Measure E: divide and conquer

8 Sep

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

https://clerk-recorder.buttecounty.net/elections/archives/eln45/45_local_measures.html

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. 

 

City continues to hold crucial meetings under cover of ConVID: Policing Review Ad-hoc Committee scheduled for Sept. 10, 1pm – get your WebEx ready!

5 Sep

 This whole COVID thing has been so ridiculously inconsistent, I can’t believe anybody with half a brain would take the government seriously. 

While we’re ordered to wear masks and avoid social contact, the college brings in thousands of kids from all over the country and puts them in dirty, old, crowded dorms? But, doesn’t quarantine, allowing them to go to parties and other locations all over town. You see them at Safeway Mangrove in little pods of 5 or 6, pulling their masks down to talk to each other, no social distancing, etc.  You see them walking around town in groups, no masks, no social distancing. And then the college staff and local authorities act surprised when they find an outbreak? And now they just send the kids home? 

Ridiculous.

Every day more cases, gee I’m trembling. You know why there’s more cases? Cause there’s more testing. I believe they need to include the number of tests submitted with each announcement of new cases. People are testing NEGATIVE, but you  don’t hear about that. My son was just forced to have a COVID test (negative) before he could be seen for food poisoning. A friend was forced to have a COVID test (negative) before Enloe would admit him in a case of heat exhaustion. 

And they’re being really secretive about the identities of the dead – since when is a death not public information? Whenever they do release information, as Butte County PIO Lisa Almaguer reports, these people are in assisted living facilities. 

This epidemic has confirmed what I already knew – hospitals and rest homes are filthy and full of neglect, of course you are going to catch something. I wouldn’t leave my elderly relative alone after the experience I had with my grandmother at Enloe Hospital. You want to stay alive? Don’t go to the hospital. And if you find yourself there, get the hell out asap. And if you really love Grandma, take care of her yourself, the county has nurses.

Tom Seaver died the other day – a great name from my childhood, he was Mr. Baseball. When they broke the story on the tv news the other day, the reporter said he died of complications from COVID. I looked online today, and I see conflicting headlines.

This story, from Sept 2, says he died “after battling dementia”, with no mention of COVID

https://abcnews.go.com/Sports/york-mets-legend-tom-seaver-dies-75-battle/story?id=72784148

This story, dated the same day, says he died of COVID in the headline and the first paragraph, but offers no other details about any testing, or how/when they found out Seaver was positive. There is a detailed description of the type of dementia Seaver suffered, “Caused by abnormal protein deposits that build up over time and disrupt normal brain function, the disease is particularly challenging to diagnose because its laundry list of symptoms…”  But no details about his supposed COVID infection?

COVID is testable, you can prove it, but they offer no proof of the allegation that a 75 year old man with a serious underlying health condition “died of COVID“. This is our media – a propaganda machine. 

Furthermore, it just seems completely suspicious that we have a huge election coming up in a couple of months and all the Democratic challenger has in his game bag are accusations about Trump’s handling of the “COVID crisis.” 

But the city of Chico continues to use COVID as an excuse to hold closed meetings. Right now probably the biggest issue on people’s minds (the biggest REAL issue) is Chico PD and how they are handling the mentally ill. There have been so many complaints about excessive force and the lack of de-escalation training that council recently instituted the Policing Review Ad-hoc Committee. I just received a notice about their upcoming Sept. 10 meeting. (They don’t send a link, but you can find the full agenda at the city website)

This committee, created during the COVID shut-down,  is Mayor Ann Schwab, Vice Mayor Alex Brown, Council member Kasey Reynolds, Margaret Swick (Concerned Citizens for Justice), Cory Hunt (Justice for Desmond Phillips), Rob Berry (Chico First), Police Chief Matt Madden,
Sgt. Omar Peña,  Officer Jim Parrott (President Chico Police Officers’ Association, he also ran the pac for CARD measure A).

And here’s how they expect the public to participate:

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION: This meeting is being conducted in accordance with Executive Order N-29-20. Members of the public
may virtually attend the meeting using the City’s WebEx platform or by sending an email to the following email address.
To provide email comments, please submit an email with the subject line “PUBLIC COMMENT ITEM”, sent to
policepubliccomments@chicoca.gov during the meeting, prior to the close of public comment on an item. The public is
encouraged not to send more than one email per item and not to comment on numerous items in one email.

