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Another hair-brained scheme from Orme and Constantin – Finance Committee to discuss leasing our streets to pay the pension deficit. No, I’m not joking.

21 Sep

This Wednesday the city Finance Committee will be discussing the Unfunded Pension Liability. The agenda says they plan to “restructure,” but you know, the real dirt is in the reports, available at this link.

So, I wrote a letter to the paper about it yesterday. We’ll see if Speed Wolcott (if he’s even in town) can get it in before the meeting! 

Chico Finance Committee meets this week (9/23) to discuss “restructuring” the $146,000,000 pension deficit. Topics include a Pension Obligation Bond and “lease revenue bonds”.

Pension obligation bonds (POBs) are taxable bonds used to fund the unfunded portion of pension liabilities with borrowed money.  The presumption is that investments will pay the debt service. However, as with CalPERS, failure to achieve the targeted rate of return means the taxpayer is stuck with the debt service on the bonds.  And, we’re still stuck with the pension deficit. POB’s are a jump out of the frying pan, into the fire.

“Lease revenue bonds” involve municipalities issuing bonds (borrowing money) using their own city streets or buildings as collateral to pay down their unfunded pension liabilities. From the 9/23 agenda: “A lease revenue bond structure (leased asset required, such as streets or buildings) would avoid validation process [meaning, the voters] and could proceed on quicker schedule.”

Essentially, a city leases their streets to a special Financing Authority, which will pay the city their up-front money, and “rent” the streets back to the city, in order to pay off the bonds. (Forbes)

And the taxpayers pay the “rent”.  “The municipality will generally appropriate money during each budget session to meet the lease [rent] payment.” (Forbes) These appropriations come at the cost of public safety and infrastructure.

Lease revenue bonds are essentially pension obligation bonds, but can “proceed on quicker schedule” because there’s no voter approval.

A real solution for the pension crisis – ask employees to pay more.

Juanita Sumner, Chico CA

Newsom and Harris take their personal agendas too far in invading family tragedy

19 Sep

“A California family has accused Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris and Gov. Gavin Newsom of trespassing on their fire-ravaged property for a photo opportunity.

A California family has accused Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris and Gov. Gavin Newsom of trespassing on their fire-ravaged property for a photo opportunity during their tour of a burn zone

This picture says it all for me – look at her posture as she takes a selfie in front of a stranger’s burnt home.  When I toured Paradise the first time after the Camp Fire my knees were weak, I was sobbing within minutes. I still cry when I go to Paradise, every time I have to deal with the bullshit red tape they’ve thrown up to rebuild our burn down.  This woman doesn’t give a fuck about anybody but herself. Same for Newsom.

Newsom and Harris were obviously using a family’s personal tragedy to advance their personal agendas. And Harris made it clear, she was victimizing these people because, “Voting records show that Patten and his mother, Bonnie Patten, (the victims) are registered Republicans, the outlet said.” 

“Harris told reporters as they filmed her walking around the property: ‘These are the stories behind these fires. The people who are victimized by these, they could care less – and their children could care less – who they voted for in the last election.’”

Oooo, what a total bitch this woman is!  And you know Newsom expects to be her VP pick when she runs for President in 2024. 

This is why I’m voting Trump in 2020. 


Chico’s Unfunded Pension Liability – the 8,000 pound gorilla in the room that none of the candidates want to talk about

13 Sep

As Dave reminded us yesterday, “the 8,000 pound gorilla in the room” that nobody will talk about in this election is the Unfunded Pension Liability (UAL).

The UAL has been created and perpetuated by the tiny shares that employees pay toward their own pensions – they pay less than 15% but expect to get 70 – 90% in retirement. That only works if somebody picks up the other 80 – 90%. They expect us to be that somebody, and I’m saying, NO!

And while the city manager claims repeatedly that “staff” has not had raises “for years”, the new police chief just got $21,000 more a year than the old police chief. Chico police officers get automatic raises, they are on a “step increase” plan. They also get to “cash out” unused overtime, sick and vacation days on a formula that actually pays them more not to work. They also use these cash-outs to “spike” their salaries and therefor their pensions.  Look at their contracts here:

Finance manager Dowell told me, in August 2019, that city employees pay between 9.75 and 15% of their pension cost, depending on their union group. See, the city manager negotiates these contracts with each group, and then the council just rubberstamps them. It’s time for council to do some of the negotiating. And that means, we have to hold a candle to their rear-end.

