Archive | April, 2023

Despite the jubilant headlines, the city’s ice rink lost $29,000 in 2021 – how much did it lose in 2022?

30 Apr

I haven’t had much time to think politics lately, because I been pulling weeds. It’s just amazing what a little rain at the right time of year will do. This year we got a bumper crop, all the best stickers, so we’re out there a few times a week. My husband gets behind the mower and the weed whip, then I move in on the flower beds and trees to pull the remainder by hand. I always tell my husband – you can’t mow everything, true weeds love a mower, makes them grow bigger and spread out flatter. Worse, if you hit them after they head up, you got weeds everywhere next spring.

Somebody has to keep the order in Dodge City, or at least in my yard, which is my retreat from what’s happening to the rest of Chico.

Meanwhile, council moves along in their weed bed – Downtown – trying to decide what to do, what to do. One trendy fad after another – ice rink, lateral parking, parklets, allow booze outside, and now “signage” to declare Downtown a “historic district”. As if Downtown is the only “historic” part of town?

The ice rink, by the way, continues to lose money. Last year, the first year in operation, they spent $376,000 building and operating the rink, and only took in $347,000 – $116,000 of which was from “sponsors”. That’s a $29,000 LOSS, a tab that had to be picked up out of the General Fund, or as Staff likes to call it, “The Cookie Jar”.

As usual the local media tried to put a positive spin on things – “takes in more than $347,000” Wow!

Frankly, I believe these are not news stories but press releases with a headline. You have to read the entire article to see there was a loss. Just think, $29,000 a year is what some people live on.

This year the media didn’t say anything, because the city didn’t send them a press release? Nothing to brag about, is what. At the recent Finance Committee meeting, an employee reported that the city’s “Recreation Fund” is not “on track” – meaning short. If you look at the report you see they spent over $250,000 of that fund, on what? Yeah, the ice rink, there’s no other Chico recreation – that’s CARD’s gig.

Revenues? They don’t say where the funding for the “Recreation Fund” comes from. There are no matching revenues anywhere in the report, no figures on sponsors, or the volunteer time from local contractors like Slater Construction. The staffer said she had not completed the analysis. I assume she’ll bring it back at next month’s meeting. But from what I could hear of the discussion (they all seemed to be reluctant to talk in front of me), the staffer is telling council they need to “make a decision.” To which committee member, Mayor Andrew Coolidge responded, in a very low voice, while squirming in his chair, “well, it’s Good Will …” You could hear a question mark in his voice, as if he was pleading.

A lot of people in town – the well-heeled anyway – live in a rose-colored fish bowl. They want the rink to work out, it’s part of their fantasy picture of Chico. They want Downtown to look prosperous again, because Downtown is in serious trouble. What they fail to realize – that means, you have to make it attractive to almost everybody in town, not just those who can afford $15 for a ticket and a pair of rented ice skates. These people live in their own mind, you can’t expect them to understand – or care about – the trials and tribulations of the average working family. They just want us to shut our pie holes and keep paying a higher cost of living – the cost of their lifestyle. Here we have a pack of Robin Hoods who steal from the poor and working class to feather the nests of the elite.

The Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act will be on the ballot in 2024, that’s a long time to wait, but plenty of time to tell your friends. This measure will raise the voter approval requirement for tax measures back to 2/3’s, and overturn Measure H, the city of Chico’s 50%+1 tax measure. If a government agency can’t get at least 2/3’s support for a tax measure, it shouldn’t be on the ballot. People like city manager and former councilman Mark Sorensen, along with Coolidge, Kasey Reynolds, and Sean Morgan, knew not only that this measure would never achieve 2/3’s approval, but that a simple 50%+1 measure could be spent on any whim of council, like a skating rink, and parklets for bars, subdivisions built “for the right people”, and signs that designate some parts of town as better than others.

I worked hard to tell people about Measure H, but I was out-gunned about 50-1 by people who stood to gain from that measure. This time I’m going to up my game a little, I want the TPGAA to pass, and this time there will be statewide supporters with money to back it up. If you want to join in the fun, contact me here, I won’t post your comment.

