Dave Howell: This is how democracy dies, strangled by ignorance, debt and taxes

25 Oct

I’ve seen a couple of good letters in the paper lately, questioning the city’s claims that they need more tax revenues to maintain various aspects of public infrastructure. City Mangler Mark Orme repeatedly points the finger at some invisible army of Camp Fire evacuees – bullshit, Mr. Worm. Go out at Rush Hour, and you can see he is lying through his teeth. 

What they’re really worried about Downtown, is whether they will get their sweet pensions – in Orme’s case, at a current salary of $225,000/year, that’s over $140,000/year, plus cost of living increase, for the rest of his life, and then his  wife gets it!

Were you ever consulted in this scheme? No, but if you sign on to this tax increase, you are telling city of Chico $taffers and CalPERS you are willing to hook up like a cow to a milking machine to pay these crazy pensions into perpetuity, screw your infrastructure Folks!

Here’s a guy who knows where it’s at!

Despite city tax revenue growing by 30% in the last four years the City Council is spending over 150,000 of our tax dollars to sell us a sales tax increase. The salient reason for a tax increase now is that for many years the City Council has put unsustainable city employee compensation, particularly pension liability, above everything else including critical infrastructure maintenance.

But it’s not just a sales tax increase they are after. In the April 16th City Council meeting staff mentioned using the sales tax increase revenue to float a bond. How many hundreds of millions in new debt will they take on? Amazingly staff didn’t say and inexplicably no council member asked. In last week’s meeting the subject of bonded debt was not even mentioned, and the Council unanimously approved moving forward with the tax increase.

If the City’s bureaucrats and the City Council have their way not only will the taxpayers face a tax increase but also hundreds of millions in new debt. Not only will this not solve the City’s unfunded liability problems, it could lead to insolvency and will lead to more tax increases. Taking on hundreds of millions in new debt when the City is drowning in unfunded liabilities is the height of irresponsibility. And this in a county with a 21 percent poverty rate where bureaucrats can retire in their fifties with multi-million dollar pensions. 

This is what happens when you have an incompetent and corrupt city government and a citizenry that does not have a clue. This is how democracy dies, strangled by ignorance, debt and taxes.

Dave Howell
Chico, CA

5 Responses to “Dave Howell: This is how democracy dies, strangled by ignorance, debt and taxes”

  1. Dave October 25, 2019 at 8:16 am #

    Thanks for putting this up.

    They did edit my letter and even took out a sentence. I ended the second to last paragraph with this sentence: “It is an outrage.” I guess we aren’t supposed to be outraged but instead just do as we are told and pass the tax increase so this madness can continue. My bet is that both local papers will endorse both the CARD tax increase and the sales tax increase. If so they will be complicit with this corruption.

    It’s appalling that no one in the local media is informing the public that the city council is going to use the money to get the city hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. And if anyone doubts that I challenge them to contact each city council member and get them to promise the tax increase money will not be used to take on more debt. And if they break that promise to promise to resign.

    Anyone paying attention can see what is going to happen if this tax increase passes. The money will go into the general fund where pensions and raises come first and everything else comes last. Just look at the roads for proof. Once the money is in the general fund they can do anything they want with it.

    And the added debt burden along with no pension reform will lead to more tax increases in the future. And of course they will use our tax money again on another propaganda firm to sell us these tax increases.

    A cycle of corruption by a corrupt government!

    • Juanita Sumner October 25, 2019 at 11:53 am #

      my theory is that the ER is really hurting for subscribers (according to wikipedia their circulation is less than 10,000) and they think pandering to the transient/drug addict advocates will help.

      That doesn’t mean we should stop writing letters, because like you say, the local media aren’t journalists, they aren’t investigating the claims these local tax grabbers are making, they’re just publishing the propaganda they’re handed.

  2. Donna Chang October 25, 2019 at 7:16 pm #

    I recently moved back to Chico and would like some suggestions on what I can do to help.

    • Juanita Sumner October 26, 2019 at 5:39 am #

      Thanks for stopping by Donna Chang, good question! One suggestion I have, go to the city website here:


      and familiarize yourself with the city of Chico’s many commissions and committees (although not all those listed are still active), read agendas and staff reports, and then do your own research on these issues. Then contact your city leaders and tell them what you think. Check the agendas once a week, or, ask the clerk to put you on the notification list for one or another of these committees, she’ll send you the agenda a few days ahead. That’s debbie.presson@chicoca.gov

      And take the time to attend one of those daytime meetings – by the time an issue goes to council it’s already been hashed over, sometimes for several years, and council members have already made up their minds. You also have a better opportunity to get into a real conversation in the smaller meetings, ask serious questions. You will also see the behind-the-scenes folks who really influence city business.

      Thanks again, and keep us posted!

    • Dave October 26, 2019 at 8:13 pm #

      I agree with what was already said. In addition if you could get the word out any way you can that would be great. If possible write letters to the ER and News and Review. Let your voice be heard! And encourage others to do the same.

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