Yeats: What rough beast, it’s hour come round at last, slouches toward Chico to be elected?

3 Jan

The other day I wrote this post

about how the city inflates our utility bills with franchise fees and then turns around and adds 5% Utility User’s Tax to the total. The city takes over $7 million a year in UUT, from our PG&E, water and landlines, after adding a franchise fee to our PG&E rates.  They also add franchise fees to our garbage and Comcast bills. In addition to constant rate hikes, none of which the city of Chico has ever protested, we have two taxes, both fairly well hidden. 

In this way the city of Chico took advantage of people who had been through a horror story known as “The Camp Fire”.  I asked city finance manager Scott Dowell just exactly how much the city of Chico profited from the tragedy, and I was shocked with the total.

“Utility Users Tax receipts exceeded budget by $99,738 for the year ended June 30, 2019.”

That’s only seven months after the fire. $100,000 in seven months – wow. That’s about $14,000/month. I’m assuming most of the evacuees had relocated out of Chico by June, but I also believe we can assume that most of this “boost” came from those people who were still driving cars with the rear-end lights melted off. 

I didn’t live in Paradise but I saw stuff that changed my life. It changed the way I feel about Chico, a  town I’ve known since I was born, and lived in most of my adult life. I saw an ugly side of Chico – city management – and I’ll never feel the same way about this town again. 

Orme, Constantin and Dowell need to go. Schwab, Stone, Ory and Morgan are at the end of their terms, and I think it’s time to show them the door as well. But what candidates do we have to choose from? Good question.

4 Responses to “Yeats: What rough beast, it’s hour come round at last, slouches toward Chico to be elected?”

  1. Joe January 5, 2020 at 6:09 am #

    Webster New Collegiate Dictionary ,1961 Hardbound edition, lists the following definitions of desirable attributes we should deem important when voting for or accepting elected or non elected appointed government office holders. Notice, I do not call these individuals “public servants”. So often they are very self serving individuals. They would like to have you think that “they have your back, when then really do not”.

    That said I list 1) Integrity – moral soundness, uprightness 2) Honesty – truthfulness, freedom from fraud, stealth or deception 3) Accountability – able to be held to account, answerable 4) Transparency – quality or state of being transparent, readily understood, clear 5) Experienced – having experience, skillful or wise 6) Reliability – suitable or fit to be relied upon, trustworthy 7) Morality – virtuous practices of principles of human conduct 8) Scruples – hesitations as to action for difficulty of determining right or fitting 9) Spirituality – quality or state of being spiritual. I realize this last attribute can be highly controversial. Nevertheless, each of these plays an important part in our self governing representative democracy.

    Recognizing the presence or absence of these attributes in government, be it local, county, state or federal can mean the difference between greatness or utter disaster for us collectively. Locally, county wide and state wide we are having to confront infrastructure – roads, street lighting, safety – fire and police, housing, jobs. environmental concerns- be they climate or pollution, or homelessness and its attendant criminal behavior. Along with these, there are financial difficulties surrounding salaries pensions and other perks of government employees. How we handle these matters takes individuals possessing all of the above attributes.

    • Juanita Sumner January 5, 2020 at 7:09 am #

      Thanks Joe. I read a quote attributed to Teddy Roosevelt – “public servants should be of the highest moral caliber”. In 1901 he told Congress, ” in the long run the sole justification of any type of government lies in its proving itself both honest and efficient.”

      None of that is true of today’s government, locally or nationally, neither of elected nor appointed officials. The voters have been lazy and allowed themselves to be flattered and misled. Our education system has failed at teaching critical thinking – in fact, I believe, public schools discourage critical thinking and teach kids to accept what they hear from tv and other media as facts instead of encouraging them to ask questions.

      We need to stand up and demand more of candidates for public office. Here are some good budget questions for prospective city council candidates, you can find the answers here:

      Click to access 2019-20CityAnnualFINALBudget.pdf

      1) what is the total adopted budget figure for 2019-20?
      2) what is the total city payroll with benefits?
      3) what is the “MPEC” and why are the figures in the negative?
      4) what is the Pension Stabilization Trust?
      5) how is the PST funded?

      I talked to a candidate in the 2018 candidate race who didn’t even know the name of our city manager – much less how much he is paid in total compensation, or how much he pays toward his own pension. If they can’t answer basic questions about our town they have no business running for office.

      • bob January 5, 2020 at 10:12 am #

        I read a quote attributed to Teddy Roosevelt – “public servants should be of the highest moral caliber”.

        These are the kinds of public “servants” we have today and what is considered to be “the highest moral caliber.” Your tax dollars at work:

    • bob January 5, 2020 at 12:41 pm #

      Unfortunately the nature of government is corruption

      “Corruption is not some kind of petty crime but rather a tool of power in democracies and dictatorships.”

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