Letter to the Editor – raising salaries without raising pension shares just raises the pension deficit

26 Apr

During the Measure H campaign the city of Chico made all kinds of promises to get the streets repaired. Did you ask them what they meant by that? According to the city website, this is what you can expect:

  • Crack Seals – Filling cracks in the roadway with hot sealant to protect the pavement from water, which can enter the cracks and further damage the road.
  • Slurry Seals – Protecting existing pavement with a mixture of fine crushed rock and liquid asphalt cement applied over the entire roadway surface.
  • Overlays – Repaving the top layer of the roadway.
  • Asphalt or Concrete Replacement – Completing small asphalt or concrete patch repairs.

These are all repairs. Bandaid patches. Reground asphalt poured over a broken surface – this was what they did to Vallombrosa a few years back, and it lasted less than a year. Have you taken a good look at the street in front of your house lately, cause the street in front of my house has broken pavement, loose from the base, with potholes that show dirt. That is beyond repair – most of our residential streets need to be scraped down to the base and completely resurfaced, as were that section of Pine/Mulberry/Cypress from 9th Street to East 20th. Of course, that was paid for with a grant, part of the effort to achieve compliance with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. 30 years late, with money that had to be matched from city funds.

Yes, they promised to “fix” our streets with the garbage franchise fee (tax), and I believe the franchise fees (taxes) from PG&E and Comcast should be used to fix streets – or what’s the basis for collecting them? Oh yeah – a tits-out remodel of City Hall.

But right now the city is putting all our money into salary increases and the pension deficit. They just re-hired a former staffer to a similar management position, for $40,000 more, without asking him to pay a higher share toward his new, increased pension cost. What the fuck?!? So, you know me – I wrote a letter to the editor about it.

Redding is discussing salaries and benefits – Chico should pay close attention. Redding firefighters have been offered 26% raises, in exchange for raising their benefits share from 10 to 20%.

This is typical in the public sector – give them raises to cover their contribution. That is self-defeating. A few years ago, Chico management agreed to pay 3% more – with raises. Last year, council raised management salaries again. One former management employee was recently rehired to a similar position, with a $40,000 salary increase.

Raising salaries raises the pension deficit, and Chico employees’ tiny contributions are spit on the griddle. Right now, Chico’s total contribution is less than 50% of total cost, with employees offering only 9 – 15%. That’s why the State Auditor gave Chico a “future pension cost” rank of 33 out of 482 cities – with 1 being the worst. Instead of reining in the pension deficit, they’re giving it a full head.

Chico council and staff have demanded more from the public – garbage rate increase, unrestricted sales tax increase, doubled the sewer rate, now increasing builder fees and home prices. How about asking Chico employees to pay more out of their generous salaries? And here’s another suggestion – they need to pay a share toward the deficit they have created.

Instead, money is siphoned from every city fund, into the CalPERS Unfunded Liability Reserve Fund and the Pension Stabilization Trust. While they slap leftover asphalt on potholes, council has already authorized a $12.5 million payment to CalPERS for 2023.

Juanita Sumner, Chico CA

Redding’s having a conversation we need to have in Chico – showing the process by which they raise the salaries to cover the employees’ benefits contributions, which raises the cost of the benefits, and so-on, right down the financial toilet

23 Apr

City of Chico recently very quietly raised management salaries, gave cops and fire a raise, without any public comment. But Redding is having a very loud conversation with their fire department. I posted the entire story from KRCR news because these stories aren’t available for long. I want people to see how the contract process works. The pension system is tanking again, and CalPERS is demanding higher contributions from local agencies, so the city and the employees go to the table for a sort of “Repo Man Grab” – the employees want more money to pay higher shares, but of course, their demands for higher salary exacerbate the debt. What idiot can’t see that?

And here’s a note – Redding employees are paying much higher shares than Chico employees, who pay between 9 and 15% of the city’s contribution, which is less than half the total cost. More about that later.

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REDDING, Calif. — The City of Redding and the Redding firefighters union have been in contract negotiations since March of last year. The city said it’s made multiple offers that the union rejected.

KRCR’s Tyler Van Dyke asked the President of the Redding Professional Firefighters Michael Ham on Tuesday why they haven’t accepted.

“The most recent offer was voted on by membership and voted down almost unanimously—99% of my membership said no. It was extremely regressive, there was just no part of it that we could say yes to,” Ham said.

Ham explained that the 26% pay increase isn’t really 26%. “This 26% is just not there when they are asking for or demanding major concessions of our benefits that really eats away at that 26%,” he said.