Other towns are actually cutting salaries, Chico is not only raising salaries but creating new positions – the new Public Information Officer and another management position for Public Works. This is like throwing gas on the UAL fire. Another thing that goes up automatically every year is the UAL “catch up” payment.  Finance director Scott Dowell just paid almost $10 million to CalPERS. And next year he says it will be over $11 million.

Here are questions for your district candidate:

  1. What is the UAL?  (answer: Unfunded Actuarial Liability, or pension deficit)
  2. How much is Chico’s current UAL?  (the last figure I have from Scott Dowell is $128 million, I believe it’s now over $130 million)
  3. How much money did Scott Dowell just pay toward the UAL in July of this year? (over $9 million)
  4. What are the various shares paid by different employee groups? (between 9.75 and 15%, depending on employee group)

These are terms any council member or candidate should know and understand, since they agree to all this stuff when they roll over the contracts every year. If they don’t, it’s a deal breaker as far as I’m concerned, they should not be in office.  The main reason we are currently in financial trouble is ignorance of these terms. 

So don’t let the candidates tell us what the issues are in this election – don’t let them distract you with pictures of bum camps and trash piles.  Tell them, the issue is the UAL, and who is going to pay it. 

Are you voting in November council race? For whom? If you can’t vote, and you wish you could vote, who would you vote for?

12 Sep

Friends ask me what I think of the upcoming council election, I always say my district isn’t up. But, as they usually remind me, those who get elected could most certainly wreak havoc on our lives and livelihood, as the current council is doing now. 

And today I notice, the biggest search is ‘council candidates’. I’m glad people are interested, so I guess I’ll throw my nickel down.

I hate the districts but I think we’re stuck with them. My biggest problem with the districts is they lower the number of votes a candidate needs to get elected – meaning, they actually represent a very small portion of the city, but everybody has to put up with their actions.

Here’s the link to the city website election page:

Do you know what district you’re in? I realize the boundaries are not shown that clearly. I just happened to recognize the shape of my street, and the way the fenceline runs down the neighborhood – the fence of my back yard is the boundary of my district. Cutting it pretty close, eh? Well, how’s this for close – it actually jogs over at Kasey Reynold’s house to take her residence into my district, and then jogs back. It’s pretty obvious these districts were drawn to accommodate the status quo.

If you are unsure of your district be  sure to contact the clerk’s office –  While you’re at it, thank Debbie and staff for now throwing up their hands and running away screaming.

Of course, my district is not up, so I guess I could ignore this mess until 2022. The problem being, like I said – all the council members will be in a position to screw up my life, so I guess I better pay attention.

Here’s another reason why districts are stupid – anybody can contribute to these campaigns. Your district council member can take money from anybody, so why should we only be allowed to vote for one candidate? Why did the council vote unanimously to go along with this deal instead of fighting the lawsuit?  Because both sides of the aisle think they can manipulate the districts to their favor. It’s a sad situation, but let’s talk about candidates anyway.

In District 1 we have incumbent Sean Morgan and challenger Curtis Pahlka. To his credit, Morgan has tried to hold the line regarding illegal camping and drug use. But he’s no fiscal conservative, having approved every management contract with all the perks and benies. He NEVER questions the pensions, just shakes his pompoms for the cops. Pahlka, on the other hand, is endorsed by unions like the SEIU. He’s also the darling of the local liberal fringe hangers, like Angela McLaughlin. While he has very little to say jfor himself about public policy at this point, his supporters are saying plenty.  So, in District 1, I’m endorsing Morgan.

District 3 is a real ballbuster – Incumbent Ann Schwab, who in 2012-13 tried to deny we had a financial crisis. Challenger Kami  Denlay Klingbeil, who complains about “Fires. Drug Paraphenalia. Vicious dog attacks. Assault. Attempted kidnappings. Drug deals. Human excrement. Trash. Chop shops…” but refuses to question the police as to why they don’t arrest these criminals. Steve Breedlove, whose agenda seems to be total anarchy.

