Archive | August, 2019

Dave Howell: Do they take us for fools?

29 Aug

I’ve seen some interesting letters to the Enterprise Record lately. A lady wrote the other day saying Chico streets are in such horrible condition she hates driving her car around Chico. I hear that – we just traded our son our F-150 for his tiny Chevy Cavalier. The F-150 sat higher off the ground, I could see the potholes but I didn’t feel them so keenly. The little Chevy feels like a Radio Flyer headed off Dead Man’s Hill, every crack in the road goes right through the seat covers, and sometimes there’s the sound of metal on asphalt as we hit a particularly bad hole. 

And of course, my 1956 Raleigh Superbe has seen her days, those skinny tires tooling along the park and neighborhood streets. I hit a pothole Downtown one day coming home from a meeting – ha ha, I was looking at another pothole instead of watching the street in front of my wheels – and CRASH! My bike basket flipped off the mounts and landed in the street. My feet slid off the pedals, which caught me right across the shins. And my bike seat stuck me one right in the small of my back. God I was so pissed off. 

There’s potholes on my street that look big enough to eat a stroller, complete with attached mom. But if you want to see something that looks like a third world country, head over to the neighborhood bordering the freeway off East Avenue, behind the old McDonalds and the abandoned For Kid’s Only Store. Check out the South Campus neighborhood, imagine out-of-town college parents seeing that for the first time.  

Sure everybody knows Chico streets are a mess – but do they know why? The city is going to tell everybody, in their campaign for a sales tax increase, that the streets are horrible because there aren’t enough revenues. But you know, if you go to meetings and listen to Constantin and Orme, they’ll admit that maintenance has been purposely deferred, while the city has been making, as CARD’s Ann Willmann likes to call them, “aggressive payments” on their pension deficit. 

So it’s good to hear from letter writer Dave Howell, who has it right – it’s the pensions. 

Howell asks, “will the people be fooled?” Well, he seems to be doing his best to prevent that. And thanks for the shout out Dave, I appreciate it.

Hats off to Juanita Sumner for shedding light on CARD’s tax increase measure. CARD has been considering a tax increase for years and has spent over $100,000 of our tax dollars on high priced consulting firms in an effort to get a tax increase measure on the ballot.  One consulting firm they paid openly brags about its ability to help get tax increases passed.  Yet CARD’s attorney claims these consulting firms are merely involved in informational surveys.  Only a fool would believe that.

The fact is that CARD, like the rest of local government, has made unsustainable compensation promises to its employees, especially regarding pensions. These promises are devouring money that should be going for infrastructure.  Like CARD, the City Council has used our tax dollars to hire a high priced consulting firm for a proposed tax increase.  The push for tax increases from our local government is all about unfunded liabilities that are unsustainable.

Without true reform we will face endless rounds of tax increases in a futile effort to fund unsustainable liabilities.  Scores of cities and counties raised taxes in the last several years and not one has solved their unfunded liabilities problem.  All passage of the latest round of proposed tax increases will do is kick the can down the road a couple of election cycles, but our local politicians and bureaucrats will never admit this.

Will the people be fooled?  We will find out next March when CARD’s tax increase will be on the ballot.

Dave Howell, Chico

Good news over Yuba County Measure K suit?

28 Aug

Here’s some good news (I hope) from Connie about the lawsuit over Yuba County’s deceptive Measure K.  Plaintiffs charge that Yuba County officials campaigned to spend the money on public safety, which should have made it a “special tax,” requiring 2/3’s voter approval. But they put it on the ballot as a general measure, which barely  got simple majority approval. 

I’m no lawyer, but it sounds like the judge is somewhat in agreement with the plaintiffs. I’ll keep you posted.

We are sharing a post from Yuba Vision’s facebook site about the Measure K hearing yesterday. It gives a little more detail about the hearing.

Again, we are thankful that the Howard Jarvis Tax Association and Attorney Brian Hildreth have challenged Measure K.

Yuba Vision

“ARE ALL ESSENTIAL SERVICES ESSENTIAL?”

At yesterday’s court hearing about invalidating Measure K, Judge Steven Berrier opened with two “tentative thoughts”:

– Measure K is a special tax
– Materials (campaign) support public safety

And, with these two statements, most of the hearing saw the attorney representing Yuba County defending Measure K.