WebEx public participants may use the following information to remotely view and participate in the Policing Review Ad Hoc
Committee meeting online:

Event Name: Policing Ad Hoc Committee Meeting 09-10-20 1:00 PM
Date/Time: Thursday, September 10, 2020 1:00 pm
Event URL: https://chico.webex.com/chico/onstage/g.php?MTID=e487f2594765d9f41904515dfed05bd42
Event #: 146 809 6713
Password: Policing9/10
Call-in #: 1-214-459-3653 Call-in Password: 146 809 6713

When I attempted to use WebEx to “attend” a  finance committee meeting I had technical problems that necessitated a call to the clerk and a conversation with a super idiotic IT employee, who kept telling me I’d wasn’t on the right website. Once we established the fact that I was, indeed, on the right website, he had to give me a clearance code to access the meeting (see the “Call-in Password” and have that ready). By the time I was finished with the idiot, the first item had already been discussed and voted on. Thank you, IT idiot.

Rob Berry complained about similar issues with his first use of WebEx – I’ll give you his advice – log in at least a half hour early (I was only 15 minutes early) and stay in touch with the clerk staff at debbie.presson@chicoca.gov or dani.rogers@chicoca.gov 

And I’ll complain here – even after the clerk announced to the committee that I was having real difficulties accessing the meeting, chair Randall Stone went ahead with the meeting anyway. 

So, I will try to watch this meeting – 1 pm on a week day, right in the middle of the average person’s work day. Oh well, that’s what it takes  to be vigilant folks, you have to tell your boss you need an hour and a half off to participate in a city meeting!  I’ll be sure to ask the clerk if this meeting will be taped – they don’t record all the meetings, you have to ask. 

All this talk of “transparency” and “sunshine” – if nobody’s watching, what the hell does it matter? 

 

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?

https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article243168821.html

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

 

 

 

The battle for Chico: NVHRC loses in court, but seems to be winning on the battlefield; meanwhile, condition of Bidwell Park has the city in another lawsuit

29 Aug

Well, I was glad to hear about a victory in the lawsuit against the Northern Valley Harm Reduction Coalition, also known as “the needle exchange people”. Which is a misnomer because they don’t exchange needles, they just hand them out.  These idiots have been handing out needles, every Sunday, to crank and heroin junkies without asking them to bring back their used needles. As any rational adult would expect, these used needles are turning up in places where transient drug addicts congregate and shoot their drugs. It used to be a few needles here and there – but you’ve seen the pictures of NVHRC staff handing people whole boxes of needles. Now you see the results whenever you go to the park, any creek, parking lots, school play grounds, etc.

A group of local public safety advocates went to court and got a judgement against NVHRC, an order to cease and desist the handout, and another order to pick up needles at various known campsites in town. I thought it might send a message through the transient community, that Chico is getting tired of them. I wanted to believe it would be the beginning of a change.

But I tried not to get too excited, cause you know the thing about lawsuits, is you have to enforce the decision. It’s on the plaintiff. That’s why I never threaten to sue anybody, there’s a lot more to suing somebody than most people realize.

One local gadfly wrote last Sunday (8/23), “In a ‘stick it in your eye’ gesture, NVHRC has set up their tents in Humboldt Park right on schedule.”  He included this picture.

Image may contain: outdoor

“If you thought the lawsuit was the end of anything, you are wrong. It is the beginning. Hitch yourself up and get ready to fight for your community, one issue at at time. We WILL reclaim our heritage, our parks and waterways will be clean and safe, and we will fill our city with signs of beauty, not blight and the deplorable human condition of drug addiction. Being addicted is not a crime, but just about everything else associated with drug abuse is.”

But, am I reading this right – they aren’t passing out needles?

According with the lawyer associated with the plaintiffs,  “If they are not handing out needles it is legal. But handing out drug paraphernalia may not be. I would like to see them explain what the legit purpose is for tie offs and cookers…especially when packaged with Naloxone.”

We’ll have to watch and see.

Two meetings in two weeks, Council has got a full agenda for next Tuesday, with continuations of discussions from last Tuesday as well as new items such as two new employees. 

http://chico-ca.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=2&event_id=343

Ironically one item is approval of the Butte Interagency Narcotic Task Force budget. After he gives that report council will approve a $170,000/year salary for the new chief and he will be sworn in. Another item is approval of a NEW management position for Public Works at $125,000/year plus benefits. Here’s another irony – especially if you’ve seen the RV that’s been parked at the CalTRANS Park and Ride for about a week – they are updating the abandoned vehicle code to be consistent with Butte County and the state. Just now?

Something new is that they put those salaries right in the agenda, wow. Another new thing is they name names in suits brought against the city. A woman is suing the city of Chico for negligence, so I looked it up in the court case index. Something new there – the documents are available to read.  So I read it.  This woman lived my nightmare – she was jogging on a trail in Bidwell Park and a huge tree limb broke and fell on her. She had pretty major injuries, and laid under that tree limb for 30 minutes before help arrived. The fire department had to cut her out of that mess. She had various broken bones – leg, scapula, wrist – and this is the part I had to look up – her leg was partially “de-gloved.” Look it up for yourself, but watch out, there’s a picture.  She could have bled to death. 

