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Chico City Staff (Orme) is duping the taxpayers into paying a lot more of the pensions than they are telling us

17 Jan

I was cleaning my computer files and found this report from a January 2018 Council agenda. I’ve contacted Jamie Cannon in the city Human Resouces Department and asked her to direct me to a more recent report with current figures, I’ll post any response I get from her.

http://chico-ca.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=2&event_id=280&meta_id=57592

This is an old report but it shows how the city’s (taxpayers’) contribution GOES UP AUTOMATICALLY EVERY YEAR, with no input from the taxpayers, while any increase in employee share has to be bargained and approved by the employees.

This report also shows that we pay ALL OF THE UNFUNDED LIABILITY, WHICH MEANS, WE’RE PAYING MORE SHARE THAN IS REPORTED IN THE “REGULAR” PAYMENTS. They don’t include the UAL when they figure shares, they exclude it and just leave the taxpayers to pick it up. The whooooooole thing!

Tomorrow night council will consider asking employees to pay part of the city’s payroll share – 3 – 6%. But no mention of what a consultant told the Finance Committee in September 2020 – “each year the city makes two types of payments to CalPERS – the ‘normal cost’ or ‘payroll’, and the ‘extra’ payments toward the Unfunded Actuarial Liability (UAL)…”

https://chico-ca.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?meta_id=79891

Look at the city’s share of the cost, and compare it to the employee shares, and then join me in demanding that the employees pay not only bigger shares toward the payroll share but pay the same share of the UAL.

Chico Staff and Council using the COnVID scam to shut the public out of meetings – meanwhile, they’re using OUR money to hire a tax measure consultant

14 Jan

Another COVID shut down – are you getting sick of it yet? Being told to wear TWO MASKS? Being told to vax-vax-vax, then BOOSTER? Then mask anyway? Get OUT!

Don’t worry, while we’re sitting around wringing our hands, Rand Paul is kicking the shit out of COVID.

Here Paul takes Fauci on over his fascist “take down” tactic – using his $420,000 salary, to “take down any scientists who disagree with him.” Paul reads directly from emails between Fauci and friends. Fauci protests like a teenager, “you just attack me...” But, as Paul asserts, Fauci’s own email trail confirms it. Hearing his own words, Fauci just keeps protesting that Paul is out to get him. “You keep distorting the truth!” protests Fauci, as Paul reads verbatim the private emails between Fauci and other “scientists”. Fauci claims this is a personal attack – wow, just like the personal attacks he initiated against doctors from Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford?

What a world we are living in. Yes, politicians are using COVID for political gain. And as a power tool, they just like to screw people!

Right now, Chico City Council is using taxpayer money like a power tool, to hire a consultant to screw a sales tax increase up our collective ass. And they’re doing it in closed meetings, under cover of COnVID. I’m going to go back to calling it “COnVID” because that’s what it is – a big CON job, a SCAM, a FLEECING of the American public. With no real science behind it, Chico City Council used hysterical calls for reinstitution of the mandates to shut down “public” meetings, oh gee, just as they are hiring a tax consultant?

Here’s a good morning stretch exercise – put both hands back there on your ass. Find your tailbone. Run your finger up from there – that’s your backbone. Learn to use it, and write to your council now, tell them to get their hands out of your purse.

Mark Orme’s sales tax increase measure: With salaries well in excess of $100,000/year, the people who really make and implement these decisions are well-insulated from any negative impacts. In fact, they directly benefit from any increase in taxes

6 Jan

Here’s another letter writer who does not support the city’s sales tax increase measure. From the Chico Enterprise Record:

Don’t trust this council with more money

As a current taxpayer in Chico,, I do not support the proposed sales tax put forth by the city council’s conservatives. They already can’t manage the current city budget, what makes them think they can take on more responsibility? For example, millions of dollars are spent on Chico PD “overtime” pay and for Chico Firefighter’s “disability claims” right before they retire. They need to do a better job of examining loopholes and the exploitation of city funds by these groups.

