Don’t buy the hype, research the ballot measures for yourself

10 Oct

While I’ve been disgusted about the way Prop 6 opponents have been slurring the issues, I’ve noticed there are other very misrepresented initiatives on the state ballot this November. Two most obviously skewed are Props 8 and 10.

Measure 8 opponents tell us a YES vote will cut people off their much needed dialysis treatments, but’s it’s really an important price control. It seems providers think they should  be able to charge anything they want for a life-saving service, but this law puts a cap on how much patients have to pay. The medical industry is sick – it hasn’t been about “helping people” for a long time, the compassion is gone, it’s alllllll about  the money, Doc. These commercials are a threat that if they aren’t allowed to gouge they’ll just fold up their shops and go home. Using cockroaches and blood stains on their “NO on 8” signs, they insinuate any remaining clinics will be allowed to become filthy. What the hell kind of campaign is that for “doctors” to run?  YES on 8.

I have to laugh at Prop 10, the “rent control” measure. Sure, go for it – this measure allows an annual 5 percent increase. Do the math with your own rent, Doooood!  I’ve never had the nerve to increase my rent that much, even with multiple bonds being passed on my properties in one election. I want to keep good tenants, but I also want to stay on top of my expenses. I like to make those business decisions for myself, so NO on 10.  

The rest of the ballot is up to you folks. Of course I vote NO on all bonds these days, given the state of the state, the mismanagement, and the gaping pension deficit. But I don’t really understand Prop 5, so I’m voting NO on that.  Prop 7 has to be approved by the FEDs, and it just sounds dumb, so NO on that. Prop 11 is also confusing, and it looks like the unions are behind it, so NO on that – I really don’t want these people to work through breaks, I want them to have plenty of sleep and breaks. Hire more workers, how’s that? 

And Prop 12 is not supported by all the humane groups, it’s put up by a bunch of chicken farmers. What? The stuff they show in their commercials is already illegal. And what chicken farm is “humane”? Ask your “free range” chicken producer to show you his butchering process – it’s all the same, not too pretty. It’s just an awful fact that you have to kill animals to eat them. Prop 12 looks like an effort to close down competing chicken producers, keep the price of chicken and eggs high. I can’t afford to pay $6 a dozen for “free range” eggs, or $5.99 a pound for chicken, so I’m voting NO on 12.

I guess all elections are the same, everybody wants their way, and they’ll say whatever they think it takes to get it. If you don’t like the way I’m voting, at least do the research for yourself, don’t buy the hype.





Rules were made to be broken, beaten, stomped and thrown out – is this use of city property to campaign for a tax measure?

8 Oct

This is the worst year I ever remember for illegally placed campaign signs. There are rules – even for private front yards. For example, signs are supposed to be a certain distance from the public right-of-way, but most of the signs I see all over town are located at the property line or even in the public right-of-way.

Today I found the worst violation yet – “No on Prop 6” signs posted on two prominent city lots. Signs lined the sidewalk at the city property located at the corner of Mulberry and 20th, and then down Mulberry, at the little bum park there along Little Chico Creek, two more. 

This a city owned property at the corner of Mulberry and 20th Streets.

These are the only “No on 6” signs I’ve seen posted anywhere except the Knife River Construction yard over on Skyway. These are the same signs, yard size.  Anybody seen any of these yards signs actually posted in somebody’s yard?

Attack on bridge and road safety? I feel like the taxpayers are the ones under attack here, and they’re out for blood!

I feel it’s my duty as a citizen to remove illegally posted signs, so my husband and I pulled over and removed the five signs we found. It’s an imposition – they’re heavy mil plastic mounted on heavy wire frames, they’re going to take up a lot of space in my 32 gallon trash cart. But I’ll  be watching for others, and I’ll remove those too.

I won’t accuse the city of posting the signs, but I’ll say they’ve turned a pretty blind eye to what amounts to use of public property to campaign for a tax measure. 




7 Oct

It’s pretty shocking to how far the public sector will go to protect their own interests. Throwing public money behind a political campaign, paying temporary workers to distribute campaign literature, using misinformation, we’ve seen all that from opponents of Prop 6, the gas tax increase repeal. And then the Official Voter Information Guide came out from the Secretary of State – they’ve written the title of the measure and the description in such a way as to distort the truth about this measure.


