Time for hard decisions that will change Chico forever

29 Apr

How to get back on the horse…

I could have gone to the Finance Committee meeting yesterday morning, but I was in a really bad mood, I might have said some things I couldn’t take off the record.

You might have read about it in the paper this morning. Yes, the city wants to sell the PUBLICLY OWNED sewer to Cal Water, who will arrange another deal to hook up with Paradise. And sewer rates will follow water rates, heading straight for the sky. If you have a Cal Water account, you know they’ve been raising rates for years. I still have bills that say 58 cents a ccf, now it’s almost $2. And the tiers they instituted have killed trees throughout town. My family has lost three big, mature trees over the last 4 years, and a row of young oaks last summer, all due to Cal Water restrictions. Good bye Paradise, and Good bye to the Chico you thought you knew. It’s going to be too expensive to live here if you don’t have a public salary, and you sure as hell won’t be able to hold on to those big, shady trees.

Here’s the only good news I found in my research – they have to put the sale before the voters. How do you feel about it?

Biscuit has left the building

27 Apr

Well, I’ve lost my buddy, my pal and my friend.

What a fashion maven. Here we are, headed out on patrol with Badges.

Chico will never be the same.

City of Chico talking to Cal Water about selling the sewer system – get ready for rates to go up no matter what happens

25 Apr

Let me set the tone of my life – my sixteen year old dog Biscuit is dying, my vet is out of town, so I’m sitting here with her, waiting for the ball to drop. ‘Scuse me if I’m a little bitchy and distracted these days.

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Here’s Biscuit snooping out a pile of bum trash in Bidwell Park.

She’s been my right arm for years, my snoop sister, my beee-atch. You’ve seen that old bumper sticker – “The more I know people, the more I love my dog…”

But life goes on, that’s for fucking sure. Just when you think you can let it all go in grief, you find out, that’s exactly when people will take advantage. In fact, you know what I’ve learned from my canine friends? You ALWAYS need to be paying attention!

And thanks to Frank and Greg for kicking me in the ass with this news – the city of Chico is talking to Cal Water about selling the sewer.

https://chico.ca.us/sites/main/files/file-attachments/4.27.22_fc_agenda_packet.pdf?1650644504

Read Cal Water’s proposal, they want to buy the sewer treatment system. What does that mean? For one thing, Cal Water can raise rates with nothing more than the tacit and slam dunk approval of the California Public Utility Commission.

The other thing that occurs to me is that the city must be in a heap of deep shit to have to sell the sewer facility. Come on – sewers and dumps are a gold mine, people have to pee/shit and throw out their trash, that’s just a given. So why sell something like that unless you have so mismanaged your resources you can’t hold onto them anymore?

The sewer has had financial problems for years. When he was still on city council, Mark Sorensen pointed out that the sewer fund was being eaten by salaries and benefits of employees that had absolutely nothing to do with managing anybody’s waste. Staffers have called for one rate increase after another, lately they’ve been talking about a “volume” charge – based on the amount of water the customer takes from Cal Water. That would include water that doesn’t go into the sewer – assuming you still have a lawn or garden to water, you’d be paying for that too.

And then there’s the Paradise deal – they want to hook up to our sewer system, meaning $$$$ – shouldn’t that deal be with the city of Chico? You don’t elect the CPUC, you don’t elect the Cal Water board, but you elect your council. I know that’s a thin line, but it’s better than nothing.

Talk to your district representative, tell them this deal stinks.

Chico Council plays Sophie’s Choice with city services in mailed survey; meanwhile, “CalPERS Unfunded Liability Reserve Fund” takes 10% of the UAL from every city fund

22 Apr

I’m thrilled to see some pushback against the city of Chico’s sales tax measure. For example, yesterday and today there were letters from names I haven’t seen in the letters section before, both calling the mailed “survey” into question. I’ve seen similar remarks, some of them very angry, on various social media sites, including Newsbreak.com

There has also been a city employee named Jeremy Lazarus, who has been trolling my posts and trying to deny that the city of Chico’s biggest debt is the pensions. He’s told me I don’t understand, and I should “get a clue”. Ironically, Transparent California reports that when Lazarus was hired by the city of Chico in 2019, he already had a personal pension debt of $24,305.22, created by his abysmally low employee contributions in Glenn County. The little trough skipper.

https://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/2019/chico/jeremy-lazarus/

Hey, you think Lazarus and other city employees have been told to troll the social media sites to spread the hype? While I have no evidence of that locally, I can relate that my son, when employed by a West Coast city for a short internship, was told to engage people regarding any negative information he heard about his employer, and set them straight. So I know it happens, and I won’t be surprised when I find out City of Chico employees are told same about the tax measure.

