Butte County board puts the pensions first, the Camp Fire victims, well, we’ll get around to them later…

12 Jun

Been Busy, Busy, Busy this week, and I really appreciate this note from Dave Howell about a phone call he made to his district stupe regarding the Camp Fire money the Butte County Board just dumped into the pension fund.

I spoke to Supervisor Kimmelshue this week. The good news is that he confirmed there will be no POB. The bad news is the supervisors are going to use $20 million from the PG&E settlement to “smooth out” the pension liability. I told him that amount won’t even pay for the increase in the liability from the prior fiscal year which was $30 million. I told him they were just dumping money into a black hole because the pensions are unsustainable. The day of reckoning will come and $20 million sure won’t change that. And besides, why should settlement money for a horrific tragedy like that go to pension liability?

He listened to all the points I’ve made here before so I appreciated that. But if I am being completely honest, I don’t think he’s going to do anything that will make a difference in reforming the pensions and OPEB liability. I hope he proves me wrong and I will even help him do so. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.

He asked me twice what it would take for me to support a tax increase. I tried to explain that taxes are already too high in California and taking more money from people is a bad idea, especially in a county with a 21% poverty rate before COVID. And it’s clear the supervisors will continue to dump more of our money down the pension and OPEB black hole. Who the Hell wants to pay more taxes for that?

To be honest, I don’t see any political leadership capable of solving this county’s financial problems which include over half a billion dollars in bonded debt AND the inexorably growing monstrous pension and OPEB liability. If I had to bet, I would bet the supervisors will go the route of higher taxes and more debt to appease the special interests and kick the financial problems down the road as far as they can. And why not? That’s what all the other politicians in this state have done and continue to do. None of them have solved the most important financial problems local governments face and that’s not going to change.

Thanks Dave, Kimmelshue sounds clueless. I emailed the board and had a response from Dist 1 Supervisor Bill Connolly that was equally frustrating. They seem to think, as does Sean Morgan, that their job is just to smooth over the voters, assure them that staff has everything under control… just lay back and think of Mother England, and take your screwing.

My district stupe Tami Ritter did not even bother to respond to my email. Bill was the only one who bothered. He tried to tell me they need to pay the pensions to attract quality employees. I asked him when we’d see some quality employees, and that was the end of the conversation.

These people are egocentric asses who don’t have the qualifications to do the job they have run for, they are at the complete mercy of $taff. To think, Connolly, a roofing contractor by trade, actually had the balls of brass to run for county assessor against longtime assessor’s office employee Diane Brown. He’d helped raise the salary to new heights, and then he tried to take the job. His daddy must have been a glass maker, cause I can see right through that old redneck.

I’ll remind people, that if you are unhappy with the jobs your elected officials do, it’s your responsibility to call them on it. Write those emails, write letters to the editor, and send any response you get here and I will run it.

And I’d like to thank Dave Howell again for taking the time to do this.

14 Responses to “Butte County board puts the pensions first, the Camp Fire victims, well, we’ll get around to them later…”

  1. Emily June 12, 2021 at 7:23 am #

    Wow. So when is the local press going to take this on? Or have they already and I missed it?

    • Juanita Sumner June 12, 2021 at 10:49 am #

      I don’t expect the local press to take it up. The ER is too busy collecting awards for covering people’s personal tragedies. Editor Mike Wolcott is always complaining he doesn’t have enough staffers to do the real work, and his star reporter Natalie Hansen has her own agenda for what she writes. The N&R has deteriorated to nothing but an ad-rag, it’s glory days are in the rear view mirror. There’s a very determined lack of journalism in this town. I dropped my subscription to the ER and I only use the News and Review for starting my bbq charcoals and other household jobs, like wrapping trash.

      But it occurs to me, Channel 7 in Redding actually covers Chico news better than any Chico media source, maybe I should drop them a note and see if they’ll send Jerry O over here to snoop it out.

    • Dave June 12, 2021 at 8:53 pm #

      The legacy media has been in a long period of decline and maybe it’s even dying. Look how the ER has shrunk. Compare the size of the paper now and ten years ago and compare that to twenty years ago. And the NR is nearly out of business. Also, the media outlets have their own agendas.

      I think we are entering a new era of citizen journalism where people who don’t belong to the media, corporations, governments or other interests take it upon themselves to uncover the truth and let the public know. That’s exactly what we are doing here now.

