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The Pension Obligation Bag

15 May

Well, I must be onto something, because Chico Administrative Services Director Scott Dowell came back to my question about who manages the Pension Stabilization Trust with an order to staff to make it a Formal Request for Public Information. He threatened to make me pay 25 cents a page for anything that couldn’t be transmitted electronically. I don’t know how many of you have ever had to pay for documents, but they don’t let you pick the pages you want, they copy the ENTIRE document and charge you for every page.

Excuse me, but what a prick! You know he could have just sent me the answer, he hired them! This is just your basic intimidation.

So I wrote a letter to the editor about what I already found out.

As city staff prepares to implement Pension Obligation Bonds, there are more questions about this risky scheme.

The consultant explained that the city would issue bonds and invest that borrowed money in the stock market, hoping to make enough return to pay back the bond issue as well as make “extra” payments on the Pension Deficit. The consultant said the city might be able to get an interest rate of 3 – 4% on the bonds, which would mean staff would have to make at least twice that in their investments to achieve their farfetched goal. Failure would mean new debt, in addition to the Pension Deficit.

Staff has already established a Pension Stabilization Trust, made up of funds taken from each department by percentage. As the consultant explained, these trusts are managed by an agency which presents staff with various portfolios to choose from. At the 9/23/20 meeting, staff reported their portfolio was returning “about 4%…”, then, “3 to 4%,” finally admitting, “it may be a little bit lower right now…”

The finance reports for March 2021 show the PST returning 2.7% interest. That does not add up. Can city staff promise to do better with borrowed money? Who would borrow money at 4 – 5% interest to make 2.7% interest on the stock market?

I don’t know if staff is too concerned about the future consequences of POBs. By the time the city’s infrastructure is rotten and failing, they will all have skipped off to retirement, even other towns, leaving our kids holding the Pension Obligation Bag.

Juanita Sumner, Chico CA

No wonder Staff wants the POB, the sales tax measure, and the “road” bond – their Pension Stabilization Trust investments are only returning at 2.7%

13 May

I wrote to Chico Administrative Services Director Scott Dowell the other day and asked him what is the current interest return on the investments that have been made with the Pension Stabilization Trust. Remember, the PST is made up of “allocations” (stealing) from all the other city department funds, a percentage of department payroll. The money is invested in the stock market, very much like the proposed Pension Obligation Bond scheme.

I was kind of perturbed when Dowell responded with a 265 page download, telling me, “The information you want is on page 264…” You know he knows the exact figure, he just doesn’t want to admit it. I think, frankly, he’s in denial, he’s desperate to get council to agree to this.

But there it was, and I can see why he’d have trouble actually saying it, or even typing it into an email – it’s kind of embarrassing. Especially when he is trying to convince city council to go along with the POB scheme. See, if they don’t make enough money off investing the BORROWED money they will get from the POB holders, gee, they not only won’t be able to make those “extra” payments toward the Pension Deficit, but they won’t be able to pay back the bond money either. Oh my goodness, you know what that means – another day older, and deeper in debt.

New debt.

Here’s the bad news – the PST has only been returning 2.7%. With an investment of $1,868,000, taken from the streets, sewer and other city funds, Staff got $3,887. Three thousand, eight hundred and eighty-seven dollars. Staff reports our “extra” payments, now $11.5 million, will be $13 million within a few years.

I know, I’m starting to sound like a late-night waterbed salesman, but I’ll say it again – watch the video!

The consultant from NHA spoke of borrowing bond money at 3-4%. CalPERS, to whom we owe a whopping $146 million, charges 7% interest. Dowell reports we get a 3.5% “discount” for making those “extra” payments, but I’m not sure how that works. The PST is only returning at 2.7%. The market, volatile for a year now, is not looking good lately.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/11/stock-market-futures-open-to-close-news.html

This POB plan looks more ludicrous every day.

I also asked Dowell who manages the PST and how much do they charge. That’s another issue – these investment firms charge high fees, how much do they eat? We’ll see if he gets back to me there.

