Orme’s tax measure will raise the cost of everything in town, while the problem is clearly Downtown

17 Dec

I happened to read the ER the other day, when Mike Wolcott ran a swishy push piece about Chico City Manager Mark Orme. I’ll tell you what – Orme has been hearing his own name around town lately, and not just from me, and it’s pissing him off. So he called Wolcott, who is a stooge, and asked him, could he write something nice, and oh yeah, don’t forget to mention the tax measure…

November 2022 may seem like a long time away, but there is a lot going on in the city of Chico government right now. A city tax is currently being planned to be on the ballet next year. Meet the person in charge of running the city of Chico day-to-day: Mark Orme.

This is called “rebranding,” or changing a bad reputation to a good reputation. I learned about this tactic watching the various consultants who have conga-lined through the city of Chico and Chico Area Recreation District. If there were polls on city leadership, Orme’s ratings would be dropping about as fast as Joe Biden’s. Let’s face it – look around you, and ask yourself, how much has the city deteriorated since Orme rode into town in 2013? How much have the pensions gone up? How come Orme got a 457 Plan (special 401K for public workers)?

Somebody had to answer this obvious push piece, so I wrote a letter to the ER. It’s time to push back, and keep pushing, until Orme gets the message – GET OUT!

Chico City manager Mark Orme is correct, the state’s CalPERS program is dysfunctional and puts a strain on the city’s finances. It’s frustrating that the only solution Orme offers is raise taxes.

How about opting out of CalPERS? According to CalPERS, someone would need to accept responsibility “for sufficient funding to continue paying the retirement and death benefits paid and for future benefits”. If employees would agree to pay their own pension deficit, take more rational pensions, and pay more reasonable shares of the cost, we could all be done with CalPERS.

Employees pay 9-15% for pensions of 70-90% of salary, creating the deficit. Just look at the math. But, employees do not pay toward the deficit – the taxpayers are left on the hook for an increasing amount every year. Last year Staff directed $11.5 million from city infrastructure and services toward “extra” payments to CalPERS. If they won’t agree to ditch CalPERS, why not ask employees to share in the “extra” payments?

According to Transparent California, Mark Orme’s personal pension deficit is about $70,000. At a base salary of $207,000/year, Orme could easily afford to pay his own pension deficit and more than his current 9% share.

The ER reporter forgot to ask Orme why he didn’t recommend a 2/3’s ballot measure – here’s why – a simple majority measure isn’t restricted to public safety, streets or fixing the sewer plant. The additional revenues would most certainly disappear down the pension hole.

If you are unhappy with the current leadership and direction of the city of Chico, remember this – city councils come and go, but the city manager stays in place, making the same recommendations no matter who’s on the dais. Write your letters to council, the paper, let them know how you feel about Orme’s tax measure.

NOTE: Here’s a union mouthpiece from Glenn County who decided to chime in on Newsbreak App:

Jeremy Lazarus16h ago – This writer knows nothing about PERS or the City’s budget. The current pensions are absolute trash and account for a very small amount of yearly budget. If employees are expecting to pay more without a wage increase then it is no longer a benefit and no longer a desirable job. I suppose you’d prefer unqualified workers responsible for the City’s infrastructure.

This is what I’m up against trying to shed some light on city operations and the pensions. As soon as you go up against a tax measure you find yourself up against the unions. When we opposed Measure A, the CARD parcel tax, we were fighting Chico Police Officers Association and the Service Employees International Union, the two biggest public workers unions in town. They put over $60,000 into pushing Measure A, because they knew it was intended to pay down CARD’s pension deficit, and whatever is good for CalPERS, is good for the unions. We beat their asses, sent them crying home to their mamas. And I’m ready to do it again, how about you?

2 Responses to “Orme’s tax measure will raise the cost of everything in town, while the problem is clearly Downtown”

  1. kerygmalori December 17, 2021 at 6:45 am #

    Oh Juanita, How right you are! Did you see the latest BS though? How do they get us to shut up? Keep us out with Gruesome’s latest madate: rmd.me/Sq4tkWoZysb And what is on the agenda here at the end of the year? The sales tax ( you know we need it, right?) and the cannabis measures. Good Lord!

    • Juanita Sumner December 17, 2021 at 7:10 am #

      well, good news! My husband and I went out around Chico to do errands yesterday, and no masks required! I don’t want to mention the names of stores, but we went grocery shopping and then to a store to buy me some boots, and we were not even approached about wearing a mask. Some of the customers were masking, and of course the employees (and I don’t begrudge people who are trying to keep their jobs right now). But nobody even gave me a dirty look, thank you.

      I think it’s really not the politicians who created the shutdown, but the “sheople” who not only went willingly along, but tried to bully the rest of us along with them. It’s hard to buck a trend, when you see people all around doing it, but I really don’t believe the masks are effective, and I’m not going to let irrational people run my life.

      Hopefully the same rational thinking will trump the tax measure. People know they are already financially stressed, they know government workers are very generously paid, we need to remind them where this tax money will go – straight from their pocket to Mark Orme’s $20,000/yr 457 Plan and then on to his $140,000+/yr pension.

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