One letter writer brought up a point that also troubled me – the survey lists services that are all important, that every city needs to supply, or why be in the business of being a city? They tell us to rank these services – that’s bullshit folks, they are trying to Sophie’s Choice our asses. In the 1979 novel, later made into a very popular movie with Meryl Streep, Sophie is told she must choose between her two small children, one or the other, and that the one she doesn’t choose will be summarily executed.

The city’s survey says we must choose between essential services – “Public Safety, Addressing Homelessness*, Road Maintenance, Parks, Conservation*, and Economic Vibrancy*”. This isn’t really a choice, it’s a threat to cut one or all of these services if we don’t pony up a sales tax increase. (* These ridiculously specious terms deserve their own blog post)

Here’s what they left out – I just opened the city’s 2021-22 budget, here:

https://chico.ca.us/city-budget

I did a routine F-search with words like “pension stabilization trust”, or just “pension”, and here’s something new I found – “CALPERS UNFUNDED LIABILITY RSV FUND” – that’s Fund 903, page 115. That is separate from the “PENSION STABILIZATION TRUST FUND”, Fund 904, page 116. I knew about the PST, and so should you, cause I’ve mentioned it here about 365 times. But wow, another fund I haven’t heard of, with a 2021-22 balance of over $11.6 million. These bastards are finding new nutshells to hide their peas under every time I turn around!

Revenue sources for this fund include transfers from the General Fund. The description for this fund – “Fund to account for annual payments of CalPERS Unfunded Liability.” Apparently, they use this fund to provide revenues for the “Pension Stabilization Fund,” out of which they make the payments to CalPERS. See what I mean about nutshells?

And how is it funded? “Each department will set aside a set percentage of payroll costs to fund the annual payment of the CalPERS unfunded liability. A target reserve of 10 percent of the annual unfunded liability expenditure will be retained in the fund.

There it is – they’ve been TAKING 10 percent of the liability – now over $150 million – siphoned from existing funds – the road fund, the park fund, the sewer fund, etc. That’s why the street in front of your house looks like something from Downtown Kyiv right now, and the city is talking about taxing you based on the volume of water you get from Cal Water.

I guess I should thank Jeremy Lazarus for challenging me to prove this. He’s been calling me out, telling me to “get a clue.” Well, thanks, you Idiot, I got it, I got it good.

Let’s just call it “The Pallet Shelter Tax”

16 Apr

I was shocked when I went Downtown the other day and saw Downtown Plaza was still fenced off. And then I saw this story on the news:

https://www.actionnewsnow.com/news/chico-changes-its-focus-to-city-plaza-repairs/article_2cf3bc28-baca-11ec-a1a2-bbb329a05249.html

City workers have been focusing on other projects in Chico like the micro shelter site, but they want the plaza to be open by the end of the month for all the upcoming events in downtown.

This is more of their ploy to raise our sales tax – a subtle hint that the city is understaffed. Yeah, ever since 2013, when then city manager Brian Nakamura and his little toady Mark Orme gutted all the lower level staff positions – the worker bees! – and went about raising their own salaries and benefits. The archives (see right) are full of that, dig in and learn some Chico history! I’ve attended two meetings at which consultant Chad Wolford told successive councils city staff was getting “management top-heavy,” had “too much overhead“, and this was driving up costs while they were cutting services left and right.

We also see here the burden the city has taken on with their badly thought-out “plan to end homelessness”. Staff has been so busy – six-figure staffers by the way – putting up the pallet shelters, which were supposed to be put up by volunteers, that they don’t have time to do their jobs. They’ve allowed the plaza to fall into such a state of disrepair that they had to close it. They cite vandalism – how the hell was anybody able to commit vandalism while the damned thing was fenced off? For Pete’s sake, it’s right there, the cops can’t see vandalism going on through a chain link fence?

This is dereliction of duty, but they try to turn it around saying we don’t pay enough fucking taxes? Get the hell out!

