Join us in demanding accountability for our tax dollars – Contact us here

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13 Responses to “Join us in demanding accountability for our tax dollars – Contact us here”

  1. Larry Grooms November 23, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

    I’m checking on my moderation status. Please advise. Learn more about the legislative solution to our mutual problems with investor-owned water utilities by visiting: https://www.waterratescoalition.com
    Thank-you

  2. Dawn Plants May 13, 2021 at 3:44 pm #

    Dear Ms. Sumner,
    I’ve become a fan, down here in Dublin, named “California’s Fastest Growing City.” I worked in development and construction 30 years, retired in 2018. Out of boredom, I applied for a spot on the Planning Commission, which was 2 years. I ran for City Council during Covid, with my grassroots campaign as a “Clean Money” candidate, and came dangerously close to winning. I lost and conceded.

    I was not renewed a second term on the PC by the new Mayor (funded by the State Carpenters Union.) Despite 2 years expereince, a group of soccer moms were appointed. I didn’t rate a “sorry letter” after getting 6,000 votes. A friend from Chico told me about the many problems up there and I found your blog.

    I was refused selection by the City Planner on a Citizen Oversight Committee last week. I’m blacklisted as a “trouble” despite being an Independent (and was endorsed by the Sierra Club and local paper). The situation is making me want to sell my paid for home and move to Hawaii. Just as expensive but at least less pollution and tighter on crime.

    You are amazing in your analysis on your blog. I’m impressed with your short, to the point summaries of the players in a similar corrupted city and system. I’ve given up with our overpaid City Staff shenanigans myself, so I’m working on a Ballot Measure for 2022, to prohibit Dublin from allowing 8 story buildings and 85/acre Density. Surrounding cities have 5 story limits and 50/acre. How ours got higher is typical covert manipulation. Our infrastructure is ready to explode, and we all know who will pay for it. So many loopholes, so much greed. The City Staff guard their overpaid jobs and their big benefits/pension packages. They allow spot zoning to anyone with money. The builders always sell out the low income requirement. If the Council can’t get their way (when residents provide literally 7,000-8,000 protests) there’s always that “Statement of Overriding Conditions” game. So what if the project will cause unbearable traffic or air quality “impossible to mitigate?” If a builder offers $2M they get approved, despite huge resident opposition. I’d get the last minute drafts by email, and try not to get nauseous at the level of betrayal.

    What amazed me was Council candidates are not required to have a background check, college transcripts, or proof of employment. Thus 5 clueless, inexperienced fools control the future of 65,000 residents? No previous work in urban planning, construction, architecture or transportation is required. Just pay $500 and give 30 signatures to the Clerk. I should have blatantly lied about my background, like the rest did. Live and learn.

    Keep up the good work! You are my newest hero. Right up there with SpaceX.

    Regards,

    Dawn Plants
    Dublin, CA

    • Juanita Sumner May 14, 2021 at 5:58 am #

      Thanks Dawn, it’s really interesting to hear from another town, the comparison is shocking. Dublin is where Chuco is headed!

      What I have to wonder, is how does staff get otherwise sensible council members to go along with these schemes? I read the reports and even I can see how far fetched this crap is, but these reasonably well educated council members – business owners, university teachers – try to tell us these scams are just A-OK.

      Good luck in your quest Dawn, I stay because I believe things are no better anywhere else.

      • Dawn Plants May 14, 2021 at 12:58 pm #

        You are somewhat mistaken…City Councils/Planning Commissioners are generally not people experienced in Urban Planning, Development or Construction. Experience is not required to apply, and candidates are picked by Mayors wanting people who can either provide campaign financing or more voters. Having been in the inside, I saw that as the primary problem.

        The secondary issue is the City’s actual STAFF. The run the shitshow, and these “appointed/elected” officials are glorified volunteers. The Staff are guarding their overpaid jobs, benefits and pensions like snarling wolves. Most of the time Staff doesn’t live in the City they work in, thus no vested interest. The “officials” are basically window dressing, to enforce what “Staff Recommends” in their agendas/reports. Few questions are asked in meetings, unless the Public shows up to get their 3 minutes.