This city does not need more money: what we need are people who know how to manage city funds in ways that actually support the community and address issues such as homelessness, poverty, climate change, etc. — Alicia Trider, Chico CA

I’m so glad this person is familiar with the police and fire contracts. People need to read this stuff, we are on the hook for it. The cop and fire contracts are very generous, I’ve written here about it many times. Here are a couple of posts from last year that proved very enlightening:

CTO = “compensated time off”
Look at the calisthenics these people go through to spike their last year’s earnings and, subsequently, their pensions.

I don’t know if Trider actually read the contracts, as I have many times, but if she did, she’d find all kinds of stuff that just raises the cost of public safety for no other reason than PURE GREED.

Trider goes on to list her priorities, which put her at 180 degrees from previous letter writers. So, this sales tax measure has already raised hackles on both sides of the aisle, as I expected. The skating rink also raised hackles on both sides of the aisle, as did using taxpayer money to hire a consultant to push the measure. So far, Staff and Council seem to be putting their foot in their own doo-doo at every turn. In fact, I’d say, Council keeps stepping in Mark Orme’s doo-doo.

A tax increase is a negative for everybody – business owners and consumers are connected at the hip. Businesses need healthy consumers, and consumers need healthy businesses. Raising taxes eats people’s “disposable income,” and that means less money to spend to support local businesses. I’m not threatening to leave – think you’re gonna get rid of me that easily? I’ll just take my business elsewhere. In 2012, when disgraced ex-city-manager Brian Nakamura and despicable ex-city-manager Tom Lando initiated this conversation, I discovered online shopping, and I love it. I also enjoy a trip to Oregon now and then, where they have NO SALES TAX.

Well, I should say, this measure would be a negative for almost everybody. With salaries well in excess of $100,000/year, the people who really make and implement these decisions are well-insulated from any negative impacts. In fact, they directly benefit from any increase in taxes.

Write to your district rep, include the whole council, ask them to pull out of this dive before it’s too late.

If we allow the city’s sales tax measure to pass, the taxpayers will be on the hook for the outrageous pensions and benefits forever

3 Jan

A couple of letter writers weighed in recently on the proposed sales tax increase measure our city manager and council are moving toward the ballot. I don’t want to get too confident, but I’m starting to wonder if this measure will be the slam dunk the city is hoping for.

From the Enterprise Record:

More jobs, no tax increase
Here’s a novel idea. Have Chico’s “less fortunate” get jobs and become self reliant (like the rest of us) and we won’t need a city sales tax increase.— Jeff Saine, Chico

Long time local newscaster and well-known meteorologist Anthony Watts included the measure in his 2022 predictions:

Forecasts for 2022
No. 1: The legislature will pass and Gov. Gavin Newsom will sign an “exit tax” on people leaving the state for a better life. They’ll tax U-Haul, Ryder, Bekins, United Van Lines, etc. on any out-of-state move contract. This will create a black-market for clandestine movers. It will also create a reverse “Grapes of Wrath” effect; people loading up their vehicles and leaving the state to escape the “great depression” of California.


No. 2: State sanctioned theft of electricity becomes the new normal. On Jan. 27, 2022, The CPUC will approve the new NEM3 system that will create the highest solar tax in the country and hugely reduce the bill credit solar customers get for selling electricity back to the grid. It also imposes new fees for the “privilege” of connecting to the grid. NEM3 will pay 25 cents on the dollar per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated by home and small business solar owners, where under NEM2 it was 95 cents on the dollar. The result; a huge drop in installed solar on existing homes, and black-market electricians to wire solar to directly power homes instead of the grid.

No. 3: “Climate change” will be blamed for Nos. 1 and 2. Newsom and/or some idiot lawmaker will say “climate change” is the real reason people are leaving the state, and “climate change” is the reason we must steal electricity from your solar panels without fairly compensating homeowners.