Good read: Pensions for local public safety workers skyrocketing

12 May

Pensions for local public safety employees are skyrocketing

In Chico, over half the budget goes to police and fire, which also account for over half the Unfunded Actuarial Liability, a.k.a. Pension Deficit. And it’s what my dad called “Rabbit Math”. The more rabbits you have, the more rabbits you get. The bigger the debt base, the more interest it builds. That means, the public safety portion of the UAL is growing faster than the “Miscellaneous” portion, meaning, all the other city department payrolls. According to Chico Administrative Services Director Scott Dowell, the public safety pension deficit has grown from $42.9 million to $79.1 million in just the last 5 years. All the while, Dowell has been making bigger and bigger “extra” payments to CalPERS – $11.5 million last July – and they just disappear like spit on a griddle. Why?

According to the above article from Capitol Weekly, “In 2018, Transparent California found that the average pension for city or county public safety employees was $108,000 a year.

How is that sustainable, especially considering this little bombshell? “To add to the enormity of this problem, consider that there are more retired firefighters than active firefighters in this state.

These people can retire at age 50 with 90% of their highest year’s salary. In Chico, they get automatic step increases – in other words, just show up, and we keep raising your salary. While they are not allowed to use overtime to “spike”, or raise, their pensionable salary, they are allowed to accrue unused sick pay and vacation and “cash out” in their last year of employment, therefore “spiking” their pensionable salary.

Chico has become “Spike City,” promoting employees in the last year or so before retirement to raise their pensionable salary. They just spiked city clerk Debbie Presson’s salary at a recent council meeting, but this is especially true of the police and fire chief’s positions – look it up yourself, they don’t last five years, and then they’re off with 90% of that elevated salary. New Chief Madden got a $30,000 raise over the departing chief.

As you’d expect, public safety unions always put their money behind tax measures. Chico Area Recreation District Measure A was bankrolled by the Chico Police Officers Association and their president Jim Parrott ran the campaign.

But as you’ll remember, CARD and Parrott had their ass handed to them on a plate, that measure going down to a very decisive defeat. So did two measures in Tehama and Shasta County, both of them promoted as benefitting “public safety”. Whatever that means.

That won’t stop them. In Chico, and over at the Butte County Supervisors Chambers, they’ve signed onto Pension Obligation Bonds – a scheme by which they borrow money to roll on the stock market, hoping to make enough money to pay both the service on the borrowed money and make “extra” payments on the UAL. Sheesh, every time I say that, it sounds stupider and stupider. But I expect we’ll see all kinds of crazy schemes to make the rest of us pay for the UAL.

“In the face of this opposition, union leaders are finding other ways to drum up a steady cashflow, whether it’s through a first responder fee or taking over ambulance services from private industry veterans.

Hey, remember Emergency!, that great old Jack Webb propaganda piece about county emergency services, with real Emergency Medical Technicians? You really believe anything Jack Webb told you? It sounds great – “free” ambulance service! – but they don’t talk about the salaries or the pensions. Capitol Weekly reminds us, “ fire departments may reap a short-term windfall from collecting ambulance fees, they are only adding to their long-term pension obligation.

The unions have a lot of power in Sacramento. “A proposed state law – Assembly Bill 389 – would codify the Alliance model and make all of its anti-competitive antics legal.”

Every scheme the unions put before us leads to a bigger pension deficit. Instead of allowing them to turn our emergency services upside-down “to clean up their own mess“, we need to press for employees to pay more, drastically more, or surrender their ridiculous pensions and benefits. That is an uphill battle, given the money the unions pour into every election. To that end, we have to press our elected lawmakers to restrict PAC spending in elections.

You might feel overwhelmed by the opposition at the state level, but don’t forget – here, we beat the police union on a tax measure. It’s DOABLE.

Looks like you better get out your hip waders

11 May

As of today over 100 people have downloaded the video of the 9/23/20 City of Chico Finance Committee. Have you seen it?

https://gofile.io/d/8JVqub

I’ve got it loaded into my laptop, and have watched it myself a few times. Every time I watch it, I see something I had not seen before. This time I caught a very quick exchange between Ann Schwab and Scott Dowell regarding the earnings on the Pension Stabilization Trust (Fund 115) that Staff set up a few years ago.

As Dowell explained this scheme to me, the PST/Fund 115 takes money from every department payroll based on a percentage. The money is invested in the stock market, trying to make money for annual “extra” payments to CalPERS. Last July, Dowell reported the city made a $11.5 million “extra” payment.

The consultant who gave the 9/23/20 presentation explained that the PST/Fund 115 is one strategy to manage pension costs. He said making these “extra” payments saves the city three and a half percent (3.5%) in interest.