As a refresher, Measure K was on last November’s ballot. It was for a 1% sales tax increase in the unincorporated areas of Yuba County. It was placed on the ballot requiring a simple majority vote measure (50% + 1) for passage. The County campaigned it as a “special tax” revenue stream that would be used primarily for public safety, i.e., Sheriff, fire, DA, jail, etc. A special tax actually requires a 2/3 majority vote for passage. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed suit against the County saying that Measure K was a special tax and it should have been on the ballot as such. They are seeking to invalidate it. The County has since back-peddled now saying Measure K was always meant for general fund purposes, meaning that it can be used for anything, from CalPERS payments to painting park benches.

It was a lively debate with very pointed questions made by Judge Berrier. There was one topic, the actual phrase from the measure, “and essential services,” that received the most attention. If you recall, this phrase was tacked on at the end of the Measure’s description, right after a listing of several public safety services. Judge Barrier challenged the County’s thinking about the phrase and asked a very revealing question, “Why didn’t the County use, “and general fund use,” at the end (of the Measure’s description)?” The County’s attorney had a hard time answering this question and argued that “essential services” is what infers the broader applications of Measure K. The Howard Jarvis attorney argued this phrase is what reigns it in focusing only on public safety services. The County attorney relied on dictionary definitions and felt the court should not focus on the phrase in isolation. Judge Barrier continued to ask more questions about the phrase, as well as the intentions of the pro-Measure K campaign materials.

The Judge’s primary question about the campaign to the County was, “The ‘campaign’ was exclusively about public safety…Should that be ignored?” The County’s attorney had a short response, “Yes.” Many in the audience softly shook their heads in disbelief.

The County’s attorney also employed a controversial circular argument saying that those who voted “no” on Measure K knew that it was a tax for general use, so therefore, Measure K was believed to be a general tax by everyone.

By the end of the hearing, it felt that Judge Barrier was leaning in favor of invalidating Measure K, but his written ruling will be his final decision. There was also strong indication by the Judge that the entire case will end up in appeal, no matter his ruling….More time and money, folks. Meanwhile, Measure K sales taxes continue to be collected and put into a holding account until this entire legal mess is resolved.

Keep Yuba County Honest and Transparent

Stone/Ory recall – I want to support this but have some questions

27 Aug

I’ve been trying to watch the effort to recall Chico City Council members Karl Ory and Randall Stone.  According to Melissa Daugherty at the News and Review, recall organizers have 160 days from the date the petition was approved by the city clerk – until November 18, 2019 – to collect signatures of at least 7,592 registered Chico voters.  They will want at least a couple thousand more to be on the safe side, since the clerk is allowed to throw out a petition if she finds a certain percentage of the signatures to be invalid. 

As far as I’ve been able to gather, that would put the recall on a ballot sometime in Spring 2020, which is confusing, because both Stone and Ory’s terms are up in 2020, and they’ll be up for re-election. I’m not sure if the recall election will be called before or after the general election, and how it would all work. 

Here’s the group’s Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/recallstoneandory/

I have not signed the petition because I have questions.

  • Who is financing this recall? I looked at the city clerk’s website but did not find any campaign contribution documents for this group. I don’t frankly know if they are required to file finance documents with the clerk unless the recall comes to a ballot. 
  • What will happen if the recall is successful? Will we have to have another special election? Who will run? 

I don’t subscribe to Facebook, and don’t know who exactly to contact, so hope somebody  from the recall effort will come back to me with some answers. 

 

 

 

Defined benefit plans must be fair to taxpayers, they must be financially sustainable, and the participants must pay their fair share.

26 Aug

CARD has another “informational” jam session this Wednesday evening, 7pm, at the CARD center on Vallombrosa.   I will be out of town, but hope others will attend. I must say, those meetings have been informational.

So, I wrote a letter to the editor about it!

I learned a lot attending two of Chico Area Recreation District’s parcel tax informational meetings.

I knew the pension cost is divided between employer share and employee share. But, I didn’t know,  for years CARD paid not only the employer share, but the entire employee share.  General Manager Ann Willmann said the agency now only pays 14% of their total CalPERS costs, resulting in a $2,800,000 pension deficit.

I misunderstood the Public Employees Pension Reform Act, thinking employees would pay 50% of their actual pension cost. Instead, they are only asked to pay 50% of CARD’s total payment of 14%. CARD employees agreed to pay an additional 1% of the employer cost, making their total contribution an unsustainable 8%.

