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Don’t let the heat make you stupid – don’t fall for the threats, Vote NO on H

10 Sep

Are you worried that you’re going a little, well, CRAZY? You got that right – it’s Dog Days, and that’s when people and dogs go crazy. Go outside about 5am, there he is, Orion the Hunter, setting out across the sky, followed by his faithful dogs. I believe that’s where dogs go when they die, they follow Orion across the sky. At this time of year, Orion and his dogs are walking in the hot daylight, and you know what heat does to your brains. It makes you stupid and crazy.

Most people like to think they’re intelligent. But your intelligence is subject to many variables – alcohol comes to mind, but there are other factors that aren’t under our control. Like the weather. My two worst times of year are Dog Days and the first days of January, because the weather is bleak, and it ain’t going away. Late summer in NorCal is like this – 105, 106, 109, 112, 112, 112… Once the temps get up that high, it’s hard to get them down. Like your temper, they just keep getting hotter. I do stupid stuff, like online shopping. The other day my husband stopped me just short of ordering a troll doll.

Troll doll, close-up

Justin Taylor / Creative Commons – I had one of these when I was a kid, but my dog ate it.

In January, the cold gets in my bones, and the darkness gets in my mind, like a Stephen King story – I get sad, and I can’t explain it except that it’s cold and dark outside. I do stupid stuff, like make a whole cake and eat it. Frankly, I know it’s inevitable, so I plan for it – this year I’m going to make a chocolate souffle and eat that.

Unfortunately this is an election year, and you know, they’re ugly anyway. Add record heat, unbelievably bad air quality, and wow – what a circus.

Here’s a letter from unsuccessful council candidate and former park commissioner Jeffrey Glatz.

I was present back in 2019 when former City Ass Mangler Chris Constantin went to all the commissions and made his pitch for a sales tax measure. Glatz was in attendance when Constantin spoke to the Park Commission. Of course Constantin wailed on that the city was in dire straights, blamed the Camp Fire Refugees, and claimed a 220,000 post fire population that only turned out to be about 210,000. That Census, by the way, was done in the days immediately following the fire, alot of refugees who were living here temporarily have left, but Constantin used that tragedy to further his ends. Of course, Glatz bought the pitch, swallowed it hook, line and sinker, without ever looking at the city budget. If he had, he would see, the city is flush with funds, including a recent gift of $12.2 million in disaster relief money. He brushes off the CalPERS debt like a guy who doesn’t have the faintest notion what the hell he’s talking about.

This guy is a good example of why the commissions and boards should be eliminated. They are spoils positions, given to those who support the council members who appoint them, oftentimes financially. We don’t even get to elect these people, they’re not qualified for the positions, they’re just tools of staff.

Glatz is simply repeating, regurgitating, what he’s been told. He uses the same argument – the city is desperately poor, and taxpayers will only suffer more attrition if they don’t pass the tax.

Are you sick of the threats? Are you sick of willful subordination? Vote NO on Measure H.

Taxpayer Singalong! If you’re overtaxed and you don’t like it, JUST SAY NO!

14 Aug

Summer is winding down, and the urge to hibernate is strong. But Friday the county clerk posted her notice of measures coming up on the November ballot. I didn’t see it, so I don’t even know what letter designation the clerk gave the city of Chico sales tax increase measure. But I have had three people contact me to tell me they are ready to push back.

For now we’ll just call it, Tax Measure ?

Three people – that’s the magic number folks. See, one guy is crazy, two guys are [politically incorrect], but THREE GUYS is a MOVEMENT! (let me extend my sincere apologies to Arlo Guthrie).

Arlo says you can join the movement, if you just sing along. In this case, we need you to start writing those letters. Tell your friends. Sing it! Just say NO!

If you’re overtaxed and you don’t like it, JUST SAY NO!

Yesterday morning the tv pundits were all talking about inflation – food and energy prices are leading the charge, two commodities that most of us civilized taxpayers think of as necessities. If you’re sick of watching your grocery receipt and your PG&E and gas bills keep going up, SING ALONG!

If you’re feeling gouged and you don’t like it, JUST SAY NO!

Furthermore, you’re looking around yourself, your streets are trashed, your parks are trashed, there are encampments full of sex offenders along the trail your child takes to school – you want to know where is all the money going? SING ALONG!