Meanwhile, City Manager Barry Tippin said that those insurance benefits will not be affected, “there’s nothing changing in their insurance; it had no effect on whether they would be covered differently,” Tippin said. “Currently, they pay 10% of their monthly premium; every other employee in the City of Redding pays 20% of the monthly premium. We’ve asked them to pay the same amount as the 750 other city employees.”

Here is a breakdown of the current salaries for Redding firefighters.

KRCR asked the union what an acceptable increase for them would look like.

“We were working in good faith with the city to try to come to an agreement and work through some of the things they wanted in addition to that 26% salary increase we felt we were on the backend of almost figuring those items out and then like I said they just didn’t want to come back to the table,” Ham said. “Now to say what would a fair offer look like I don’t know because what they slid across the table just recently in their last best final offer is not a fair offer.”

Mayor Michael Dacquisto said in a press release on Monday that the council has worked hard to balance the budget and develop a proposal that provides a competitive salary and benefits compared to similar cities.

Well according to the comparable city survey put together by the city and RFD.

Redding is number nine out of ten on that list of cities including Chico, Davis, Roseville, Vacaville, and Fairfield to name a few.

“Which is almost at the very bottom and this most recent offer that the city gave us doesn’t bring us up very far back when we were talking last year in November we were creeping up there a little bit more but we still had a lot of work to do to get us where we needed or where we felt we needed to be,” Ham said.

Redding approved management increases last year – read about that here:

Here’s what Dan Walters had to say in 2020

California’s public employee pension dilemma boils down to this: The California Public Employees Retirement System has scarcely two-thirds of the money it needs to pay benefits that state and local governments have promised their workers.

Moreover, CalPERS’ official estimate that it is 70.8% funded is based on an assumption of future investment earnings averaging 7% a year, which probably is at least one or two percentage points too high. In the 2019-20 fiscal year that ended June 30, CalPERS posted a 4.7% return and over the last 20 years it has averaged 5.5% by its own calculation.

Here’s the status as of last year

After this year’s financial losses, CalPERS reported that its funded ratio plummeted from 81% in 2021 to 72% as of June 30, 2022, which means the pension system now has just 72 cents of each dollar needed to provide the pension benefits that have already been promised to current workers and retirees.Nov 25, 2022

I’ve just posted the above information to show that CalPER’s demands are ramping up, they are demanding higher payments from government agencies all over California. Right now, looking at Chico’s budget, I see the biggest fund balances are in the pension savings accounts, while other fund balances are actually being reported in the negative. There’s less than a million dollars in the parks fund, for example.

More next time.

Finance Committee approves builder fee increases, including new fees from the fire department – this is how they tack their salaries to the cost of housing

21 Apr

Yesterday morning I attended a special Finance Committee meeting. “Special” meaning, off-schedule, called for some sort of immediate action. What was this special emergency? They wanted to raise builder fees.

The meeting only lasted about 20 minutes, including the Finance Director’s report. There was very little discussion, no questions from the committee, and only one comment from the public. The committee voted unanimously to accept staff’s (Mark Sorensen’s) suggestion to raise fees across the board, even though, as Sean Morgan observed (check this with notes) “these are some pretty significant changes... “

No kidding – a $9,000 increase in the fee for getting your subdivision past environmental review – about double the old fee. And, the fire department is adding NEW fees – almost $1,000 in permit fees for a fire hydrant – what is this, Gangs of New York?

The lone public comment came from Chico Chamber of Commerce CEO Katy Thoma, who said she was representing the Builder’s Exchange. She correctly pointed out to the committee the relationship between builder fees and home prices. She asked that the committee recommend delaying the increase until a new NEXUS (impact fees) study could been performed.

According to The Turner Center for Housing, “ Impact fee nexus studies should clearly identify the level of service currently provided by a city, and estimate the cost needed to keep that service at the same level after new housing is added.

Improving Impact Fees in California: Rethinking the Nexus Studies Requirements

Let me have a little laugh here – the Builder’s Exchange fairly well ran the Measure H campaign, and I’m guessing they thought they were going to get a break when it came to the fees, if they helped shoe-horn that measure up our collective patoot. Ha Ha Brandon, I guess you should be more careful who you get in bed with.