Wow, I just hope the public attention span is more than seven words long. I’m guessing the state’s research showed it’s just about exactly that. The title goes on, REQUIRES CERTAIN FUEL TAXES AND VEHICLE FEES BE APPROVED BY THE ELECTORATE, but again, I’m not sure people who have to drive to work every day on shredded roads are going to read beyond the first seven words.

In the summary it mentions that 6 repeals “a 2017 transportation law’s taxes and fees designated for road repairs and public transportation…”. Then it goes on to emphasize how much money they will pull from  transportation projects if we pass this measure, insinuating that all that money would have gone for road repairs. You have to read the whole thing – they say the money “mainly would have paid for highway and road maintenance and repairs, as well as transit programs.” As well as insinuates a small portion would go toward non-road related projects, when over half the money in SB 1 is designated for rail, bus, and other forms of public transportation, as well as bike lanes and bridges.

A YES vote on this measure would “reduce funding for highway and road maintenance and repairs…” – the threat – and there it is again “as well as transit programs…” as if transit programs are an afterthought.

And it implies that long time funding is being cut, when it was only instituted in January of 2018. 

There is one positive note – but again, I worry that most people won’t read through the entire title or text. The summary and the “What Your Vote Means” section do make it clear that Prop 6 will include a stipulation that new or increased state fuel and vehicle taxes would require majority approval by the voters. That’s probably the most important part of this measure. Opponents have taunted us for being cheap asses, when we pay the highest gas prices and gas tax in the country. What opponents have tried to leave out of the conversation is that this measure was passed by the legislature, without so much as a conversation among the voters. 

I wish we could have got a better conversation going on this measure. Citizens are being torn between driving on shredded roads and paying fuel prices they can’t afford. The public sector is funding the campaign against us with our own money.  It’s a racket, aimed at getting more money out of us to pay their pensions. Don’t buy the rhetoric, YES on PROP 6. 

Don’t be fooled by city’s campaign to raise taxes

2 Oct

When I got home from that Finance Committee meeting last week I took a look at the city’s most recent budget, approved unanimously last June by a city council that had already drank the $staff koolaid. Then I wrote a letter about what I learned to the Enterprise Record.

At the September Finance Committee meeting assistant city manager Chris Constantin reported that Chico’s older neighborhood streets have been neglected in favor of  streets in newer subdivisions. “Money that comes available is steered toward roads that are in better shape, rather than replacing ones that have effectively failed.”

Staff reported $6 million in RDA funding was used to put new streets in the subdivision on Hwy 32 east.  So, the city is borrowing money at a rate of $3 for every $1 spent to build new roads for developers, while we in older neighborhoods will drive over potholes that void the warranty on our tires.

Council and staff want a revenue measure for “street maintenance”, but whose streets are we talking about?

The city already taxes our utility services, for “use of infrastructure”. $6,674,000 in Utility Users Tax added to our PG&E, landline and water bills. $845,000 in franchise fees added to our cable tv bills, $675,000 to PG&E, and another $800,000 to garbage. Another $7,490,000 added to our vehicle license fees. $7,597,000 in property taxes.  Over $2,000,000 a year in gas tax. Shouldn’t  these revenues be directly applied to the streets?

Where does the money go? Well, for example, roughly $2,000,000 of approximately $2,700,000 in annual state gas tax receipts is transferred into the salary and benefits pit known as the General Fund. Staff has also created a special fund to pay down their $180,000,000 pension deficit, council approving a $1,000,000 fund transfer earlier this year. That amount increases annually.

No to revenue increases, yes to more accountability Downtown.




Get your pension debt off my back Governor Brown! Yes on Prop 6!

2 Oct

Having seen commercials made by opponents of Prop 6 – the gas tax increase repeal – I was getting sick of the big money scare campaign. They are point blank threatening that if we repeal SB 1 we will die on the roads!  They won’t fix our roads, but will go on pilfering the taxes we pay for their salaries and benefits, and of course their gaping pension deficit. I can’t remember the figure I saw for the State’s pension deficit, but here we have a city of about 90,000 people with a deficit of over $180 million. Chico Recreation District, with less than 35 full-time employees, has racked up over $2 million.  So you can just imagine what the state is carrying, like a big tumor.