No. 4: If it makes the ballot, the proposed 1% sales tax in Chico will fail spectacularly in November. Anthony Watts, Chico

I’m fairly certain this measure will make the ballot, but I’d like to believe it will fail. Now that the city is hiring a consultant to peddle it, it’s up to us to make sure the voters get both sides of the story. Important facts have been left out of the media interpretations of this measure – most important, staff and council members have already talked about using the revenues from this measure to secure bonds, including a Pension Obligation Bond. Bonds are permanent debt. As of now the city has no bond debt. The only real obligation against the city is the pension deficit, and who’s responsible for that is negotiable. If we allow this measure to pass, we’ll be on the hook for the pensions forever.

Orme is lying when he says city employees have not received raises since 2013 – management salaries have gone up while worker salaries remain stagnant

9 Dec

Fighting a lying machine like Mark Orme is tough. You know what they say – liars never sleep. Over the last few days, we’ve been hearing about a group of Chico Public Works employees who went before council the other night to expose the disparity of pay in the PW Department. I’ve always noticed that the lower-level workers get paid squat compared to management. Here’s the story from Action News in Chico:

https://www.actionnewsnow.com/content/news/City-of-Chico-Public-Works-employees-express-concerns-at-the-City-Council-meeting-tonight-575880811.html

CHICO, Calif. – Dozens of City of Chico Public Works employees were at the City Council meeting tonight sharing their concern with low wages and lack of workers to the council. 

The story quotes one senior worker who makes the usual complaints about losing employees and difficulty in recruiting due to low wages. We’ve all seen the result – just drive around town. So I looked at the secty of state’s website, publicpay.gov, as well as Transparent California. Both sites depend on information given by the agencies, and most agencies aren’t too anxious to hand over this information. So you see some discrepancies, mostly due to how they list the figures. Let’s take a look at Erik Gustafson, who is listed under “Operations and Maintenance Director”, or by his original title, “Public Works Director”.

https://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/search/?q=Erik+Gustafson

https://publicpay.ca.gov/Reports/PositionDetail.aspx?employeeid=27693769

On both sites you’ll see that his salary has gone up every year. Contrary to claims made by City Manager Mark Orme. In an interview with Chico Enterprise Record, Orme claimed city employees haven’t had raises for years.

Look at those two sites – they have slightly different figures, but both show a steady increase. According to TC, Gustafson’s salary has gone up every year, from total pay (which includes overtime and holiday pay but not benefits) of $132,623.06 in 2016, to total pay of $144,482.54 in 2019. Public Pay lists his 2020 salary at $147,925.

But look at the “workers” salaries. You need a name to search TC, but here’s the page from publicpay.gov that shows the disparity.

Three “supervisors” in the $90,000 range, then a sudden drop to $68,000/year for the highest paid “senior worker”. Also note the disparity in the benefits packages – hey, guess what, management pays the least contribution at 9% of cost. You also see another problem with Chico – top-heavy management. Two managers? One of those positions was just created by Orme earlier this year. Both making in excess of $100,000 to sit in the office buffing their fingernails? While the guys who drive the heavy equipment and man the shovels are living on less than $70,000/year? In Chico? No. I wasn’t surprised to hear their union rep say they can’t even afford to live in town.

So here’s the rest of that piece from Chico Action News. There’s another article in the ER, linked above. I wish the workers would point out what I just pointed out, but you know, they’re afraid to push too hard, might get fired. But Orme is obviously trying to use workers’ complaints to insinuate that the taxpayers are the problem. I wouldn’t be surprised if Orme is behind this grandstanding. Don’t buy it.

“Ultimately, we wanted to point out to them that we have a serious situation with our wages and we’re trying to gain their support and trying to do that through educating them on what we do and what we bring to the city, what we bring to the table. Hopefully they got the message,” said senior maintenance worker James Erven. 

Erven tells Action News Now they have lost 12 people in the last four years to higher paying jobs and have several people who are constantly looking for new positions.

“We have positions that starting wage is beneath minimum wage, that’s a problem. We have a hard time recruiting qualified candidates,” said Erven

There was not an agenda item topic regarding this issue, but public works employees shared these issues to the council during the business on the floor portion of the meeting. 

