The discussion is finally getting interesting

13 Jun

Last week’s meetings (6/9 continued to 6/10) were the most outrageous yet. You can get an entertaining and informative recap from Rob Berry here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/chicofirst.org/

“One day later, another city council recap, June 10, 2020”

Berry’s a lawyer, he understands a lot more of this crap than the average housewife, and he loves to yak, so I like to read his recaps.

I also like to check the comments on Chico Engaged. I don’t think Engaged is a substitute for open meetings, but it’s an interesting site. For example, the biggest conversation regarding this past week’s meetings was the tax measure. Of 87 comments, I only counted 3 or 4 that said they would support a simple measure. The rest registered themselves as “opposed.” A few of those said they wouldn’t support any tax, others expressed a willingness to discuss a 2/3’s measure, even support it. Most of those cited public safety, but a few others mentioned roads.

Troubling to me was that some actually mentioned schools – it’s scary how little people know about the government and which agency funds what. The city has nothing to do with the schools, in fact, those agencies are often pitted against each other over property issues like mowing weeds and bum camps.

The most common reason to oppose was distrust in the current Chico City Council – 44 comments included that as a reason they would not support the proposed measure. Some named Ory, Stone, Brown and Huber directly, some included Schwab, and a couple included “the city manager.”

Here’s a high note – 22 people complained that the discussion was taking place in closed meetings. Some cited the shut down as their only or main reason to reject the sales tax measure, accusing the council of trying to shove a poor measure through the chute behind closed doors.

Which brings the conversation back to the mistrust in council and staff. Look further at the Chico First site, I see these comments:

“If 30 or 40 Chico City employees would reduce their fat bloated salaries, we might have enough money to operate.”

It is so refreshing to read someone else’s thoughts on that, I was afraid people are deaf, dumb and blind to the payroll expenses. I wish everybody was this interested in the budget.

Here’s another that says it pretty plain.

“If the council weren’t crooks wasting the tax money they already have and actually used it for its said purposes the city wouldn’t be in this situation! Cut the council’s salaries! NO NEW TAXES! Screw you your vagrants, addicts, park campers and the crime that you fucks promote! To hell with your communist college too!”

It’s comforting to know that other people know about little perks like the council members’ salaries and, hopefully, their overgenerous health packages. And, as I knew, people are pissed off about what the “homeless industrial complex” is doing to our town. But you know, I haven’t heard the college called “communist” since I was a kid!

Finally, a really well thought-out response to the weird meeting I watched on Tuesday night:

“My three thoughts from this meeting.

First, I found Chris Constantine’s presentation uncomfortable. I didn’t appreciate him telling the council his marriage ended because his job is so hard. The simple fact is the citizens of Chico do not trust this council or staff to spend the money wisely.

Second, I laughed out loud when the discussion of ‘sunsetting’ the sales tax came up. When has a tax ever seen a sunset? 😂

Third, did anybody catch Mark Orme’s sneaky maneuver with the Homeless Solutions Coordinator position during the budget discussion? When Joy Amaro was brought on board, it was only funded as a 4-month trial. When Ann asked about that approaching end date, Mark Orme said: ‘I asked them to put that in my budget…the full year’s worth of funding.’ Ann’s reply: ‘I appreciate that you have done that. I think that’s an investment this community really can’t go without.’ Hmmm.

The whole presentation was unbelievable. Very emotional, unprofessional, troubling behavior. Constantin’s melt-down, then Ory’s stuttering, shaking, desperate delivery, followed by a very visibly pissed off Mark Orme. I sense a lot of trouble Downtown. These people can’t even run their own lives, but they think we should be grateful to have them? Grateful to the tune of paying their outrageous salaries and then paying them again in pension? Thank you Mother, may I have another?

And no, I have never seen a tax sunset, including the recent sales tax that Governor Moonbeam foisted on us as temporary and then put it on the next ballot as permanent. It passed – people get used to things fast, especially when they are not implemented for a year after the election, as Ory suggests for this measure. People forget, and then they don’t notice a few pennies here and there. Ka-CHING!

And yes, while they keep telling us Orme just laid off 11 employees (which is misleading, they were empty and part-time positions, even interns), they don’t talk about the hiring of Amaro or the new Public Information Officer. Full time positions with benefits.

I’m so glad others are hip to the poor decisions and the misleading by staff that add up to a big mess for those of us who pay for all of it.

Yeah, what a meeting. So now we have a proposal for a half-cent tax that will not take effect for one year after the election and which will sunset in a short amount of time – did Ory say 9 years or something like that? But thank goodness we have some voters who question what’s going on. The discussion is finally picking up.

