Archive | Chico homeless problem RSS feed for this section

Orme “estimates” 10 – 15,000 refugees living in Chico, based on “nonregistration, couch living, trailers parked on streets…”

12 Apr

I don’t know how you feel about roundabouts, but one fact we know for sure – they bring a lot of money into the city by way of grants.

From the Chico Enterprise Record, “According to senior traffic engineer Bikramjit Kahlon, the cost of the project is between $5 and $6 million. ‘It just depends when we go out to bid,’ he said Monday. The city’s match is about $1 million, with Caltrans funding the remainder amount.”

Eaton Road roundabout proposed for traffic, safety

$5-6 million for one roundabout? Most of that will go into the salaries Downtown. An old contractor I know says “boots on the ground labor” and materials make up about 2% of the cost of these public jobs.  This is one way Staff turns money we paid toward maintenance of our roads into their salaries and pensions.

Here’s a thought – how’d you like to see that million the city is kicking in on the street in front of your house? How far would that million go toward the streets in your neighborhood? 

And again, they are using Camp Fire refugees as bait.  Read these excerpts.

“Even before the Camp Fire pushed thousands more new residents into Chico, the intersection was known for commute-time traffic jams and lines of traffic out to the freeway, along with traffic accidents.”

“thousands more new residents”?  I had to ask reporter Laura Urseny if she has any hard numbers on how many evacuees have settled in Chico since the fire. She had none, but asked city manager Mark Orme if he had any. “He [Orme] said he doesn’t have hard numbers from FEMA because of nonregistration, couch-living, trailers parked on streets etc. He said  the city is still using the  10,000-15,000 estimate.”

So, Orme drives by your house, sees a trailer in your driveway, and assumes it’s full of evacuees? Sees somebody sitting on your couch through a front window and assumes you have a “couch liver” in your household? On this basis he assumes and reports that we have “10,000-15,000” new residents in our town?

Excuse me, this guy gets over $200,000/year in compensation, and he expects to give up this kind of crap?

Unfortunately he’s  got a willing media to help him pull the wool over our eyes. Urseny skirts the truth, but keeps promoting the lie – “The project has been proposed for a long time, but has been sped up with the city’s dealings with Camp Fire impacts. However, Kahlon said there is no FEMA-related funding in the project.” If this project was truly necessitated by the Camp Fire evacuation, or any impacts, the city would be getting FEMA funding.

They started this campaign before the fire was even out.  “The project was discussed during a public meeting about Camp Fire impact on Chico last year, but has been in the works much longer.”  Here Urseny mentions a proposed refugee housing project that was rejected, but still includes it as a “Camp Fire impact”.  “Initially, a FEMA proposal called for Camp Fire mobile homes to be placed on a vacant parcel on Eaton Road between Highway 99 and Cohasset Road, but that residential project has been abandoned.  Nevertheless, the traffic on the current two-lane road is huge, impacted by Chico’s growing population, but also by residential subdivisions developing in north Chico.”

In the same edition that Urseny ran her promo piece, there was this map:

Map: See where Camp Fire evacuees have moved across the country

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=10YY_flCa-v2h-qofl8x0L49kmuOT3AeE&ll=33.09184936709246%2C-91.56768772732823&z=4

“Relocation destinations are also listed below from most to least popular, in terms of the number of households registered with FEMA now living there. FEMA only provided information about individual counties in California, not other states.”

In other words, if you had insurance on your destroyed home, and therefore did not go to the ridiculous lengths to register for something you were not eligible to receive, you were not counted.  

The article said that 16,583 of the registered (and that includes entire households who live under one roof) have remained in all of Butte County. That includes Paradise, Magalia, Butte Meadows, Yankee Hill, Concow, Cohasset, Forest Ranch, Gridley, Live Oak – did I miss any? Personally, the Camp Fire victims I know  are all planning to rebuild their homes in Paradise. Some have already hired private contractors to clear their lots and are already living back at their property. Some are struggling to live in unburned homes with no safe water or power, and dead/dying trees hanging over their heads. Roads are a mess, workers everywhere, and Butte County has not even started their lot-clearance program. But the folks I know are all determined to return, they have no desire to remain “stuck in Chico.” 