Three employees shared their concerns, then they all left the meeting. City Council heard their concerns. Our reporter reached out to council members, but was unable to get a statement from them regarding these issues

The area director for the union representing public works, Del Mallory tells me these employees have not received a pay raise in 11 – 12 years and several can’t afford to live in the city. He says they are finally putting their foot down and addressing this issue.

“We finally reached this breaking point where folks are fed up and they’re ready to fight. That’s why we’re here because we need to engage our city council into this conversation so they know that we’re serious and that we need them to bargain with us in good faith,” said Mallory. 

He says their next bargaining meeting is tomorrow, and that they are determined to get what they need.

“We will bargain with the intent to get a deal, but we are willing to do whatever it takes to get a good deal,” said Mallory. 

City Council also directed the City Attorney’s Office to analyze the cannabis ordinance, so they can revisit the topic in a future meeting. The council was also introduced to ARDA Demographics tonight as their representative said there will be two public hearings regarding redistricting before any maps are created.

As a “last minute effort to house” people, the Torres Shelter is handing out tents

2 Dec

Chico Enterprise Record 12/2/21

CHICO — A program assisting unhoused people with shelter access ended earlier than expected causing 36 people occupying 26 rooms at the Town House Motel to be evicted by Nov. 30. Five of the parties could not find shelter within their 15-day eviction notice, and were given tents as last minute effort to house them by local shelters.

The program to which this story refers used to be called Project Room Key. Local shelters worked with local motels to get rooms for “unhoused” persons whenever the local shelters could not house them, for whatever reason. Here they insinuate COVID is the reason.

The Butte United Shelter Program was created in July 2021 by United Way of California and True North Shelter Team to protect unhoused people who have no option to self-quarantine by providing them temporary shelter and access to housing resources.

In years past, the program, with very little supervision, was a disaster. I think they were taking advantage of local motels to dump drug users that the shelters wouldn’t take, but that’s just a guess. Rooms at motels were trashed, other guests were harassed, and the troublemakers refused to leave the premises when asked. Last year, in a very candid phone conversation, my district rep Kasey Reynolds told me, “I hate Project Room Key.”

Well, does she advocate giving them tents and sending them to Bidwell Park or other city owned land?

It seems to me there is a more sensible option than just putting them out. These people need proper supervision. This is why churches stopped participating – none of the agencies or groups that advocate for the “unhoused” would provide supervision, or clean up the mess left next morning.

City manager Mark Orme created a new position in 2020 – Homeless Coordinator – and hired his friend Joy Amaro, with a salary over $100,000/year. Amaro apparently found some conflict in the job, and almost immediately quit to head over to a “non-profit” called True North Housing Alliance. True North is now running Torres Shelter, and have administered and now closed the motel program. They boast a “19% success rate.” What?

The Torres Shelter sits on city land and gets public funding from both the city and the county. The shelter director gets a salary – at last I checked, when Brad Montgomery ran the place, it was about $65,000, plus benefits. They also routinely have empty beds but still turn folks away.

I don’t know what kind of person would brag of any kind of “success” here. I don’t know what kind of idiot would give a transient an tent and send them on their way. Furthermore, what kind of public official would condone this arrangement? And ask yourself – who keeps voting these people into office?

You know how it goes – you hear about things on the news, but it doesn’t hit you until it’s right under your nose. Until you can smell it.

30 Nov

For years now I’ve been talking about the illegal camping, the defecating, the urinating, the trash, the crime – the smell of Chico. I’ll have to admit, it’s driven me out of Bidwell Park and other “public” areas of town, I avoid non-food shopping, and local restaurants, I don’t attend public meetings anymore – I’ve lost my appetite for Chico. I don’t even like to bike or drive around town anymore.

But when we heard about the problems with the Chico ice rink – lack of “access”, vandalism – my husband got so curious we made a side-trip through Downtown on our way out to run errands the other day. I was shocked. It’s true what that woman said in her letter to the editor – they’ve blocked off all the parking spaces at the plaza with the kind of ugly chain-link fencing you see at construction sites and toxic waste dumps. They’ve installed a fence around the actual rink, and I’m not sure where “observers” are allowed to stand, but if you want to get into that rink, it’s 12 bucks.