I haven’t seen any Yes on 6 commercials on our local tv stations, but the Repeal California folks sent me the following:

Watch the video

Yeah, I know, it’s actors. But it sums up my feelings about this tax increase – it hits hardest in homes that can’t afford it. 

People think I’m rich because I own rentals – one of the oldest myths around. I just got the property tax bill for my family’s home in Chico, where we also have a rental. Because my family fixed up two crappers on that property, meaning, brought them back from condemnation, replacing roofing, siding, floors and other stuff that is not exactly a luxury, our tax bill was jacked up by about $3,000 a year. The county assessor waited two years for a new subdivision down the street to build out, and then he used those $500,000 plus houses as comps for my house instead of using the much more comparable houses right next door.

So we’re screwed. Every year my family scrambles to come up with $6,000 in taxes, for one property. A 70 year old farmhouse and a granny unit over the garage. $6,000/year. Every school bond feels like a knife in the back. And then there’s really stupid stuff like a mosquito district assessment – when was the last time you saw any notice of BCMVCD spraying in Chico? 

So the actors in that commercial are speaking for me. Every time I have to buy a can of gas to mow lawns I pay that fucking extra tax. My kids both work minimum wage jobs that require a car, so they are screwed to. Look at the young people around you, just trying to make it out there, and imagine that yoke on their back. 

Which, by the way, was hung on us by the legislature after Jerry The Moonbeam Brown told us he would not pass any more taxes without voter approval.


Mark Sorensen is a bully, and I hope he doesn’t let the screen door hit his ass on his way out of the council chambers

27 Sep

Last June I went Downtown for an 8:30 am meeting about a revenue measure. Mark Sorensen is the primary force behind such a measure. At that June meeting Staff was asked to prepare a report about what kind of revenue measure might pass. Then all Finance Committee meetings were cancelled until September, leaving the public completely out of the loop.

So, I waited all summer for the meeting scheduled for yesterday to ask questions. That’s supposed to be what these meetings are all about, get the public involved. Well, that’s BULLSHIT.

Sorensen is trying to ramrod this revenue measure through. When I questioned the need for a bond yesterday morning, he got super pissed – he was fucking shaking, okay? That’s super pissed.

Because, I got $taff to admit, $6 million in RDA funding went to new streets in the Fogarty subdivision off Hwy 32 East. That pissed Sorensen off so much, he told me my time was up. Then he allowed Stephanie Taber to go on a ramble about how the Liberals spent all the money. That got Randall Stone super pissed! He leaned forward in his chair and raised his voice, saying the road fund had been millions in deficit when “we” came in, then telling Taber, as he leaned across the table with an ugly sneer, “I don’t know what council you’re talking about.” I swear he was ready to kick the old lady’s ass.

At that point, I, not chair Sorensen, asked them both to stop talking politics and behave. Stone sat glaring at Taber, who looked surprised by his aggressive hostility. The rest of the assemblage sat looking uncomfortably around themselves.

People have complained that the council meetings have been uncivil lately. Hah! I’ve been going to these morning meetings for a long time, and Sorensen has always been an asshole if you cross him.

I think it was 2012 when Shark-Jump city manager Brian Nakamura suggested the city FORGIVE a $180,000 loan to the Nature Center. I happened to know the CCNC was raking in money on their daycare camp scam, so I went to the morning meeting. When I saw the “finance report” the CCNC handed to the committee, a sloppy hand typed list of figures that looked made up, I felt it was inappropriate. I just applied for a refinance of a mortgage, and they asked me for a stack of documents, including bank statements, even my utility bills.  So I very politely asked the director if I could see their books. “That’s enough Juanita!” snapped Mark Sorensen, who told me I was out of line. What?

Well, let me tell you why I wanted to see those books. At that time, certain Chico Democrats had taken over the board of the CCNC, including Dave Guzzetti. I know Guzzetti – not only does he cheat on his wife, he screws his friends. I had the worst suspicion he’d been siphoning money from the CCNC into his political campaign funds, and  as treasurer of the Chico Conservation Voters, he was allowed to have free rein over that money. When I looked at Chico Conservation Voters campaign expenditure reports I was not surprised Guzzetti paid himself salary.