Local gadfly Rob Berry opines that this is where the sales tax revenues will go, down the Homeless Industrial Complex drain.

For those of you who doubt it, and the many who have said it, expect the City to support the outyears for the Pallet project from the new sales tax. This from the explanation of what this tax can be used for: ‘• ADDRESSING HOMELESSNESS: Providing solutions to address homelessness in Chico.‘”

You’re such a dummass Rob, you don’t see the real rabbit hole – the pensions. Who cares if they are working on pallet shelters or the streets, the sales tax revenues will be used to secure bonds that will be funneled into the Pension Stabilization Trust.

But the city knows people are pissed off about the illegal camps, and the filth and crime everywhere, and they will use it as a wedge to get us to approve their sales tax measure. Don’t buy it. Tell them they need to do their fucking jobs and pay a rational share of their own pensions and benefits.

Of course the city will continue to use taxpayer funding to forward this measure, and that is legal right up until June, when the county clerk will give it a letter designation. What letter should it get?

How about ‘P,’ for pallets and pensions?

How do you feel about the city of Chico using money that should be going to infrastructure to print up and mail out a batch of pro-tax advertising?

13 Apr

I got my flyer yesterday, and I was really disgusted. Not only did they use money that should have gone into the street in front of my house, but they are making some pretty false claims, and leaving out a lot of useful information.

I don’t know what to call this statement. “Unfortunately, our infrastructure and services have not kept pace with the unprecedented population growth…”

The Camp Fire refugees did not cause our problems in Chico. Infrastructure and services are behind because past councils, following the recommendations of city managers from Brian Nakamura to Mark Orme, systematically deferred maintenance and cut services while the money went to the pensions and benefits, particularly the deficits created by unrealistic employee contributions.

Former Public Works Director Ruben Martinez called it, “failure maintenance”. Meaning, they were not maintaining, but waiting until infrastructure like streets and bridges had become completely crapped out, and then doing cheap band-aid repairs. When the Guynn Street bridge fell away from it’s support beams, they just closed it, leaving residents to find a new route out of their neighborhood. They admitted the bridge had failed and closed it in 2017 – they still haven’t replaced it. Even though they say it is fully funded by Cal Trans. Maybe Spring 2023? What?

https://chico.ca.us/post/guynn-avenue-bridge-replacement-project

So, you see, we don’t have a money problem in Chico, we have a spending problem. This flyer is an example of a spending problem. Using taxpayer money to put forward a tax measure, and advertise it to the voters, may not be illegal at this time, but it’s hardly ethical.

If you received one of these, don’t send it back. They don’t ask for names, so this is not a true survey. Staff could fill out as many of these as they want and call it a survey. I recommend you contact your district representative and tell them you will not support the tax measure.

And here’s some history – how soon we forget! Former Chico city manager Brian Nakamura got fired from his post as Rancho Cordova manager for printing up flyers promoting a tax measure.

Whole lotta misinformation being spread around

7 Apr

I like to read the letters section in the Enterprise Record because the people who go to the trouble to write letters are often times the people who go to the trouble to get involved in local issues. Sometimes that’s a bad thing.

Here’s a letter from liberal gadfly Karen Laslo – a woman who is ready to show up at your front door at all hours, a gal who will get right in your body space if she doesn’t like your opinion. Laslo isn’t too worried about the facts.

(Republican) Candace Grubbs isn’t going to run for her position again as Butte County Clerk-Recorder.  Instead, one of her staff, (Republican) Keaton Denlay, presently Manager for the Clerk-Recorder, is going to run for her position. If he wins he’ll be in charge of the Elections Department. This is not good news.

Keaton Denlay is the brother of (Republican) Kami Denlay, former Chico City Council member who resigned in disgrace when it was discovered that she wasn’t living in Chico at the time she was on the city council. She received no consequences for this blatant act of voter fraud. I’m having a hard time believing that Keaton Denlay didn’t know about this.

Here’s a quote from Keaton Denlay announcing that he’s running for the office of Butte County Clerk-Recorder: “Today, I am officially announcing my candidacy for the office of Butte County Clerk-Recorder. As the Manager for the Clerk-Recorder, my years of experience have prepared me to lead this office into the future. I look forward to continuing my work for the citizens of Butte County by maintaining the high level of security, accessibility and integrity you all have come to expect from the office.”