I’ll tell you what sucks for me here – this district is right next to mine, right over my back fence, neighbors I’ve worked with on various issues, but I don’t get to vote. I hate the districts.

To her credit, Schwab has jumped the ideological fence a few times and voted with the conservatives, which means she’s workable. Denlay, with her childlike take on government, will just be another fist puppet for staff. Breedlove, with his total lack of civility and hystrionics, he’ll add hours to every meeting. So, in District 3, I’m endorsing Schwab.

Another toughie – District 5 – Incumbent Randall Stone, a guy with a colorful history of pissing off citizens and staff alike, he’s also been quick to back pedal when faced with a stone-toting mob. Former council member Andrew Coolidge was dumped in 2018 after jumping the conservative ship to vote with the liberals to declare a Shelter Crisis Designation, which led to the current situation in our parks and waterways. A new challenger, Lauren Kohler, a former Butte County Behavioral Health employee who currently works for a local manufacturer, is full of youthful idealism, but has very little to offer in terms of how to pay for the rainbow.  

I can’t support Coolidge because he’s the wrong kind of flipper. When he was campaigning he played to the conservatives with references to “bums” and Chico’s deteriorating public spaces. But as a council member he voted to declare a Shelter Crisis, which essentially allowed illegal camping in public lands. Meanwhile, Kohler makes no bones about wanting more services for transients, including a “come as you are” shelter. We already have a “come as you are” shelter, it’s called Butte County Jail. 

Meanwhile, looking back, I’ve actually agreed with Randall Stone on a number of issues. He and Tom Nickell made public the problems surrounding the recycling centers at various grocery stores, including what amounted to a bike “chop shop” behind the Mangrove Safeway. Stone, whether it was legal or correct or whatever, also outed a Chico PD officer for his really offensive and inappropriate behavior on Facebook. Stone took a lot of flack for that, but in the end that officer was discharged, and after seeing the stuff he put on Facebook, I’m okay with that. 

When Stone voted to totally revamp the South End of Esplanade, he got such a pantsful in the way of complaints from the public, he changed his vote. I think it takes a lot of guts for a public official to bow to the overwhelming sentiments of the voters and taxpayers.

Like when he voted against the recent sales tax increase measure. I almost had a stroke when I heard him say it. I really expected him to go along with the rest of them, I was already working on my Arguments Against for the ballot. I still don’t know if he really cares about low-income citizens, or if he just has a nose for any subtle change in the wind, but he shot that tax measure out of the saddle.

So I can live with Randy, in District 5, I’m endorsing Stone.

And then there’s District 7.  I know I don’t want Ober, who identifies too closely with the “Foul Four” and their “New Green Deal.” He is another member of the Homeless Industrial Complex who says he wants to use “imaginative ideas” to “solve homelessness” but won’t be rational on the subject of crime in Chico. He thinks everybody shares his lifestyle, he has no concept of blue collar work or low-income lifestyles. He’s what I like to call a “Happy Wanderer.” 

Meanwhile, I know nothing about Deepika Tandon except her ads are all over my computer. When I looked at her funding I saw where the money comes from – a lot of it from James Gallagher. Which means, developer money. 

I know we need affordable housing, but I’m not willing to dump environmental review just to cram in a bunch of tiny little boxes along the freeway. I don’t think you can build your way out of a housing crisis. Our housing crisis isn’t a lack of housing, it’s a lack of jobs. We need better quality jobs for people who already live in the North State. We don’t need to close manufacturing plants or pave over rice fields and orchards to build clusterfuck housing for yuppies to move here. 

District 7 is a draw. I don’t know if I can endorse Tandon, but I’ll say, I wouldn’t vote for Ober.

Issues? Next time, on This Old Voter, with Juanita!

Lou Binninger: If Gavin Newsom is not recalled, we owe Gray Davis an apology

10 Sep

As we head into another election, I think it’s important to remind everybody there is a petition circulating to recall Governor Gavin Newsom. 


