Airport Commissioner trying to sell us a bag of rainbows, lollipops and bull puckey

12 Nov

Does Chico really need air service? I don’t think so, and this letter from Airport Commissioner B.T. Chapman is full of holes. 

Your “miss” comments on November 2 about the initiative to rename the airport certainly does nothing to help the many people working tirelessly behind the scenes to return air service to Chico.

First of all, I’d like to ask Chapman, how “many“?  Because most of the meetings on this subject are held at a private location, by a small private group, without notice of the public, without oversight by city staffers, and without any notes or videos available for review. I’m not a lawyer or I’d raise a Brown Act question, instead I’ll just say, it seems the public is being held out of this conversation by the forehead.

(NOTE: In fact, about a year ago, Chapman put his name on a letter sent to the Enterprise Record, but I found out it was actually written by ChicoJet member Norm Rosene. See the link at the end of this post.)

Chapman continues, “If you had participated in the research done by the 2-member committee appointed by the airport commission you would understand the proven marketing value of an effectively named airport. We’re not playing games here nor chasing a far-fetched “dream.”


A “2-member committee” – that answers my question – a 2 member, self appointed committee that already had an agenda. That’s not research, it’s rationalization.


Renaming the airport is not designed to attract an airline. We already have strong indicators there is interest in returning to Chico. Further, the JetChico attraction committee already has proven business support to return air service.

No, the renaming of the airport is not designed to attract an airline. Yes, the airport manager claims there are airlines with some interest in reestablishing air service to Chico. But, these airlines have made it clear they will not do so unless the city guarantees hundreds of thousands in revenues to the airline. What renaming the airport is supposed to do is get the taxpayers all on board, happy to put down tax dollars to subsidize (and that’s the word they use) a service that will only be used by a small portion of the population.

Returning air service is serious business with significant economic benefits to our city and convenience to our citizens and those in the counties that border Butte.

In  your dreams B.T. – if air service is so important to local citizens, why wasn’t it even mentioned, even in passing, in that $25,000 survey the city just ran?

— B T Chapman, Chico

Okay, that’s a point blank lie. We’ve never had reliable air service in Chico, people were constantly left stranded, either in Chico, or in San Francisco. Furthermore, the airlines refused to refund tickets when this happened, leaving people to pay for hotel rooms and then re-purchase tickets, or call for a ride home from San Francisco. This happened to my family and plenty of others.

Chapman is grasping at straws to convince us to pay for something from which most of us will never receive any benefit.

Get on the bandwagon…”? Here’s a good quote from “bandwagon is a trend that is so cool everyone wants to get in on it. If you start wearing a flowerpot on your head because everyone else is, you’ve jumped on a strange fashion bandwagon. Originally, a bandwagon was a large wagon that did indeed carry a band. Now it’s an idea — people jump on the bandwagon when they hop on a trend.”

This reminds me of the suggestion made by a $200,000 consultant hired by the city at the suggestion of JetChico a few years back. He suggested city staffers get pilot and stewardess costumes (paid for by the taxpayers), and then stroll around town, at public events like Saturday Market, trying to convince the public that it is, indeed, fun to fly!

This is the kind of bullshit our tax dollars are used for. This is what a new sales tax increase would pay for. Write a letter to the airport commission via
NOTE: You might ask Miller if Chapman did indeed write this letter.  Here’s the post I did last year about another letter signed by B.T. Chapman, but actually authored by ChicoJet member Norm Rosene. Ask yourself, is it okay for a public official to sign a letter that was written by somebody else? Who is really running the airport commission? 

10 Responses to “Airport Commissioner trying to sell us a bag of rainbows, lollipops and bull puckey”

  1. Jim November 12, 2019 at 7:06 am #

    I’ve been stranded in San Francisco when the flight back to Chico has been cancelled. I’ve also been at Chico airport when my flight was cancelled. So Sacramento has been the less expensive and more reliable airport.

    The Chico airport has been a money pit. We keep throwing money at reopening the airport when there are so many other needs in town.

    • Juanita Sumner November 13, 2019 at 12:13 pm #

      Thanks Jim, I agree. There are real needs at the airport itself, like treat the tenants better. The airport is a business park that already contributes to the local economy. I know big businesses have left because the city has been a bad landlord. And you know how they run the gas station and the Fixed Base of Operations – left Governor Schwarzenegger at a locked gate, etc.

      I think the city should sell the airport, maybe Doug Guillon would buy it.

  2. Dave November 12, 2019 at 7:38 am #

    And then there’s Huber’s letter in the ER today. Anyone see that?

    Huber said this:

    Regarding bad roads, Mr. Morgan has repeatedly opposed having revenue generation discussions designed to solve our $188 million backlog of road work (created prior to the current council).

    What’s he complaining about? Both Morgan and Reynolds voted in favor of going forward with the sales tax increase?

    And he goes on

    I’d welcome proposals from my respected colleagues Morgan and Reynolds on solutions to Chico’s many challenges, as yet I’ve heard almost none. They may find that it is easier to take shots at others proposals than to come up with one’s own.

    Well, how about reforming city employee compensation, especially the pensions? That problem is the reason the roads and everything else is falling apart.

