We need to change the guard on our transient friendly city council

7 Mar

This is the sight that greeted me when I went to pick up my mail yesterday.

My husband and I went out of town for a couple of days this past week and when we came back to Chico on Friday we immediately went to check our Post Office box. Our home box is on the street, and in this day and age, that’s just not secure. So we pay a little over $100/year for what’s supposed to be secure – a locking box within a building that is supposed to be locked up tight from 7pm to 7am.

We drove up to the front of the annex – named after Chico’s first postmaster, A.H. Barber. No relation to the man after whom the Barber neighborhood was named. I just sat there staring at it, my mind was on grocery shopping and the day’s chores, I couldn’t process what I saw. The windows were covered with plywood, the door was chained, and there was a notice sending us next door to the main building. I knew it would be bad, it was lunch time. Yes, the conga line stretched across the office and into the main post box annex and out onto the sidewalk, twisting around the building into the parking lot.

I couldn’t find anything on any local media website, so I contacted Chico First and was told that there was a fire in the annex, assumed to have been started by a transient camping inside the building. That is not official, I don’t know where Rob Berry got that information, but it is consistent with what I know about that building.

This is the worst yet in a long history of problems with the Barber Unit.  I haven’t kept track of how many times the front door has been broken since the postmaster cut annex hours from 24/day to 7am – 7pm. Before that we would regularly come in to find a person camped out under the table in front of the windows. We’d see them going through the garbage so we stopped using those bins for “sensitive” junk mail, afraid they’d take one or another of the constant credit card offers and use it to fraud us.

We have lived within walking distance of that annex for about 20 years, but I wouldn’t be caught walking in my neighborhood after dark these days. In fact, attacks have happened in broad daylight along that stretch of Vallombrosa between One Mile and Rite Aid, including a recent very savage attack on an elderly gentleman right in front of the post office building.

One thing that would help would  be the post office (Federal Government) hiring a 24 hour security detail to patrol that whole property between the main post office and the annex, including the parking lot behind the building. The US postmaster general, Megan J. Brennan, can be reached at Megan.J.Brennan@usps.gov  I’ve had success with contacting her office before, when a friend of mine had a problem with Chico Post Office. It was solved within a week.

But I think Chico PD has the authority to arrest people found in that building after it closes – the arsonist had to break a door to get in, that’s breaking and entering. To think a guy could set up his bedding and a fire and nobody notices? The local cops know that annex is a hotspot for transients, they know there’s people’s personal mail in those crappy little boxes, and they don’t roust bums from that annex?

I hear local citizens “declaring” a need for more cops, but I don’t know how that would help when the cops don’t do anything to stop this type of crime. They just wait until it happens and then write a report about it. That’s not because they don’t have enough personnel – the chief boasts 140 sworn officers and over 100 volunteers. The VIPs will bring in your mail while you’re on vacation – hey, think they might patrol the post office annex?

I’m just getting so sick of cries for more tax money – money is not going to make this problem go away. We need to find some candidates for city council that is not transient friendly. Randall Stone has got to go in 2020, and Alex Brown needs to follow him out the door in 2022.

No more transient friendly city council.





6 Responses to “We need to change the guard on our transient friendly city council”

  1. Jim March 7, 2020 at 6:15 pm #

    I also have a PO box there. I’m going to close it out and just receive my mail at home from now on.

    A worker in the building reported that the fire was in the trash can, which was moved to the center of the room.

    Yes, it looks like arson.

    The homeless problem is complex. To me it’s a glaring signal that the economy isn’t working for the lower class. We are approaching the homeless level of the great depression. The difference now it the drug use that wasn’t there 90 years ago.

    It’s important to remember that not all homeless are the same. Some are locals, many have jobs who just can’t afford or find an affordable place to live.

    Some are elderly and disabled.

    Others are mentally ill. As you have pointed out, Butte Co. Mental Health has imported some into our community.

    Others are criminals. The police often interact with ones having warrants from other states. Usually the other state won’t pay for extradition. Many of us suspect they were dumped here by law enforcement elsewhere. Making their problem our problem.

    Each of these types need a separate solution.

    We need more affordable housing, especially for the elderly and disabled.

    We need better mental health care.

    We need more law enforcement and a bigger jail.

    The DA should investigate homeless dumping from other areas.

    Frankly I’m as frustrated as most other people. All the solutions require money that we don’t have. I really don’t know if this is a problem that can be solved.

    • Juanita Sumner March 8, 2020 at 6:04 am #

      One solution would be to start at the top. Our public employees are the worst junkies I know, hooked on their big salaries and benefits, they ruin the economy for the rest of us while providing NO SERVICE. They want the transient transfers for the money – roughly $8 million a year coming in because of the “Shelter Crisis Designation” and for kicking the kids’ BMX track off the fairgrounds to “consolidate” services for indigents.

      Suspicion is one thing – look at the county budgets Jim, you’ll see the transfers. Look at the agendas.

      I’m a landlady and a mother, I know how people are struggling. I’m struggling to provide housing for other people in a town that treats me like some kinda sugar momma. Now they want me to pay for special needle bins for bums – that’s the latest proposal from Der Stoner, tack it onto our Waste Management bills.

      The biggest problem we have right now is our public management. I’m ready to go out with a lantern looking for two honest citizens to run for council in November.

  2. bob March 7, 2020 at 7:02 pm #

    The whole city council needs to go and all the administrators need to be fired.

    Instead they all will demand more money from us. The city council unanimously voted to advance the sales tax last year. Morgan and Reynolds didn’t vote no. Instead they went right along with the idiots who are letting this city get trashed. So much for the so-called conservatives. They, too, are just tools of the special interests. That’s why they let the roads and everything else fall apart, to divert the money to their special interest pals. They do whatever the bureaucracy and government unions tell them to do.

    The fact is these people are supposed to work for us but instead we work for them. It’s way past time we fire them all.

    • Juanita Sumner March 8, 2020 at 6:06 am #

      We have to find responsible, competent and honest people to take their places.

  3. concernedcitizen575 March 7, 2020 at 7:08 pm #

    Absolutely – Stone needs to go in 2020. Ann Schwab has also worn out her welcome. Although she appears to question policy, she rarely strays from voting with Stone and Brown.

    • Juanita Sumner March 8, 2020 at 6:13 am #

      Yes, I believe Ann has had her shot and should step down. She’s made some horrible decisions and led the city downhill a number of times. I can’t think of anything positive that has come out of her tenure.

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