Newsom’s the worst governor we’ve had since Gray Davis. Maybe worse because he refuses to learn from the past. Davis presided over the rolling blackouts and signed the agreement with CalPERS promising pie-in-the-sky pensions for peanuts. We are still paying for his poor leadership. Newsom not only perpetuates the pensions and allows the utility companies to screw California residents, he runs the COVID shut-down, the transient takeover of our parks and waterways, and allows the destruction of our forests and air quality. 

It’s easy to print and sign the petition, and send it in.  Why bother?  I’ll let Lon Binninger take it from here:

No fan of Governor Gray Davis, it was still a shock when he was petitioned to be recalled and then actually voted out October 7, 2003! There was plenty wrong with the state then, utility and pension plan corruption, the spiking of motor vehicle fees, and a huge raise for state correctional officers to get Davis re-elected. Davis was the first California Governor to be recalled and the second in US history.

However, considering the bleak state of California today, if Gavin Newsom is not recalled the citizens owe Davis an apology.

Recall proponents have until November 17 to submit 1,495,709 verifiable signatures but are hoping to present 2 million knowing that many will be disqualified. This campaign is a volunteer effort and they rarely succeed. But these are unprecedented times.

Newsom says he has five big objectives: “1) increase funding for public education, 2) protect and secure Californians’ health and health care, 3) improve water, roads, and bridges, 4) address the challenges of housing affordability and homelessness, and 5) prepare for the threats of wildfires.”

California public education is among the lowest performing in the country and is basically a union welfare and retirement fund for teachers. Unions protect bad teachers and disruptive students and they crush any attempts at better alternatives such as charter schools. Newsom is impotent on education.

As for California’s need for “secure” health care, Newsom has done nothing to eliminate limits on the number of nursing graduates at California’s colleges and universities. He basically has extended the Obamacare expensive coverages. Meanwhile he’s willing to spend hundreds of millions to provide free health care to illegal aliens, while millions of working Californians cannot afford insurance.

Citizens are repeatedly taxed to “improve water, roads, and bridges.” Newsom then takes the money to waste billions on “High Speed Rail” rather than improving the infrastructure Californians need and use. Newsom funds thousands of surplus Caltrans workers, the department responsible for making road improvements. State audits reveal billions are wasted.

Newsom has done nothing to reform CEQA, California’s bottleneck Environmental Quality Act, which buries road projects in bureaucracy and courts for years, costing additional billions. Nothing is accomplished.

California gets the national loser trophy for “housing affordability and homelessness.” Newsom’s gift is gab not getting problems solved. The process of building new suburbs and infrastructure needs to be deregulated. Instead, since regulations have made it impossible for developers to sell affordable homes and still make a profit, Newsom has deceived voters into passing tens of billions of dollars in bonds. These billions are used to pay Newsom’s friends, who are building “affordable” housing at an average cost well in excess of $500,000 per unit. He’s a crook.

How about those homeless? Economist Walter Williams says that whatever you want more of – fund it. California has done just that by the hundreds of millions of dollars. Rather than providing cost-effective shelters in low-cost areas, arrest and direct addicts into rehabs, Newsom and Democrat mayors allow the homeless to take over downtown areas and choice neighborhoods throughout the state. 

Tens of thousands of homeless squatters live lawless, openly consume hard drugs, steal for their habits, and harass working residents. The lawless need to be detained and their problems addressed once sober.

Never shy to sue, Newsom could challenge the laws and court rulings that prevent the state from helping the homeless? Why just accept them? Instead he wants to build “supportive housing” on expensive real estate. Newsom’s performance on California’s homeless crisis reveals his liberal incompetence gene. Liberal solutions make problems worse.

Finally Newsom wants to “prepare for wildfires” which he blames on the climate. Hahahaha. Newsom has never admitted that forestry mismanagement is the reason for catastrophic wildfires, or that the droughts have occurred in cycles for centuries in this state? Wisdom is to prepare for drought not change the climate. 

