Archive | September, 2020

This one’s for Yvonne Johnson and all her Facebook friends!

29 Sep

I love Jennifer Coolidge, and I got a heckler today! So here’s what Coolidge has to say about hecklers. The first card is for Facebook gadfly Yvonne Johnson, who seems to think she can come to where I work and threaten me.


   HJTA and KABC launch “The Howard Jarvis Podcast” – “A Primer to Costly Propositions”

24 Sep

A reader sent me a news release from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and KABC AM790 have teamed up to
produce a weekly podcast featuring great conversation and insights on
issues that are important to California taxpayers.

“The Howard Jarvis Podcast” features HJTA President Jon Coupal and Vice
President of Communications Susan Shelley. Recent episodes have focused
on voter rolls and election integrity, and last-minute efforts by the
state legislature to raid the wallets of California residents. The
latest episode features “A Primer to Costly Propositions.”

CLICK HERE to listen now.


The weekly shows can be played or downloaded on HJTA’s website,


and on KABC’s website at


“The Howard Jarvis Podcast” can also be found on Spotify and wherever podcasts are available.

Yes, this is a conservative organization, and the host is pretty direct in her comments – think you can handle another point of view? Sometimes it’s good to listen to somebody else, and see how their thoughts affect the way you think. Too often people are afraid that if they listen to someone with a  different take on a situation, they might be too weak in their own convictions to resist.

If you want to see more details, here’s a fairly objective site – Ballotpedia

Ballotpedia lists important stuff like the ballot measure text and arguments for and against, who supports/opposes a proposition, did it originate from a voter petition or legislative tinkering, and who’s putting how much money into it. 

When you do your own research, and you open your mind to others’ opinions, it oftentimes reinforces your views. Give it a whack.


Another hair-brained scheme from Orme and Constantin – Finance Committee to discuss leasing our streets to pay the pension deficit. No, I’m not joking.

21 Sep

This Wednesday the city Finance Committee will be discussing the Unfunded Pension Liability. The agenda says they plan to “restructure,” but you know, the real dirt is in the reports, available at this link.

So, I wrote a letter to the paper about it yesterday. We’ll see if Speed Wolcott (if he’s even in town) can get it in before the meeting! 

Chico Finance Committee meets this week (9/23) to discuss “restructuring” the $146,000,000 pension deficit. Topics include a Pension Obligation Bond and “lease revenue bonds”.

Pension obligation bonds (POBs) are taxable bonds used to fund the unfunded portion of pension liabilities with borrowed money.  The presumption is that investments will pay the debt service. However, as with CalPERS, failure to achieve the targeted rate of return means the taxpayer is stuck with the debt service on the bonds.  And, we’re still stuck with the pension deficit. POB’s are a jump out of the frying pan, into the fire.

“Lease revenue bonds” involve municipalities issuing bonds (borrowing money) using their own city streets or buildings as collateral to pay down their unfunded pension liabilities. From the 9/23 agenda: “A lease revenue bond structure (leased asset required, such as streets or buildings) would avoid validation process [meaning, the voters] and could proceed on quicker schedule.”

Essentially, a city leases their streets to a special Financing Authority, which will pay the city their up-front money, and “rent” the streets back to the city, in order to pay off the bonds. (Forbes)

And the taxpayers pay the “rent”.  “The municipality will generally appropriate money during each budget session to meet the lease [rent] payment.” (Forbes) These appropriations come at the cost of public safety and infrastructure.

Lease revenue bonds are essentially pension obligation bonds, but can “proceed on quicker schedule” because there’s no voter approval.

A real solution for the pension crisis – ask employees to pay more.

Juanita Sumner, Chico CA

Newsom and Harris take their personal agendas too far in invading family tragedy

19 Sep

“A California family has accused Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris and Gov. Gavin Newsom of trespassing on their fire-ravaged property for a photo opportunity.