And here’s another fact that Orme cleverly ignores – many of the folks who evacuated to Chico already worked here and drove down to town almost every day, where they also shopped and socialized.

So, the “impacts” are largely MADE UP. Staff continues to lie to get their way. Next Tuesday they will bring a revenue measure consultant to make report regarding the $25,000 survey they are planning to get us to tax ourselves to pay their pensions. They want $65,000 more for a consultant to actually run their campaign. This is illegal, but who will call them on it? 

Will you?

 

Here’s a good read – how to recall a local politician

3 Jan

I know, it’s easy to shoot your mouth off, scream RECALL! every time you get sick of the politicians ruining your lives. But is it just hot air? Is a recall do-able?

Yes, it is. In fact, last June, opponents of SB1, the gas tax increase passed and enacted by California legislators in January 2017, successfully recalled a Southern California Senator who pushed the tax. 

https://reformcalifornia.org/reform-california-celebrates-victory-in-recall-of-sen-josh-newman/

Unfortunately, the gas tax repeal measure, Prop 6, was defeated in September,  because the Attorney General created a false and misleading title.

https://calmatters.org/articles/commentary/misleading-title-hamstrings-gas-tax-repeal-measure/

I believe the Attorney General should be recalled too, but instead Reform California is now working on a measure that would take the duty of naming ballot measures away from elected politicians, who obviously have bias when it comes to legislation. 

But let’s talk about recalling local politicians who play loose and fast with the rules – like Karl Ory. I can’t believe I’m saying this – Thank Goodness for city clerk Debbie Presson, or the council would have violated the meetings laws and gone ahead with major changes to local building code without the required public noticing and discussion at last night’s meeting. It’s Presson’s duty to know and keep the rules of council meetings, and she had to tell Ory that he was out of line last night. 

But it’s really our duty as voters, citizens and taxpayers to know the rules, and our rights. Don’t be intimidated by the language – sit down with this “work book” regarding recalls, and I think you’ll realize, it’s do-able, People.

https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/recalls/procedure-recalling-state-and-local-officials/

Election Time – ask your supervisor candidates what they will do about Chico’s growing transient problem

30 Mar

Looks like some bum’s cache has been had over by other bums as well as animals. 

As soon as the weather turned warm we started noticing evidence of illegal camping in Bidwell Park. My husband came across this pile in the dense overgrowth between Bryant Avenue and Hwy 99 overpass, near the little Redwood grove north of Chico Creek. 

Look at all those bicycle rims.  My husband said there was a lot of copper wire in the pile, along with tools, spilling out of the old bike cart buried there in the mess. I think it’s safe to assume much of the stuff here has been stolen out of work vehicles or garages, sheds, whatever.

Yesterday the Enterprise Record ran an editorial – “Chico needs to stop going around in circles on crime problem…”   

What he misses is how the county exacerbates the problem  by bringing in homeless and mentally ill people for the $550 a day they bring with them. The county takes transfers from other counties, for the $550 a day, don’t be dumb. They can hold these people whether they want to be here or not, for 45 days. Without a calculator, that’s about $23,000, per person, every 45 days. According to Behavioral Health director Dorian Kittrell, that adds up to about $63 million a year. 

Now translate that $63 million into crazy people wandering our streets – just last night we heard this report on Ch 24 news:

Chico Calif.—On Wednesday March 28th Chico Police Officers were dispatched to a suspicious man on the 1800 block of East 8th Street.

 The reports said that the man was acting erratic, screaming and could be holding a knife.

The man fled from the officer and then turned back and headed toward the officer.

The officer successfully deployed his department issued Taser and struck the man.

The Taser was able to keep the man incapacitated until further police officers arrived on scene and put the person in custody.

During the attempts to place the man in custody, he violently bit and resisted an officer.

The man had to be placed in a full body restraint system known as a WRAP because of his continued violence.

It was determined that the man needed medical attention based on his behavior and was transported to a local hospital.

The man was admitted to the hospital due to health concerns.

He has not been identified at this time.