The suit goes on to describe the setting – the condition of Bidwell Park. I remember taking this up with Mark Orme a few years ago, and all he had to tell me was “be careful when you are in the park.” That’s it? No warning signs, no closed trails, no removal of dangerous branches? There’s not even a sign saying, “you enter Bidwell Park at your own risk”, but that’s the truth. 

The woman made a claim to the city but was summarily denied, so she was forced to sue. 

Welcome to the City of Mismanagement. Who you gonna call? 

Here’s a hint  – don’t call the guy who used to work for PG&E.

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 https://www.nohostagesradio.com/   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?

Paul Valery: Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them

21 Aug

Since the COnVID shut down, I do almost all my shopping online. I’m not talking about major purchases, but anything that generates sales tax. One day I noticed the shampoo bottle was almost tapped, so I ordered some. They offer free shipping with a $35 purchase, so I bought a brake cable for my bike, some shirts for my husband, and a new winter bed sheet (I know, it’s hard to imagine right now, how cold your ass is going to be in a few months, and then all the winter bedding will be sold out).

I had the shampoo within 4 days. 

I’m still waiting for the break cable, which came from an East Coast vendor. My husband is fixing up my old bike, it’s been sitting in the shed ever since the brake cable snapped on me at a really inconvenient bend in the road. The back tire needs replacing – another online order, next time we need toothpaste.

I like online shopping. I used to hate it when I had my PO box in Chico. My family has had packages lost, packages destroyed, packages stolen from, at the Chico Post office. I had to do the “Repo Man grab” for the last package – the staffers were unwilling to look for it in the mess of their backroom, they just kept sending me away. Finally,  I insisted that one clerk look at the tracking number, and finally he comes sheepishly out of the back room with package.

We’ve tried having packages delivered to Fed Ex and UPS but found the same problem – lazy staffers who wouldn’t do their job.  News flash – Larry Wahl sold his UPS stores, and the new owners are out-of-towners who don’t  give a shit, and charge $5 for pick-up.  UPS and FedEx drivers are great, but if you’re not going to be home, do you want a package laying on your doorstep? In this town? 

So, when a transient lit a fire in the annex where our box was contained, and later when we heard reports that boxes were continually getting broken into at the annex where they relocated us,

Investigation continues into P.O. box break-ins at Chico, Durham post offices

we decided we should move our post office box. Out of town. We found out you can get a PO box in any one of half dozen nearby towns, for the same rate, and the service and security are worlds apart from Chico post office. Orland, for example, is great, and only 30 minutes away.

I grew up on a farm. We always had to drive, everywhere, this is nothing new to me. And while we are picking up our mail, we can hit the grocery store – smaller towns are more likely to respect the exemptions to the mask mandate –  mine being, it cuts off the oxygen to your brain.

Do you “dine out”? My husband and I used to eat out a lot, when Chico was a nice, clean town. That all ended when they got a new health inspector for Butte County and suddenly we found notices on the doors of many of our favorite eateries, saying they’d been closed due to unsanitary conditions. We noticed, none of the taco wagons had been shut down, so now we don’t eat anywhere that doesn’t have wheels.

Wake up, restaurants are dirty, if you haven’t been in the kitchen, you shouldn’t eat there. But now, the city has mandated outside dining. They’ve shut down Downtown three nights a week for restaurants to take over the sidewalks. Well, I hope they’re enjoying the temperatures, air quality, and don’t forget the flies. All over downtown this time of year the flies are on everything. In this heat, you have an ambience of garbage and human excrement that brings them buzzing in. Add floating ash and the smell of a wet camp fire, and you have a recipe for failure of small restaurants all over town.

So you’d think the city of Chico would be strangling financially from all these losses. No, plenty of businesses are thriving. Liquor stores all over town are ringing up record sales, while bar owners pay their rent and watch the calendar.

A friend of mine recently remarked that the shut down is ruining lives, and people are very depressed, even suicidal.  I agree – my neighbor has been acting completely out of character. But who do you call? Butte County Behavioral Health complains that calls are down? What?

With calls and funding down, Behavioral Health focuses on restaffing, crisis intervention

CHICO — While statewide suicide prevention measures are under review, Butte County Behavioral Health faces high budget cuts this year with fewer resources available.

Residents like John Doe in Oroville using the county’s mental health services worry there is a reduced amount of staff available to help family members or themselves with mental health issues, and that phone counseling is “not the same” as in-person services.

Doe said he and his daughter were told there would be no more in-person counseling as well as fewer phone counseling services. He feels telehealth is not the same as it is less personal and “there’s nothing like face-to-face.”

“They got essential workers working at Walmart and they can’t even put these mental health workers as essential workers?” Doe said. “Mental health workers need to be essential. They are just as essential as people hooking up respirators. Services like this should not be disregarded.”