City staff do the NEXUS study in their own best interest, despite their hollow claims of providing more “affordable housing”. They look at development as their major cash cow, include all their salaries and benefits, including their pension deficit, as “costs”.

Looking at the finance report provided at the meeting, you see, through March 31, the city “Streets” fund, for example, has received $3,136,848.56 from state gas tax revenues, $2,235,970.49 already spent on salaries and benefits. Only $223,656.96 has gone to “Materials & Supplies” – over $6,000 of which went for “postage/mailing, books/periodicals/software, clothing/uniforms…” Leaving less than $220,000 for materials like aggregate, asphalt, and road crack filler, and other stuff they actually need to fix and maintain our roads. So you see, “impact fees” are largely paying for administrators, including Sorensen – not street maintenance.

Here’s that link:

In this way they add their incredibly generous salaries, benefits, and pension costs (+ interest) to the cost of the average home.

After Thoma sat down, City manager Sorensen responded that these fee increases are based on the “current” study, but didn’t say when that study had been done. The most recent study I could find was from 2018 –

Then the committee quickly dismissed Thoma’s concerns without discussion and unanimously agreed to forward the fee increases to council.

I’ll add here that on the previous night, amid a lot of shouting and bullying and bally-hooing over Valley’s Edge, council quickly and quietly approved an new management salary of $185,000 (a $40,000 increase from management salaries of two years ago) and agreed that this new employee would only pay 9% of his pension cost.

New hires with new higher salaries, and council wants to raise builder fees (i.e. – the price of your house…) to pay for it. This is how the city of Chico makes housing more UNaffordable.

18 Apr

Holy Bat Crap Nagmom, I’m bushed. What a month. That stormy weather had my teeth on edge, waiting for something to happen. Then one day as I looked out my kitchen window, as the wind was whipping across the tree tops, a huge branch snapped off one of our oaks and just fell to the ground, WHUMP! The end of the branch – as big around as both my legs put together – swept across the corner of our roof and did enough damage that we need to repair it before more storms (and yeah, I predict more storms, remind me to tell you about that week-long June dumper back in the early 2000’s…)

We were feeling the need for a road trip, so this past weekend we loaded up the car and headed for Oregon. It’s wildflower time, the cows and sheep are out in the pastures, the weather is spectacular (howling dumper one minute, rainbow around the corner…) and there’s a weird, spaceship shaped cloud hanging over Shasta. I got pictures – AWESOME – and I don’t just toss that word out there.

Mt Ashland is also very picturesque, but the thing about Mt Ashland, is that if you go to the summit (not very far), you see Shasta in all her glory. Again, AWESOME.

I love California, for better or worse, but I like Oregon because they seem to make better use of their tax dollars. The roads are better, there’s more affordable housing, and they have spectacular parks and greenways full of water fowl and other natives running into the most urban settings. I think Chico could take some lessons, but right now, our city leaders are about to make housing even more un-affordable, make band-aid patches on streets, and have no real plans to clean our parks or waterways.

I just got the agendas for the city council meeting (tonight) and tomorrows 8:30 am Finance Committee meeting, and here’s how they’re raising the cost of housing in Chico.

Section 605 of the City Charter states that the appointment of department heads is subject to confirmation by the City Council.  In order to meet this requirement, City Council is being presented with the employment agreement for the Public Works Director – Engineering. (Report – Mark Sorensen, City Manager)

Recommendation : A. In compliance with Government Code Section 54953(c)(3), the City Manager shall first orally report a summary of the recommendation for final action related to the Public Works Director – Engineering employment agreement as follows: “The City Manager is proposing to enter into an employment agreement with Brendan Ottoboni as the Public Works Director – Engineering; and The City Manager is proposing to appoint Brendan Ottoboni with an annual salary of $185,000.” B. The City Manager recommends Council Confirmation of the appointment of Brendan Ottoboni as Public Works Director- Engineering.

In 2019 Brendan Ottoboni was the Director of the Engineering Department at a salary of $141,622.73. He left the city of Chico briefly, now he returns as “Public Works Director – Engineering” at a salary of $185,000?

Current Public Works Director Eric Gustafson, as of 2021, was making about $144,000 in base pay. That’s as far as the records go at Transparent California, because it’s an arm-wrestling match getting these records, usually requiring legal action. Think Gustafson has/will get a similar increase?

