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Harvey Holland: “Undergirding the homeless movement is an entitlement mentality, one that avails itself to the benefits of a free society, yet does not obey the laws that safeguard those rights.”

28 May

I don’t subscribe to the Enterprise Record but every now and then I read the letters section online – I find that the most interesting section of the paper, which has gone to mostly ads and propaganda. Most times I am able to read it before the wall comes up, today all I got was the following, with a quick glimpse at the name of the author – Harvey Holland. I didn’t get to read the whole letter, but I liked the opening quote.

Undergirding the homeless movement is an entitlement mentality, one that avails itself to the benefits of a free society, yet does not obey the laws that safeguard those rights.”

That really nails it for me – I can’t stand people who scream for their rights without accepting any responsibility for their actions. I’ve dealt with friends and family members who’ve adopted that philosophy – I call it, “The Me, Myself and Irene” syndrome. “Irene” representing methamphetamine, heroin, and/or waaaaay too much alcohol.

Yep, that’s the reality of Chico these days, entitled drug addicts and criminals. They know they won’t be held responsible for taking stuff out of your yard, taking your daughter’s bike or your 11 year old’s BMX from the garage. That used to be called “stealing”, but these days it’s just a fact of life – if you don’t lock your stuff up – even that curious looking doodad hanging from your porch eaves – they will take it and nobody’s going to do anything about it.

Even locking stuff up isn’t always the answer. Car thefts are just a fact of life, and if your car is older and worth less than $10,000 they’re not even going to attempt to find it, much less get it back. My friend Dave’s locked car was stolen from the parking lot at his apartment complex. When he finally got it back, there was over 1,000 new miles on it, it had been stripped of valuable parts like the catalytic converter, was full of garbage including chits from casinos and used syringes, and was in the possession of a woman with warrants on her. That’s the only reason he got it back – she had to abandon it when the cops arrested her, and the tow truck got it before the transients got ahold of it again. I don’t believe anyone was ever charged, they acted as though Dave should be lucky to get his car back at all, completely destroyed and nothing but trash.

The cops and Mike Ramsey saw Dave’s car as an old junker, but Dave knew it as a car he had copiously maintained for years and his only source of transportation. This is life in Chico – watch your ass.

Or, demand more from your local police force. The police department gets over half the budget to tell us they can’t do anything about crime – tell your city rep the cops need to pay more of their own pensions, that’s getting down to their bottom line. Demand more from your DA – write a letter to the editor asking who will run against Ramsey and offer your support. And demand more from your city representative – my rep, Kasey Reynolds, tells me they need to offer these crazy $100,000+ salaries to “attract good people”. Let your rep know, that’s now working for us, and tell them you’re ready to fund and vote for anybody wo runs against them. I supported Morgan Kennedy in the last race, and you know what – she made a pretty good showing, and if she ran again she’d probably do better. I know she had Kasey worried – Reynolds’ PAC, “Citizens for Safe Chico” set a new funding record for the city council race.

The real problem is, it’s not just the transients and criminals who have a stake here – our ruling class is really entitled, they don’t care about our experience, they’re looking out for the One Percent. Look at Mark Sorensen’s little stucco compound over on Manzanita – you think he’s really worried about what you’re experiencing? Stand up and say something, or YOU have become the problem.

Joe Azzarito on Measure H: How can they continue to push this obvious lie?

24 May

Well, you know what I love about my friend Joe Azzarito – he can’t just watch a pile of bullshit get up and walk down the street, he has to say, “Hey, that’s BULLSHIT!” So here’s what he has to say about Measure H. Thanks Joe and keep it coming.

Read this week’s articles and the supposed  $24,000,000 in Chico’s budget proposals, as a result of Proposition H. How in hell can they continue to push this obvious lie? Can the Merlins in city hall staffing/and or council members explain their math? Maybe the espoused dyed in the wool Trump hater, Scott Paulo can help them. $24,000,000 in new receipts based on an added 1% comes from $2.4 billion (8 zeros) in taxable sales. That works out to $80,000 in taxable sales for every 4 person family or $20,000 from every man, women and child in Chico. With a total median family income at less than $80,000 and much of what they buy as non-taxable, how do they arrive at these ginormous tax receipts?

And don’t get me started on road repair – full repaving not just slurry and oil on nearly three-quarters of our streets are needed. I just incurred major tire replacements on our cars. Would Chico like to repay me for my automobile destruction due to their roadways being in third world condition?

Fraud, misinformation, disinformation is not limited to our federal government. It is rampant throughout our country. “Deep states” are real! They exist everywhere and are cancers that must be eradicated, if we are to survive as a country.

Joe Azzarito, Chico CA

According to Oxford, “Deep State is a body of people, typically influential members of government agencies or the military, believed to be involved in the secret manipulation or control of government policy.