But, apparently, it’s free to camp alongside the fence, in the street, we saw the little makeshift tents propped right up against the chain link. It’s free to camp in Bidwell Park, Commanche Creek, the Devil’s Triangle, and any patch of city-owned property around town. We’d been hearing all kinds of news about Commanche Creek – including news of one notorious transient kicked out, by other residents of CC, for sexual assault. So we wound our way over to see what’s become of that mess – wow, just when you think something’s bad, it gets worse. I happen to know some “street people,” and the news isn’t reporting everything that goes on at Commanche Creek, most notably, the rapes. Anybody who takes the time to listen to an “unhoused” person knows that rape is a problem in camps all over town.

I don’t understand the reasoning behind various council decisions, including the redeclaration of the Shelter Crisis Designation. I do know city manager Mark Orme is motivated by money to pay the outrageous pension deficit he and other employees have racked up through unrealistic pension contributions. Council members, some of them also pensioners, are motivated by the money they get from the unions at election time. The unions know the transients not only generate a lot of money in state and federal funding, but they keep the rest of us scared, ready to shell out any amount of money to keep them from pitching their tents in our front yards. Mark Orme reminds me of the Nazi soldier who demands that Sophie make her choice.

Then we have people like Patrick Newman, and people he has misled into believing that the city of Chico has any responsibility for housing anybody. A recent letter Newman penned, blaming anybody who isn’t destitute for the problem, really pissed me off. Newman reminds me of the lady from Dr. Zhivago – “all this house, for just ONE family?!”

She scolds Zhivago for living in a house that could house 13 families – yeah, in conditions no intelligent, hard working person would live in. You work your ass off, build your own place, and the leeches just start marching in. If you have ANYTHING, these people act as though you are the criminal. Having an entitled, soft-handed little perp like Newman tell me I have to give the fruits of my labor to support dead beats, that was just over the top. I wrote a pissed off letter and sent it to Wolcott.

Here’s a story from Aesop:

“One bright day in late autumn a family of Ants were bustling about in the warm sunshine, drying out the grain they had stored up during the summer, when a starving Grasshopper, his fiddle under his arm, came up and begged for a bite to eat.

What!’ cried the Ants in surprise, ‘haven’t you stored anything away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all last summer?’

‘I didn’t have time to store up any food,’ whined the Grasshopper; ‘I was so busy making music that before I knew it the summer was gone.’

The Ants shrugged their shoulders in disgust.

Making music, were you?’ they cried. ‘Very well; now dance!’ And they turned their backs on the Grasshopper and went on with their work.”

Fellow human Patrick Newman likes to take up his fiddle, damning those of us “housed” individuals for our “materialism”. Well, winter is coming Mr. Newman, it’s time to put down your tiny violin, and get to work.

I have to ask – who wouldn’t have known that Commanche Creek would flood as soon as it started to rain? With rain coming next week, and shanties propped in flood zones all over Chico, our city staff and council are caught with their Shelter Crisis Designation hanging around their ankles.

Old Yiddish Proverb: When the fish stinks, it’s the head of the fish. Our Chico fish has eight stinking heads – council and manager Mark Orme.

Something certainly stinks around here.

Reynolds and Brown, and I think, O’Brien, are up in 2022, let them know what you think of the tax measure they endorsed for the 2022 ballot

25 Nov

Well, as I was trying to decide whether or not to renew this blog, it automatically renewed itself. So here we are for another year, fellow taxpayers!

What’s on the menu? Well, all I got in my sights is the sales tax increase measure that the city of Chico has announced for the 2022 ballot. Mayor Andrew Coolidge says the revenues from this sales tax increase would be used to secure a bond. He’s talked about “road bonds” but has not come forward with the details.

Talk is cheap, you have to watch what these people actually do. Earlier this year, council, led by Staff, tried to get an illegal Pension Obligation Bond approved by the courts. They had to be threatened with a lawsuit from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, even after then-council member Kami Denlay correctly stated that instituting a tax without voter approval is against the law.