A California family has accused Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris and Gov. Gavin Newsom of trespassing on their fire-ravaged property for a photo opportunity during their tour of a burn zone

This picture says it all for me – look at her posture as she takes a selfie in front of a stranger’s burnt home.  When I toured Paradise the first time after the Camp Fire my knees were weak, I was sobbing within minutes. I still cry when I go to Paradise, every time I have to deal with the bullshit red tape they’ve thrown up to rebuild our burn down.  This woman doesn’t give a fuck about anybody but herself. Same for Newsom.

Newsom and Harris were obviously using a family’s personal tragedy to advance their personal agendas. And Harris made it clear, she was victimizing these people because, “Voting records show that Patten and his mother, Bonnie Patten, (the victims) are registered Republicans, the outlet said.” 

“Harris told reporters as they filmed her walking around the property: ‘These are the stories behind these fires. The people who are victimized by these, they could care less – and their children could care less – who they voted for in the last election.’”

Oooo, what a total bitch this woman is!  And you know Newsom expects to be her VP pick when she runs for President in 2024. 

This is why I’m voting Trump in 2020. 


New trend – California municipalities are “leasing” city streets to pay their pension deficit – a sneaky way to get a new tax past the voters

13 Sep

I was looking at Pension Tsunami

and found this recent article from Forbes about how a city can make an end run around the voters by using streets and roads as security for bonds. You have to read it to believe it.

“They’re using a bond-issuing mechanism called ‘lease revenue bonds.’ We’re all used to cities paying for public works, stadiums, and the like by issuing bonds which are paid off by a dedicated revenue source — sewer bills, hotel taxes, etc. But lease revenue bonds are different.”

According to Charles Schwab, “Instead of issuing long-term debt, like general obligation bonds do, to finance improvements on a public facility, the municipality may enter into an arrangement that uses lease revenue bonds. Often a trust, not the municipality, issues bonds and generates revenues to pay the bonds back by leasing the facility to the municipality. The municipality will generally appropriate money during each budget session to meet the lease payment.”

General obligation bonds require voter approval, but as staff described in their sales tax measure pitch earlier this year, there are ways to get bonds without voter approval. This is just one way.

Here’s how it’s a tax – once they make this deal, they can just “appropriate money” during each budget session to make whatever payments the lender demands.  “Appropriate” is a Legalese for TAKE. If you look at the agendas for city council meetings you see an appropriation at almost every meeting. A “lease revenue bond” is how they officially pass their pension deficit onto the taxpayers – they borrow money specifically to pay their pension deficit, using city infrastructure as collateral, and then it’s OUR debt, not theirs. 

This is what Chris Constantin and Mark Orme were intending to do with the money generated from the sales tax measure they tried to put on the November ballot. They were going to “secure” bonds, using the sales tax proceeds they told us would go toward fixing streets to make the payments. You can watch Orme’s presentation regarding the bond at the June 23 meeting and Constantin’s emotional plea for the tax measure at the July 7 meeting here:

Nobody brought that bond up during the council discussion. When members of the public raised the question Orme actually denied it – having made a presentation that is available on tape? They were trying to pull a fast one, and they knew it. Stone rejected the proposal, ending the conversation about a tax measure for now, but he never raised the issue of the bond. I would fully expect Chico City staff to try to pull out something like this in future, and we need to let council know it’s out of the question. 

If your district is up in this election, you need to grill your candidates about the pension liability and how it will be paid.  Let the candidates know you’ve done your research, ask pointed questions. Don’t let them fake their way through another election. 

Chico’s Unfunded Pension Liability – the 8,000 pound gorilla in the room that none of the candidates want to talk about

13 Sep

As Dave reminded us yesterday, “the 8,000 pound gorilla in the room” that nobody will talk about in this election is the Unfunded Pension Liability (UAL).

The UAL has been created and perpetuated by the tiny shares that employees pay toward their own pensions – they pay less than 15% but expect to get 70 – 90% in retirement. That only works if somebody picks up the other 80 – 90%. They expect us to be that somebody, and I’m saying, NO!