Well, have you heard the latest about Dave Guzzetti? Busted for embezzlement, not only from CCV, but from his long-time “friend” Kelly Meagher. This was especially hard to hear since Meagher fell and injured his back last year and has been having a long, hard recuperation.

I was asking the Nature Center to show their books because the figures on their little typed sheet didn’t look real, and Guzzetti had been running that store. It also seemed odd that all the sudden a completely new board had been installed. Led by a local business leader whose company is politically active.  But Sorensen cut me off. Anytime somebody acts like Sorensen you have to wonder what’s really going on. 

He acts like he’s going smack you. At least he acts like he’s going to smack me, and I don’t like that. It’s unacceptable behavior for a man in his position, especially a guy who created and signed a “civility code” for everybody else. It’s BULLY BEHAVIOR.

So I wrote the following letter to the News and Review,  because they’ve been covering the “incivility”.

Yesterday (9/27/18) I attended a city Finance Committee meeting. The topic was  a revenue measure Mark Sorensen wants to put on an upcoming ballot. A staff report was ordered by council last Spring and then Finance Committee meetings were suspended for the Summer, giving the public no chance to get into the  conversation.

I expected a discussion of road funding options. When I asked about funding for the recent road improvements around town, I found out $6 million in RDA funding was used to put in streets at the Fogerty subdivision on Hwy 32.

As I questioned staff about this, Sorensen became very angry, and cut me off, saying I’d used 4 minutes of staff time and that was all I got. Other attendees  were allowed to ramble on at length, including a rant about how “the liberals” had spent all our money. As I held my hand up, he called on others who’d already spoken, because they all supported his revenue measure. 

Sorensen has  become increasingly hostile to anybody who questions his intentions. He’s created a hostile environment for citizens who want to participate. I’m glad to see him go, but we better be careful who we put in his place.

Juanita Sumner

UPDATE  I had to edit my letter to fit the limit – here’s the edit
Sorensen has become increasingly hostile to anybody who questions his intentions. He’s created a hostile environment for citizens who want to participate.

Asking questions is not uncivil. More people need to ask questions.






Something stinks at the airport again

23 Sep

Airport Commissioner BT Chapman signed this letter which ran in the Enterprise Record last week.

Just a quick update on the effort to bring back airline service to Chico. The grassroots group, JetChico, has been meeting monthly, and is working hard to develop the ingredients necessary to attract an airline to Chico. Community forums are being planned to move forward with the effort and educate the public.

Redding’s recent addition of a route to Los Angeles demonstrates that airlines are returning routes to small communities, and the situation is improving for cities like Chico to re-establish service. What is needed is community support, and vision from local government and business leaders.

The upside of returning airline service to Chico and Butte County is huge. We have lost businesses and jobs because of the lack of service. Our major institutions such as Enloe Medical Center and Chico State University have trouble recruiting the best people because of our lack of connectivity. Right now, the city of Chico loses $1 million per year in Airport Improvement Fund and Passenger Facility Charges because we don’t have commercial air service. That is tax money that goes straight to other communities, but not to us.

Please stay tuned for more information, and support the effort whenever possible. Everyone is welcome to join the JetChico effort and participate in the monthly meetings, which are held in the Chico Municipal Airport conference room on the second Thursday of the month, at 6 pm.

— B.T. Chapman, Chico

But he didn’t write it. When I wrote to airport manager and commission liaison Sherry Miller asking her to forward some questions I had to Chapman, she responded,

Norm – please see the below email.

Juanita – Norm is the original author of the letter so I’m forwarding on to him.

“Norm” being Chapman’s co-commissioner Norm Rosene. 

I wondered why the deception, and when I got Rosene’s response later that day, I realized – Rosene is a founder of JetChico, the “non-profit” group that is trying to convince the city we should pay a million dollars a year to guarantee air service for the benefit of less than 15 percent of the population. People might wonder how he got on the commission, a guy with a personal agenda. 

They just kicked Steve Breedlove off the airport commission for grinding his personal agenda when he was supposed have the general welfare of the town as his first priority. I don’t see any difference here, and after my conversation with Rosene, I wonder if he should be removed from the commission as well.

It all started with the letter, and these two questions:

  • Please provide names of businesses that have specifically listed lack of Air Service as their reason for not locating in Chico
  • As to your claim that Chico State and Enloe Hospital have trouble recruiting employees because of lack of Air Service, have these agencies been asked to put up the $250,000 guarantee money for the airlines?