It seems clear to me that Chico City Staffers are desperate to get money to pay down their pension deficit. That’s why they finally persuaded council members to put forward a general tax measure, with no restrictions on spending, and only 51% voter approval to pass it.

And what the badge bunnies don’t understand is that the revenues will go to public safety alright – cops and fire are responsible for over half the pension deficit. That’s what you get when you allow somebody making over $100,000/year to pitch in $15,000/year for a $90,000/year pension. Plus benies, with Cost Of Living Increase. If you can’t see how unsustainable that is, you need to go back to Mr. Shipplehoute’s math class.

And, just as I predicted over a year ago, Mark Orme brought in a consultant to put up a skating rink, as suggested by an earlier consultant. $400,000+ in taxpayer money, needed so badly to fix streets and tweak infrastructure. Orme cries poormouth when it comes to the streets and services, but he’s willing to bring in a $100,000 consultant to spend $300,000 putting up an ice rink. Here’s why – the earlier consultant said his firm had used a skating rink to pitch a sales tax measure in the Tahoe area, and it worked.

So here we are, we got our work cut out for us between now and the next election. Do you want to pay more taxes? For a small class of privileged elites to have their Downtown party? Well, start writing those letters. Start telling your friends who are registered to vote in Chico.

Don’t forget to drop a quick note to council members Alex Brown and Kasey Reynolds, whose terms are up in 2022. I think Mike O’Brien is up as well, having been named to replace Scott Huber. Let them know, that if they plan to run, they better not be stupid enough to back a tax measure. Don’t forget to tell them what you think of them ILLEGALLY using tax money to run it.

Frankly, I don’t think council had any business appointing anybody (certainly not a pensioner). Furthermore, Reynolds and Brown have had their run, and need to be shown the door. But, if by some miracle, they all three reversed their vote to run this measure, I’d be willing to think about supporting their candidacy. I’d have to think pretty hard on it.

Should the city of Chico be using taxpayer money to run their tax measure?

18 Nov

According to the California Constitution, state law prohibits local agencies to use public funds, public employees, or public resources to expressly advocate the approval or rejection of a ballot measure. While the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has said they have limited jurisdiction over this matter, county district attorneys can take on an agency that violates this law.

Unfortunately our district attorney has a very poor record of upholding the laws that protect the people. Fortunately for the taxpayers, there’s the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. HJTA uses funding provided by members like you and me to take on the agencies that buck the law. But they need taxpayers like us to be on alert to these illegal activities. When the city of Chico tried to get “judicial validation” of a Pension Obligation Bond instead of putting it on the ballot, concerned Chicoans contacted HJTA – we sent a Bat Signal! – and their attorneys went into action, filing a Cease and Desist Order with a threat to sue if Chico Staffers continued on that track. I kind of held my breath, expecting City of Chico to call HJTA’s bluff and proceed. So far they seem to have abandoned that action. I realize, Chico knows that action was illegal, and the chances are very good that they would spend a bunch of money to lose in court.

Locally, HJTA has taken on both Yuba County and the Hamilton Branch Fire Protection District (near Chester) over deceptive and illegally-funded tax measure campaigns. In Yuba County, 2018, voters were asked to approve Measure K, a 1% sales tax increase for “public safety/essential services.” The language of the measure listed exclusive special purposes, and followed all code requirements for a special tax. HJTA advised the county that it was a special tax requiring a two-thirds vote, but the county ignored the law and declared it a general tax. It barely passed with 54% of the vote. The trial court sided with HJTA, declaring Measure K invalid. Unfortunately the appeals court reversed that decision and Yuba County was allowed to go on collecting their illegal tax.

In 2020, Hamilton Fire Protection District proposed Measure A, a $175 increase in the local special tax. Run as a two-thirds measure, it failed. A year later, they brought the same proposal back to the ballot. It passed with 74% of the vote. But here’s where city of Chico residents need to pay attention – the district illegally used taxpayer money to run their campaign. Their Facebook page, as well as full-page glossy color photo brochures urging voters to “please Vote YES on Measure A“, declaring it “well worth the peace of mind!