Why isn’t the timber industry returning to harvest diseased and dead trees and thin mature trees in exchange for clearing brush? That would cost taxpayers nothing and create jobs. Can’t Newsom admit that most of the stress on the forests is because the trees have become too dense preventing healthy trees from getting enough nutrients?

There is plenty more to say of Newsom’s acts of incompetence including shutting down the state for a faux pandemic. Sign the recall petition by going to You can print, then sign and mail the petition. Or you locate your county’s Recall Gavin Facebook page on the website to find a signing location. 


Measure E: divide and conquer

8 Sep

There are two measures on the Chico ballot this November. Look at them here:

Measure E is a weird one – the city already established the council districts, but apparently state law requires the voters to approve them. The thing is, we can’t unapprove them.  According to the city clerk, “If Measure E fails, the Charter would not change and would remain out of compliance with the CA Voting Rights Act.  We would not revert back to at large elections, nor would it negate the district elections.  We would not have to do the election over.”

Furthermore, “From my understanding, the reason that the district elections would remain in place even if the voters vote it down, is that the CVRA trumps what the Charter says.  The measure is to bring the language into compliance with the CVRA.

So you have to ask yourself – why is this on the ballot if we can’t overturn council’s decision? I looked at the CVRA.

The California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (CVRA) expands on the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it easier for minority groups in California to prove that their votes are being diluted in “at-large” elections.[1] In 1986, the United States Supreme Court established conditions that must be met to prove that minorities are being disenfranchised; the CVRA eliminated one of these requirements. Unlike the federal Voting Rights Act, the CVRA does not require plaintiffs to demonstrate a specific geographic district where a minority is concentrated enough to establish a majority. Certain cities that have never had minority representation or have a history of minority candidate suppression can be liable for triple damages and be forced to make changes within ninety days. This makes it easier for minority voters to sue local governments and eliminate at-large elections.[2] The Act was signed into law on 9 July 2002.

Look carefully folks – this is what racism looks like. The first racist assumption here is the whole idea of a “minority group” – based on what? Skin color? Last name? Speech? 

It’s not nice to judge or exclude people on the basis of their skin color, last name, or speech pattern – we call it “racism“. 

The second racist assumption here is that members of these “minority groups” live clustered together in separate parts of town. That’s called “Red Lining,” and it’s not only racist it’s illegal. 

Racism, according to the dictionary, is “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized”

So, I’ll say, Black Lives Matter is a divisive, racist group, using a racist, inflammatory slogan intended to piss people off instead of bringing people together. A quick search online also tells us, it’s a very lucrative to get people pissed off at each other – according to various news sources, BLM has raised over $12 million through a front organization called “Thousand Currents.” From the Business Insider:

“Thousand Currents is a 501(3)(c) non-profit that provides grants to organisations that are led by women, youth, and Indigenous people focused on building food sustainability, fighting climate change, and developing alternative economic models for their communities across the world, according to their website…”

This is interesting – ““The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, the organisation’s official name, is a non-profit – but it is not tax exempt. In the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service, such an organisation is treated as any normal corporation, and still has to pay income tax.

But organisations like Black Lives Matter can team up with and borrow another non-profit’s tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) status, known as a fiscal sponsorship, while building out its own structure. Fiscal sponsorships are typically between two organisations that share a similar mission statement – and that’s where Thousand Currents comes in.”   

So, this isn’t just a bunch of moms getting together to change the world, it’s a very slick business operation. But they give money to people fighting the  good fight, right? Well, not unless those people are “women, youth, and Indigenous people”

That’s not only racist, it’s sexist and age-ist! You have to be female, young, and “indigenous”, “originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native” 

How is that not racist?   

Sure, we all hate old white men don’t we? Well, my grandpa was an old white man, but he got hisseff a young indigenous female for a wife. My grandmother was a Yacqui woman, born and raised in Northern Mexico. She never spoke English or Spanish, only Yacqui. Go figure! I just look like an old white lady! See what a racist you are for thinking I’m “white”? 

That’s the thing, see, we’re all different, we’re all complex, we all have a long history of “diversity” in our families. Do you think the same way as your grandparents – do you even understand your grandparents? Do they tell you where to live? Do they tell you how to vote? 