    And Huber should know the sales tax increase is not going to fix the pension problem. And if he doesn’t know that he shouldn’t be on the city council.

    But I think he knows which is why he and the rest of the city council is going to use the money from the tax increase to take on hundreds of millions of new debt.

    • Juanita Sumner November 12, 2019 at 7:46 am #

      That is a point we need to hammer – survey respondents DID NOT SUPPORT A BOND, but they will get one anyway.

      For that matter, look at the end of that survey – there is less than 2/3’s support for the sales tax increase.

  3. bob November 12, 2019 at 8:51 am #

    Must read article

    “A sales tax increase of 0.75% was on the ballot in the cities of Claremont, Irwindale, Monrovia, Sierra Madre and South Pasadena. As of Friday morning, only Claremont voters said no, but the margin there had narrowed to 50.98% to 49.02%.

    Why do voters approve tax increases? The ballot language of Measure C in South Pasadena was typical of the genre:

    “To maintain 9-1-1 emergency response times, including to home break-ins and thefts; neighborhood, school and park police patrols, fire/paramedic services, fire station operations, emergency preparedness; retain/attract local businesses; maintain streets/infrastructure; provide other general services and maintain City finances, shall the City of South Pasadena establish a 3/4¢ sales tax providing approximately $1,500,000 annually until ended by voters, all funds remaining in South Pasadena?”

    The word “pension” is never mentioned, because pension obligations have first call on the tax revenue already collected, pulling money away from priorities listed in the ballot language. City officials could tell voters that budget pressures are caused by rising pension obligations, but if they put that on the ballot, voters probably wouldn’t approve the tax increase

    Nonetheless, the truth about city budgets was revealed in a report from the State Auditor. Nearly half of all cities in California are facing a “high risk” of fiscal problems in the future due to pension liabilities.”

    • Juanita Sumner November 13, 2019 at 12:04 pm #

      Wow only nearly half?

      We should look over that EMC survey again. The proposed ballot measures seemed to be specific in their promises for Public Safety. I think the city measure should have to get 2/3 to pass, but we’ll see what they flop out on the ballot.

  4. bob November 13, 2019 at 6:11 pm #

    Here are a couple more very good articles. Every member of the city council should read these. Instead, they don’t even mention the problem and raise our taxes and get us deeper in debt. That’s criminal.

    • Juanita Sumner November 14, 2019 at 5:38 am #

      Thanks, I hope everybody will try to write letters to council, and the newspapers, and let them know – we see what you’re doing, and you will be held accountable at election time.

  5. Donna Chang November 13, 2019 at 7:31 pm #

    Hi All,
    I’m still settling in and trying to figure out the day council meetings as Juanita suggested. It’s so confusing, which I assume is the point.

    At any rate, I left Chico in 2006 and my first impression upon returning is what the hell happened to the streets?? Are people wearing tire chains? Streets in Truckee aren’t this chewed up. Nice stupid roundabouts though, I’m sure my car’s suspension appreciates the thought.

    Forget the fricking airport and fill the potholes!

    • Juanita Sumner November 14, 2019 at 5:36 am #

      Hi Donna, it’s good to have you back.

      What a coincidence – 2006 was about the year everything started to take a slow slide down the toilet, the public had no idea. At some point in the early 2000’s, Tom Lando brought a “memo of understanding” to council that attached city salaries to revenue increases, “but not decreases”. Over the next few years, staff went on a permits binge, approving every subdivision that came down the pike. Council handed out raises – 14%, 19%, 22% – every year. Lando’s salary went from around $165,000/year to almost $190,000. When Lando retired, his successor Greg Jones was hired at $190,000 – what happened to the days when the new guy had to prove himself, and start at the bottom?

      Even when the bust came, those salaries have kept going up, because of that memo, and threats of lawsuits from unions. CalPERS has stepped up their demands as the market has not performed as they promised, and council just rolls over and pays because they are too stupid to fight $taff. Orme and Constantin have them eating out of their managerial butt crack.

      So now we have several management salaries in excess of $200,000, with total comp reaching nearly $300,000. And, Orme and Constantin, and who knows how many other members of management, have got 401k’s IN ADDITION to their pensions, the city puts 10’s of thousands more into those 401k’s. They’ve established a pension liability fund that is more restricted than any other fund, siphoning in millions from all those other bottomed out funds.

      Which has left the funds for streets, sewer, parks, and even the airport in deficit for years. Furthermore, that permits binge eventually bottomed out the market and we got houses in foreclosure for 2008. The market has only now recovered, and it looks like we’re headed for another bust.

      And they want to take the sales tax proceeds and buy bonds, putting us deeper and deeper into debt as the market tanks.

      So, I hope you’ll get out there and spread the word – the city is waggling carrots on a stick – new airport, more cops, new streets, new parks/playgrounds – carrots they do not intend to give us. They’ve tied the Camp Fire evacuees to the whipping post, telling us these people have put a “strain” on our services? People who already worked and shopped in Chico?

      Tell everybody you know, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PENSIONS!

      And let me know if there’s a meeting you have interest in attending, I’ll see if I can make it. It’s good to have witnesses.

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