If you’re sick of the excuses, and the questionable money uses, then you have to find your spine and JUST SAY NO!

A lady contacted me recently and asked me if I was going to do any “demonstrations”. People want to jump on a noisy bandwagon, wave signs, drive their cars around City Hall beeping their horns ($$$$$!), but I find those are mostly hot air and run out of gas pretty quickly. And sometimes people get to pushing and shoving and annoying little old ladies get butt-slammed by big jerk faces.

Here’s a gentle suggestion – sing this song for your council or your council representative. Tell them you’re going to vote NO on Tax Measure ?, cause you know what, as of today, there’s still THREE DAYS left on the election calendar for them to take this dud OFF THE BALLOT.

Contact council – there is still time for them to renege and pull that tax measure off the ballot

2 Aug

Yesterday I went to the grocery store and came home without two long-time staples from my shopping list – they were too expensive. I’ve watched prices go up all my life, but lately it’s been a little crazy.

I’ve been using Noxema since I was a child, it’s a good face wash, and it’s good for taking care of skin conditions like sunburn and chapping. Suddenly the price has jumped from about $3.50/jar to almost $5.00. Let’s do the math – $1.50 increase divided by the original price = 42% increase.

For Noxema?

Another item I’ve been buying for years is honey. I use it in my tea, it’s comforting. I used to buy it from a local distributor but switched to more generic brands as the price went up. I was paying $7.11 for a 32 oz bottle, and I was comfortable enough with that, even though it was starting to feel like a luxury. Yesterday the tag on the shelf said almost $11.

So I walked out of the store without two items I’ve been purchasing for years. Downsizing. I make my own skin scrub with coconut oil and sugar, I’ll just have to add some menthol oil – the key ingredient in Noxzema – and use that on my face. I already buy essential oils online for pennies per use.

We also noticed the price of our canned dogfood has gone up, again and again. Every time we buy it lately, it’s nudged up another dollar. He needs meat with his kibble, but I realized I was buying the commercial food for convenience. So, we bought a pack of chicken on sale at Raley’s and I cooked it up for him instead. I realize, now we know exactly what’s in his food, the canned stuff was always kind of a mystery. Chicken goes on sale regularly enough – and we eat it ourselves.

Like I say, I’ve watched prices go up all my life, but not usually like this. The last time I remember inflation like that was back in the early 2000’s – that’s when I stopped buying local honey, switched to generic crap brands from wherever. I had watched the local honey go up a couple of dollars over the last year, and I couldn’t see any rationale behind it. They try to tell us it’s “supply chain issues” – no it’s not, it’s gouging, and it’s permanent. We won’t see prices go down when the crisis is over – well, they’ll just manufacture another crisis anyway.

The other common thing I notice now – price of housing is going up like crazy. I remember that started happening in about 2003, and by 2008, we had foreclosure signs all over Chico. The city kept saying we needed more “starter” housing for young families, but the prices just kept going up. We all found out – it was the building industry that was demanding more housing, the unions.

That’s exactly what’s happening now – the trade unions are bitching for more building in California – they say we need “more affordable” housing, but that’s not what they’re producing.

Just making observations. The only answer I see is self-inflicted attrition. Cut your expenses, stop buying stuff you don’t need, become more self-reliant like Doug LaMalfa has been saying. And write to your city council to tell them you will not support the sales tax increase measure. There is still actually time for council to renege and pull that measure off the ballot.

Next time I’d like to go over recent budgets – the city has been forecasting doom and gloom, but our revenues are up steadily and there’s really no excuse for a tax measure.

Housing market is tanking, rent is going up – what’s the city of Chico doing? Making it worse.

22 Jul

Yep, the housing market is crashing, and rent is going up. Why? Well, here in Chico, I believe the cause is overbuilding. Walk with me, talk with me.

The city has been permitting skads of new housing, despite concerns about water, traffic, and the general quality of life. That’s their answer to demands for “affordable housing”, but no, it’s not affordable, housing is getting more expensive as we speak.

How does that happen? Well, it’s that overused mantra – if you build it they will come. More housing attracts more people. People from cities where the cost is a lot higher, and oftentimes the quality of living has sunk to unimaginable lows. So they come here with their fistful of cash and bully down other buyers. I’ve seen it.