Willmann also mentioned “aggressive payments” made toward the pension deficit itself. Whenever there is a downturn in the stock market, CalPERS demands more of it’s members, and the taxpayers are expected to pick up the tab. CARD created a “Pension Stabilization Trust”. Willmann admitted that maintenance to facilities like bathrooms has been deferred while the agency diverted funding to the pension trust.

Instead of new taxes, we need true pension reform.  Starting in 1999, CalPERS and powerful union lobbyists  pushed through unrealistic and unsustainable salaries and benefits for agencies all over California. These agencies have funded their pensions by cutting services and deferring maintenance – putting their pensions ahead of their mission to serve the public. Defined benefit plans must be fair to taxpayers, they must be financially sustainable, and the participants must pay their fair share.

 

Pension Tsunami Part 2: The lies, the lies, the lies – district manager claims CARD “debt-free”, meeting attendee reminds her of the pension liability

17 Aug

As I  was sitting at CARD’s “informational meeting” last Tuesday (8/13), I wanted to argue with the things Ann Willmann was saying, but I am always afraid to speak up at those meetings. I’ve been  attending CARD and city of Chico meetings for years, and I’ve found if you are not careful with these people they will just shut you out. Former CARD director Steve Visconti repeatedly ignored my requests to be placed on the Aquatics Facility Feasibility Advisory Committee (AFFAC) , and when I asked to be noticed of the meetings he simply told me there weren’t any. I’d  find out about them after-the-fact when there would be an item in the board agenda. So, yeah, these people intimidate me sometimes, that’s a fact.

But somebody really needed to ask more questions, the crowd of less than 20 observers was silent as she continued to spin her web.  At one uncomfortable point, Willmann talked about CARD being debt-free. There are so many things wrong with that statement, I just sat there in shock. The first thing I thought was, “Yeah, you paid off the loan on Lakeside Pavillion with money you should have been using to maintain other, more appropriate facilities.”   The district bought Lakeside Pavillion, sagging with rot and needing a  new roof, for over $1,000,000, with over $100,000 in interest.  Then there was at least $100,000 in repairs.  So, Willmann was trying to say, that instead of being stupid for buying an old crapper that has no recreation facilities, CARD was being smart for using money that should have  been going to serve the public to pay off a bad loan before it got worse.

That’s the same BS they are using to explain their many recent large payments to CalPERS.

As I sat there scribbling notes and grinding my teeth, the guy next to me raised his hand and corrected Willmann.  He corrected her, saying, “but you’re not debt-free,” asking, “Is it not disingenuous not to mention the unfunded pension liability?” He recalled it was over $2,000,000, and then Willmann corrected him –  $2.8 million.  And I could tell she was uncomfortable with the question, very flustered.

She said, “We are working toward aggressive payment to save interest…” 

I’ll say they’ve been damned aggressive, as Willmann admitted earlier in the meeting, deferring maintenance on district facilities while making “side-fund pay-offs” on the pension deficit. “Side-fund pay-off” means, payments in addition to the “employer’s share” of current employee benefits – in the hundreds of thousands a year. Last year they established a “Pension Stabilization Trust” like the one the city made up, into which they siphoned more than $1,000,000, funding taken from payroll, for additional “side-fund pay-offs”.

I was happy that the man next to me did not let up. He asked pointedly, “what about pension reform?” He reminded everyone that most private sector workers don’t  get pensions, that they’re lucky to get a 401K.  And he opined that no matter how much money the taxpayers kick into this scheme, the deficit will not get paid down until there is true reform. “The can is just getting kicked down the road…” he said.

Willmann was visibly side-blinded by his comments. Her lips were taut when she glared at him and asked, “What would you suggest?”

He didn’t miss a beat – “either get rid of pensions altogether or make the employees pay more.” He suggested 401K’s into which the employer puts a “defined contribution,” meaning, we agree to one contribution and no CalPERS to raise it any time they make a bad investment. What we have now, a system that was never vetted before the taxpayers or voters, is “defined benefits,” meaning we continue to pay as much as CalPERS demands, based on their die-hard scheme to make the difference off a volatile stock market using really, really bad judgement.