So, I’m voting NO on this measure no matter what the clerk says. They won’t get my approval for this racist bullshit. 

Remember, we’re all PEOPLE. United we stand, divided, we’re patsies for every carpetbagger coming down the pike.  Here’s another old saying, “Divide and conquer.” 

The view from the tinder box – Upper Bidwell Park just waiting for another dry lightening storm – where do you live?

6 Sep

Upper Bidwell Park along Hwy 32:  See the tiny pink tube – somebody was smoking something right on top of shoulder high dead grass surrounded by dead standing trees.

I sent the above picture to Mike Wolcott at the Enterprise Record. I told him it would be a good illustration for the letter I sent him almost a week ago about mismanagement and total neglect of Bidwell Park. He still hasn’t printed my letter – because he’s out of town, again. He  tried to tell me he spends most of his time at the ER but here’s the tell – when he’s gone, his staff print like 4 letters a day, leaving a big backlog, I’m guessing. Then when Wolcott comes back, there’s what I call a letters barf. Given the “out of the office” notice I got, I expect a letters barf on Tuesday or Wednesday of this next week.

In 2017 I sent a similar picture – of a cigarette that had engaged dry grass before, by some miracle, it just burned out – just days before the Stoney Fire mowed through the park, jumped Hwy 32 and threatened a home on the other side, leaving residents all along the canyon on pins and needles.

As they should be, really. Get ready for the next Big One folks, get your to-go bag ready and maybe buy yourself a “bug out” trailer to load your bigger junk. In fact, I’d load it in March, and leave it loaded until the first rains of Autumn, given the state’s neglect of public forests. It’s a regular tinder box out there. Just add an illegal camp fire, an off road vehicle, or, as we witnessed a few weeks ago driving into town, a dry lightening strike, and you have yourself a disaster.

Right now, we’re breathing what I would call “cancer air”.   After failing to thin and maintain healthy forests as in the past, Cal Fire has taken a “wait and see” posture.  Meaning, wait for a wildfire, and then, no matter the consequences for air quality, circle the wagons around any expensive houses and just let the damned thing burn itself out. That’s what’s  going on in the Mendocino fires, they’ve admitted it.

According to inciweb – The August Complex was initially 37 different fires on the Mendocino National Forest that started on August 17, 2020. Many have been contained or have merged. Currently, the complex is 221,284 acres and 18 percent contained. Actual acreage is subject to change as fire activity progresses throughout the day.

Merged? 18 percent contained?

This policy comes from the top – Gavin Newsom. While he blames Global Warming, he has cut the budget for Cal Fire and perpetuated a policy of no forest management. By forest management, I mean cleaning up tree trash, thinning of native species, and removal of non-native species, opening up the forest for the growth of healthy, mature native trees. Drive up Hwy 32 – what do you see beyond the burn scars? A forest crowded with tiny, brushy trees. Private parties have logged their lots but failed to remove tree trash, stumps and brush.

Now drive to Tahoe. See the big trees, the open space in the forest. That’s the result of yearly cleaning and maintenance. Clearing done in summer and burning done in Winter, as it should be.

We need a more consistent forest management policy in California. Years ago a policy change left forest lands the responsibility of counties and towns instead of Cal Fire. See how this has worked out (picture above). The city of Chico will never have the resources to properly manage Bidwell Park. It will continue to be an eyesore and a fire hazard as long as the city controls it. And Upper Bidwell Park is a liability to communities all the way up Hwy 32.

For now, I continue to send pics like this to the newspaper and the city. 


Welcome to Chico: as long as the voters continue to be stupid, they get what they deserve

2 Sep

Last night’s city council meeting was the usual – they came with their minds made up. A lot of people complain council doesn’t listen to the public and I’ll agree. But sometimes it doesn’t matter – many citizens make up their minds based on hearsay and their own “beliefs”,  without doing the research. 

Last night council swore in the new chief, at a salary about $21,000. higher than the old chief’s salary. I made this comment on Chico Engaged.