        Shocking to discover no background checks, verification of education or experience are required to obtain a voting seat. Thus 2 sets of 5 people (5 Planning & 5 Council), results in 10 inexperienced/clueless people calling the shots that affect the quality of life for 65,000 residents. It’s an outdated system. If more was required of all applicants, you’d get a totally different result. Same with State politicians, who care little about things like infrastructure and sewer capacity, and instead are talented in mud-slinging or obtaining developer contributions. Getting a high paid govt. job impossible to loose. What’s not to like?

        Would you hire an electrician to fix your plumbing? Combine that logic with busy residents without spare time to sit through hours of presentations (that gloss over any environmental issues) and you end up with a hot mess. All the polite email replies are to shut citizens up. If you follow the money path (which you have taught me to observe even closer) it’s all obvious the prime motivation is GREED. Once you see the campaign contributions, the pattern emerges how these clowns take a beautiful city and turn it into an expensive mess, funded by naive taxpayers. Taxpayers fund salaries and pensions of people who keep their jobs by pretending to do them. In the private sector, they would all have been fired. Developers are smarter and love the level of inexperience and cash in on it. They didn’t get rich being stupid.

        Arrogant Staff Planners tend to intimidate, so less questions get asked. They don’t like working at night, and want to go home. There is a dangerous shift when Staff does all the due diligence/reports instead of the Developer’s consultants.

        My slogan: It is not up to Dublin to solve the State Housing Crisis. That “crisis” has been happening since 1970, by the way. Thus: It is not up to Chico to solve the State’s homeless crisis. Funding it keeps the criminals in business. Spend money on more Social Services staff, to help the ones in sincere need. Cut the enemy’s line of supply, not fund it.

        I keep it simple. Zoning laws were made for a reason. General Plans were created as the blueprint. Following both will work. Amending them constantly (as favors, without dire need) starts a domino effect, impossible to recover from.

        All the Best,
        Dawn

      • Juanita Sumner May 15, 2021 at 5:55 am #

        I agree, the average person is hardly qualified to make the kind of decisions that are made by elected boards. Frankly I believe commissions should be eliminated because they are not elected. They are spoils appointments, as you say. At least there are consequences for elected officials.

        I think the people need to be more involved, and right now Chico is headed in exactly the opposite direction. Staff is actively trying to keep the public out so that they have more influence over our elected leaders than we do.

        I also agree with you that cities are not responsible for providing public housing. Or services for the so-called homeless. In fact, staff at both the city and county level just collect the money and pour it into their own salaries and benefits. We really have no Services here, just a management top-heavy situation without enough workers to actually provide those services. The city can’t provide the infrastructural maintenance that is necessary to have a city, and the county can’t handle welfare or the court system. Unemployment, food stamp applications, and the courts are backed up out the door and around the corner.

        As for zoning and general plan, those decisions are made by people so removed from the public, the public is completely left out of planning. Here in Chico we do need one bedroom apartments affordable for people making less than $40,000 a year. But my husband, who was in the construction business for 35 years, reminds me that that is not profitable enough for most Developers. He reminds me it’s a matter of square footage and sewage hookups, Developers want to get four bedrooms two every sewage hook up.

        Unfortunately we live in a world full of greedy motherfuckers.

      • Dawn Plants May 15, 2021 at 11:54 am #

        This overall problematic system didn’t happen overnight, and will not be fixed overnight.

        Yes I didn’t mention the contractor reluctance to build “Low Income” despite the demand, because they usually have expensive construction loans riding on their projects. They have to make a decent profit. The Staff and politicians are paid from taxpayers with a never ending river of money. Their employment doesn’t ride on their job performance, like the private sector does. It’s a lifetime of gravy once a govt. job is obtained, requiring death or retirement to give another person an opening.

        So you end up with high pay and benefits, pensions…perks which the private sector LOST after the 2008 recession, if not earlier. Paying these people 70% for their retirement, PLUS Social Security? It’s a broken and corrupt system that will never be fixed in my lifetime.

        I had to make a decision after loosing the 2020 City Council election. Three of us ran as “clean money” candidates, funded by the citizens, not developers or corporations. I came in third out of 9 candidates, the only one endorsed by both the Independent newspaper (Livermore) and the Sierra Club. My grass roots campaign scared the City Staff enough to basically blacklist me from further participation in city government, including selection for local Citizen Committees.

        l made a personal decision (being a young 67) that my last years on earth will be spent traveling, seeing space launches and eventually selling my house and moving to Hawaii, to avoid pollution and have lovely weather. My priority now is peace of mind. My determination of my younger years has started to wane…battling with idiots is not a pleasurable hobby. I’m a widow without kids, so I decided to remain selfish, for my own good.