No, he hasn’t been identified, and I’m guessing we won’t hear much more about it. This guy bit a cop – that’s kinda crazy, wouldn’t you say?  These are the kind of people Butte County Behavioral Health is bringing here, holding for 45 days, and then releasing on their own recognizance. I’ve  been told they are offered a ride out of the “Puff” – psychiatric hospital – to any of several local shelters, but are not required to take it.

When a woman was found dead along Hwy 99 near Butte College Chico campus, I searched her name and found her last known contact with police was in Oroville, where she was reported by a resident to be wandering in a private yard muttering to herself. The police didn’t arrest her, but said they offered her a ride, which she refused. She wandered off into the night and the next anybody saw of her was a half rotted corpse laying in the bushes along the freeway.

I don’t think the system is working, do you? 

It’s a good question for your county supervisors – two Chico supes are up for re-election this year. Larry Wahl is running again, but Maureen Kirk has stepped aside. Four challengers have stepped up to take their seats, that’s good, they try harder when they have to jump and snap for it. 

District 2 incumbent Larry Wahl,   https://www.buttecounty.net/boardofsupervisors/SupervisorLarryWahl.aspx

Challenger Debra Lucero,   https://debralucero.us/

In District 3 there are 3 candidates:

Tami Ritter,   https://ritterforsupervisor.com/

Bob Evans,  https://bobevansforsupervisor.com/

Norm Rosene,  https://www.normrosene.com/

 

 

 

 

Local Government Committee offering free city sewer lines to county dwellers, talking about hiring a homeless coordinator to bring in federal funding, and how to cover Station 42 – May 3, City Hall, 3:30 pm

27 Apr

One of the best meetings to  attend, to get an overview of both city and county business and stuff that will be on future council and supervisor agendas is the Local Governments Committee. These are held four times a year and cover issues that will affect your lifestyle.

The next meeting is Wednesday, May 3, here’s the agenda:

http://www.ci.chico.ca.us/document_library/minutes_agendas/Local%20government%20commission/5-3-17LGCAgendaPacket.pdf

Attached to Wednesday’s agenda you will also find the minutes from the February meeting, be sure to read those. Having attended these meetings and then read the minutes taken by the clerk and approved by the board, I find attendance is better – the minutes are often lacking, don’t tell everything.  But they’re better than nothing. 

You’ll find, the city is laying free sewer pipe for a new subdivision in the county.  That’s inappropriate, as far as I’m concerned, but they’re desperate to get people to hook up to sewer since they expanded the sewer plant.

Yeah, I was wrong about the sewer plant being at capacity. That was several years ago, I found notes for a more recent meeting.  Yes, according to the sewer plant manager and ass city manager Chris Constantin, the city spent millions expanding the sewer plant and then the economy took a dump. This was December 2015. The economy has  rebounded somewhat, but the sewer plant is still starving. The plant director urged the city to come up with new fees to pay for this stuff, while the city works manager is hooking people up to sewer as fast as he can. They laid free sewer pipe all over the city, and now they’re moving into the county.

But in my neighborhood, a neighbor whose house burned down is being held from rebuilding – they want him to pay the entire cost of having a sewer line laid down the easement alongside his house.  That seems weird – county dwellers in brand new houses get free sewer, but my long-time neighbor has to spend 10’s of thousands bringing the city sewer down an annexed driveway? 

That’s the kind of stuff you find out about when you attend these meetings.

Pay Attention!

 

What ya gonna do?

22 Apr

Today, at 9 am, my husband and I encountered a man at Mangrove Safeway who was so intoxicated he was trying to enter the “EXIT ONLY” door. He just stood there with his nose to the glass, pressing at the door with his chest, pushing the concrete with his feet. His face was red with alcohol poisoning.

When we’d entered the parking lot via the back alley, we saw him laying in a fetal position behind Kwando, two wine bottles laying nearby.  We were surprised to see him lumbering up to the front door of Safeway a few minutes later. He looked to be in his late 20’s, long hair, unshaven, but weirdly clean. He was wearing new clothes – a t-shirt and what appeared to be medical scrubs for pants, and bright aqua blue sneakers. 