Another reason is that alot of those people are investors, not families in desperate need of housing. Right away the investor involvement drives up demand and the price. They have the money to offer more than the average family, and they snap up new housing before it is even built. I don’t have an exact figure, but I know a lot of the houses in that new Fogarty subdivision were bought new as rentals by investors.

Who could forget the scam that significantly raised the price of housing in Chico FOREVER. Developer Tony Symmes concocted a plot with cronies to recruit “straw buyers” to buy his houses at way more than market value. On my street, a group of local investors bought an old lady’s back yard and put in seven houses, which they all immediately bought for themselves, at outrageous prices – the cheapest little house at the front went for almost $700,000. But it was all just on paper, money never changed hands, they were the investors. Then they sold the houses, using the straw prices they’d invented – one 4 bedroom McMansion sold in 2020 for $743,000, with a current estimated value at over $800,000.

Once the price of housing goes up like that, it’s never going to go down to reason again. Take a look at the prices on Zillow, I was shocked. See, council can approve the permits, but they have nothing to say about the prices. The prices are set by the market, and the market is a screaming horde out of the Bay Area. That’s what you get when you permit a Build Fest like we got now.

Have we all really forgotten the recession that fell in 2008? I remember earlier, then-council member Dan Nguyen-tan, telling me things were great – interest rates were down, he said, so people could afford more expensive houses. I remember looking at that guy with new eyes – what an idiot, how do people like him get into positions of trust? Why would you want people to buy more expensive houses, just because the interest rate was low? Because that raises not only the cost of housing, but the amount of property taxes on those homes. Forever.

And then we found out, it was VARIABLE. And they were letting people buy with no down and no payments for a year. Who would not have seen what was coming on the heels of a frenzy like that?

I had heard about foreclosure, I’d seen pictures of whole sections of Detroit, houses sitting empty and in decay, old faded For Sale signs on the dead lawns. But I’d never seen it for myself. It was shocking, sign after sign along the streets all over Chico. Red Bluff was really bad, I saw a neighborhood in which most of the houses had Foreclosure signs in front. Chico had never seen anything like it, historically, foreclosures were rare. Now they are a fact of life in Chico. We’ve way over built our housing market, and that doesn’t mean, we’ve been “housing” anybody, and housing has certainly not become more affordable.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure, rent follows the housing market – rents are also shocking these days.

Furthermore, utility rates have also gone up steadily, without any reason except the utility companies want more money. PG&E burns down a town due to lack of maintenance on a 12 cent part, and use it as an excuse to raise rates. The CPUC wrings their hands and approves rate increase after rate increase, amid stories of bribery and scandal among board members. Who you gonna call? Well, when CPUC president Michael Peavey was caught red-handed accepting bribes from utility companies, then California Attorney General Kamala Harris threw her apron over her head and said the statute of limitations had run out.

Instead of using their collective might to mount a legal protest of the rate hikes, the city of Chico takes advantage of high utility rates, imposing franchise fees on PG&E and Comcast, and a 5% Utility Users Tax on your PG&E, Cal Water, and landline bill. But have they pressured any of these companies to update their infrastructure in your neighborhood? You might have seen the maps the city consultant made, showing which neighborhoods have high fire danger – most of them! But nobody asks, how old are the transformers and electric lines?

And how’s your internet/cellphone service? Does your Cal Water taste like PV Pool? How does paying a chump fee to the city of Chico affect the quality of any of these services aside from raising the price?

City of Chico is in trouble because of poor decisions based on employee wants instead of taxpayer needs. You see them out cleaning the bum camps they created because they don’t want you to think about what they’re NOT doing. They want you to say, “hurray Staff, thanks so much for doing the job you already get well-paid for!” And pass their sales tax increase. Don’t be a dupe, your kids are smarter than that.

American Rescue Plan included a bail out of the pension system – unfortunately, the bail out system needs a bail out!

19 Jul

Well, you think you know it’s bad, and then you find out, it’s badder than you think. Very, very badder.

First I read the city’s comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). I found out, the pension deficit figure that comes up in conversations is only a fraction of what the city actually owes – that made me mad. Worse, I saw what the city pays out monthly in payroll contributions, and that made me sick. How can we funnel hundreds of millions of dollars a year into a failing system?

And then Dude sent me this article from Zero Hedge, and little rockets starting flying out of my ears.