And while the city manager claims repeatedly that “staff” has not had raises “for years”, the new police chief just got $21,000 more a year than the old police chief. Chico police officers get automatic raises, they are on a “step increase” plan. They also get to “cash out” unused overtime, sick and vacation days on a formula that actually pays them more not to work. They also use these cash-outs to “spike” their salaries and therefor their pensions.  Look at their contracts here:

Finance manager Dowell told me, in August 2019, that city employees pay between 9.75 and 15% of their pension cost, depending on their union group. See, the city manager negotiates these contracts with each group, and then the council just rubberstamps them. It’s time for council to do some of the negotiating. And that means, we have to hold a candle to their rear-end.

Other towns are actually cutting salaries, Chico is not only raising salaries but creating new positions – the new Public Information Officer and another management position for Public Works. This is like throwing gas on the UAL fire. Another thing that goes up automatically every year is the UAL “catch up” payment.  Finance director Scott Dowell just paid almost $10 million to CalPERS. And next year he says it will be over $11 million.

Here are questions for your district candidate:

  1. What is the UAL?  (answer: Unfunded Actuarial Liability, or pension deficit)
  2. How much is Chico’s current UAL?  (the last figure I have from Scott Dowell is $128 million, I believe it’s now over $130 million)
  3. How much money did Scott Dowell just pay toward the UAL in July of this year? (over $9 million)
  4. What are the various shares paid by different employee groups? (between 9.75 and 15%, depending on employee group)

These are terms any council member or candidate should know and understand, since they agree to all this stuff when they roll over the contracts every year. If they don’t, it’s a deal breaker as far as I’m concerned, they should not be in office.  The main reason we are currently in financial trouble is ignorance of these terms. 

So don’t let the candidates tell us what the issues are in this election – don’t let them distract you with pictures of bum camps and trash piles.  Tell them, the issue is the UAL, and who is going to pay it. 

Are you voting in November council race? For whom? If you can’t vote, and you wish you could vote, who would you vote for?

12 Sep

Friends ask me what I think of the upcoming council election, I always say my district isn’t up. But, as they usually remind me, those who get elected could most certainly wreak havoc on our lives and livelihood, as the current council is doing now. 

And today I notice, the biggest search is ‘council candidates’. I’m glad people are interested, so I guess I’ll throw my nickel down.

I hate the districts but I think we’re stuck with them. My biggest problem with the districts is they lower the number of votes a candidate needs to get elected – meaning, they actually represent a very small portion of the city, but everybody has to put up with their actions.

Here’s the link to the city website election page:

Do you know what district you’re in? I realize the boundaries are not shown that clearly. I just happened to recognize the shape of my street, and the way the fenceline runs down the neighborhood – the fence of my back yard is the boundary of my district. Cutting it pretty close, eh? Well, how’s this for close – it actually jogs over at Kasey Reynold’s house to take her residence into my district, and then jogs back. It’s pretty obvious these districts were drawn to accommodate the status quo.

If you are unsure of your district be  sure to contact the clerk’s office –  While you’re at it, thank Debbie and staff for now throwing up their hands and running away screaming.

Of course, my district is not up, so I guess I could ignore this mess until 2022. The problem being, like I said – all the council members will be in a position to screw up my life, so I guess I better pay attention.

Here’s another reason why districts are stupid – anybody can contribute to these campaigns. Your district council member can take money from anybody, so why should we only be allowed to vote for one candidate? Why did the council vote unanimously to go along with this deal instead of fighting the lawsuit?  Because both sides of the aisle think they can manipulate the districts to their favor. It’s a sad situation, but let’s talk about candidates anyway.

In District 1 we have incumbent Sean Morgan and challenger Curtis Pahlka. To his credit, Morgan has tried to hold the line regarding illegal camping and drug use. But he’s no fiscal conservative, having approved every management contract with all the perks and benies. He NEVER questions the pensions, just shakes his pompoms for the cops. Pahlka, on the other hand, is endorsed by unions like the SEIU. He’s also the darling of the local liberal fringe hangers, like Angela McLaughlin. While he has very little to say jfor himself about public policy at this point, his supporters are saying plenty.  So, in District 1, I’m endorsing Morgan.

