A lie will stick unless you call the liar out on it

17 Apr

Al Franken wrote a really funny book years back, before he became a politician, you might want to check it out –

It’s not balanced, or fair, but it’s sooooo true! And it’s not just “the Right,” either. They all lie. Have you heard about the latest attempt to keep voters from knowing the truth about tax measures? 


Dan Walters:

“Two years ago, in a rare display of support for transparency in government finance, the Legislature and then-Gov. Jerry Brown required local governments and school districts to tell voters how proposed bond issues would affect their property taxes.

That would seem to be just common sense and good government, but local officials complained that Assembly Bill 195 would be too difficult to implement. Their real motive, however, was a fear that telling voters that their tax bills would increase might discourage them from voting for the bonds.

It’s a good thing we have Dan Walters, because our local media have fallen in with city staff and council to run their tax measure campaign, both the tv news and the daily running at least a story a week about how we need a tax measure to fix all the problems brought about by years of poor management and self-service. I finally had to ask ER reporter Laura Urseny where she got the numbers regarding how many Camp Fire evacuees are still residing within the Chico City limits.

I covered that here:


I knew they didn’t have any numbers, or I’d have asked, “how many people from the burned areas already drove into Chico five or more days a week to their job, already shopped in Chico regularly, already used Chico roads and services?”  I already know the answer – probably more than half the people – more like two thirds – in the affected areas already came to Chico, drove our roads, used our retail sector, our post office, and other services, on a regular basis. 

But a lie will stick unless you call the liar out on it. So I wrote the following letter to the ER.  

Stories in this newspaper claim the city of Chico “has absorbed many displaced Camp Fire victims.” When I asked one reporter for a specific figure, she paraphrased the city manager as follows.

“He [Mark 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.”

A FEMA map shows a great many of the roughly 20,000 evacuees have spread out around Butte County, California and the US, with no figures for Chico.  Staff is simply using numbers that suit their purpose.  To date, Staff has used their “estimate” to excuse poor road conditions, crime problems, housing shortage and cost, and now a “$5-6,000,000” roundabout.

Staff admits they have deferred road maintenance in Chico since long before the Camp Fire. The city’s welcome mat for transients is the source of our crime problems. The short-lived boom in the Chico housing market immediately following the Camp Fire has been over for some time – there are 247 listings on Trulia. The proposal to place FEMA housing near the Eaton Road interchange has been abandoned.

Staff is pressing for a tax measure using Camp Fire evacuees as bait. Dan Walters points out “the underlying real reasons, such as to cover rapidly increasing employee pension and health care costs.” Chico’s pension deficit is over $130,000,000.  The Wall Street Journal reports, “despite bull market, pension plans in miserable shape…”

Staff needs to fess up, and pay their own pensions. 


14 Responses to “A lie will stick unless you call the liar out on it”

  1. Jim April 17, 2019 at 7:59 am #

    Chico city management has been ignoring the impact of the growing population for over a decade. Now that traffic has become a real problem, they are blaming it on the fire refugees. Of course the problem is really the new housing developments. But hey, they want the new developments because they want the tax revenue. It’s a vicious cycle.

    • Juanita Sumner April 17, 2019 at 8:36 am #

      Yeah, and they have the nerve to push for lowering traffic and parking requirements for high density development – that’s what Gallagher wants too. It is a vicious cycle – traffic gets worse, and they use it as an excuse to put in more development and raise taxes. It’s a lose-lose for the resident and taxpayer and a win-win for pigs like Orme.

      • Jim April 17, 2019 at 7:30 pm #

        Take a drive around Doe Mill, many new houses were build with single car garages, not enough off street parking. The streets are packed with cars parked everywhere all the time. So we are going to build more of that????

      • Juanita Sumner April 18, 2019 at 5:45 am #

        Yes, as we speak, they are building and planning more of that. And they are working, along with Ass-man Gallagher, to lower parking and other infrastructural requirements for developers.

        I just got back from Bakersfield – what used to be a very homey, working class town, now a terrible, overbuilt, poorly planned clusterfuck. We can’t let that happen to Chico.

  2. Scott Rushing April 17, 2019 at 9:00 pm #

    Dear Juanita You are factually revealing that Orme is using a tragedy to raise taxes without promising accountability for the use of funds. Sickening from my point of view.

    My complaint is policing. Orme and O’Brien are asking for more highly paid officers without sharing the full cost or promising accountability to the taxpayers.

    What I have learned since my son was killed is that Mr. O’Bien has not yet provided proof to the public that his officers were adequately trained before or after Desmond Phillips and Tyler Rushing were killed by Chico PD officers. O’Brien has publicly stated his officers were more than adequately prepared for such interactions with civilians.

    My guess is the liability insurance premiums for the city of Chico paid to the Joint Powers Authority must have significantly increased due to the settlement with the family of Breanne Sharpe, and lawsuits regarding the officer involved killings of Desmond and Tyler. If the officers were required by their peers to use lethal force as a final option, then three young people would be alive, and the taxpayers of Chico would have saved countless dollars lost in staff time, legal fees, insurance premiums, and settlement costs.