When I was young I worked at a retail store on a busy boulevard in Sacramento.  The entry had an old brick planter with an awning over the front, to shade the store from the intense afternoon sun. We’d long since given up trying to plant anything in the planter box, the bums would sit on it all night, drinking cheap booze and watching the cars go by, it would be full  of empty bottles and other junk the next morning.

The boss would schedule a team of two to open the store – one big, mean looking guy to deal with the front entrance, and another person to run the cash registers and get the store going. The planter and awning created a neat little shelter.  Most mornings there would be at least one human body blocking the front door, and the ground would be sticky with urine, spilled drinks, food trash, and sometimes a pile of human poop.

The front door guy was given a janitorial style mop bucket on wheels, a jug of bleach, a push broom, and a big, yellow fat hose, with a key to open the spigot on the side of the store. Of course that had to be locked up good – we’d actually  had transients who’d found a way to get on the roof, set up a neat little camp, with a hose running down to that spigot for fresh water! Ginchee!

One morning my co-worker came into the store to say he thought the old man on the front steps might be dead. His own face had a tint of green – the old man had thrown up blood and booze all over the entrance, and he wouldn’t respond to my friend’s prodding and pleading.

These people drove us nuts. We were open late at night and they were always trying to  get into the store. If they made it past the front cash register we’d have a hell of a time getting them out, and the cops wouldn’t help us. I think the oldest one of my co-workers was about 24 years old, we’d all grown up in the suburbs, the worst thing we’d seen was our dad with a hangover.

So my  friend and I were both really scared this guy was dead. It wasn’t exactly sympathy, but we had never seen a dead guy before. We went into the back of the store to call the cops and – you guessed it – when we came back the old bastard had picked himself up and wandered out into the busy street, swearing and swinging his fists at the early morning traffic.  And then he was gone, but not quite forgotten…

Nothing left to do but call the cops off and clean the front entry. Yeeeeeeccccchhhhh!

So I don’t know what to do when I see these people flocking all over the Mangrove Plaza. As could have been predicted, the warm weather is bringing them in droves.

I don’t know what to do about the general atmosphere of “Who gives a shit” that seems to be overcoming our town.  Worse – so many people are in point blank denial – today the park is packed with people participating in that paint run – are they blind to the condition of the park? There are pot holes with white spray paint circles around them in the park road  – Hello!?! 

The other day my husband and I went up to walk our dogs along Humboldt Road. Wow, what a mess that’s become, but if you watch out for broken glass there are a few nice hikes.  We found a place along the road that’s become a couch dump – even a big screen tv. Wandering along a little creek, we came upon a trashed car we hadn’t seen before, so we guessed it’s been dumped within the last month or so. The trunk, hood, doors were wide open, stuff was torn out all over the place. A faded note held in place by a window wiper said the car had not been abandoned, please leave it alone. 

0421170904

Anybody recognize this car?

It sure looked “unused, disused, neglected, idledeserted, unoccupied, uninhabited, empty” to me.  I always wonder if these cars have been stolen and are in the process of being stripped. 

Even though this is within the city limits and jurisdiction of Chico PD – a city work crew was up there, dumping slobbers in pot holes – I don’t even know who to report it to. When I reported a very much inhabited campsite we found down there,  Chico PD acted as though I was just being a pill.  I can’t believe the city road crew didn’t see all that stuff from the cab of their big bulldozer. The county has known about it for years.

I sent a picture I took of the homeless camp out front of Home Depot to the Enterprise Records’ “Hotshots,” we’ll see if they print it.  I don’t know how else to draw attention to this issue when so many people just don’t want to hear or do anything about it. 

Bums putting the pressure on long time local businesses, meanwhile, $215,000/year city manager demands $63,000/year park rangers carry guns, make arrests

6 Apr

Yesterday I went to Safeway on Mangrove to pick up some groceries, and I had to ask myself – am I shrinking, or are these carry baskets getting bigger? 

So I couldn’t resist, when my checker made the usual small talk, I asked him about it. He didn’t seem too eager to talk at first,  saying the baskets were sent by a contract distributor, that Safeway didn’t really have anything to do with it. 