I agree with John Doe, but I don’t think it’s a funding issue, I think it’s a spending issue. Look at the first page of Butte County salaries – two Behavioral Health Workers get paid more than $200,000/each, plus benefits. The psychiatrist who gets almost as much as the county manager doesn’t even work in Butte County, but meets with the board via computer. 

https://publicpay.ca.gov/Reports/Counties/County.aspx?entityid=4&year=2019

Here’s just Behavioral Health – look at these salaries and benefits packages. For “managers”? What do they “manage”?

https://publicpay.ca.gov/Reports/Counties/County.aspx?entityid=4&year=2019

And they’re telling us, they don’t have resources? 

Well, you can call that in to your county supervisors cause their meetings are still closed. They have a better comments system, but, “Board of Supervisors meetings will  be closed to the public and all non-essential County staff for the foreseeable future. “

I read a great quote the other day, attributed to Paul Valery in the LA Times: “Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them.”  I’d say, we’ve elected a bunch of artists to public positions, and we need to put a candle to their asses to open the county and towns again. 

Letter to council: Masks don’t work, end the mandate before you kill our town

19 Aug

Dear Council and Staff,

Thank you for rescheduling last night’s meeting. This morning there was ash all over my front patio and in spider webs around my yard.  It would have been onerous to have to stand out in 3-digit heat and deadly air quality, and the alternative – another closed meeting – is unacceptable.

 

You may have read this – a study of 14 masks at Duke University recently went viral. Here’s one article that details the findings:

 

https://news.yahoo.com/wearing-bandana-gaiter-study-suggests-165959724.html

 “It’s not the case that any mask is better than nothing,” he said. “There are some masks that actually hurt rather than do good.”

​The study showed that gaitors, bandanas, and homemade masks are actually bad – watch the video – “the porous fabric seems to break bigger particles into smaller particles, which are more likely to linger in the air.”

 

Meanwhile this study confirmed what I have suspected – the N95’s are the only ones that truly protect anybody, followed not too closely by real surgical masks with three layers of material. 

 

Right now N95’s are going for as much as $5 per mask. The boxes my husband and I used to buy for about $1 a mask are all sold out and Home Depot reports they are donating those to hospitals. Doesn’t this come under the “no gouging” ordinance you passed after the Camp Fire? I have not heard of one business being cited for gouging, but you threaten $1,000 for not wearing a mask? 

 

While the faux surgical masks are cheaper and more available,  they are not nearly as good according to the study. Wearing those outside with smoke and ash, I can feel ash moving in and out. They’re one size fits all and if you’re not the right size, too bad for you. I also see most people leaving their nose out, people wearing them like a beard on their chin, and people wearing outrageously filthy masks. I also see them all over the ground at retail centers, like those “single use plastic bags” Ann banned a few years back.

Those bags certainly made a comeback, when it was determined reusable bags are unsanitary and stores asked us to leave them in our cars. And at first, they gave us the film bags for free – now they are charging us again. That’s more gouging. 

Finally, I’ll say, it’s true, people get a false sense of security from masks. Every trip to the grocery store I have people wearing useless “face diapers” step right into my body space, some actually bump and touch. 

The new fines for not masking are outrageous. You put fascist rules on law-abiding citizens while you allow transients to destroy our parks and waterways, and threaten the local economy. You say your hands are tied by Newsom’s mandate, but elsewhere communities are standing up and law enforcement agencies are refusing to enforce. The mask mandate is not about safety, it’s about conformity.  Don’t you people have the guts to stand up for your constituents? Would you really rather kill the local economy than stand up to Sacramento? 

Is it really that the city is just too dependent on the state for money? Because our local economy is so weak, we have to take handouts for stuff like declaring a shelter crisis in order to pay staffers and their pension deficit? 

Sincerely, Juanita Sumner

Mask guidelines – know your rights

17 Aug

Where and when are masks required?

— Inside or in line to enter indoor public spaces.

— In hospitals, pharmacies, medical clinics or other healthcare offices.

— While waiting for and riding public transportation, taxis or ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. Drivers should also wear masks.

— In work places that require interacting with the public, where food is prepared, packaged or delivered, or when sharing common spaces such as elevators and hallways.

— In office settings where people cannot physically distance.

— While outside if it’s not possible to stay six feet away from others.

Who is exempt?

— Children age 2 and younger.

— People with medical, mental health or developmental issues that prevent it.

— People who are deaf or have hearing loss and those who communicate with them if seeing someone’s mouth is essential.

— Workers who would violate workplace safety rules by wearing one.

— People eating and drinking at restaurants.

— People swimming, walking, hiking, biking, running or doing other outdoor activity where they can stay 6 feet from others.

— People in jails and prisons, which have their own guidance on face coverings.