11 Responses to “The discussion is finally getting interesting”

  1. Dave June 13, 2020 at 8:49 pm #

    No matter how much they take, they will be back for more.

    Some jurisdictions in this state have sales taxes over 10%, and none of them have solved their unfunded liability problems.

    The politicians who run the cities of this state have no intention of reforming the unfunded liabilities.

    Instead they will take every penny they can from the taxpayers.

    • Juanita Sumner June 14, 2020 at 5:48 am #

      I get that too – they’ve got a good thing going, and they’re just going to keep sticking it to us. We have to rip them off the teat, it’s for their own good.

    • Juanita Sumner June 14, 2020 at 5:49 am #

      OMG – a vote for this tax would be ENABLING THEM!

  2. DH Grumbles June 14, 2020 at 10:03 pm #

    What about Butte County Supervisor’s salary and pensions? Also the rest,Town of Paradise, Cal-Fire, Chico PD, Paradise PD, Chico City, Oroville City, Gridley on and on. Salaries and pensions probably use most of all the budgets. Whatever nothing to see here.

    On Sat, Jun 13, 2020, 3:07 PM Chico Taxpayers Association wrote:

    > Juanita Sumner posted: ” Last week’s meetings (6/9 continued to 6/10) were > the most outrageous yet. You can get an entertaining and informative recap > from Rob Berry here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/chicofirst.org/ “One > day later, another city council recap, June 10, 2” >

    • Juanita Sumner June 15, 2020 at 1:58 pm #

      Thanks DH, I remember you from when you ran for Supervisor against Doug Teeter Dist 5. I was shocked at the size of the county supervisor package.

      Hey, do county supervisors get a pension?

  3. bob June 15, 2020 at 7:55 am #

    Gas tax going up again. Another 3.2 cents a gallon. It’s the automatic tax increase that could have been repealed if Prop 6 would have passed. But the voters in their infinite insanity did not pass it. That was in part due to voters not bothering to read the measure and of course the deception in how the Democrat AG wrote the measure.

    Anyway, the tax goes up every year and that means even more money for the Chico government. Money that will NOT go to roads as it should. My understanding is that all the SB1 money goes into the general fund where much of it gets diverted to the pensions, etc.

    Anyway, we pay over 50 cents a gallon for tax on gas. That does not include the sales tax on top of it all. And it goes up every year which proves no matter how much they take from us, it is never enough.

    https://ktla.com/news/california/californias-gas-tax-set-to-increase-july-1-but-lawmakers-calling-for-freeze-on-higher-levy-amid-coronavirus/

    • Juanita Sumner June 15, 2020 at 2:02 pm #

      Wow, that sounds like a good slogan for a campaign sign – “It’s Never Enough, No on (tax measure)”

      Thanks for the heads up Bob. People need to read stuff before they vote.

  4. Robyn Engel June 20, 2020 at 7:56 pm #

    I was appreciating this page until I read your term “bum camps.” That’s horrendously insensitive towards human beings. Poverty is not a crime. Stigmatizing our most impoverished only fuels crimes against them. By the way, a 1 or .5 percent sales tax, which is a highly contentious issue for so many people of privilege, is not the issue at hand nationally or globally. Racial justice and police brutality is. It would’ve been nice to see something about that here. Absence is silence, which is complicity with racism and white supremacy. But your “bum camp” comment already indicated your stance.

    • Juanita Sumner June 21, 2020 at 5:29 am #

      I’m sorry to offend you by expressing my feelings. You offend me quite regularly too, but you’ll notice, I still posted your comment and responded without judging you.

      Do you think I’m “of privilege” because I don’t sleep in the bushes at night? Because I’m a “WHITE WOMAN”? Do you know that for a fact? Maybe you should spend a day with me before you make your judgement Robyn. You’re stigmatizing me girlfriend!

      Let’s be serious here – sales tax is on every non-food item you buy – soap, toothpaste, all personal care products. It’s on non-prescription medicines like aspirin, cold and flu medicine. Socks, shoes, underwear – all sales taxable. When I buy school supplies for my kids, I pay sales tax on those. Sales tax hurts the low-income the most. If you can’t get together with me on that point, I don’t need to listen to your whining crap about evil and social injustice.

      • Robyn Engel June 21, 2020 at 11:24 am #

        A bit histrionic, privileged, yes privileged, as an I, because we don’t have to sleep in bushes, White woman. I’ve only responded once so I’m unsure about what “many times” you’re referencing. Perhaps you’re mistaking me for all of those more enlightened folks who are fighting for racial justice versus to clench tightly to your every dollar – as if you earned it through superior worth. #BlackLivesMatter #Justice4DesmondPhillips and all who are seen as “less than” you

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