Schwab asked a good question – yeah, sometimes I miss you Ann – she asked, “do you know what our interest rate is on the Trust (115) funds?”

Dowell quickly replied, “they run about 4%, 3 to 4%.” Ann said, “Okay, thank you.” Followed by an uncomfortable pause, and Dowell added, “it may be a little bit lower right now…” – another uncomfortable pause – “but, but, it… it’s ran that way…”

Wow. That’s kind of troubling. The city wants us to trust them to invest borrowed money, but as it is right now, they are making investments with city funds that aren’t paying off well enough to cover the service on the money they want to borrow. Not to mention that big Elephant in the Room, the UAL. Hey, that’s what Mark Orme calls it! Staff has to make enough money off the Pension Obligation Bonds to cover both the payments on the money they are borrowing, at 3 – 4%, and the 7% owed to CalPERS. Or, excuse me, we’re going to be hip-deep in elephant shit!

I guess the consultant felt the need to come to Dowell’s rescue. But from where I stand, he just dug Dowell into a bigger hole.

With this type of trust (115), “one thing that’s different from CalPERS is that the city does have options in how to invest that money. Most of these companies that manage that 115 trust provide different options, sort of like a 401K, with like 10 different options with portfolios based on risk tolerance so a lot of them are set up so it’s not as aggressive as CalPERS so not the expectation to earn 7% but more downside protection from a market downturn.

I hear three important points here. First, there is a company that manages these trusts, and they charge money. Second, Staff gets to decide what investments to make. Third, they aren’t going to earn 7%. And I’ll add a fourth – he admits there could be a market downturn. That’s what I’ve been seeing on the news every day lately, the market is in the red, and looking to stay there.

I will stop here, because I’m waiting for a response from Dowell – I asked him what the 115 Trust is making now. I will have to ask him who manages the fund and how much they charge.

And here’s another question: if, as Dowell reported on 9/23/20, we only had $2 million in the PST Fund 115, and we only make “3 – 4%…or “lower”, how does he plan to make the next “extra” payment?

Next time on This Old Lady Goes to the Stock Market!

Joe Azzarito: Let’s DO EQUITY, not just TALK IT!

11 May

Thanks to Joe Azzarito for this thoughtful take on city resource allocation.

The term equity has been bandied about by social progressives lately as cause for radical change in
society. By definition, equality means “the state of being equal, especially in status, rights and
opportunities.” It has to do with giving everyone the exact same resources, whereas equity “involves
distributing resources based on the needs of the recipients”.

Let’s apply these terms to City of Chico expenses, specifically to its employees’ salary, pension and other
benefits. Much has been rebutted against the use of Pension Obligation Bonds as a panacea for its
enormous and growing unfunded actuarial liability due its staff.

If we consider the most appropriate use of available revenue in the service of citizenry, it behooves the
Chico City Council to find a solution to the many ignored uses for money. The recipients of the excessive
largesse, in the form of city paid pensions, would not in the slightest be equitable when balanced off
against needs of citizens. With their six figure incomes, they can well afford to fund their own
retirement, regardless of what has gone before.

Chico’s many problems, such as affordable housing for all, street repaving, safety both from crime and
fire, should be the focused uses for reported increased revenues. The double indebtedness that pension
bonds would create, between bondholders and CALPERS, is not establishing equity. It is exacerbating the
problem. The city‘s citizens have more unmet needs, in the form of services, than well heeled staffs do.
Let’s DO EQUITY not just TALK IT!

Joe Azzarito, Chico CA

I’ll say this – the fox is in charge of the henhouse, so the fox gets what he wants, and the hens, well, they just get it.

Watch the video – the consultant describes POB’s as “issuing debt to pay off a portion of that UAL…” Morgan and Coolidge need to have their mouths washed out with soap.

6 May

Andrew Coolidge told a room full of people that “my friend Juanita Sumner is a liar...”

A friend of mine told me, “when you call a liar who has called you a liar, a liar, it just sounds like the biggest pissing match in town…” How true. Well, get out your hip waders, cause the piss is running deep these days.

Have you watched the video of the September 23, 2020 Finance Committee meeting yet? Don’t take my word for it, watch the video. And do me a favor – if you hit this link and it doesn’t work, get right back to me at “Comments” here and I will repost it.

https://gofile.io/d/8JVqub

I wrote a letter to the Enterprise Record hoping more people would watch the video. If you watch the video, you’ll see why our clerk Spike Presson does not usually make these recordings available to the public.