Here I’ll refer back to this old post –

in which I recounted a presentation from a consultant regarding our “management top-heavy” town. Why are there so many management positions in Public Works?

Every management position they create at salaries approaching $200,000/year adds exponentially to our pension deficit. They keep telling us they don’t have enough money for anything. Here’s where “I told you so” comes into the conversation – I told you that the sales tax money would just go right down the pension rabbit hole, and there it goes. Ottoboni will only pay 9% of his pension cost, on a $185,000+ salary. How is that sustainable?

But they seem to have another plan – raise builder fees again.

Here’s what caught my attention, – “Planning Fees Negative Declaration PC (previous fee) 7,018.00 $ (proposed fee) $ 16,593.00 (fee change/increase) $ 9,575.00

Yes, that’s an increase of $9,575.00, to give plans a “Negative Declaration” – “prepared for a project when there is no substantial evidence that the project or any of its aspects could result in significant adverse environmental impacts.”

And read the pdf – they’re also creating NEW fees. Now you have to pay the fire department to approve a fire hydrant, and then pay them to inspect it. This is nothing short of a fucking shakedown, and it’s going to be tacked on to the price of YOUR home, not to mention merchandise and services YOU pay for.

Yep, they hoodwinked you into voting for a sales tax measure, telling you everything you wanted to hear, and you bought it. Now you get to pay for it.

Here’s the links and info on Gustafson’s and Ottoboni’s salaries referenced above.

Regular pay:$143,654.57
Overtime pay:$0.00
Other pay:$6,899.00
Total pay:$150,553.57
Pension debt:$63,046.80
Total pay & benefits:$247,775.47

Regular pay:$141,622.73
Overtime pay:$0.00
Other pay:$5,700.00
Total pay:$147,322.73
Pension debt:$37,228.18
Total pay & benefits:$217,901.00

SB 1383: Why should we pay for the privilege of sorting our food and yard waste when they turn around and sell it?

11 Apr

NOTE: After I made this post below yesterday, I received my garbage bill. The enclosed notice says we shouldn’t be putting our food waste in our yard bins yet because they haven’t figured out where they will take it. I believe that notice is months old, I believe they’ve been in negotiations with Republic for a while now. Why else would Republic have sunk so much money into this deal? So, get ready for an “education” campaign.

Earlier this year, Waste Management started sending us notices that we would be required to sort our “food waste” into our yard waste bins. They cited greenhouse gases and global warming, but the real reason is in the money. Here’s an interesting article about how the rendering plant out on Hwy 99 has opened a new business – harvesting energy from food waste.

What a child I am – I thought they wanted to make high-grade compost out of it, like the stuff they currently sell out of the Chico green waste yard. No, they have much bigger plans.

“The organics space, it’s growing so rapidly, especially in California. Right now every city, every jurisdiction is getting a lot of pressure to roll out these programs,” Chris Seneydirector of organics operations at Republic, said. “It’s an exciting time to be in organics.”

Yes, they are also getting food and yard waste from Chico customers. All sorted out by us, it is now a product they will sell. But, they want us to pay an extra $5+/month for the bin we’re supposed to use to sort it. What? Laura Dougherty at Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association explains – they expect the customer to foot the cost for the transition.

Through SB 1383, the State mandated that local governments help reduce greenhouse gases by changing residents’ trash removal procedures at home. This generally involves keeping organic material separate from the gray bin waste destined for the landfill. In some jurisdictions, this organic kitchen waste can be commingled with yard waste in the green bin because it will all be composted together. In other jurisdictions, organic kitchen waste must be specially bagged and composted separately. In still other jurisdictions, customers have received or will receive a new bin solely for organic kitchen waste, increasing the cost of trash service to purchase and empty additional bins. In order to cover the cost of creating new collection and composting systems, rates in many jurisdictions are increasing.

Why doesn’t the State pay for the higher costs if the State is the one requiring the transition to expanded composting? Good question. Unfortunately for ratepayers, and conveniently for the State, SB 1383 is not a reimbursable state mandate, so your local government cannot be reimbursed for increased program costs by the Commission on State Mandates. In fact, SB 1383 cites portions of the Constitution and the Government Code declaring that if user fees can recover the new costs imposed by the State, the State does not have to reimburse your city, county or district. Of course, the user is you.