At first Rosene was eager to talk, thanked me for my interest.

Hi Juanita-

Thanks for your interest in JetChico and bringing back commercial air service to Chico. As one of the JetChico founders, I often am the one to respond to inquiries and put out information.
We started JetChico almost four years ago after Chico lost airline service. Our goal is to bring back reliable and modern commercial air service. We are not affiliated with the City, though Sherry attends our meetings. Everything we do is volunteer, and have not cost the City any money. We periodically report to the Chico Airport Commission, and also the City Council so that everyone is aware of where we are in the process. Our meetings are open to everyone, have been advertised several times in the newspaper, and are held on the 2nd Thursday of the month at the airport conference room. We created a website to post relevant articles and information.
Regarding your questions, two examples of businesses that left Chico in part because of the lack of air service were Google and Facebook. Google was running it’s “Loon” project at the Chico Municipal Airport, in a hangar at the north end of the field. I was fairly involved with their project, having facilitated their coming to Chico and using the hangar. Prior to Chico losing air service, one of their team leads told me that if we lost airline service, they would likely find another airport to do their testing. We lost airline service in December, and they stopped their operations at Chico the following Spring. The Facebook distribution center is another example. Facebook was using the Mach 1 building as a highly secure location to store and distribute laptop computers and cell phones. When they left, one of the reasons they stated for leaving was the lack of commercial air service. 
As to Enloe Hospital and Chico State recruiting faculty and staff, both institutions would tell you that it would be easier to recruit if we (Chico) were more accessible and had direct flights to Chico. Young professionals look at connectivity and ease of travel as one of the many items they consider when taking a job in a new location. Neither has been asked to donate any money towards the revenue guarantee program, but both have supported our efforts so far. The Chico State Construction Management program provided a cost analysis of a new terminal building, and a construction schedule and calendar. You can view the conceptual design on our website ( All of the design work was donated.
We will be holding public forums in a few months to educate the public about what needs to be done to bring back air service  and the rationale for doing so. No dates have been set, and as an all-volunteer organization, we tend to move slower than I would like. However, we have good expertise and knowledge in the group, and are steadily working towards a challenging goal.
Again, thanks for your interest.
Best regards,
Norm Rosene


There you see, he signs himself, not as an airport commissioner, but as a representative of JetChico.  At the time that didn’t bother me as much as a couple of things he claimed in his e-mail, so I asked him a few more questions.

Hi Mr. Rosene,

Thank you for your prompt and courteous reply.  I have more questions that aren’t answered on your website, I hope you don’t mine. 

  • How many people did Google and Facebook hire in Chico to work at their airport operations, and what was their local payroll?
  • Where do you think you might get funding for the $250,000 guarantee the airlines are asking for?

Lastly, I feel it necessary to point out that Sherry Miller is a salaried city employee and her attendance at your meetings as a liaison to the city is paid for by the city taxpayers. 

Thanks for your anticipated response, at your convenience, Juanita Sumner

I asked the first question because this town needs jobs, good jobs. I asked the second question because I’d seen that $250,000 figure in a recent push piece by Enterprise Record shill Laura Urseny. Rosene responded, 

Hi Juanita-

I am unsure of how many people were part of the Facebook group. I toured the building after they left and I would estimate the number of work stations, and offices at 30 to 50. I do know they were well paid jobs, and that Facebook spent a lot of money in the remodel of the building. I have no idea of their payroll.

The Google Loon project used to send ten to 25 people up (from the Bay Area) for a week at a time. They stayed in local motels and ate at local restaurants. For a time they were speaking with the City about building their own hangar. I helped facilitate their meeting with Brian Nakamura, who was City Manager at the time. When we lost airline service, their interest waned, and they then went away.

The revenue guarantee fund number that we will be looking to achieve will be one million dollars. That is the standard amount that small communities must fund in order to get the attention of an airline. Many communities have done exactly the same thing that we are attempting to do, and one million seems to be the magic number. 

We expect local businesses and residents to contribute to the fund. That is what other communities have done. There is also grant money to apply for which can be utilized to attract air service. None of the above is unusual, but is actually quite typical to attract air service. Redding has used a similar strategy to increase their routes.

