Measure H proponents are dishing out the melarkey – don’t bite

26 Aug

Well, I been busy, and I won’t say on what, cause I want it to be a surprise.

In the meantime, the city of Chico has been busy working to pass their tax measure – Measure H, for “you’ve got to be kidding“. Looks like the Enterprise Record has already decided they will endorse it – seems like the reporter just copied the city press release, no questions. And I’ll say, I think they know damned well there’s opposition, and it would have been, well, real journalism to get ahold of me, or Dave Howell, or Joe Azzarito, and ask for a different take on the measure. Wolcott just contacted me recently about the last letter I sent, but never asked me to talk to the reporter.

The story reads almost right out of the city’s slick mailer. I don’t have a subscription, so I couldn’t cut-and-paste it, but I typed out a few choice quotes.

The reporter claims Measure H “will generate approximately $24 million a year for use in the city’s General Fund.” That just doesn’t add up – how does a penny add up to that much? Walk with me, bring your calculator. Or just add two zeros to $24,000,000. Yep, that’s right, Chico voters would have to spend $2,400,000,000 – two billion, four hundred million – at least that much a year on taxable goods in order to achieve that extra $24 million. And, given those figures, our current sales tax revenue would be closer to $180 million, not the $28 million projected in the budget. I hate math, but I’ve gone over these figures with math weirdos, and that’s what it adds up to, a pile of BS. In fact, in their Argument in Favor, proponents admit the revenues will not even add up to enough to complete the needed road repairs, they say they’ll use them to secure grants. (more on that later).

Let’s talk about the other claims – this next paragraph sounds like city staffers or the tax measure consultant wrote it:

“may be used for any Gen fund purposes including but not limited to maintenance and repairs on street pavement, storm drains, sidewalks and pot holes; maintain 911 emergency response times; reserving the number of on-duty firefighters and police; maintaining Bidwell park and other neighborhood parks, and funding other general services.

These are the claims they can’t make because H is a general or simple measure, requiring only 50% of participating voters + 1 more vote. So they leave it to their local newspaper, along with the contract for all their public notices. And, while Junior Reporter mentions the General Fund, he has pointedly left the pension deficit out of the whole conversation. In the next paragraph, he actually adds dollar figures – this is a veiled attempt at making the voters believe this money will really go toward solving various problems created by years of deferred maintenance and a calculated elimination of services.

Broken down, the top 5 estimated costs are: $542 million for capital projects; $105 million for the police department; $46 million for public works administration and parks; $36 million for Chico municipal airport, and $33 million for the fire department.”

Nowhere does this story mention what interim city manager Paul Hahn and various consultants have acknowledged as our biggest financial challenge – the Unfunded Actuarial Liability, commonly known as the pension deficit.

As I feared, the city is running a sub-par campaign full of total crap. What can we do to push back? Write letters to the ER – make sure Wolcott has to devote at least an equal amount of ink to the NO ON H campaign. Tell your friends, yak it up on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram.

I tried to join a conversation about H on one council candidate’s Facebook, but I don’t have Facebook. The candidate claimed they were disappointed that the measure wasn’t restricted, but that we need the money and it should pass. When other posters said they didn’t want a general measure, it all disappeared. That’s too bad, this is a conversation that needs to be had.

Another claim the proponents make is that this tax can be “removed” by the voters. That is a patent lie – unless you think it’s easy to gather enough signatures to put it back on the ballot. Instead, just Vote NO, ask your neighbors to do same. This tax would be permanent, and I’ll say, just the foot in the door for more increases in future.

NOTE: I had to edit this because that candidate contacted me on my husband’s cell phone and told me I was spreading misinformation, but the above is what I saw on the Facebook before it disappeared. Here’s a note – don’t contact me via my husband’s phone, I consider that bullying. If you have a comment about the blog, comment on the blog.

NOTE NOTE: I redid my research – yes, everything I said about this candidate was true. Later, when I texted her to ask that she didn’t contact me at that number again, she responded to me again and admitted to me that she worked for the public sector, and she was a member of the union. As such she would also be a member of one or another public pension system. If she wants to straighten any “misinformation” I’ve received, she needs to come to the blog.

6 Responses to “Measure H proponents are dishing out the melarkey – don’t bite”

  1. bob August 28, 2022 at 9:35 am #

    The so-called conservatives running for seats on the Council are phony, just like the ones already on the Council.

    All of them are for this tax increase and more debt. There is nothing conservative about any of them.

    They all want to take more of our money even though we live in a state with the highest taxes in the country. They should be ashamed.

    • Juanita Sumner August 28, 2022 at 1:02 pm #

      I agree, and I’m disappointed.

      • bob August 28, 2022 at 3:09 pm #

        I bet there’s not one candidate running for City Council that doesn’t want a tax increase of some sort. I would bet money that every last one of them wants to get into our wallets more than they already are.

        These are the kinds of people who run for office. They want as much of our money as they can get, and they want to control us as much as they can.

        That’s just the sad reality of politics here.

      • Juanita Sumner August 28, 2022 at 3:35 pm #

        Oldest story ever – nice people don’t run.

  2. s.k. rushing August 29, 2022 at 8:58 pm #

    $105,000,000.00 extra for the Chico Police Department???  The police already devour 50% of the annual budget. I guess the taxpayers of Chico want a cop on every corner. 

    • Juanita Sumner August 30, 2022 at 7:05 am #

      you know what’s frustrating Scott – proponents are saying the city doesn’t have money for infrastructure when they most certainly have plenty of money. I am hoping people will actually look at the city budget and see what I’m saying is true – please tell your friends and tell them to tell their friends – look at the budget, it’s chock full of grant money and franchise tax and Utility Users tax, fees taking from builders that add to the cost of housing. It’s all there, for the public to see. Do the research people, Chico doesn’t need more taxes, it needs better staff and leadership on council.

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