In 2019 the salary for this position was $149,717 with regular “pay range” at $160,000 This new contract sets base pay at $170,000. The employee retirement contribution is only 9% of cost. Staff reported a pension deficit (UAL) of $128 million 9/19. This July $9,551,935 went to the UAL ($4,761,307 Miscellaneous plus $4,790,628 Safety) Raising the chief’s salary by $30,000 while only requiring him to pay 9% of his pension cost is going to drive up the UAL No new taxes, write better contracts

As soon as I hit the ‘submit’ button I realized I’d made a math error – here I said they raised the chief’s salary by $30,000 – it’s only $21,000.

“Only” $21,000 – do you realize, there are working people in this town that live on less than $25,000? The median income in Chico, despite the crazy public salaries, is still only about $43,000/year. 

But, the rest of that comment is all true. Chief only pays 9% of his pension costs, contributing to (old figure) $128 million pension deficit. And then they take money from every department and make an annual “extra” payment toward the UAL – this year $9.5 million, just over half of that for “public safety workers” . Most of the public safety UAL is management pensions. 

I have to laugh at the following comment I found posted after mine – has this person lived here more than a month?

“100% this contract. His organization is understaffed. The $ is there and by God the crime is there.

The $ is there” ?  I’m sorry to tell you Ma’am, but the $ is not there. Where were you just last March when Mark Orme and Chris Constantin made their emotional pleas for a sales tax increase? 

And then this remark. 

“People don’t realize how stressful of a job this is. The chief deserves this “raise”. Not to mention if we want someone who will do a good job in this position (I believe they have found someone) we need to pay for them! I support this 100%”

“deserves”? That’s not the question – can we afford it? No. But here’s the part of this remark that is really distressing, and I also heard it from my district representative when I questioned her about this position – “ if we want someone who will do a good job in this position… we need to pay for them!”

Really? Because if we don’t pay them well, they will deliberately do a bad job? 

I’m going to guess this person felt Nancy Pelosi “deserved” the hair do she had in a closed Sacramento salon recently. 

What I heard from my district rep is that Chico salaries are not on par with other cities. Yes, the Sacramento chief gets about $228,000/year. All you have to do to get  that is watch the Sacramento News.

Does this look like Downtown Chico to you?

Furthermore, Chico’s “new” chief  has 23 years on the job already – just another spiker on his way to a fat pension. I’ll give him less than 5 years before he’s off to retirement.

So, I’m more disappointed in the public than council over this one. People don’t do research, they don’t read reports, they don’t look at the documents. Lazy, and that makes a person stupid.

As long as you people continue to be so stupid, you get what you deserve.

City of Chico is management top-heavy, and it shows

31 Aug

Well, I don’t know if the needle giveaway happened at Humboldt Park yesterday. I had a stack of chores yesterday morning, including fix my bike, so I didn’t make it over there to check. I looked at various social media sites today, and there was no mention of it, so I’m  going to guess it just went away. We’ll see.

My bike looks great, and I’m getting the new tires today – all the freaking way from Holland. I guess they love old bikes in Holland. 

I probably won’t ride my bike in Bidwell Park.  What a mess. Tents still line the waterways, along with the requisite trash piles. We’ll see how long it takes council to be good on their word, and whether this new police chief – $20,000/year richer than the old police chief – will clean them out. There’s also a discussion scheduled for tomorrow’s meeting about a “sanctioned campground” at the Silver Dollar. We can’t let them take the fairgrounds, make yourself heard on Chico Engaged.

Yesterday I read Natalie Hansen’s interview with Councilors Brown, Schwab and Huber about social media. Brown is full of shit – I not only email them, I make comments on Chico Engaged. Brown has NEVER responded to even the most polite emails.  I believe she believes any disagreement is “impolite”.  I believe they all look at the sender before they read, and if you’ve criticized them or disagreed with them in past, they just skip your comments. Brown can prove me wrong by reading the Engaged comments out loud. The councilors should have to do that, not the clerk. But Brown has her own agenda, her mind is wrapped up in a Zip-lock bag to keep out any dissenting viewpoints. 

So I write the occasional letter to the editor.

The city of Chico is now being sued by a jogger badly injured in 2017 when a huge tree branch fell on her in Lower Bidwell Park. She was trapped for 30 minutes and had major injuries.