Yes, there it is – America just bailed out the pensions.

“Buried deep in the American Rescue Plan signed into law by President Biden in March 2021 was a provision mandating the government to bail out ailing multiemployer pension plans.”

I knew the ARP was going to be full of pork barrel, so this does not surprise me. Like the author says, this act was jammed through quickly under cover of COVID, I’m going to guess most legislators never read it in full, not even their staffers knew what was in it. Business as usual in Washington, as well as Sacramento.

Well, here’s something I never even guesstulated – there’s a national agency tasked with bailing out the pension funds – the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. But here’s no surprise – they’re in trouble too!

 “The 25 largest U.S. public pensions face trillions in unfunded liabilities. If Americans took the time to stand back and look at the bigger picture they will see the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) an independent agency of the United States government responsible for acting as the nation’s “safety net” for failed pensions is also in trouble. When a pension fails this agency is expected to take control of its assets and dole them out to its pensioners in the coming years. The ugly truth is the PBGC is not a rock but is in need of its own bailout. 

Here’s another truth: the taxpayers pay the lion’s share of the pensions, and always have. We pay more than half the payroll amount, and we pay ALL OF THE DEFICIT. It is time for the employees to fess up and pay more, a lot more.

Or the reality is going to be this: “People are often led to believe pensions are a promise carved in stone, however, when the money is not there pensions and promises will be broken so pensioners should prepare for the pain. This is especially true in the public sector which has a history of granting pensions that are unheard of in the private sector. “


Chico can’t afford a general measure

14 Jul

I’ve been watching the city of Chico move toward this tax measure since about 2012. I’ve watched them make some pretty desperate pitches, always threatening infrastructure and services, but constantly siphoning money out of every fund to make increasing payments toward their own pensions. Now they claim they need more money to fix the roads, they admit the transient camps are going to continue to drain more money from the Gen Fund, and they continue to raise the police budget. But Kim Nott, for one, has said it like it is – they want us to pay their pension deficit before CalPERS and other pensions systems start going down like dominoes. It disgusts me that our elected “leaders” won’t have an honest conversation. I’ve been especially disappointed in the “conservatives” – they came in promising to clean up our town and now Reynolds is claiming to make council accountable – with your money.

So I wrote a letter about it!

Councilwoman Kasey Reynolds’ proposed “Quality of Life” initiative seeks to assure the voters that council will be accountable with their spending of the enhanced sales tax revenues. Unfortunately it shows just the opposite. City Attorney says the measure is not legal, so why are we wasting Staff time pursuing it? It’s meaningless and unenforceable, and the idea that the city would fine itself and then pay with taxpayer money is ludicrous. This is a clear example of how council and staff whittle away money that is not specifically dedicated to a certain use.

Council members and staffers have insinuated that new sales tax revenues will go toward infrastructure and services, but they can’t promise anything. Council, advised by staff, voted unanimously to put a simple majority measure on the ballot, with no restrictions on spending, no accountability, period. And a feel good ballot measure that has been declared illegal by the city attorney is supposed to make us confident these people will do the right thing with the new revenues?

Council members have admitted they did not understand the Warren settlement and were intimidated by the judge. They didn’t understand the Shelter Crisis Designation, or that they were not legally required to sign it. No voter initiative will provide accountability for incompetence. These people are not only unaccountable, they’re indemnified – any lawsuit they get themselves into, the taxpayers finance the lawyer who gets them out, even if the taxpayers are the plaintiff.

Chico can’t afford a general measure.

Sorensen and Morgan would very much like us to forget their complicity in the slow degradation of Chico – don’t do it!

9 Jul

I’m still puzzling over remarks made by Chico councilman Sean Morgan in an interview with Ch 7 KRCR. First he made cryptic remarks about who is responsible for Chico’s abysmal situation, as if he had nothing to do with it. He praised Sorensen, who as past mayor and councilman, knew the situation Chico was in and why the city was in that situation but only made decisions that deepened the abyss, hiring new employees at outrageously high salaries without asking them to pay a rational share of their pension and benefits costs.

Morgan continued to emphasize Sorensen’s long track record in the City of Chico and said that the city needs a strong leader as officials, like the chief of police, retire and the city faces challenges with administrative staffing.” He mentions that the chief just retired without mentioning that Madden was only chief for about a year and a half before his recent retirement announcement. “challenges with administrative staffing“?