District 3 is a real ballbuster – Incumbent Ann Schwab, who in 2012-13 tried to deny we had a financial crisis. Challenger Kami  Denlay Klingbeil, who complains about “Fires. Drug Paraphenalia. Vicious dog attacks. Assault. Attempted kidnappings. Drug deals. Human excrement. Trash. Chop shops…” but refuses to question the police as to why they don’t arrest these criminals. Steve Breedlove, whose agenda seems to be total anarchy.

I’ll tell you what sucks for me here – this district is right next to mine, right over my back fence, neighbors I’ve worked with on various issues, but I don’t get to vote. I hate the districts.

To her credit, Schwab has jumped the ideological fence a few times and voted with the conservatives, which means she’s workable. Denlay, with her childlike take on government, will just be another fist puppet for staff. Breedlove, with his total lack of civility and hystrionics, he’ll add hours to every meeting. So, in District 3, I’m endorsing Schwab.

Another toughie – District 5 – Incumbent Randall Stone, a guy with a colorful history of pissing off citizens and staff alike, he’s also been quick to back pedal when faced with a stone-toting mob. Former council member Andrew Coolidge was dumped in 2018 after jumping the conservative ship to vote with the liberals to declare a Shelter Crisis Designation, which led to the current situation in our parks and waterways. A new challenger, Lauren Kohler, a former Butte County Behavioral Health employee who currently works for a local manufacturer, is full of youthful idealism, but has very little to offer in terms of how to pay for the rainbow.  

I can’t support Coolidge because he’s the wrong kind of flipper. When he was campaigning he played to the conservatives with references to “bums” and Chico’s deteriorating public spaces. But as a council member he voted to declare a Shelter Crisis, which essentially allowed illegal camping in public lands. Meanwhile, Kohler makes no bones about wanting more services for transients, including a “come as you are” shelter. We already have a “come as you are” shelter, it’s called Butte County Jail. 

Meanwhile, looking back, I’ve actually agreed with Randall Stone on a number of issues. He and Tom Nickell made public the problems surrounding the recycling centers at various grocery stores, including what amounted to a bike “chop shop” behind the Mangrove Safeway. Stone, whether it was legal or correct or whatever, also outed a Chico PD officer for his really offensive and inappropriate behavior on Facebook. Stone took a lot of flack for that, but in the end that officer was discharged, and after seeing the stuff he put on Facebook, I’m okay with that. 

When Stone voted to totally revamp the South End of Esplanade, he got such a pantsful in the way of complaints from the public, he changed his vote. I think it takes a lot of guts for a public official to bow to the overwhelming sentiments of the voters and taxpayers.

Like when he voted against the recent sales tax increase measure. I almost had a stroke when I heard him say it. I really expected him to go along with the rest of them, I was already working on my Arguments Against for the ballot. I still don’t know if he really cares about low-income citizens, or if he just has a nose for any subtle change in the wind, but he shot that tax measure out of the saddle.

So I can live with Randy, in District 5, I’m endorsing Stone.

And then there’s District 7.  I know I don’t want Ober, who identifies too closely with the “Foul Four” and their “New Green Deal.” He is another member of the Homeless Industrial Complex who says he wants to use “imaginative ideas” to “solve homelessness” but won’t be rational on the subject of crime in Chico. He thinks everybody shares his lifestyle, he has no concept of blue collar work or low-income lifestyles. He’s what I like to call a “Happy Wanderer.” 

Meanwhile, I know nothing about Deepika Tandon except her ads are all over my computer. When I looked at her funding I saw where the money comes from – a lot of it from James Gallagher. Which means, developer money. 

I know we need affordable housing, but I’m not willing to dump environmental review just to cram in a bunch of tiny little boxes along the freeway. I don’t think you can build your way out of a housing crisis. Our housing crisis isn’t a lack of housing, it’s a lack of jobs. We need better quality jobs for people who already live in the North State. We don’t need to close manufacturing plants or pave over rice fields and orchards to build clusterfuck housing for yuppies to move here. 

