In the city of Chico, rules were made to be broken. One minute they tell us there’s a General Plan and a building code, the next day they allow a developer to violate everything in said General Plan and building code. You want to know why? Read the campaign contribution reports.

22 Mar

Yes, I asked for rain, I admit it. You don’t always get what you wish for, but when you do, watch out.

I see the organizers of the referendum to stop the proposed Valley’s Edge development have got what they wished for. And now I’ll ask, what next? The city of Chico can either pull approval and send this “city within a city” back to the drawing board, or they can hold a special election to let the voters decide. Sean Morgan complains this will cost about $100,000 – do you notice, Council and Staff always cry poormouth when it’s something the voters want, but they sure throw that American Rescue Plan money around like it’s just manna from Heaven.

I’ll note that this is just what I was saying in my last post – the city of Chico, like most California public agencies, wants to be able to do whatever they want without any fuss from the voters/taxpayers, or, for that matter, laws they made themselves.

I think the main thing I don’t like about Valley’s Edge, is that they are trying to change the General Plan to shoehorn this mess in, while telling us that Brouhard and his partners had stuck with the process and adhered to the General Plan. Let me tell you something about the General Plan – it’s completely worthless. They change it whenever they want, holding a public meeting here and there to make it look like the public was involved, and then they let a developer (Tom DiGiovanni) write a “parallel code” that allows all the stuff developers want to do that DOESN’T fit the General Plan. In other words, the General Plan isn’t worth the digits it’s written in, it’s a hoax.

Yes, we have a “parallel” code that allows variances to everything in the General Plan and the building code, including setbacks. In my neighborhood, it meant houses built right out to the property line to increase square footage ($$$). One day you have a big back yard, a year later, you have windows staring down from your neighbor’s McMansion, right into your house. They offer to buy you new curtains, but that’s about it.

You also heard about the Golden Rule – he who has the gold, makes the rules. Dan Walters wrote an interesting piece about that here:

Walters describes the “pay-to-play” system, which of course is how it works in Chico. The public employee unions, of course, have always been big contributors. But look at the campaign contribution reports, printed in the paper and available from the clerk’s office – local developers and their cronies also contribute heavily. In fact, in Chico, where an individual donor is limited to $500 per campaign, a relatively new PAC called “Citizens for Safe Chico” provided most of the funding. These folks are supposed to provide reports regarding how much money they collected and from whom, but state law allows them to file with the secretary of state, which makes it hard for voters to look at the reports. For one thing, you have to know EXACTLY how the group is listed, what acronym they chose, etc, or you won’t find the report, and nobody is going to help you. CSC organizer Teri Dubose is very secretive about her reports, and she was the biggest donor in the last election.

Walters explains that “The new law went into effect on Jan. 1 (2023), essentially prohibiting contributions of more than $250 to any local elected official from anyone seeking contracts, permits or licenses from the board or council on which the official serves. It would be retroactive, requiring the official who received such contributions in the past to give the money back.

Yeah, like Ethan Edwards said repeatedly, “that’ll be the day…” Don’t expect any forthcoming investigation into Bill Brouhard’s or Doug Guillon’s or any local developer’s campaign contributions. It’s the voters who need to enforce the rules, by doing their homework, and then rejecting candidates that are supported by these big money investors.

4 Responses to “In the city of Chico, rules were made to be broken. One minute they tell us there’s a General Plan and a building code, the next day they allow a developer to violate everything in said General Plan and building code. You want to know why? Read the campaign contribution reports.”

  1. Becca April 1, 2023 at 5:11 pm #

    This is not the proper way of doing this but having tech troubles today. Does anyone reading this know about a text I received regarding a survey? It’s sketchy looking and most would not click on link (which I have not done). I did respond to it and got a general reply back that they were busy. Can’t cut and paste here so I’ll give rundown of verbiage.
    Original message: Can you share your thoughts on this 2 minute city of Chico issues survey? Thanks! Then a survey monkey link.
    I responded with something to the effect of “not with a shady text like this. Who are you?
    The response: thank you for your reply. Our team is receiving many questions; we will review each one and respond as soon as possible.
    I sent another response again asking who they were and nothing but crickets second time. Weird that it came the same day my cul-de-sac was hit with antisemitic propaganda (yep, they didn’t say WHERE; off Manzanita). Anyone know anything? Is the city doing another survey that only selected people get? Is this fraud targeted at citizens of Chico? Who is doing this survey if it’s legit? Really f’n weird and suspect if you ask me. Am I being targeted? I have heard nothing about any survey regarding chico issues. I hope it’s legit because I’m happy to give my 2 cents, but I’m on the wrong side of the fence for council to even care about my issues with Chico so this stinks of fraud…kinda like council! Anyway, sorry to bomb this edition but really want to know if anyone else received this or knows anything about it. Thanks for your time.

    • Juanita Sumner April 2, 2023 at 6:25 am #

      Hi Becca – thanks, you are welcome to “bomb” my posts anytime, you always have interesting news. I was going to do a post on this “survey” today or tomorrow. I found out about it via my son – he got the text with link on his phone in Portland. He has never even been registered to vote in Butte County, why would he get this survey and not me? Very weird. I’ll be looking into it – I think the fact that my son got it – he hasn’t lived fulltime in Chico for over 5 years – should be grounds to can this survey, it’s obviously flawed. And the questions are completely leading. I don’t know who got it, I’ll email the clerk today and share any response I get.

      • Becca Cerveri April 2, 2023 at 1:13 pm #

        Thank you! I think I hear you saying you (someone) clicked link to see that it IS an actual survey with leading questions from city? Now I’m really pissed. I need to add that both members of this house received said survey. Don’t know if there is any connection but we are (530) 591 numbers.

      • Juanita Sumner April 2, 2023 at 2:18 pm #

        No, thanks for asking Becca – the survey IS NOT CONNECTED TO CITY OF CHICO. I emailed Kasey Reynolds and the clerk’s office and clerk says “The survey is not being conducted by the City of Chico. It appears to be a survey regarding “City of Chico issues” with nothing indicating that the survey is from the city of Chico. Additionally, I do not see a City of Chico logo or identifying information. ” No, it didn’t indicate who it was from, but I’m glad we asked – in past I’ve heard consultants talk about ways they can get people to engage more, and one was via text messages. The questions here are the same type of questions consultants have asked in past surveys done on behalf of the city and CARD. After that crap the city pulled on the sewer rate “change”, I’ll continue to be suspicious. Thanks again Becca

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