Here this guy from Republic is gleefully rubbing his hands together, thinking about all the money his company is going to make, the taxpayers having foot the bill for all the upgrades. And now we still have to pay to have it picked up.

Well, guess what, there’s an exemption to the yard waste bin – you can compost it in your own yard. I compost along my back fence, 4 x 4 piles, and it’s dirt within 8 – 10 months, ready to go back to my flower and vegetable garden.

So, if you are exempt from the yard waste bin, why bother with a 96 gal can for your table scraps? You have a yard? Dig a hole, about a foot in circumference, make it as deep as you can. Go to Home Depot and get a new Homer bucket with fitted lid. Cut the bottom out with a sawzall. Stick the bottom end in the hole about halfway, tamp it down so it will stand in there, and voila – you have yourself an anaerobic food processor. I’ll thank my tenants for this suggestion – if you have a big family you might want to get a 32 gal Rubbermaid bin with the locking handle lid, we used one of those for years.

Worried about pests? Well, the average racoon can have that 96 gallon bin on it’s side in about two minutes, he’ll have to dig this one out. Late one night my husband and I watched Rocky fumbling with the handles on our Rubbermaid can, but he couldn’t get it open. He never bothered it again.

Flies will have to find a way under that fitted lid, while they are free to enter and exit your loosed lid WM bins at will. Did you know, fly eggs in your garbage bins gestate within a week? They hatch before the truck can dump your bin. We’ve composted this way for over 20 years, and I’ve never had flies in my compost hole. We’ve done same with our dogs’ poop, while we watched our neighbors dump it loose in their WM bins. Yech – just think, meat waste in your yard bin, that’s fly habitat. And don’t forget rats, they’re smart as hell and have fingers like a human.

Here’s an interesting note – apartment dwellers are exempt all together at this point, the talking heads haven’t figured out how to manage that demographic. Imagine how much they generate. See, it’s all on us homeowners/single family rental dwellers, and I think that’s a crock. So call WM today and tell them you want that yard waste bin gone and you want the discount. I know it’s only $5+ – go ahead Mr. and Mrs. Lobster, you can leave your tails in that pot, I’m out.

I have a couple of questions for Tyler Rainey: How did he rack up $9898.26 in overtime in 2021, and $18,212.36 in “other pay”? What the hell is “other pay”? Read the contracts folks – you’ll have more questions.

6 Apr

I was surprised to get an almost immediate response to my last letter, from none other than the president of the Chico Police Officers Association (Union). But I wasn’t surprised that all Tyler Rainey had was “False”. He sounded like Jim imitating Dwight on “The Office”

I can’t reprint his letter here so I gave you that little giggle. And then I went back to the contracts for more ammo.

I found even more outrageous stuff. See, I think it’s a little unreasonable and irrational, the way council caters to the cops – 8 minutes equals a half hour of overtime? Read on. And then read the contracts yourself, I couldn’t fit it all in 250 words.

In my recent letter, I quoted the very generous CPOA contract:

The city recognizes 11 “established holidays” – including Christmas Eve and the day after Thanksgiving. The contract states, “City shall provide ten (10) hours of Holiday Time Bank pay… Employee’s Holiday Time Bank shall be credited with one hundred and thirty (130) hours…”

Overtime is “work in excess of their normally assigned work shift or regularly scheduled day off.” Eight minutes beyond the end of their shift is 1/2 hour of OT, every 45 minutes is rounded up to an hour. They get 1-1/2 hours of CTO for every hour of overtime, or they can take 2 hours of STO. “Upon separation from city service” unused STO hours “are converted back to CTO, and employee shall be compensated…”

CTO “shall be limited to a total maximum amount of $60,000 each calendar year. If the requests
submitted by Employees exceed the amount available for payout… payout for each Employee shall be prorated so that the total of all payouts does not exceed $60,000 per calendar year.”

“Effective the first full pay period of July 2022, the City shall increase the salary schedule by 5%.” And again in July 2023. Chief Aldridge claimed 19 new hires since January 2022.

Did Tyler Rainey use his “CPOA Time Bank” hours to compose his letter? “The CPOA Time Bank, established for use by CPOA Employees for the sole purpose of performing or conducting CPOA business without loss of pay” City Contribution – 100 hours.