I’ll guess he’s going to say we need to offer bigger salaries “to attract talent”. That is the argument by which they continue to spiral the salaries up and out of reason. And it’s a lie – they gave Madden a raise, which increased his pension and his deficit, and you see how long he stayed – a year and a half, just long enough to spike his pension.

And then, another cryptic remark about “A lot more people will get away with a lot less,” Morgan continued. “I think that some of the decision-making methods [in city administration] were handled loosely and people were given reigns that shouldn’t have been given reigns. I think Mark will do a better job of focusing on ‘that’s your job’ or ‘‘that isn’t your job’”. What is he talking about? Who is he talking about?

I’ll remind us all – Sorensen took office in 2010 and Morgan took office in 2012. Sorensen hired Nakamura and agreed to a $40,000 salary increase for the city manager position with NO CONTRIBUTION toward pension or benefits. Both Sorensen and Morgan hired Mark Orme and both voted to promote him to city manager when Nakamura left, again, requiring NO CONTRIBUTION toward pension or benefits. As elected officials, both Sorensen and Morgan were included in the “decision-making methods“, both of them were handed the “reigns” as Mayor and both also served as Vice Mayor. Yet Morgan refuses to take any responsibility for our current situation, nor does he assign any to Sorensen.

Sorensen’s appointment is obviously supposed to comfort us and convince us that the city will make wise use of the extra revenues if we will just approve the new tax they’ve placed on the ballot. And here, Morgan is very clearly threatening us with more cuts to services if we don’t pass a general tax with no restrictions on spending.

“Morgan said the move is important at a time when the city is facing a number of issues. ‘The most important thing for the city is finances,’ he finished. ‘if we don’t have the finances, we don’t have the police, we don’t have the fire, we don’t have the public works. The city has gotten much cleaner and we need to keep that happening. We need a clean, safe city for business to prosper.'”

Oh sure, we can trust Old Mark! Oh please, let’s not forget, Sorensen served with a “conservative” majority, unfettered by the “liberals”, but still made painfully bad staffing decisions that drove the city deeper into debt. He also agreed to the increasing “side fund” or “catch up” payments to CalPERS, which at first seemed sensible. The deficit went down in the beginning, from about $168 million to about $130 million. But we found out – that was at a huge cost to services – Nakamura gutted staff with Sorensen’s blessing, eliminating the lower level “worker” positions in the Public Works and Parks Departments. This was the beginning of the city’s attack on the tax payers by attrition, “the action or process of gradually reducing the strength or effectiveness of someone or something through sustained attack or pressure.”

So how do our pension costs keep going up? Look at the 2020-21 Comprehensive Finance Report, page 70 – be sure to sit down. Our total pension deficit is a lot more than they’ve been telling us.

You see that while they were getting rid of the city’s actual workforce, council agreed to increasing management salaries without demanding employees pay any more toward their pension or benefits costs. It wasn’t until Orme was city manager and agreed to a measly 3%, then 6%, then 9% – for 70% of his highest year’s salary at retirement. That’s about $25,000 a year, and for that Morgan agreed to raise “the Skipper’s” salary to a base of $207,000/yr.

Hey, don’t you have to wonder – what was Sorensen thinking when he agreed to raise the city manager salary to $220,000 for Nakamura? Think he knew he’d be Chico city manager someday?

Another ass-backwards attempt to get us to approve this tax is Kasey Reynold’s limp-wristed initiative to “hold council responsible” for ” quality of life” issues. Another waste of very expensive city attorney time. Let’s pick that up another time.

This Fourth of July make it real – no new taxes that are not dedicated to specific services!

4 Jul

Happy 4th of July – here’s a blast from the past –

This is what a Chico Fourth of July looked like in 2016.

Yes, 2016 was the last time Chico had pancakes and music for breakfast in the park on the Fourth. I’m shaking my head, I just can’t believe it. For many years, this event was sponsored and run by Chico Area Recreation District. But, citing money problems, they cut it from the budget. It was picked up by Chico Running Club, who were responsible for the breakfast pictured above. And then it disappeared again.

How does something like this just disappear?