The suit alleges the city does not budget for tree maintenance in Lower Park, which is “traversed by tens of thousands of people every year.” The plaintiff was using an established path, alongside “various recreational amenities, including picnic tables and barbecue pits.” According to the suit, many staffers knew the tree, hanging over South Park Drive, was dangerous, but not only failed to prune or remove it, they didn’t bother to place signs or barricades to keep people away from it.

In 2017 the city budgeted about $45,000 toward “Park Tree Maintenance”.  This year $57,500. For perspective, my family paid $10,000 to have 16 dead trees removed from our property. Bidwell Park has thousands and thousands of trees, many of them dead or dying.

While staff claims to have been cutting positions and costs, the city manager recently hired another management position for Public Works, at $125,000/yr, plus benefits. He created a new management position – Public Information Officer – and is asking council to approve another full time management position – Homeless Coordinator.

Meanwhile staff is “considering” a fire suppression plan after homes were threatened near Annie’s Glen.

Our city is management top-heavy and it shows. The park is horribly neglected.  We need timber cruisers and heavy equipment operators, but we get people who sit in meetings all day.

Juanita Sumner, Chico




Apocalyptic – out and about in the COVID shutdown

22 Aug

I saw some questionable things today as my husband and I went out and about running our errands around town.

As we pulled over at the CalTRANS Park and Ride at Hwy 32 and 99 to check our trash load, we noticed the abandoned RV was still sitting there.  A very dirty, mostly naked old man had laid his blanket in a parking space, and arranged his strange collection of belongings, including the child’s stroller he drove up in, like a little barrier around himself. He lay on the ground eating out of a crumpled bag.  As we drove in he popped his head up. A beat up BMX bike hung from a No Parking sign.

Sorry if I seem sensitive, but compared to the Chico I grew up with, this is Apocalyptic. This is scene you used to see in bigger cities along Hwy 99, and for years now people have said that Chico would “just turn into another town along Hwy 99,” but I never believed it.

Sitting at a gas station as my husband filled our tank and a gallon jug for the lawnmower, I watched people mask up to go into stores, and then rip their masks off as they walked into cancer causing toxins that you could see floating by your face. If that doesn’t say it’s about compliance and not about health, I don’t know what.

I drove by my friend’s shuttered clothing business, wondering how she’s going to keep making the rent. I saw her on the news recently, begging people to wear masks so Butte County could get off the watch list and open up again.  And then we drove by a house where a woman had set up shop in her driveway. E-Z Ups with racks and racks of new dresses.  The owner, a fan of bills in her hands, stood within a couple feet of a customer,  yakking away, no masks. I am so conflicted there, I’m hardly going to report people for not wearing masks, or trying to pay their bills, but I can’t believe how unfair this is for my  friend.

There are so many inconsistencies, so many obvious flaws of logic in this COVID thing. “Thing” – I don’t even know what to call it, because I know people out there get offended when I say “scam” or “con”.  I know a lot of people really believe the masks are important, I’m trying not to insult people. But to tell the truth, this is all very insulting to me.

So I did my grocery shopping mask-free today – thanks to Lou Binninger, for discussing “Mask Nazi’s” recently on his podcast at   I finally decided I am done wearing the mask to the grocery store. That’s the only Chico business I patronize these days, cause I’m sorry, I have to eat. I wash my hands, copiously. I pack my tiny spray bottle of hand sanitizer in my pocket, and turn on my 6 ft radar defense system. I move quickly, making sure to avoid occupied aisles. I know what I’m going to buy, and I move in and out. I look with my eyes instead of my hands.  My husband does same, moving silently and quickly through the store, staying the hell away  from everybody.

I’ll admit – I usually mask up at check out because I just want to be polite – those checkers have to wear those damned masks all day. And I believe in science – if anybody’s at risk here, it’s people who work 8 hours a day with the public.

Here’s a positive note about COVID – my husband and I have learned to pack a cart with a week’s worth of groceries and be out the door in 15 minutes, average.  But there’s no more socializing, no more gossiping at the check-out, no more sharing of recipes. Just another town along Hwy 99?