There has always been talk of a group of manipulators running the country – a real story was the Bank of Crooks and Criminals, with members like Jimmy Carter. “Also known as, ‘The Bank of Credit and Commerce’… Police and intelligence experts nicknamed BCCI the “Bank of Crooks and Criminals International” for its penchant for catering to customers who dealt in arms, drugs, and hot money.

Were these people involved in Barack Obama’s “Fast and Furious” operation? Ask Sonny Bono. The government operates secretly, we find out years later from some reporter trying to make a name for themself, but there’s never any accountability. In Chico, the “Deep State” is made up of local businessmen and developers – Marc Francis, Bill Brouhard and others have manipulated every council as long as I can remember. Franklin Construction is one of the biggest donors at election time. Then there’s the employee unions – CPOA, IFFA and SEIU contributing thousands of dollars in every election.

Here’s a little anecdote for you – when Chico Area Rec Dist was discussing putting an aquatic center on Bill Brouhard’s friend’s south Chico property, former county supe Jane Dolan and her “activist” husband Bob Mulhullond appeared before the board to discuss environmental restrictions. Mulhullond was visibly upset about the project, and Dolan said it needed a full EIR. Bill Brouhard immediately invited Jane out into the hallway for a private discussion, and out she went. They sat in the hallway through the rest of the meeting, and since then, neither Dolan nor Mulhullond have mentioned that project again – now known as Valley’s Edge.

Yes, we have a “Deep State” – in Chico and throughout the country, it’s not just some “fringe” theory. Thanks for that letter Joe.

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

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.

“Mandatory overtime” – that means, we have to pay them for it whether they work it or not

31 Mar

I called the police chief a liar recently, because I believe he knows darned well Chico police officers are not forced to work overtime but they most certainly get paid for it. He says overtime is the cause of “burnout” down at the PD – how is that possible, when they don’t work it?

How many of you remember the Pioneer Days riots? Let me refresh – I was at Chico State then, that’s how long ago it was – Spring 1987. My cousin worked at Gepettos, and I was on my way over to have a free cup of coffee with him when it started. Just like that, in the middle of a fairly nice Spring afternoon.

I was walking down Salem Street, when I heard a smash behind me – a girl had knocked a beer off a second story patio, it had blown up all over the sidewalk. She was completely wasted, giggling out of control – she’d almost hit somebody with a full beer, and she was just laughing. It felt weird, so I started walking faster – in those days, there were always parties on that side of campus, and worse parties as you got further into the “college ghetto”.

When I got to Gepettos, my cousin was just coming in with the trash bin, which he had to empty a few times a day into a shared dumpster across the street at the old bank. He was laughing, but he told me, “you better pack it up and head from Gram’s (our grandmother lived in Princeton, where we often spent weekends with her). He told me he’d just seen “a pack” of college girls, wearing sorority t-shirts, attack a police car with eggs. The officers inside apparently got out of the car and radio’d in as they watched the girls unload 4 packs of eggs on their cruiser and disappear around the corner in a shower of giggles. My cousin predicted that things were about to get weird.

He actually hadn’t the slightest notion of how weird it would get, but that night we watched it on Ch 12 from Gramma’s living room – a mob looted a laundry mat, burned their loot in a big pile in the middle of the street, and overturned a news van that showed up to do the story.

By the time I graduated, CSUC president Robin Wilson had ended Pioneer Days, an almost hundred year old community celebration. Playboy Magazine had named Chico State “Number 1 Party School”. Yeah, I had to go looking for a job with that albatross hanging around my neck – “wow, what did you major in, tapping kegs?” They all thought that was real funny.

When my husband and I had kids, Halloween in Chico was one of our best kept secrets – people used to come Downtown at dusk wearing costumes made at home, really imaginative, and just walk around the grid admiring each other. I’ll never forget the guy who came out as a man in a cage carried by a gorilla, or the young man who made a cardboard bus and walked around dressed as Al Mitchell. A family we know went out as a bunch of grapes. All homemade. The last year we participated, my husband made a last-minute Capt. America costume out of an old pair of red longjohns, and we dressed our kids with stuff we bought at the fabric store – Bam Bam and Count Dracula. We made Bam Bam’s club out of a brown paper sack. We walked the circuit, then we went to Malvina’s to hear what Sal Corona thought of our costumes. As we sat in the window, we saw the Pope pass by, we thought, wow, that’s a weird costume, but it looked like the kid put a lot of work into it.

Yeah, the next day on the news, we heard the Pope was stabbed by a young black man who thought he was supposed to be a Klansman and got very offened. That was the end of Halloween as we knew it. The next year the police department brought in the Sacramento Posse, on horse back, among crowds of pedestrians wearing costumes, and that was all it took to take the community spirit out of that holiday.