An important part of that celebration event was the Captain Bob Pancake Wagon and the local celebrities who flipped the flapjacks for the cause. My personal favorite was always Congressman Wally Herger, personable guy whether you agreed with him politically or not. The pancake wagon was owned and run by a group of volunteers from the Butte County Sheriff, but supported by donations. They were active as of 2021, and I’m guessing they are still available for events.

I went to Oregon for a couple of days this past week to hook up with relatives at a really groovy campground near Lake of the Woods. Driving back yesterday, in almost every town we passed through – even tiny towns – there were big banners strung up touting 4th of July fireworks celebrations, picnics, jamborees, races of all kinds. I couldn’t help but wonder – how come, a city with a budget over a million dollars, is not doing anything?

Especially a town that has promised us a year long 150 year town founder celebration. That seems to be in the hands of Chico Chamber – here’s their calendar:

For the weekend of July 4, they suggest you pack a basket and head over to Rotary Park. That is a Chico Area Recreation District event. “We’re so proud of CARD’s new Rotary Centennial Park, which was recently completed with the help of CARD staff and so many volunteers from the Rotary. It’s the perfect example of Chico community teamwork! Come enjoy this beautiful new spot by having a picnic in the summer sunshine.” But all they seem to be providing is the park – no fireworks, no sack races, no corn hole, nothing. It actually sounds like a pitch for a tax increase, but you know me, I speak their language.

Of course, and thank goodness, every year we get the fireworks show at the Silver Dollar. But that has nothing to do with the city, that is provided by the raceway promoters. Actually, the fans pay for it – $20 a head for adults, $15 for seniors, $10 for kids. My family would have paid $60 just for admission. Of course, you could sit outside the raceway in your car, or head over to the pallet shelter. I’ve never lived in a house in Chico from which the show was visible, but I have sat comforting my dog year after year. Price of liberty.

But here’s all the city of Chico has had to offer lately.

Yesterday the city admitted they have lost control of transient camps, that the bums just have to move to a new spot.
How about that $395,000 chambers remodel?
Every pothole tells a story of deferred maintenance.

So, yeah, I’m a little disappointed in the City of Chico. They sure have enough money to offer Mark Sorensen an inside job at $207,000/year base salary. That doesn’t include stuff like “extra pay”, cell phone and car allowance, all kinds of insurance, and don’t forget, 70% pension with a very small (9%) contribution on his part. In fact, I can’t even guarantee the 9%, they told me they don’t have to show me his contract until he signs it. Wow, that sure makes me feel included! I’m just blinded by the sunshine!

They are hiring Sorensen because he’s already on board with the sales tax measure. He wanted a tax of some sort when he was on council, but oh gee, he couldn’t take his hands off his junk then because he had to be elected by the taxpayers. Now he’s hired, so he doesn’t have to answer to the taxpayers. He wants that tax to pay down the pension deficit, because as of 2012 he’s been a public employee, “serving” the city of Biggs for 10 years now. They hired him at about $60,000 – wow, quite a come-up to $207,000 base pay.

So Sorensen is going to try to shove this tax measure in, get ready, they want it bad. His future depends on it.

Our future and that of communities all over California depends on us overturning this tax measure. The revenues from this tax measure are not dedicated to any specific services, no matter how they insinuate they will use the money, it goes into the General Fund. Every year Staff takes a larger amount of the GF to make a “catch-up” payment on their pension deficit, while admittedly deferring maintenance and services. That is a willful pattern, a determined act, insubordination. And it’s a racket – following the advice of the California League of Cities, towns across the state are doing same, trying to throttle us into passing a tax increase to line their stinking nests.

And it will be a tight squeeze – knowing there was not true community support for this measure, council unanimously voted to make it a simple measure, requiring only 50% of voter turnout plus ONE VOTE to RAISE EVERYBODY’S TAXES. That, excuse me, is CHICKENSHIT, and they know it, but they’re doing it anyway.

Call your council rep, and sing them a little ditty –

Letter to the Editor: In this economic atmosphere, the city of Chico is proposing a regressive tax. They’re spending taxpayer money to push it. Let’s stop it now – contact council and tell them this dud is DOOOOOMED!

21 Jun

KRCR News reports, “The Consumer Price Index shows food prices have gone up over 10 percent in the past year… products like dairy, fish, meat and cereal are at an even higher rate.”

