Letter to the Editor: tell your city representative the garbage tax is illegal

19 Jan

I was surprised this morning to see my letter to the editor in the ER – I only sent it yesterday. Here’s a prediction I’ll make – Wolcott is going to be gone soon, and Tuchinsky will take over the paper. At least Tuchinsky’s a journalist, we’ll see what kind of agenda he has as time goes by.

Of course, the media was a lot of the problem with the sewer rate hike. For one thing, nobody said anything about it until the day before the hearing, and then the tv news ran a really misleading piece, saying nothing about the doubled charge, saying it would only raise the “average” sewer bill about $15, and then quoting two people who admitted they really didn’t know anything about it but guessed it was okay because the city says it’s in a heap of trouble. Wow.

So yeah, I’m feeling like a whacked mole alright. It’s hard to live in a city full of mole rats. Frankly, my husband and I tried to sell our property in Chico last year but one developer after another told us, essentially this: The city of Chico is impossible to deal with, and there’s a bunch of cheap land in Paradise.

There are big lots all over my neighborhood. That was the Chico lifestyle. Now it’s too expensive to water your lawn or keep big trees, so yeah, people want OUT. You’d think our one and two acre lots would be in huge demand. But, every time we get a new city council, we get a new philosophy of how to build. It was infill, now it’s sprawl again. They want that Valley’s Edge thing because: 1) Bill Brouhard and his partner Doug Guillon have their fists up half the asses in this town 2) it’s going to bring in a BONANZA! of builders’ fees, property taxes and new people to bring in sales taxes and other revenues.

You ever wonder where all the money goes? Do they just roll it up and smoke it? Just like the other one… Do they just eat it? Do they stuff it up their asses in some weird sex ritual? NO! They put it in the Pension Stabilization Trust and use it to pay down their bad decisions. It’s better than heroin – it’s POWER!

Well, that was my rant for the day. You should read HJTA president Jon Coupal – he’s scary! He says the government is trying to tax older folks out of their homes so cities all over California can foreclose whole older neighborhoods for redevelopment.

Well, he’s right, but you won’t believe it until you’re about 60. That’s the dilemma – young people like Addison Winslow, a product of the California schools, are picnic’ing on the railroad tracks, and you just can’t convince them there’s a train coming. We’re overbuilding again, and last time we did that, the foreclosure notices were posted in yards all over Chico and Butte County. Before 2008, you never saw foreclosed homes in Chico – a quick search just now brought up 153 foreclosures for sale, in Chico, on just one website.

So, put both hands over your junk and get ready – the Chico we’ve known and loved is headed for the Glory Hole. It’s replacement – just another shithole along the freeway. I may not be able to stop that, but I can bitch about it. I’ll run my letter here, for those of you who have given up on the ER. Below that I also included a link to the post I made last year(?) about garbage rates gone up.

The city of Chico has managed to trick residents into allowing a major sewer rate change without fully informing ratepayers of their rights. Homeowners were given 45 days between Thanksgiving and New Year to prepare, with no ballot to protest the change, which also allows for yearly increases without public approval.

The same council tried to establish an illegal Pension Obligation Bond without voter approval and was threatened with a lawsuit from Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

So it’s not surprising that the trash franchise the city entered into years ago is also illegal. Last year the Supreme Court ruled in Zolly vs. City of Oakland that cities can’t collect franchise fees for the use of city streets.

My household trash bills have shown a 60% increase since we were forced to switch service to Waste Management. Now we’re told we must pay extra for a yard waste bin to separate food waste.

This franchise is clearly a tax that was run under the radar without public approval. The money does not go toward street repairs but is dumped into the General Fund. Last year it paid for raises for Chico PD.

According to Laura Dougherty, legal counsel for HJTA, “all a ratepayer needs to do now is send a copy of the Zolly decision to their city…”

I will certainly do so and urge other ratepayers to do same. I don’t like being treated like a cash cow – do you?

2 Responses to “Letter to the Editor: tell your city representative the garbage tax is illegal”

  1. Julie January 19, 2023 at 9:25 am #

    Great letter! I wonder whether the city will follow the rules and have the counting of protest letters supervised by a non-interested party? If so how will we know?

    I was confused you mentioned Addison Winslow as an example of youthful ignorance. I watched the City council meeting where Valley Edge was discussed and Winslow was the only one with important questions and concerns about the massive development. He had clearly done his homework but apparently that was disrespectful, as the awful Sean Morgan gave him shit for not drooling over the project and instead bothering the poor, kind-hearted developers. Hey Sean, when was he supposed to ask questions about whether it’s realistic to assume senior citizens would use golf carts in special lanes to get to the bus station, therefore not damaging public streets? When should he ask how much the city would be paying to maintain the streets and green spaces, or how much land would be closed to the public?

    What time would be appropriate to question whether low density sprawl is what the city needs as its last ever project of such magnitude, if not here and now? Seriously Mr. Morgan, what the hell is wrong with you? How bout that question?

    • Juanita Sumner January 19, 2023 at 1:23 pm #

      The rate increase is done. The votes were tabulated at the meeting, I think the clerk said she received 115 protest votes. I had emailed the clerk to make sure my protest would be counted – she said parcel number was not necessary? The notice was so misleading all the way around.

      I didn’t watch the Valley’s Edge conversation I’ve been too pissed off about the sewer rate increase. Winslow has advocated high density with lower parking requirements, I think that kind of development is going to cause a lot of problems in future. What exact questions did he ask? I don’t understand your question about low density sprawl, please elaborate.

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