    Regards, *Scott Rushing*

    On Wed, Apr 17, 2019 at 5:55 AM Chico Taxpayers Association wrote:

    > Juanita Sumner posted: “Al Franken wrote a really funny book years back, > before he became a politician, you might want to check it out – It’s > not balanced, or fair, but it’s sooooo true! And it’s not just “the Right,” > either. They all lie. Have you heard about the latest at” >

  3. bob April 18, 2019 at 7:39 pm #

    No doubt about, the Demorats in this state are conducting and will conduct an orgy of tax increases and Chico is no exception. This is just crazy and it’s going to get worse. And the idiot voters who pass these tax increases only encourage the politicians to demand even more tax increases.

    The last couple of election cycles have seen hundreds of local tax measures placed before voters, and more are on the way.


  4. bob April 18, 2019 at 7:50 pm #

    You people better get ready to open your wallets wider.

    CalPERS bill for California state worker pensions set to reach $7 billion next year

    California state government’s bill for public employee pensions is set to rise by $676 million.


    And you do know it will get even more costlier each year, right?

    All this “wonderful” California government is going to bankrupt us. The parasites are literally killing their host!

    • Juanita Sumner April 19, 2019 at 5:54 am #

      good point – they are like parasites, they don’t know what they’re doing to the economy. Newsome is completely insane – my kids call him The Joker. He’s scarier than Heath Ledger!

      Kidding aside, we can beat the local measures, don’t give up.

  5. Jim April 20, 2019 at 5:41 pm #

    Bill, The Republicans in Chico, such as One Chico Facebook group are pushing for tax increases. That is because they are in supporting the police and fire unions.

    • Juanita Sumner April 21, 2019 at 7:00 am #

      Well, somebody needs to show them the secretary of state’s salary index. PLEASE PASS THIS ALONG TO GROUPS LIKE CHICO FIRST, ETC.


      Search “police”. You will see 190 entries, 41 of which make over $100,000 a year with packages ranging between $25,000 and $67,000. Then search “fire” and see the fire department salaries and benefits. You will see fire department are the highest paid employees in the city.

      MY OPINION: we have plenty of “public safety workers,” and they are more than well-compensated. Remember, the fire staff work “three 24’s,” meaning, they get paid to sleep. They get paid to take the ladder truck to the grocery store. They get paid to escort ambulances – more than 50 percent of their calls, with no compensation from the ambulance companies.

      Both cops and fire get paid to shower, dress, and go to the gym, which they do “on duty.” It’s in the contract!

      What do they pay for all this? Look at the cop contract here:

      Click to access CPOA_MOU.pdf

      Nine percent of their salary. The taxpayers pay the rest, through the 30+ percent “employer share,” and then again by way of funds siphoned into the “Pension Trust”. According to a recent report about 18% of the city budget goes to the pensions.

      How does money for infrastructure get into pensions? From Scott Dowell, city finance jerk:


      Fund 903 has two inflows:

      1. Each City fund that has payroll is charged a percentage of payroll for the applicable share of the estimated annual unfunded liability payment. That amount is transferred to Fund 903 from each applicable fund. These transfers are used to pay the annual unfunded liability payment to CalPERS out of Fund 903.

      2. The second inflow is a direct transfer from the General Fund to the Fund 903 approved by the City Council. There was an initial transfer from the General Fund to Fund 903 of $541,455 for the year ending June 30, 2017.”


      • bob April 21, 2019 at 8:34 am #

        So how do I get my boss to pay me a 6 figure salary and then a 6 figure pension to sleep, get dressed and take a shower? Oh, and go to the grocery store. That’s a nice one. Plus give me a clothing allowance which I can use anyway I want.

        Geez, this is just f’ing ridiculous!

        And the idiots in this city are going to tax themselves even more so it can continue.

  6. leonard April 21, 2019 at 7:28 am #

    as my father and grandfather I am a chico area native. we have seen this once great area we live in deteriorate . its not only heartbreaking its devastating to the pocketbook. our media and publication have also transitioned for the worse. as we look at our property tax and the extra bonds its not for need its for unaccountability. we have a tax base by percentage that increases and decreases with the economy. our services should do the same. we also need accountable media and publication to properly inform citizens.

    • bob April 21, 2019 at 8:39 am #

      Unless we fight, they are going to tax us much more.

      There will be at least one tax increase on the 2020 ballot from the city, maybe even 2.

      Then CARD is trying to get a tax increase on the ballot for 2020.

      CUSD and Butte County each had successful tax increases on our homes in 2016.

      It’s very possible CUSD will put another tax increase on the ballot in 2022.

      All this is just the local level. The state has gone tax crazy as well and shows no signs of stopping.

    • bob April 21, 2019 at 8:42 am #

      …we also need accountable media and publication to properly inform citizens.

      That’s NEVER going to happen. The media merely reports what the politicians and bureaucrats tell them.

      It’s up to people like us to spread the word any way we can.

      Everyone who’s anyone politically in this corrupt little city wants tax increases. And the Chamber of Communists is pushing very hard for tax increases as well.

      We are up against a powerful and corrupt establishment that is more than willing and capable to increase our taxes until we are forced to move away.

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