How can the people of Butte County trust Keaton Denlay to provide fairness, “security” and “integrity” when he didn’t report the above information about his sister to us?

— Karen Laslo, Chico

Sorry “The Laz”, but Keaton Denlay didn’t have to report any of the above because it’s not true. Kami Denlay did in fact have a residence in Chico when she ran for office – in fact, she had a condo at the same complex there on Vallombrosa where Ann Schwab had/still has a condo. Denlay apparently owns another property in Tehama County – so what? The entire time Ann Schwab sat on Chico City council, even serving as mayor, she owned, and still owns, a gi-normous mansion in Forest Ranch, with her husband Bud. I outed that years ago, and found out it was perfectly legal. Likewise, as confirmed by city clerk Debbie Presson, Denlay’s residence was perfectly legal. I would assume she stepped down due to the harassment of the man who admittedly watched her apartment patio, like some kind of pervert, and reported on her personal activities. This just shows the liberals will stoop to unbelievable ends to harass their opponents. Too bad Kami pussed out, I would have sought a restraining order for the pervert. But her brother Keaton Denlay has no culpability here, this is just more smack talk from the Chico Democrats. Put a sock in it Karen, your breath smells like cat food.

On another note, here’s just one letter that shows how little Chicoans know about districting.

I appreciate the work and discussion that went into creating new voting districts for Chico. A few folks worked really hard on them, so the rest of us wouldn’t have to. This city has been buffeted by catastrophes, with salt ground into our wounds by political partisanship. At the city council meeting April 5, Alex Brown did an outstanding job illuminating differences between the three maps under consideration, with visuals demonstrated by Gallegos (the city-hired demographer). These kinds of maps can be hard to wrap your head around.

I was shocked that the city council voted 5-2 to support the most divisive map, and not the more neutral option 5B proposed by the demographer. Map 6C will leave voters scratching their heads trying to figure out which district they are in, and it clearly fractures the center of Chico. For anyone who has ever lived in the Barber or Chapmantown neighborhoods, to claim Merriam Park is a similar community is stunning in its blindness. To state that NE and SE Chico are the only areas where residents are actively concerned about fire prevention is ludicrous. I will be in twisted District 7, with three Camp Fire survivor households on my block, less than two miles from the eastern edge of Camp Fire footprint, and half a mile from the Eucalyptus thicket at the Forest Avenue entrance to Bidwell Park. This new voting map for Chico will deepen our political polarization, just as the polarizing Butte County map has done.

— Adrienne Edwards, Chico

I’ll tell you what shocks me about this letter – this woman is a college professor and she thinks districting is supposed to take into consideration WHO lives in the district, instead of HOW MANY. That is the problem, both the liberals and the conservatives want to GERRYMANDER. They think it’s okay to go through acrobatics to draw districts around people that vote the same, instead, they are supposed to divide the population into equal size groups and give each of them a representative who lives in that district. Reading the following article from KRCR Ch 7, I see the media is spreading the same misinformation.

https://krcrtv.com/news/local/chico-adopts-citizen-drawn-electoral-lines-says-20000-for-demographer-was-not-wasted

The first problem I have with this article is the mention of the hiring of a consultant. Did they mention the consultant that’s been hired to run Chico’s pending sales tax measure? No. The city hires consultants constantly, and then oftentimes doesn’t take up their suggestions. And, as has been discussed several times over the last year, community members are allowed by law to submit maps for consideration. Sounds like Ch 7 has a dog in this fight, but there’s a lot of other problems with this article.

CHICO, Calif. — Redistricting is wrapping up in the Northstate. The City of Chico has officially adopted new electoral districts after Tuesday night’s meeting that will be in place for the next 10 years.

The process may not have yielded the screaming and gerrymandering accusations seen at the county and public school district levels in Butte County, but $19,500 of Chico taxpayer dollars were spent on a demographer whose map wasn’t chosen.

The council instead chose a map drawn by community member and leader of the group One Chico, Nichole Nava. Map 6C, as it’s been referred to, was one of three final maps in the running that a council majority believes best represent the city’s communities of interest. The other two included another community member-drawn map and one drawn by the hired demographer.