        I still applaud you and what you are doing. Doing the right thing has been my mantra my whole life.

      • Juanita Sumner May 15, 2021 at 1:36 pm #

        Thanks Dawn, I applaud you for getting involved. I have a hard time convincing people they need to get involved, get informed, stop sleeping face down, etc. My friends think I’m crazy for going to meetings, etc, but when I tell them some outrageous thing in casual conversation – like, “hey, did you know there’s going to be a parcel tax on the next ballot?”, or “trash rates are going up” – suddenly they are all ears and P.O.’d.

        No, it didn’t happen overnight, and it won’t get fixed overnight, but when you pay attention over a span of years like you and I have done, you do see simple victories. Sometimes it’s less than we wanted, but we got it. And oftentimes, bad stuff goes by unchallenged while we are busy fighting something else. I hope you are able to find that peace of mind, but I bet you will never lose your passion for doing the right thing.

        I have a little voice sitting next to me – my husband – he always says, “oh yeah, they’d love it if you quit…”

      • Dawn Plants May 15, 2021 at 3:45 pm #

        Juanita,

        At this point it is a victory for me to be the thorn in their arrogant sides. I was just as busy as everyone else, since I worked in Development and Infrastructure Construction for 30 years.

        Call me old school if I don’t like throwing my hard earned money out a window. Nothing was handed to me on a platter. My life was not privileged or easy. That’s why it’s called WORK.

  3. Bill Donovan August 23, 2021 at 4:41 pm #

    Hi. I am trying to get some answers on candidate Kevin Kileys platform on these issues to help me make up my mind on my choice for governor.
    1 How do you stand on immigration.
    2 How do you stand on fracking
    3 how do you stand on a livable minimum wage
    Thank you for your help. Mr Kiley is one of two finalist in my choice for governor. Bill Donovan

    • Juanita Sumner August 24, 2021 at 6:11 am #

      Thanks for commenting Bill, I’m glad you are doing some homework on this recall. I can’t answer for Kiley, but he is very responsive on his Facebook page. He’s got a lively conversation going on. Do you have Facebook? I’ll ask my friend with Facebook to check in on those questions.

    • Juanita Sumner August 24, 2021 at 1:42 pm #

      Thanks Bill, for asking great questions. I messaged Kiley’s Facebook page and asked him about his views on immigration, fracking, and livable minimum wage. His staffer Jack was quick to respond:

      “Kevin values the legal immigrants in our state and our country. However, he believes the situation at the border is a crisis and will work to help secure the border. He supports fracking and believes that the minimum wage here is way off. He thinks the minimum wage should vary more on region to reflect the cost of living.”

      Kiley also has a regular website at which you can contact his staff for more information on these views. Thanks again, and keep asking questions!

  4. Shauna Wilson September 26, 2021 at 3:54 am #

    This is an example of what we deserve. As citizens it is our right to seek transparency in government so we can hold our elected officials accountable. Please join me in asking this of our Supervisors. Also, we ought to see the checkbook for subsidiary groups like BCAG and others that are assigned a huge chunk of our tax dollars.

    San Mateo County publishes their Checkbook online in an easy to find location (make sure you see the checkbook tab):
    https://checkbook.smcgov.org/#!/year/2021/explore/1/department_name

    Of particular interest is the spending of the $240 million received by the county from PG&E in Spring of 2019. Please email the Supervisors, follow up and press the issue. Need YOU to help me press this. So please take a moment to forward the link when you email them. At worst, they will know that we expect better and are keeping an eye on their spend regardless of whether they value transparency in government.

    • Juanita Sumner September 26, 2021 at 6:17 am #

      Thanks Shauna, this is good stuff. Just the payroll for agencies like BCAG eat the county budget. For stuff like busses that drive around empty, bike lanes to nowhere, etc.

      The Stupes also spent millions in Camp Fire relief money on the pension deficit. It’s all in the agendas, but they know people aren’t paying attention. I hope you will also write a letter to the editor. You can find salaries for agencies like BCAG at Transparent California.

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