District 7 is a draw. I don’t know if I can endorse Tandon, but I’ll say, I wouldn’t vote for Ober.

Issues? Next time, on This Old Voter, with Juanita!

Lou Binninger: If Gavin Newsom is not recalled, we owe Gray Davis an apology

10 Sep

As we head into another election, I think it’s important to remind everybody there is a petition circulating to recall Governor Gavin Newsom. 


Newsom’s the worst governor we’ve had since Gray Davis. Maybe worse because he refuses to learn from the past. Davis presided over the rolling blackouts and signed the agreement with CalPERS promising pie-in-the-sky pensions for peanuts. We are still paying for his poor leadership. Newsom not only perpetuates the pensions and allows the utility companies to screw California residents, he runs the COVID shut-down, the transient takeover of our parks and waterways, and allows the destruction of our forests and air quality. 

It’s easy to print and sign the petition, and send it in.  Why bother?  I’ll let Lon Binninger take it from here:

No fan of Governor Gray Davis, it was still a shock when he was petitioned to be recalled and then actually voted out October 7, 2003! There was plenty wrong with the state then, utility and pension plan corruption, the spiking of motor vehicle fees, and a huge raise for state correctional officers to get Davis re-elected. Davis was the first California Governor to be recalled and the second in US history.

However, considering the bleak state of California today, if Gavin Newsom is not recalled the citizens owe Davis an apology.

Recall proponents have until November 17 to submit 1,495,709 verifiable signatures but are hoping to present 2 million knowing that many will be disqualified. This campaign is a volunteer effort and they rarely succeed. But these are unprecedented times.

Newsom says he has five big objectives: “1) increase funding for public education, 2) protect and secure Californians’ health and health care, 3) improve water, roads, and bridges, 4) address the challenges of housing affordability and homelessness, and 5) prepare for the threats of wildfires.”

California public education is among the lowest performing in the country and is basically a union welfare and retirement fund for teachers. Unions protect bad teachers and disruptive students and they crush any attempts at better alternatives such as charter schools. Newsom is impotent on education.

As for California’s need for “secure” health care, Newsom has done nothing to eliminate limits on the number of nursing graduates at California’s colleges and universities. He basically has extended the Obamacare expensive coverages. Meanwhile he’s willing to spend hundreds of millions to provide free health care to illegal aliens, while millions of working Californians cannot afford insurance.

Citizens are repeatedly taxed to “improve water, roads, and bridges.” Newsom then takes the money to waste billions on “High Speed Rail” rather than improving the infrastructure Californians need and use. Newsom funds thousands of surplus Caltrans workers, the department responsible for making road improvements. State audits reveal billions are wasted.

Newsom has done nothing to reform CEQA, California’s bottleneck Environmental Quality Act, which buries road projects in bureaucracy and courts for years, costing additional billions. Nothing is accomplished.

California gets the national loser trophy for “housing affordability and homelessness.” Newsom’s gift is gab not getting problems solved. The process of building new suburbs and infrastructure needs to be deregulated. Instead, since regulations have made it impossible for developers to sell affordable homes and still make a profit, Newsom has deceived voters into passing tens of billions of dollars in bonds. These billions are used to pay Newsom’s friends, who are building “affordable” housing at an average cost well in excess of $500,000 per unit. He’s a crook.

How about those homeless? Economist Walter Williams says that whatever you want more of – fund it. California has done just that by the hundreds of millions of dollars. Rather than providing cost-effective shelters in low-cost areas, arrest and direct addicts into rehabs, Newsom and Democrat mayors allow the homeless to take over downtown areas and choice neighborhoods throughout the state. 

Tens of thousands of homeless squatters live lawless, openly consume hard drugs, steal for their habits, and harass working residents. The lawless need to be detained and their problems addressed once sober.

Never shy to sue, Newsom could challenge the laws and court rulings that prevent the state from helping the homeless? Why just accept them? Instead he wants to build “supportive housing” on expensive real estate. Newsom’s performance on California’s homeless crisis reveals his liberal incompetence gene. Liberal solutions make problems worse.