That is patently illegal. HJTA filed suit against Hamilton Branch Fire District. And like the city of Chico, the tiny district realized they were had and asked for terms of settlement. Among other points, HJTA asked for “adoption of an official written policy that would prevent such abuse in the future”.

The city of Chico is running a tax measure, it would seem logical they have to use city funds. So far they’ve hired a consultant to run the campaign.

https://chico.ca.us/request-proposalsqualifications

RFP- Revenue Measure & Communications Consultant 
The City of Chico is seeking to obtain proposals from qualified firms to advise the City Council and City staff on developing appropriate ballot language for a proposed 1% general sales tax to appear on the 2022 November general election. Additionally, consultation will be necessary on how best to educate voters on the proposed 1% general sales tax measure and the development of materials and other outreach efforts to ensure citizens receive objective and accurate information related to the ballot measure.  The City will accept proposals until 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 5, 2021. Please click on “Projects to Bid” on the right to view the RFP within Public Purchase. 

This seems illegal to me but I’m no lawyer. “how best to educate voters… efforts to ensure citizens receive objective and accurate information…” There’s the important point – just exactly how do they intend to “educate” the voters? CARD’s “educational” process was deceptive. Director Ann Willmann held “public information sessions,” during which one taxpayer caught her saying the district had no debt – despite their $128 million pension deficit. The board approved the use of taxpayer money to print glossy brochures extoling their virtues, leaving out important facts about the measure, including the bond they intended to secure with the revenues. So I’ll contact HJTA to put them on alert to the city’s tax measure, if they aren’t already aware.

And I’ll add, you can be a member of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association for as little as $15. Your money goes to efforts like these. They have a small legal staff to go up against huge public agencies. They could use some back-up.

While there are reasons I’d like to recall Andrew Coolidge, this recall looks like a hoax

5 Nov

I saw a story on KRCR News about the Coolidge recall that answered my suspicions about the motives behind this action – a “Chico resident” who admits “the best way to break the cabal that is anti-progressive is to get rid of Coolidge.”

https://krcrtv.com/news/local/chico-mayor-unbothered-by-recall-efforts-recall-group-says-signatures-are-being-collected

I resent the recall proponents, because they’re not out to protect the fiscal security of our town, they’re just making a power grab. Worst of all, they’re distracting people from real issues at hand. Read an agenda, this council is on a bender of irresponsible spending, and all the recall people have to say is the ice rink is bad for the environment.

I feel a streak of Craig’s momma coming over me, but I’ll stifle it. Instead of posting that old bit again I wrote a letter to the editor.

Proponents of the recall of Andrew Coolidge claim “fiscal irresponsibility,” but I don’t know if that’s genuine. One supporter admitted to KRCR News, “the best way to break the cabal that is anti-progressive is to get rid of Coolidge.”

This recall looks completely political. Concerned about fiscal matters? Why not take on the onerous and regressive general sales tax measure that Staff proposed and Council greedily approved for the 2022 ballot?

Let’s talk about fiscal irresponsibility. Council just approved raises for the police department, in exchange for those employees paying more toward their pension share. Unfortunately, the raise was bigger than the increased share. This is how the Unfunded Actuarial Liability, aka pension deficit, grows. Every raise increases the base. The tiny extra contribution from the employee goes like spit on a griddle as the UAL increases by millions a year, with Staff allocating money from our infrastructure and services to make increasing “extra” payments toward THEIR pensions.

The UAL was created and is perpetually increased by this type of mismanagement. As long as Council is led by Staff, who stand to gain with every contract, we will be stuck in this downward debt spiral. Coolidge’s irresponsible suggestion to use sales tax revenues to secure bonds will increase our debt by millions.

Adding insult to injury, the city is using The People’s money to run their tax campaign, since the FPPC has relinquished responsibility to enforce election laws.

Let your district representative know how you feel about this grab.

I would advise you to do same – write to both the paper AND your district rep!