Juanita Sumner, Chico Ca

All I knew about Tyler Rainey was what he told us – he’s president of CPOA. You can find out more by checking with Transparent California. I have a question – how’d you rack up so much overtime Tyler?

Police Officer (2019)

Regular pay:$72,945.60
Overtime pay:$19,457.91
Other pay:$11,526.64
Total pay:$103,930.15
Pension debt:$27,853.53
Total pay & benefits:$166,068.08

$19,457.91 in overtime – another $11,526.64 in “other pay”. That’s how you take an reasonable sounding base salary of $72,945.60 and turn it into $103,930.15. That was 2019 – I searched the most recent files for 2021 and found this:

NameJob titleRegular payOvertime payOther payTotal payBenefitsPension debtTotal pay &
Tyler RaineyPolice Officer
Chico, 2021

Well, that’s so interesting. His base pay goes down about $1,000, his overtime is only about half – but look at that, he’s doubled his “other pay”. Think that’s when he was elected president of the CPOA? Because that’s about the time former president Peter Durfee decided to make his successful run for county supervisor, so he had to give up some of his “duties” with CPD. Look back at my letter – Rainey gets paid by the taxpayers for doing CPOA business. When I looked at their campaign contribution reports, I see that includes regular luncheons with other CPOA members. Great – we pay them for the time they sit plotting to screw us. Talk about a kiss afterwards!

Something else I’ll point out is that Transparent California figures the employee’s pension deficit using their salary plus the measly contribution they make toward their CalPERS costs. I’ve done the math on their figures, it’s good. Rainey has racked up a personal pension deficit of $34,994.37, that he also expects the taxpayers to pick up.

Weird survey is NOT from City of Chico

2 Apr

Well, here’s a weird post – did you get a text message regarding “City of Chico Issues”? I didn’t, but I heard about it from various people – including my husband, and my son, who doesn’t live here. I immediately suspected it was from the city. I didn’t like the format, it was sent directly to my husband’s phone, and only one person could respond. Furthermore, the first question seemed inappropriate, asking when and how the respondent would be voting. The second question was completely leading, – “do you like the direction in which Chico is heading?” – yes or no.

I’m sorry to say, after the way the city handled the sewer rate “change” (perpetual increase), I don’t trust them anymore, and yeah, I suspected some underhanded shenanigans. So I probably came off as pretty accusing when I asked my city rep Kasey Reynolds about it. I was surprised with her pleasant response – on a Sunday when she should be shoveling Easter candy out the door, she takes time to respond to little old me? Apparently I was not the first person to ask about this thing. Reynolds forwarded the city clerk’s response, “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.

Reynolds went on to say, “I’m not exactly sure who is doing the survey, I received it also. My understanding is it’s being don’t to gather information about Valleys Edge given the questions asked.” She could be right – council will apparently take the referendum to the ballot – when I have no idea – and both sides will be pouring money into polling the public to help shape their competing campaigns. Knowing whether we’ll vote by mail or in person, and whether we approve or don’t approve of our council, will help them not only run their campaigns but maybe help them vet candidates for council in ’24.

This is a dogfight that has been years in the making. Brouhard and his partners have owned that land for years, planning to make a big killing by developing housing on it. The opponents are folks who’ve come from overcrowded decaying cities to make Chico their last Small Town stand. Many of them have lived here for a long time, but they aren’t as connected as Brouhard and his partners, who’ve had their hands in county, city and CARD business for 20 years or more. They know everybody who is in any position of power, including the unelected power brokers on important commissions, both state and local.

My dog in this fight is my Quality of Life. Yeah, they’re already doing the roadwork this thing will require, and it’s shutting down Bruce Road already. There’s only a few ways to get to that retail area, where my husband and I do most of our shopping – Bruce, Forest and the freeway. All of those will shut down during the building of this “city within a city”, and wow, wait til people start moving in.

Shopping in Chico is already getting pretty lackluster. Prices are higher than outlying communities, gas is more expensive, and there’s not much selection. Buying online is a natural selection – more choices, more competitive pricing, and Amazon gives you not only free shipping but streaming tv and movies. There’s no traffic, and no bums breaking in to your car while you’re in the store, or lurking outside the door to steal your purse.

If you really want to send the city of Chico a message, stop shopping in Chico, they’ll know by the end of the second quarter.