Finally Newsom wants to “prepare for wildfires” which he blames on the climate. Hahahaha. Newsom has never admitted that forestry mismanagement is the reason for catastrophic wildfires, or that the droughts have occurred in cycles for centuries in this state? Wisdom is to prepare for drought not change the climate. 

Why isn’t the timber industry returning to harvest diseased and dead trees and thin mature trees in exchange for clearing brush? That would cost taxpayers nothing and create jobs. Can’t Newsom admit that most of the stress on the forests is because the trees have become too dense preventing healthy trees from getting enough nutrients?

There is plenty more to say of Newsom’s acts of incompetence including shutting down the state for a faux pandemic. Sign the recall petition by going to You can print, then sign and mail the petition. Or you locate your county’s Recall Gavin Facebook page on the website to find a signing location. 


Measure E: divide and conquer

8 Sep

There are two measures on the Chico ballot this November. Look at them here:

Measure E is a weird one – the city already established the council districts, but apparently state law requires the voters to approve them. The thing is, we can’t unapprove them.  According to the city clerk, “If Measure E fails, the Charter would not change and would remain out of compliance with the CA Voting Rights Act.  We would not revert back to at large elections, nor would it negate the district elections.  We would not have to do the election over.”

Furthermore, “From my understanding, the reason that the district elections would remain in place even if the voters vote it down, is that the CVRA trumps what the Charter says.  The measure is to bring the language into compliance with the CVRA.

So you have to ask yourself – why is this on the ballot if we can’t overturn council’s decision? I looked at the CVRA.

The California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (CVRA) expands on the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it easier for minority groups in California to prove that their votes are being diluted in “at-large” elections.[1] In 1986, the United States Supreme Court established conditions that must be met to prove that minorities are being disenfranchised; the CVRA eliminated one of these requirements. Unlike the federal Voting Rights Act, the CVRA does not require plaintiffs to demonstrate a specific geographic district where a minority is concentrated enough to establish a majority. Certain cities that have never had minority representation or have a history of minority candidate suppression can be liable for triple damages and be forced to make changes within ninety days. This makes it easier for minority voters to sue local governments and eliminate at-large elections.[2] The Act was signed into law on 9 July 2002.

Look carefully folks – this is what racism looks like. The first racist assumption here is the whole idea of a “minority group” – based on what? Skin color? Last name? Speech? 

It’s not nice to judge or exclude people on the basis of their skin color, last name, or speech pattern – we call it “racism“. 

The second racist assumption here is that members of these “minority groups” live clustered together in separate parts of town. That’s called “Red Lining,” and it’s not only racist it’s illegal. 

Racism, according to the dictionary, is “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized”

So, I’ll say, Black Lives Matter is a divisive, racist group, using a racist, inflammatory slogan intended to piss people off instead of bringing people together. A quick search online also tells us, it’s a very lucrative to get people pissed off at each other – according to various news sources, BLM has raised over $12 million through a front organization called “Thousand Currents.” From the Business Insider:

“Thousand Currents is a 501(3)(c) non-profit that provides grants to organisations that are led by women, youth, and Indigenous people focused on building food sustainability, fighting climate change, and developing alternative economic models for their communities across the world, according to their website…”

This is interesting – ““The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, the organisation’s official name, is a non-profit – but it is not tax exempt. In the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service, such an organisation is treated as any normal corporation, and still has to pay income tax.

But organisations like Black Lives Matter can team up with and borrow another non-profit’s tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) status, known as a fiscal sponsorship, while building out its own structure. Fiscal sponsorships are typically between two organisations that share a similar mission statement – and that’s where Thousand Currents comes in.”   

So, this isn’t just a bunch of moms getting together to change the world, it’s a very slick business operation. But they give money to people fighting the  good fight, right? Well, not unless those people are “women, youth, and Indigenous people”

That’s not only racist, it’s sexist and age-ist! You have to be female, young, and “indigenous”, “originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native” 

How is that not racist?   