As I expected, an exasperated Willmann barked back, “we can’t get out of CalPERS, buyout is nearly impossible…” Which is a plain lie, other agencies have done it. For perspective, CARD only owes $2.8 million, the city of Chico owes almost $150,000,000.

Willmann, her voice cracking,  revealed that she’s only recently started paying 8%. That’s right. Up until a couple of years ago, she claimed, “prior management paid nothing…” Sure, she’s right, but what she didn’t mention is that she was a member, a “classic” member, of prior management, and also paid NOTHING. A couple of years ago, CalPERS demanded “classic members” start paying, at 2%, inching their way up to 8% just this 2019/20 budget cycle.

Still sounding like she was going to bust out in tears, Willman went on to say she’d been to CalPERS, “asking them for reforms… we chose to save taxpayers’ money by paying it off as fast as we can…” 

Staying with CalPERS and continuing to allow employees like Willmann to pay less than 10% will only drag us deeper into debt. CARD’s debt has increased by over $1,000,000 since 2015. And I imagine you’ve heard about this week’s stock market downturn?

Again, the man next to me took up the offensive. “The city is  falling apart because the money is being transferred from infrastructure to pensions.” At this point Willmann  was ready to bargain, trying to shut this guy up. “So, you want the measure to say no money goes to pensions?”

To which I would respond, the parcel tax money would just free up the rest of the budget to make the side-fund pay-offs. Duh Lady. But my neighbor went back to “more meaningful pension reform, tax increases won’t solve it…”   

Looking desperately around, Willmann asked if anybody else had a question. Silence. So my neighbor took up the conversation again, reminding Willmann that the city was undergoing a building boom right now, and that would be generating a lot more revenue. This, as Willmann had pointed out, would include builder’s impact fees, which are only allowed to new facilities. That would make sense, developers should pay for facilities necessitated by new construction. And then the new housing  generates  more property tax  revenues, which mean more money for infrastructure upgrades and maintenance. But Willman still insists CARD needs a 30 year parcel tax, just to maintain infrastructure?

Suddenly a tiny, nasal voice came up from the back of the room – CARD board member and former city councilman Mike McGinnis. McGinnis was on the defensive. “We need to be aggressive in paying the pensions deficit…we didn’t create the pension system…” He then said, “more and more people are moving to Chico…we need to provide more recreation…”

First of all, the mission of the district is RECREATION, not PROVIDING A SALARY/PENSIONS TROUGH for a bunch of bureaucrats that don’t have anything to do with providing recreation. Second, all that NEW HOUSING COMES WITH IMPACT FEES AND CREATES NEW, HIGHER PROPERTY TAX REVENUES. In fact, those new houses won’t only be more expensive, they will raise the property value of houses directly around them.

This is the kind of “leadership” the CARD board provides. In fact, as city councilman, Mike McGinnis participated in many of the decisions that drove Chico into bankruptcy, including approval of ever-increasing salaries and benefits for city management. 

So, do you really think you want to entrust more tax money to an agency that seems to believe the taxpayers are just another herd of cash cows to bail out their pension fund?  

 

 

 

CARD propaganda blitz amounts to a lot of false claims

15 Aug

Chico Area Recreation District is hosting a series of informational meetings about their tax proposal over the next month. The first meeting was held this past Tuesday evening. It was short and very informative, I hope more people will take 45 minutes or an hour to attend one or more of these meetings.  It’s a perfect opportunity to ask questions. All meetings are scheduled at the CARD Center on Vallombrosa.

  • August 21, noon
  • August 28, 7pm
  • September 5, noon
  • September 10, 8am

Tuesday’s meeting started at 6 pm and was over shortly before 7pm.   CARD manager Ann Willmann gave a power point presentation. It was a good look at the coming propaganda blitz CARD is about to unleash.

Willmann shared some interesting general information.

• Created in 1948 (71 years ago)
• Encompasses over 250 square miles, beyond City of Chico city limits
• Population served is 121,000
• Operated separately from the City of Chico
• Oversight by an elected 5-member board of directors

I didn’t know those first three things, so here already I learned something by going to a public meeting. But it didn’t take long for Willmann to get into the full-on pitch.

What CARD Does  –  Provide parks & recreation facilities. Enrich our residents’ quality of life. Promote health, wellness, learning and fun. CARD is one of the most utilized agencies in our area,with our parks, facilities, and programs serving thousands of people annually.”