Mayor Andrew Coolidge and Councilman Sean Morgan have denied that a Pension Obligation Bond is new debt.

I have a recording of the 9/23/20 Finance Committee meeting at which consultants Mike Meyer and Eric Scriven of NHA introduced the POB to committee members Sean Morgan, Ann Schwab and Randall Stone. Meyer described POB’s as “issuing debt to pay off a portion of that UAL (aka, ‘pension deficit’).”

According to Wikipedia, “a bond is an instrument of indebtedness, of the bond issuer to the holder.” Investopedia defines “issuing debt” as “a financial obligation that allows the issuer to raise funds by promising to repay the lender…”

Meyer described a scheme by which bond issue (borrowed money) would be invested in the stock market, in an attempt to make enough money to pay both the bond debt and the UAL.

The consultants pointedly ignored the obvious solution – employees need to pay more. Currently they only pay between 9 and 15% for pensions of 70 – 90% of salaries of over $100,000/yr.

City leaders also need to better manage employee costs. Even while UAL payments have increased by millions, at the cost of city infrastructure and services, the UAL has grown 43% over 5 years. Instead of observing attrition measures recommended by the Government Finance Officers Association, management has added three new management positions, raised the police chief’s salary by $30,000/yr, and raised the clerk’s salary by $10,000/yr.

POB’s are a crackpot scheme at best and Coolidge and Morgan should be ashamed for perpetuating misinformation.

The video is available at https://gofile.io/d/8JVqub

Juanita Sumner, Chico CA

Business as Usual at the City of Chico: Pass a new tax without voter approval, spike your pay like the retiring city clerk, hand the bag to the taxpayers! And only then do they “open” the meetings…

4 May

A couple of members of Chico Republican Women Federated recently told me that Mayor Andrew Coolidge, speaking to an unmasked assemblage of the club, called me a liar, in exactly those words. He says the Pension Obligation Bonds are “not new debt.”

Hey Jackass, trying to “cancel” me? Well here’s the video of the September 23, 2020 Finance Committee meeting at which the city’s consultant said exactly the opposite.

https://gofile.io/d/8JVqub

I’ll tell you something else – ever since Dave Howell posted that video at Gofile, it’s been repeatedly removed. I don’t know by whom, but the “remove” button is right there at the bottom of the screen. Obviously, somebody doesn’t want the citizens of Chico to see this meeting. In fact, I think it was a total mistake that I got a recording of it – I asked a lower level staffer and she gave it to me. But now the clerk – who will be getting a salary spike of roughly $10,000 at tonight’s meeting, in anticipation of her pending retirement – says they don’t record the meetings because they aren’t required by law. That’s not true, they record the meeting so they can produce the minutes – how do you think I got the recording? Then they show the minutes to full council, who are allowed to redact comments and who knows what, and when she’s done “amending” the minutes, she tosses that recording so nobody will be the wiser.

Tonight she’ll spike her salary up to $144,000+ a year, like they all do. She’ll receive 70% of that figure in retirement. I’ll admit, she’s pretty good at her job, but she’s better at looking out for her own interests than those of the public.

So, there it is. They got their Pension Obligation Bond and now the spiking begins. They will make no real attempt to control employee costs – why bother? They’re on The Gravy Train now!

But, what they won’t admit, is that there’s trouble on the horizon if they can’t get the sales tax increase that Andrew Coolidge is pushing. He wants a separate road bond too, because, as he already acknowledged, the sales tax revenue will be used to secure the POB. The consultant made it pretty clear – watch that video – they will need a revenue stream to secure the bonds, because the market is tricky, and they may not be able to earn enough in investments to cover either the POB. OR! the pension deficit. See, their investments have to pay off well enough to pay both the bond service AND the pension deficit, or this whole plan is BUST.

Dave Howell watched the meeting and then wrote a good analysis of what’s happening:

That finance meeting WAS PACKED with crazy and outrageous information. And the local media DIDN’T MENTION ANY OF IT!

