destroyed home, and therefore did not go to the ridiculous lengths to register for something you were not eligible to receive, you were not counted.  

The article said that 16,583 of the registered (and that includes entire households who live under one roof) have remained in all of Butte County. That includes Paradise, Magalia, Butte Meadows, Yankee Hill, Concow, Cohasset, Forest Ranch, Gridley, Live Oak – did I miss any? Personally, the Camp Fire victims I know  are all planning to rebuild their homes in Paradise. Some have already hired private contractors to clear their lots and are already living back at their property. Some are struggling to live in unburned homes with no safe water or power, and dead/dying trees hanging over their heads. Roads are a mess, workers everywhere, and Butte County has not even started their lot-clearance program. But the folks I know are all determined to return, they have no desire to remain “stuck in Chico.” 

And here’s another fact that Orme cleverly ignores – many of the folks who evacuated to Chico already worked here and drove down to town almost every day, where they also shopped and socialized.

So, the “impacts” are largely MADE UP. Staff continues to lie to get their way. Next Tuesday they will bring a revenue measure consultant to make report regarding the $25,000 survey they are planning to get us to tax ourselves to pay their pensions. They want $65,000 more for a consultant to actually run their campaign. This is illegal, but who will call them on it? 

Will you?


9 Responses to “Orme “estimates” 10 – 15,000 refugees living in Chico, based on “nonregistration, couch living, trailers parked on streets…””

  1. Jim April 12, 2019 at 6:45 am #

    When CalTrans installed the roundabout at Clark and Durham-Pentz roads it only took a couple days for construction. When the City of Chico does a roundabout it takes months. Why?

    • Juanita Sumner April 12, 2019 at 6:54 am #

      Good question.

      Mark Orme and his immediate staff need to go.

  2. bob April 13, 2019 at 3:07 pm #

    The criminals in Sacramento are going to pass a bunch of new taxes, including a tax on services.

    Will California’s taxpayers ever pay enough?

    • Juanita Sumner April 13, 2019 at 5:26 pm #

      I think it’s like cocaine, once they get the money they just want more. There’s never enough.

  3. leonard April 18, 2019 at 3:57 pm #

    I was surprised to see the chico enterprise record report a breakdown on the price of gas. this breakdown shows us how unaccountable our state is. why I was so surprised by this report is because the chico enterprise record supported the gas tax.

    • Juanita Sumner April 18, 2019 at 5:32 pm #

      Yeah I thought that was interesting too, thanks Leonard.

  4. Yvonne Johnson May 15, 2020 at 4:48 pm #

    This city is robbing us blind in front of our eyes. One issue that has me going is that they said they were going to suspend street sweeping for one month until May 1st. They have not resumed. I spoke to someone in public works and questioned their reasoning which was that they were going to use the coronavirus lowered traffic flow to do public works projects. I asked if the public works projects are independently contracted or is we are using public employees from street sweeping to do public work projects. I didn’t get a name but he grunted and snorted and said he was insulted that I would ask such a question. He never was able to tell me where the public employees are or what they are currently working on.

    • Juanita Sumner May 16, 2020 at 5:54 am #

      Thanks Yvonne, I’ve had similar experiences when I’ve contacted staff via the phone, that’s why I don’t do phone calls anymore. I use email – they do seem to take me more seriously since I have a record of the conversation. Of course, the city website does not provide the correct email address – try erik.gustafson@chicoca.gov – if that doesn’t work, send it to clerk debbie.presson@chicoca.gov and ask her to forward it to Gustafson and council members, AND ask her to make it a part of the public record.

      I think your questions are perfectly legitimate. They say they’re doing public works projects but I can’t find anything on either the Public Works page or the old “General Services” page regarding a schedule. They should have to post a schedule of projects and keep it updated for the public, but they’re on COVID holiday and I don’t expect that to end soon.

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