I said, “That makes sense, I notice there’s usually advertising on them.” I figured, the baskets are probably  free or very cheap to Safeway because of the advertising.  But the word “advertising” loosened my checker’s tongue, he said, “yeah, but with the transients stealing them and leaving them laying all over town, it was becoming bad advertising for Safeway…”  So now they are just plain brown baskets, they don’t even have the Safeway logo on them anymore.

Oooooo! I get it! I actually found one of the old ones in front of my house on Palmetto. I watched it scoot along the gutter for a couple of days before I picked it up and took it back to Safeway. I just walked right in with it and dumped it in the stack by the door as I grabbed a wheeled cart.  I figured a neighborhood kid had stolen it for a prank, and never mentioned it to anybody. 

According to my checker, these baskets were being found in and along Chico Creek, particularly near One Mile. Well, again, that makes sense. The creeks and the park have become illegal campgrounds. 

Yesterday walking my dog in middle park, I noticed another new trail, heading right into a dense tangle of blackberry and other non-native overgrowth. 

Meanwhile, the city of Chico discusses arming park rangers.

http://www.chicoer.com/general-news/20170405/chico-park-rangers-could-become-armed-sworn-officers

“The city is facing increased “criminal behavior” in its parks and public spaces, O’Brien said. Park rangers are encountering a criminal element with “much greater frequency” than in the past.

“’We want both the public enjoying our parks and our park staff to be as safe as possible,’ O’Brien said. ‘The issues in the park include a more sophisticated criminal element, not simply kids trying to sneak alcohol into Bear Hole or people letting their dogs off leash as in years past.’”

When I asked the checker at Safeway if they’d reported their problems to the city or the police, he frowned and shook his head. A sour “yes” was his verbal answer. I offered, “but they don’t do anything?” A sour look and a shake of the head was the answer to that.

If you look at the city’s salaries, available here:

http://publicpay.ca.gov/Reports/Cities/City.aspx?entityid=79&fiscalyear=2015

The first pages, sorted by salary, are full of police and fire employees, with salaries over $100,000/year,  plus packages starting at $35,000, as high as $65,000/year. 

Park ranger appears pages later, with a salary of about $63,000/year and a much smaller package.

The story in the paper says rangers have been told they have 15 months to make a decision – do they want to carry a “firearm” and make arrests in the park? Or get another job. 

“On top of that, Orme ($215,000 in salary with an $80,000 benefits package) said there is no dramatic increase in revenue projected that would allow for more city employees, and resources are already limited.”

Look at the government compensation charts for the last few years – police and fire salaries have been going up-up-up.  The city manager’s salary has increased by over $10,000 in the last five or six years. 

I think Mark Orme should have to go out in the park and roust the bums. 

 

You can’t always count on the cops – know your neighborhood, and keep an eye on it

8 Jan

My husband takes our dog Biscuit out every morning for a walk around the neighborhood. She’s diabetic and needs the exercise to keep her blood sugar  down, and my husband is on alert ever since a car was broken into across the street last year. We both feel it’s a good idea to walk the neighborhood regularly, different times of day, keep in touch with our surroundings.

No matter what the weather, they take their morning constitutional over to the park. After she came home soaking wet a couple of times, my husband  decided to make her a raincoat from a garbage bag.

She was not thrilled about the raincoat.

She was not thrilled about the raincoat. That’s not a happy face, and the tail is all wrong.

Of course she cowered and tried to shake it off at first, but as soon as she realized it meant WALK, she was on board. Now I put it on her anytime I want to take her outside.

What a fashion maven.

Taking Fashion Maven Biscuit out to the mail box.  There’s the correct tail posture. 

Of course, Badges has to have everything Biscuit has, so we fitted him with his own little jacket.

You THE MAN! Badges.

Marshall Badges and Deputy Ding-Dong during a rare moment in between dumpers.  

Badges wasn’t too sure either, but like Biscuit, he now identifies the raincoat with WALK, and he actually holds his head up to have it pulled on. 

Don’t let the weather keep you from being active. Get out there and keep an eye on your hood.