Sure, we all hate old white men don’t we? Well, my grandpa was an old white man, but he got hisseff a young indigenous female for a wife. My grandmother was a Yacqui woman, born and raised in Northern Mexico. She never spoke English or Spanish, only Yacqui. Go figure! I just look like an old white lady! See what a racist you are for thinking I’m “white”? 

That’s the thing, see, we’re all different, we’re all complex, we all have a long history of “diversity” in our families. Do you think the same way as your grandparents – do you even understand your grandparents? Do they tell you where to live? Do they tell you how to vote? 

So, I’m voting NO on this measure no matter what the clerk says. They won’t get my approval for this racist bullshit. 

Remember, we’re all PEOPLE. United we stand, divided, we’re patsies for every carpetbagger coming down the pike.  Here’s another old saying, “Divide and conquer.” 

The view from the tinder box – Upper Bidwell Park just waiting for another dry lightening storm – where do you live?

6 Sep

Upper Bidwell Park along Hwy 32:  See the tiny pink tube – somebody was smoking something right on top of shoulder high dead grass surrounded by dead standing trees.

I sent the above picture to Mike Wolcott at the Enterprise Record. I told him it would be a good illustration for the letter I sent him almost a week ago about mismanagement and total neglect of Bidwell Park. He still hasn’t printed my letter – because he’s out of town, again. He  tried to tell me he spends most of his time at the ER but here’s the tell – when he’s gone, his staff print like 4 letters a day, leaving a big backlog, I’m guessing. Then when Wolcott comes back, there’s what I call a letters barf. Given the “out of the office” notice I got, I expect a letters barf on Tuesday or Wednesday of this next week.

In 2017 I sent a similar picture – of a cigarette that had engaged dry grass before, by some miracle, it just burned out – just days before the Stoney Fire mowed through the park, jumped Hwy 32 and threatened a home on the other side, leaving residents all along the canyon on pins and needles.

As they should be, really. Get ready for the next Big One folks, get your to-go bag ready and maybe buy yourself a “bug out” trailer to load your bigger junk. In fact, I’d load it in March, and leave it loaded until the first rains of Autumn, given the state’s neglect of public forests. It’s a regular tinder box out there. Just add an illegal camp fire, an off road vehicle, or, as we witnessed a few weeks ago driving into town, a dry lightening strike, and you have yourself a disaster.

Right now, we’re breathing what I would call “cancer air”.   After failing to thin and maintain healthy forests as in the past, Cal Fire has taken a “wait and see” posture.  Meaning, wait for a wildfire, and then, no matter the consequences for air quality, circle the wagons around any expensive houses and just let the damned thing burn itself out. That’s what’s  going on in the Mendocino fires, they’ve admitted it.

According to inciweb – The August Complex was initially 37 different fires on the Mendocino National Forest that started on August 17, 2020. Many have been contained or have merged. Currently, the complex is 221,284 acres and 18 percent contained. Actual acreage is subject to change as fire activity progresses throughout the day.

Merged? 18 percent contained?

This policy comes from the top – Gavin Newsom. While he blames Global Warming, he has cut the budget for Cal Fire and perpetuated a policy of no forest management. By forest management, I mean cleaning up tree trash, thinning of native species, and removal of non-native species, opening up the forest for the growth of healthy, mature native trees. Drive up Hwy 32 – what do you see beyond the burn scars? A forest crowded with tiny, brushy trees. Private parties have logged their lots but failed to remove tree trash, stumps and brush.

Now drive to Tahoe. See the big trees, the open space in the forest. That’s the result of yearly cleaning and maintenance. Clearing done in summer and burning done in Winter, as it should be.

We need a more consistent forest management policy in California. Years ago a policy change left forest lands the responsibility of counties and towns instead of Cal Fire. See how this has worked out (picture above). The city of Chico will never have the resources to properly manage Bidwell Park. It will continue to be an eyesore and a fire hazard as long as the city controls it. And Upper Bidwell Park is a liability to communities all the way up Hwy 32.

For now, I continue to send pics like this to the newspaper and the city.