Thank you for pointing out that Sherry is “on the clock” for the City at our once per month meetings. As attracting air service was one of the goals when the City hired her, I think that the time is well utilized, especially since JetChico volunteers have probably donated tens of thousands of dollars in time and effort. Just the conceptual drawings for the terminal would normally cost several thousands of dollars. So, the City has been more than compensated for the hour she spends with us every month.

Please feel free to e-mail with more questions.

Best regards,

Unsure? But you helped these people establish their businesses? Based your estimates on empty work stations, but you can’t remember whether there were 30 or 50 – that’s a big difference of 20 less people employed.

And I’m guessing none of them were hired locally – “The Google Loon project used to send ten to 25 people up (from the Bay Area) for a week at a time.” 

But they stayed in local motels and ate at local restaurants? So that’s the kind of jobs we’ll get out of air service? Build their own hangar and import more employees who will likely keep their homes in the Bay Area rather than live and pay property taxes here. 

And then he floored me with “The revenue guarantee fund number that we will be looking to achieve will be one million dollars. That is the standard amount that small communities must fund in order to get the attention of an airline. Many communities have done exactly the same thing that we are attempting to do, and one million seems to be the magic number.”

I read a report on the JetChico website earlier this year that indicated airports in towns of our size will never pay for themselves. The million dollar figure will go up every year.

And here’s where he puts the bite on the taxpayers. “We expect local businesses and residents to contribute to the fund.”  

And then he goes on a ramble about how much money he and his rich friends have put into this venture, as if the city hasn’t spent anything. I’ll have to remind him, in my next reply, that the city has spent about $500,000 on dead-end studies over the past four years, for suggestions like, put city staffers in pilot and stewardess uniforms and have them prowl the Saturday Farmer’s Market and other Downtown events.  I can’t begin to relate how insulting that particular suggestion was, but I will say, it’s deceptive, just like Rosene writing a letter and having somebody else sign it. 

This persistent pressure from a small entitled group has cost the city more than money and staff time ( same thing!), it’s taken the focus of the airport commission away from properly managing the airport. The airport continues to be in the red because of pilfering to pay salaries and benefits Downtown. We’ve lost federal funding because the city didn’t take proper care of the runways or the required water towers. We lost the fire planes for the same reasons. 

Furthermore, the city is a bad landlord.  I know people who own small businesses located at the airport, they employ dozens of people, and they’ve been unhappy with management of the airport for many years. The airport has lost big tenants – moved to Doug Guillon’s business park on the other side of town.  It seems to the tenants that all the effort is going into attracting air service for a miniscule and entitled segment of the population (as well as outsiders who don’t provide any jobs here), while the needs of the airport tenants are being ignored. A recent decision by these same commissioners has tenants really pissed off – they rent these crapped out buildings from the city, make the necessary improvements on their own dime, and then when the lease is up the city can just take all the improvements the tenant has made without any compensation. You can’t pull that kind of  crap in the private sector – SLUM LORD – but here the city gets away with it. People are pissed about that out at the airport.

They should also be pissed about the airport commission’s constant attempts to charge for parking at the airport without providing security of any kind for cars left out there at night. It’s all about getting money to keep the airport open, at all. 

This demand for air service is just a windmill tilt, at the expense of roads and other needed city services. 

I’ll post my further conversation with Rosene when he gets back to me. 

Lastly, I wrote to David Little as soon as I got the response from Miller, which I sent him. According to Little, you are not allowed to sign your name to somebody else’s letter.  A few years ago my husband felt strongly enough about something that he wanted to write a letter to the editor, but he’s a hunt and peck typist. I typed professionally, even typeset newspapers, so I volunteered my skills at keyboarding and spelling whiz. Little recognized the e-mail address and, without even bothering to call or e-mail us about it, round-filed the letter.

When it didn’t appear, I contacted him, and he admitted that he thought I’d written the letter myself and signed my husband’s name, so he threw it out.  I harangued him into running it, I shamed him into, I asked him, “what, you think a carpet layer is illiterate?” Let’s see Dave Little pass the contractors board exam, for ANYTHING.

No response, and then this morning I see Laura Urseny’s piece, yakking up BT CHAPMAN’S LETTER! What a couple of shills!

Yeah, I’m mad. So should you be, Sucka.