And what was instituted out of these events was “mandatory overtime”. The cops used these holidays, along with St. Paddy’s, and eventually Caesar Chavez Day, to add overtime to their pay, whether they worked it or not. Every year council and the CPOA work, behind closed doors, on a Memo of Understanding that requires a set amount of overtime for the cops, on the premise that these holidays demanded that kind of attention. As I’ve shown in previous posts, they’ve made a policy by which they’ve traded overtime they haven’t used for “compensated time off”, which accrues unused until they retire and then turns into money.

Chief Aldridge has been on the news lately, mouthing a lie about the police being burned out and hard to recruit new officers because of mandatory overtime? That is such a crock. I don’t think many people read the contracts, so I wrote a letter to the editor about it.

I agree with Chief Aldridge – the city needs to stop putting “mandatory” overtime in the police contracts. Overtime has traditionally been written into the contracts for certain holidays that caused problems in past, but those holidays don’t produce the arrests anymore. Even though St Paddy’s was on Friday this year. KRCR reported, “Spring Break, combined with a reduced student population, results in a significant decline in the number of house parties in the south campus and west side areas, according to police.”

Overtime has taken the department over budget. They call it “mandatory” overtime, but even if the officer doesn’t work those hours, they’re compensated through “Compensated Time Off”. According to the contract, CTO is offered “at the rate of one and one-half (1½) hours for each hour of overtime”. So they’re paid for not working, at overtime rates. Furthermore, if they’re not able to use that CTO, it becomes “Selective Time Off,” without pay. But try to follow this – unused STO is accrued, “at the rate of two (2) hours for each hour of overtime, which accrues until the employee retires”.  At retirement, unused STO hours “shall be converted to CTO in accordance with the formula set forth in this section, and Employee shall be compensated.” There you see, one way or another, officers get paid for overtime they don’t work.

With 19 new hires over the past year, our police department should be adequate to do their job without racking up overtime. End mandatory overtime.

Who’s in charge here? Where’s my slurry?! (my apologies to Matt Thompson)

28 Mar

Well how’s the weather treating you? Looks like customers around the Downtown core are experiencing rolling blackouts. Of course, the bars and restaurants in the core had their power lines buried years ago. That needs to happen all over town. I know, in my old neighborhood, we’ve had two transformers literally blow up over the past three years, knocking power out all down our street. That’s because they’re old, and they can’t take the wind. Not to mention, there are trees towering over lines throughout our neighborhood and all along Bidwell Park.

About 20 years ago, a phone company crew came through our neighborhood making band-aid repairs to the lines – the technician told me, as I picked up the crap he was dropping all over the ground, that “people in this neighborhood are paying for high speed internet that they’re not getting…” because the lines were old and rotten and “too far from the transmitter“. Yeah, he added, our phone service was shitty too – whenever we’d walk or drive out from our house we’d see at least one person standing in their front yard to use their cell phone. Great way to meet your neighbors.

Before he left, Mark Orme made a pitch for a publicly funded internet infrastructure improvements, saying the city would be the new internet provider. He admitted our city infrastructure was poor to non-existent, especially in the older neighborhoods, people just don’t have internet. This is a particularly poignant problem when schools require kids who don’t have internet to do homework on their computers. Talk about inequity – I’ll assure you, Orme’s kids have good internet, while kids all over Chapmantown and other neglected parts of Chico are excluded. Here was Orme’s solution:

Did we pay for that? Was it even made locally? And what became of it? I don’t know, but my service has not improved, and I haven’t heard another word out of any “commitee” about it.

Well, it’s that time of day – let’s talk about sewer service. I’ve had one frustrated lady come here to inform me that the city has sewer lines laid within a block in both directions from her house, but “can’t” give her any hook-up. Her septic tank is failing, but I’m guessing Staff is not answering her calls. Becca, if you’re still with me, you need to take this up with Kasey Reynolds and her Quality of Life committee. Let me know, I’d like to be in the front row for that discussion.

On my street – annexed when Dan Nguyen-Tan was still around – there are also voids in the sewer lines that have left people with failing septic tanks. When my neighbor’s tank failed, the city finally just let him replace it, because the sewer trunk line is too far from his house. They can’t make one property owner pay for the trunk line, only for hooking up to the trunk line. So here we all sit, on our septic tanks, waiting for the city to get another grant from the water quality department or something. About 10 years ago they used grants to lay trunk lines and allow cheaper hook-ups – well how about the rest of town you assholes?

Sorry, but you know, I just re-read an old post about the $22 million in COVID emergency funding the city received, and before that, it was over $20 million in Camp Fire relief. Where the hell did that go? Well, they’ve been spending alot of that COVID/American Rescue Funding on “improvements” Downtown, finally mentioning that they need to dig up Downtown streets to replace 100+ year old sewer lines.

Who’s in charge here? Well, we are, and we need to start acting like we’re in charge. Don’t wait for the Measure L committee, make a list of the services you aren’t receiving, and then how much you paid in property taxes for the last five years, and ask your city representative when you can expect that conversation.