Beyond, “provide parks & recreation facilities,” none of that can be proven. Frankly, I’d liked to have seen a number besides “thousands” of people served annually. “one of the most utililized agencies in our area…” Well, prove it. There are no attendance numbers in the budget reports either. Are they including agencies like law enforcement and public safety, the road department?

I think a common misconception about CARD is that they are responsible for all the parks in town, not true. The city owns all of Bidwell Park. CARD leases the Nature Center from the city, and is responsible for maintenance on that specific property. I don’t know whether they own or lease the ball fields under the same type of agreement. But, I found the following claims to be a stretch.

Our parks:
Reflect the quality of our community.  Oh, that’s not good. Many of our parks are in pretty disgusting condition.

Improve property values.  I think this is highly disputable. When you look at real estate listings, parks and other public attractions like schools and churches are considered problematic. Especially when security and lighting are lacking, as has been one of the main complaints about CARD  facilities. Another complaint has been lack of upkeep, which damages curb appeal for any home.

Contribute to education.   I do notice,  since they took over the Nature Center, “day camps” have been their biggest source of income.

Reduce crime.   That’s funny – Terry Cleland said transients were stealing out of the dugout at ball games. CARD will have to keep working on this one.

Attract businesses and create jobs  Attracts businesses? CARD uses tax dollars to subsidize programs that drive local businesses out of the market. For example, Off the Wall Soccer, a longtime popular indoor sports facility, went out of business last year after CARD renegged on a promise not to compete with OTW’s special 7 man teams. CARD already had an outdoor program, why move in on a local business? Because they can undercut anybody with the guarantee of tax dollars. CARD is a very big competitor for private daycare facilities, and even the local wedding industry.

Creates jobs? CARD provides poverty positions, in fact, most of their workers earn less than $30,000/year, get no benefits, and rely on AFDC and Medi-Cal to fill in the gaps. A few years ago, they cut their part-time workers to 28 hours or less to get out of paying Obamacare.

Willmann shared the results of CARD’s recent survey, here are the “priorities” listed by respondents:

• Reducing crime and homelessness in parks by
providing security guards to patrol parks
• Providing clean, safe parks and recreational
programs for all Chico area residents
• Upgrading parks with lighting, security,
parking, and other safety features
• Improving and maintaining park bathrooms

• Repairing/updating aging recreation centers,
playgrounds, sports fields, swimming pools,
and facilities that promote active and healthy
living and maintain recreational programs for
seniors and youth
• Ensuring accessibility of parks and recreation
for persons with disabilities
• Renovating/expanding parks, trails, and
recreation areas, and completing parks under
construction

Here Willmann went on the defensive, listing “challenges”

• Aging Facilities + Reduced Funding =
Deferred Maintenance
• Continue to address safety needs
• Upgrades needed to aging parks and
facilities
• Create and maintain health-related
programs for all-youth to our seniors
• Discussions and studies have been
conducted
• Financial impacts out of our control
• Fees collected are not enough

Aging facilities? Willmann said most of our  facilities are over 35 years old, that’s not true.  DeGarmo Park, Humboldt Skateboard Park, the Disc Golf Course at 5 Mile, Oak Way Park – these are just some of the facilities that have been built recently. Wildwood Park is only about 25 years old. Reduced funding? Look at the budgets, available here, and tell me they haven’t been getting more money every year:

https://www.chicorec.com/district-budget

What’s true there is “deferred maintenance.” They’ve allowed facilities that should have been easy to keep in good working condition while they’ve paid more and more into their pension deficit, raised management salaries, and  taken on costly new liabilities like the rotten and aging Lakeside Pavillion and Nature Center. One of the top complaints listed in the survey was dirty bathrooms. But look at the budget, do some serious reading – they pay more for pensions every year, with employees only now being asked to contribute anything, and it’s still less than 10%. 

I was really shocked when she listed the Camp Fire as a challenge. 

“Reduced property tax base for the County means a reduction in property taxes for all public agencies. In 2019, CARD lost over $200,000 in revenue”

This was reported immediately after the Camp Fire, by city of Chico mismanager Mark Orme. But, as Orme reported, the state immediately announced they would “backfill” these lost revenues up to three years after the anniversary of the fire. So, CARD didn’t really lose $200,000 as Willmann tried to claim Tuesday night. Private homes within the Camp Fire burn area are already being rebuilt, some of them beyond their original footprint, which means they will be assessed for more within three years than they were assessed before the fire. 