No, it wasn’t just our imagination. One viewer comments, “Seniors and the disabled on very fixed incomes are also struggling. Our rent is going up almost $100 next month… gas goes up and up, PG&E goes up, food prices go up…”

Everyone feels the squeeze of higher utility rates, food, household goods, and gas prices, but the lower your income, the more disproportionate share of your budget goes to bare necessities. It is troubling, in this economic atmosphere, that the City of Chico would propose a regressive tax increase.

You have to ask yourself what you’re going to get in return. Other social media comments reflect distrust in council spending decisions – “I do not trust that the money will be spent wisely… it will be up to the city council (not us) to decide (again, in a closed meeting) where they want it to be spent…” True, this regressive tax increase is forever, it’s not dedicated to any specific use, and any future council could spend the revenues any way they please.

Do you ever wonder if your voice matters? Well, here’s an opportunity to be heard – contact council now and tell them this measure is doomed, and they should not spend any more taxpayer money putting it on the ballot or selling it to the voters.

Juanita Sumner, Chico

Shock treatment – it’s dumb decisions on the part of council that raise our cost of living while lowering our quality of life

19 Jun

Yesterday I noticed the price of the pack of chicken I always buy at Winco has gone up. It was about $1.89/pound the last time I bought it, now it’s $2.28. Let’s do the math. First I’ll try to do it in my head, because that’s good for your brain.

Okay, subtract 1.89 from 2.28 = 39 cents. I’m going to check that on my calculator before I get mad. Hmmm. We divide .39 by 1.89 and we get a 20% increase. Wow, now I’m kinda pissed.

It’s a daily shock treatment. We go grocery shopping, get the bill for our vehicle registration, open a utility bill, go to the gas station – it’s like that great old Stephen King movie, Cat’s Eye.

I’ll tell you what – I might pay an extra sales tax to see Gavin Newsom and members of the Democratic legislature in this box.

Our own mayor and city council have put us in that box. They tax our utilities, put franchise taxes on our services, raise the cost of housing with their new developer fees, and squeeze local businesses for stuff like “improvement districts”.

And the double-whammy is that we get nothing for it. Crime is at an all time high even though the cops get over half the budget. We just got snookered into instituting a “homeless” shelter camp that, as Rob Berry twitters, is already inadequate because the city will not require that both beds in each box are occupied. As soon as the 177 pallets are “full”, the city will have to allow the transients to camp in our parks and open spaces again – and predate on our neighborhoods when we’re asleep and at work. And of course that will lead to more demands for money for the cops.

It’s dumb decisions on the part of council that not only raise our cost of living, but lower our quality of living. Look at an agenda, you’ll see what I’m talking about.

I saw an item in this week’s agenda that caught my eye – Deepika Tandon has requested a conversation about the Downtown trash receptacles. I still remember when the city underwent a “remodel” of Downtown, bulbing sidewalks – essentially inviting pedestrians to become human traffic calming devices. They also spent a bunch of money on those big, ugly concrete trash receptacles. The transients, who essentially own Downtown Chico after 10pm, had vandalized the old metal buckets, and the consultant who sold the city the concrete cans convinced them that concrete could stand up to the abuse of the bums.

No, they didn’t. They were vandalized, literally to pieces, until the city removed them. In fact, as my husband and I toured our out-of-town relatives through Thursday night market, shortly after the cans had been purchased, my husband’s cousin and I watched a filthy little perv completely destroy one of those cans with a bike chain.

So, let’s watch this conversation, and I hope some of you will chime in on Chico Engaged to let them know what you think of their ridiculous spending decisions. New garbage cans for Downtown – have you looked at the street in front of your house lately?

Sometimes I wonder if we should even have a city council. Every new council seems to repeat the mistakes of the past, like Tandon, they don’t do their homework. I think we might be better off voting on staff hires, but then I realize – that would be, the same idiot voters who elect these councils we’ve had, who have made these idiot decisions. I always wonder, how much homework does the average Chicoan do at election time?

This election is different. The idiots are demanding a one-cent sales tax increase to carry on their idiocy. This is a permanent increase in our cost of living, and again, you have to ask yourself, FOR WHAT? When was the last time you remember a council who didn’t make stupid spending decisions?

NO, and tell them that now, while they can still change course on this stupid tax measure.