Here are some key takeaways the local media should have covered:

Last year at this time we thought the unfunded pension liability we were on the hook for was $128 million. Well, this year the bureaucrats and consultants say $146 million. AND NOW THEY TELL US WE OWE ANOTHER $140 MILLION IN INTEREST! But these numbers are low because they don’t include the 4.7% under performance from last year and also the prior year’s under performance. IT IS OBSCENE! WHERE THE HELL IS THE LOCAL MEDIA ON THIS?

UAL for CalPERs is 146.3 million which is a 43% increase over the last 5 years. UAL payments are now 9.9 million in 2021 and will grow to 13.2 in 2026. And remember this is assuming an unrealistic 7% CalPERs return. In all likelihood this number will be even worse as over the last 20 years CalPERs hasn’t come close to 7%. CalPERs return has only been 5.5%.

The City’s pensions are only 67% funded.

In addition to leasing the streets Morgan talked about the possibility of leasing the airport! WHAT A SCAMMER!

What was just as revealing was after the snake oil consultants left the meeting. Dowell went into the June and August financial statements. (What happened to July?) The city’s cash flow is up OVER $30 MILLION from last year resulting in an $8.8 million surplus! (You would think with a 30 million increase in cash flow the surplus would be even more.) And it sounds like these numbers will probably increase over the next few months. It turns out that despite the doom we were told the COVID crisis would have on the City’s finance, the crisis has generated a huge windfall for the City, similar to the Camp Fire situation.

Naturally, they didn’t even think of giving any of the surplus back to the taxpayers or using it to fix the streets. They are pigs at the trough and will take everything they can get, so even with millions in surplus you can bet they will be talking tax and fee increases next year! It just shows that no matter how much money they take, all of it and more will be devoured by pensions, other post employment benefits and raises. These people are parasites and they will bleed the people of this community dry! DON’T LET THEM DO THIS TO YOU!

And thanks Dave, for bringing up that $30 million “surplus”. What happened to that? Slight of hand? Peas and walnut shells? That’s Business As Usual at the City of Chico!

Sean Morgan has received over $86,000 in Paycheck Protection Program loans, other council members have received PPP loans, while their businesses have not been shut down – what incentive do they have to re-open our town?

28 Apr

This COVID shut down has hurt people. In Chico, businesses have gone under, people are struggling to make their bills, and the school district reports kids are suffering from depression and even suicidal thoughts. Personally, I’ve watched a few of my older neighbors and friends struggle with their own mental health, and even alcohol and drug addiction.

I witnessed a different kind of insanity on the video of last Tuesday’s (4/20/21) Chico City Council meeting – a cop, out of uniform, masked like a bandit, coming within inches of citizens, threatening to arrest them if they didn’t leave a public meeting.

We’ve allowed our city to turn into a Fascist state. We’ve gone along with the madness. Masks that studies show are not effective, a ruling class allowed to decide which businesses are “essential” and which aren’t, while they foist tax increases, increased builder fees, and rent control on us from behind closed doors.

And they profit, while we lose. Remember when we found out, former mayor Ann Schwab admitted business was up, way up, after the COVID shut down. That’s right, a bicycle business is “essential”. Well, how about a candy store? Council member Kasey Reynolds’ candy story, Shuberts, has not been closed one day since the shut down.

It’s true, certain council members who have been pushing this shut down have profited from it. Here’s a link to the government COVID relief site, the Paycheck Protection Program:

https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/covid-19-economic-injury-disaster-loan#section-header-12

And here’s the link to Andrew Coolidge’s loan:

https://projects.propublica.org/coronavirus/bailouts/loans/coolidge-public-relations-inc-2449058603

Coolidge owns “Coolidge Public Relations Inc”, which runs those home, garden and bridal shows at the fairgrounds. I assumed COVID would have shut that kind of thing down, but read that he just had a show in January. I also found that he received $10,400 in COVID relief funding for that business, for “payroll”.

I was able to search the others through that page. I was surprised that Kasey Reynolds would get anything, because her business has actually done quite well during the shut down. She still got $68,500, for “payroll”.

The big winner was Sean Morgan, who owns a business called “InvestorKeep”. He received $86,000 from this program, again, for “payroll”. Frankly, I don’t think he has a payroll aside from his own salary but maybe he’ll chime in on that?

Deepika Tandon owns Guzzetti Catering and Indian Food – she was less greedy – only $5,290 for her suffering. The others do not own businesses that I know of.