Willman also claims that “Future tax reductions are expected, and plans are being made to adjust expenses.” What future tax reductions?  I’m calling bullshit on this one. There is currently a building boom going on in Chico, with more houses approved for the immediate future. That means more, more, more property taxes to maintain and upgrade current facilities,, not to mention, developer impact fees that pay for new parks. 

And finally she claims “We have seen an increase in participation in already impacted programs due to the increase in our local population.”

Oh, not this one again. Look around you  folks – the college students are back in town, families are getting  ready for school to start, but have you been held up  in any of the hellish traffic  jams that occurred in the weeks following the fire? Have you waited more than 5 minutes at a grocery store check-out? No.

When a woman asked from the back of the room if Willmann had any statistics to back up this claim, Willmann quickly answered, “No.” Furthermore, “we just noticed this increase…” 

I’ll have to stop here, I’ll pick up the rest of the meeting tomorrow. Things got kinda hot when the guy next to me brought up the pension liability. 

 

Is CARD trying to get me kicked off the letters page?

9 Aug

I read Terry Cleland’s letter in response to my complaints about the CARD survey, and their siphoning of money out of facilities and programs to pay  their pensions. The first version the paper printed Wednesday was 500 words, and kind of rude, referring to me as “Sumner”, insinuating I’m just some naysayer who doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Then that version disappeared – in the time it took me to feed my dogs and  get my own breakfast it was gone. 

The next day (yesterday), a new version appeared, a lot shorter, and even a little more polite, but still insinuating I don’t know what I’m talking about. That was weird, but here’s what I’m guessing – Cleland didn’t intend that first letter for print, it was a complaint to the editor. He was trying to get the ER to stop printing my letters, was what I  was reading. In past, David Little has told me about complaints he received about my letters, including requests to “ban” me from the letters section. 

One night a few years back, when Steve Visconti was CARD general manager, my husband and I attended a board meeting at which Visconti asked the board, “what are we going to do about Juanita Sumner’s letters?” I was sitting right there, they all knew me, so the board sat silent while Visconti wandered along trying to convince them that they needed to get “somebody” to respond to me.  Nobody ever has, until now. Cleland made an unsuccessful bid for CARD board last fall, maybe this is his way of keeping his foot in the door. 

When I emailed editor Mike Wolcott Wednesday about the disappearance, he said he’d been out of the office and didn’t know anything, but he’d check the next day (yesterday). He never got back to me, but there was the new letter yesterday morning. 

If I were a petty bitch, like Terry Cleland, I’d email Wolcott and say something about the fact that Cleland was allowed to pull one letter and get a new letter posted at the top of the heap the next day. I’d complain about the weeks it has taken these people to run some of my  letters,  which I’ve had to resend and resend. But I know it does no good to complain to these people – so I just wrote a response to Cleland. Yep, I’ll resend it if I have to!

In response to Terry Cleland’s letter (8/8/19):

Over half of Chico Area Recreation District’s $8,900,000  budget comes from property taxes and vehicle license fees. Over half the budget goes to salaries and benefits. Less than 35 fulltime employees have managed to accrue over $2,500,000 in pension liability because they pay less than 10% toward their own pensions. That liability has grown by almost a million dollars since 2015. 

CARD has spent more than $100,000 on surveys, proposing new facilities, but each consultant has told the board there was not support for a tax measure. The respondents made it clear in this last survey that they just want the existing facilities to be better maintained and safer.

I have the 2015 consultant’s report that suggested basic repairs for Shapiro Pool – repairs necessitated by years of neglect, including replacement of a dysfunctional sanitary filter pump.  The total cost would have been about $550,000. Instead, Staff recommended and the board agreed to close the pool and make a $400,000 payment toward their pension liability.  As of 2016, Shapiro Pool, once a popular summer destination for hundreds of children, is “non-operational until further notice”.

Right now Chico is undergoing another building boom, generating millions in new, permanent revenues. If CARD were not so management top-heavy they would have more than enough funding to fulfill their mission. Instead, I have sat at meetings watching them cut workers’ hours to avoid paying for healthcare.  I watched as they cut a popular children’s program while approving a “side fund payoff” to CalPERS. That’s self-service, greed and mismanagement.