On the road again, but still fighting to keep Chico affordable

25 Jun

Six days on the road and I’m gonna get home to-nite!

I’ve been traveling alot, down to Southern California, to take care of family business. I’m bone tired, I have a slight skip in my get-along, and oh yeah, I’m so grumpy, as my mom used to say, I could eat the heads off a sackful of kittens!

More coffee! Get me more coffee!

It’s still pollen season, everywhere, and my eyes are puffy and gluey. My nose feels as big as a beehive. I can’t hear so good. 

Where in the Hell is that coffee!

What’s been going on in Chico? Well, I see, the same old same old – both the city and the rec district continue to use taxpayer funds toward their separate tax measures. The city is looking at a full cent sales  tax increase, and Chico Area Rec District is going to float a parcel tax. 

Excuse me while I stick my face in a cup of java. 

He asked me if I’d seen a road with so much dust and sand, and I said, Listen, I’ve traveled every road in this land… I’ve crossed the desert sands Man, I’ve breathed the mountain air Man…

I’ve seen this state from Bakersfield to Tule Lake, meandered into Ne-vaaaa-da, and back to Sack-o-tomatoes. My ass feels like a board, my arms are floating. It’s good to be home to Chico.  Whenever I think I’m sick of Chico, I think of the shit holes I’ve  driven through – Stockton! Maaaaan-teeeka! – the dives I’ve stayed in along Hwy 99-5-395 and all the little numbers in between, and I think…

Chico is worth fighting for – where else you gonna go? 

So I wrote a letter to the CARD board of directors, you should too. I sent the following to Ann Willman – annw@chicorec.com, and cc’d each board member – tlando@chicorec.com, ddonnan@chicorec.com, mworley@chicorec.com, tnickell@chicorec.com and mmcginnis@chicorec.com

Please Note: I would like this email to be part of the public record.

To Ann Willmann, CARD General Manager, and members of the board, Tom Lando, Mike McGinnis, Tom Nickell, Michael Worley and Dave Donnan. 

I believe Chico Area Recreation District (CARD) is illegally using taxpayer dollars for political advocacy. The Political Reform Act prohibits public agencies from spending public funds in support of or opposition to ballot measure campaigns. 

CARD has hired EMC Research to advise them in placing a tax measure on an upcoming ballot. A quote from their website:


“Great campaigns don’t just happen. That’s why we offer a full suite of political research and predictive analytics to help your candidates, organizations and ballot measures succeed.” 

CARD has paid EMC to conduct a survey.  EMC’s website makes it clear that they use demographics to shape the outcome of their surveys in order to sway public opinion in favor of passing tax measures. This is an illegal use of taxpayer funds. I have contacted the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and they tell me they have successfully sued agencies for this misuse of public money. The FPPC also requires these expenditures to be reported as campaign donations. 

Below I’ve provided links to a couple of recent articles from Cal Matters and the San Jose Mercury News that provide further details and resources.

Thank you for your anticipated responses, Juanita Sumner, Chico Taxpayers Association 


Willmann responded, saying my letter was to be on the July agenda. I have no idea where I will be at that time – possibly Oregon – but I’ll keep you posted. 

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