You have to ask yourself, what incentive do these people have to re-open our town? These are the people who have ordered the arrest of three people who dared to enter a public building during a “public” meeting. Chief Madden kept telling them they were interrupting a “public” meeting.

The only word I can think of for this is ABSURD.

See the video here – Coolidge, Morgan and Madden kicking the public OUT of the public house

27 Apr

Attachments areaPreview YouTube video Freedom FightersFreedom Fighters

Mayor Coolidge criminalized those protestors by closing the meeting. He wants the meetings closed so he can raise your taxes without having to hear what you think about it

24 Apr

What a wild week! Three desperados wanted for refusal to leave public property.

https://krcrtv.com/news/local/chico-police-searching-for-3-women-involved-in-tuesdays-council-meeting-disruption

Officials said speakers were given instructions to wait in the speaker line and that only one speaker was allowed into the chamber at one time. Masks were also required for anyone actually entering the Chamber.

Frankly, I think this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Okay, I’ll wear a mask, I’ll socially distance. But restaurants are open, sporting events are open, children are attending school, and excuse me – grocery stores have remained open the entire time. Why aren’t city chambers open to the public? We are expected to stand outside chambers, in whatever weather, with “protestors” forcing their way into our body space, screaming over the audio from the meeting? Well, here’s what real Americans would do about that.

According to police, as the meeting started on Tuesday evening, a group of people pushed through the front doors and 15 people entered the council chambers. This forced Mayor Andrew Coolidge to put the meeting into recess.

I can’t believe what happened next.

Law enforcement spoke to the group of people and explained they needed to fill out speaker cards if they wanted to speak to the city council. They also explained California Penal Code Section 403 to the group: “Every person who, without authority of law, willfully disturbs or breaks up any assembly or meeting that is not unlawful in its character…is guilty of a misdemeanor.”

Obviously, these folks did not break up the meeting, Mayor Andrew Coolidge broke up the meeting. He could have respected these people’s right not to mask, and attend a public meeting in a public chamber, but he didn’t. He called the cops on them.

After explaining the law to the group, police said most returned to the outside. However, three maskless people refused law enforcement’s orders to leave and the meeting was subsequently adjourned. CPD said officers used discretion and didn’t arrest the three people that night.

But, “On Thursday, CPD announced they are currently seeking the identity of the three people to hold them criminally accountable for their actions.”

I feel Coolidge set these three women up – he’s the one who closed the meeting. All those citizens wanted was their right to assemble to seek redress of their grievances before their elected officials. None of them advanced beyond the seating area. You’ll notice, the police aren’t seeking them for their refusal to mask, or their refusal to leave – neither of those are criminal offenses. Coolidge handed the cops a criminal offense by closing the meeting.

Coolidge wanted the meeting closed because he knows a lot of people just won’t attend. I, personally, don’t feel the atmosphere is physically safe, I won’t stand around in the dark in a mob of strangers who could turn ugly at the drop of a hat. I feel Chico City Council and Staff have used COVID to create and perpetuate a hostile atmosphere for the citizens who want to participate in government because they don’t want to discuss the details of the Penson Obligation Bond, controversial new hires, or the recent changes made to management contracts, with the public in the room.

Council and Staff are feeling the push-back – people see what they are doing with the Pension Obligation Bonds, and they see that employee costs are not being managed properly. A reader commented recently:

“We all know Chico is grossly mismanaged no matter which party has been in charge.” I agree, every council has let Staff lead them instead of the other way around. Of course Staff is out for their own gain, with no concern for the taxpayers at large. As for POB’s, “… playing the stock market with public money and without our consent is wrong. These elected and non-elected officials can gamble their own cash to fund their pensions, let’s see how that works for them.” Good point – why don’t they use their own money? Too risky?

This reader reported that she had made similar comments on Chico Engaged for next week’s meeting. I know Dave has chimed in too. I hope more people will. We might still stop this train wreck, especially since I got this comment from Council member Kami Denlay-Klingbeil:

I have to agree, they are not fiscally responsible. Let alone the concerns that it is a violation of tax payer rights when you look into the state constitution and the super majority requirement from a ballot by the voters anytime the government seeks to assume a new debt.

Wow, KDK has an awesome point there, and I hope to hear more from her on Tuesday night when this subject comes up at ANOTHER CLOSED MEETING.

Why would a panel of idiots who would violate the First Amendment care about assuming a new debt without the voters’ consent?