      If people are interested in this I would recommend they start digging into the financial statements of the City and County. Start with the CAFRs. I can’t recall a single news outlet around here ever quoting anything from a CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report). I’d also recommend looking into the campaign filings of the local politicians. – see who is giving them all that campaign money.

      • Juanita Sumner June 13, 2021 at 6:15 am #

        Thanks Dave, that’s exactly what we’re doing, digging for the truth in a mountain of misinformation and misleading claims and sharing what we find out with others. Citizen Journalism – I love that!

        I have been meaning to look at the board of supervisors’ contributions – how much of their campaign money comes from the unions? Anybody have time to look that up let me know.

  2. Pat June 12, 2021 at 7:52 am #

    You are right Juanita. I have spoken before the BOS 3x’s now and it is like talking to a brick wall. The only reason they took the job was for the benefits because they certainly didn’t want to improve this county

    • Juanita Sumner June 12, 2021 at 10:50 am #

      I agree. But it’s good to give them a pantsful now and then. I wanted to tell Bill Connoly he’s the new Jane Dolan but my husband said that was too mean.

  3. Dave June 12, 2021 at 10:32 am #

    Supervisor Kimmelshue said he would send me a report on how the $20 million will “smooth out” the pension liability. I have yet to receive it.

    I did mention that we have among the highest taxes and utility rates in the country (and mentioned the 21% poverty rate in the county), and since the settlement money came from PG&E rate payers and since nearly every taxpayer in the county is a PG&E rate payer, I asked why not give back some of that money to the county taxpayers? Or why not use the money to fix the roads which are in terrible shape? (After all, one of the most basic functions of government is to provide decent roads. And in the event of another fire, people need decent roads to get out of harms way.) Well, none of that is going to happen.

    It’s obvious the priorities of the supervisors are not the priorities of the average taxpayer.

    • Juanita Sumner June 12, 2021 at 10:58 am #

      Well, thanks for taking Kimmelshue on, I hope your phone call sticks in his craw like a bad jawbreaker. If more people made calls like yours or showed up at the chambers like Pat and Co, I believe we’d see more action.

      You’re right though – every time there’s a fire around Paradise, the issue of evacuation routes comes up, but they never do anything.

      • Dave June 12, 2021 at 5:13 pm #

        I’d bet the County has more money flowing into its coffers now than ever before, far more. It’s got that huge amount from PG&E, OVER A QUARTER BILLION DOLLARS ($252,000,000). And that’s all for the County as it is separate from what PG&E is supposed to pay the victims.

        The City just got $22 million from the federal government for the American Rescue Plan. I’d bet the County gets something similar. And that’s just the most recent extra pork from D.C. since the “pandemic” started.

        Then there’s the huge increase in tax receipts the City got due to people spending all that stimulus money. I bet it’s the same for the County.

        So with all that money flowing in what’s the first thing Kimmelshue asks me? What would it take for you to support a tax increase? Can you believe it?

        It just proves what I’ve always said: No matter how much they take, it’s NEVER enough. And they will ALWAYS try to take MORE! And we NEVER get our money’s worth. We pay among the highest taxes in the country but look at our roads for just one example of that.

        The more I think about it, the more disgusted I get.

      • Juanita Sumner June 12, 2021 at 6:02 pm #

        I just get dizzy.

      • Dave June 12, 2021 at 5:54 pm #

        What’s going on should quickly end any delusion that politicians wouldn’t put special interests ahead of common people, that myth they teach in the government school civics class.

      • Juanita Sumner June 12, 2021 at 6:03 pm #

        Tar and feathers is what they should be teaching

  4. Jim June 13, 2021 at 6:11 am #

    Kimmelshue and the other supervisors approved spending $500,000 on a radio based fire alert system with a NO BID contract. The county already has a fire paging system and the federal government also has a radio based disaster alert system in place.

    These folks can’t spend the money fast enough. It’s going everywhere except to the people who actually need help recovering from the fires.

    • Juanita Sumner June 13, 2021 at 6:16 am #

      Thanks Jim, that is outrageous. Sometimes I don’t feel they are qualified to make these decisions, but they were all “the people’s choice”. I wish people would educate themselves better before voting, and take voting more seriously.

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