There it is – “best represent the city’s communities of interest” That is not what districting is supposed to be about. According to Brittanica, districting should accomplish “two tenets of electoral apportionment—compactness and equality of size of constituencies.” That’s it, no race, no political affiliations, no income levels. Considering “communities of interest” is GERRYMANDERING. Districts “must be apportioned on a population basis.

From KRCR – “To avoid the appearance of any partisan leaning, some speakers at the meeting urged for the demographer’s map to be chosen. Despite those concerns, Vice Mayor Kasey Reynolds made the initial motion to adopt Map 6C, which was seconded by councilor Sean Morgan.

But Reynolds admits, “(The demographer) drew what he believed were the communities of interest…” What? No “interests” are supposed to be involved in this process, just NUMBERS. This is obviously why the map is so skewed – the consultant was trying to make the council happy, not draw fair districts. This whole process is completely wrong.

but I’m sure if you asked him and you asked 100 other people in Chico you would probably get 99 different answers. Does Cana (the Avenues) end on 11th, does Cana end on 12th or does it end at the channel?” says Reynolds outside her Downtown Chico business Wednesday morning. “There is no perfect answer, there is no perfect process and it wasn’t easy last time when we went through it, it’s not easy this time.”

Last time council drew the districts, the consultant actually went through contortions to keep sitting council members in their districts – the boundary on my district was jogged over to include Reynold’s house! According to Brittanica, that’s GERRYMANDERING – “ the practice of drawing the boundaries of electoral districts in a way that gives one political party an unfair advantage over its rivals ” It’s very obvious that whichever group is in power will draw districts to their own favor.

Reynolds just keeps putting her foot in her own doo-doo.

“Reynolds argues that community members who submitted their own maps have knowledge of the city that any outside demographer simply does not. As for those nearly $20,000, she says the demographer instead acted as a guide through the legal process, though adds there never was an intention to specifically choose a non-demographer drawn map.”

The only knowledge you need to draw districts is population. This process has been completely hijacked.

Given Laslo and Edwards’ letters, it’s obvious we can’t count on the Enterprise Record to sieve out the bullshit, they print anything. The tv news is no more responsible. So we have to write our own letters. Do your research, don’t just believe what you hear in the media, and then share the facts.

I’m starting to think the best way to contact your district representative is with a letter to the newspaper

4 Apr

Well, I know I’m always telling you folks to contact your city rep. So, I contacted my city district representative, Kasey Reynolds, about the problems I see with CO2 cannisters, dispensers, and Kratom powder being available at smoke shops. I sent her the picture. I was really disappointed in her response. For one thing, I don’t know if she read my email very carefully, and then she just didn’t get it.

I told her, “These cannisters pictured are placed in a dispenser used specifically to inhale the fumes” and she came back as if she thought I was talking about the dispensers she uses at her ice cream store. It’s a CO2 cannister, Dummy, there’s no whip cream in it!

Thank you Juanita, not sure I have a good answer on this one but I’ll see what I can do. Unfortunately this is also what I use for making whipped cream so not sure how we could/would regulate them. BUT I do appreciate you reaching out at always.”

Sometimes I just don’t know how to talk to these people. I think we all know, it’s pretty obvious, we have a drug problem in this town. This woman lives right around the corner from me, in my neighborhood, I assume she has a pair of eyes, she sees what I see. The problem being, she doesn’t seem to realize that she has a responsibility to oversee these businesses and regulate them. Right now the dispensaries are all over the agenda, and council is giving them The Business. But not the smoke shops or liquor stores?

I also brought up the issue of Kratom powder – which is completely unregulated in Chico. Anybody old enough to go into a smoke shop (18 if they’re checking ID’s) can buy a bag of this stuff.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/kratom/art-20402171

This stuff is marketed as an aide in detoxing off opioids, but it’s also used very commonly for recreation. “Although people who take kratom believe in its value, researchers who have studied kratom think its side effects and safety problems more than offset any potential benefits. Poison control centers in the United States received about 1,800 reports involving use of kratom from 2011 through 2017, including reports of death. About half of these exposures resulted in serious negative outcomes such as seizures and high blood pressure. Five of the seven infants who were reported to have been exposed to kratom went through withdrawal. Kratom has been classified as possibly unsafe when taken orally.

That article goes on to say that Kratom causes paranoia and psychosis – I told Reynolds I’d seen a friend under the influence, it was very similar to the effects I’ve seen in the meth heads around town.

I told her the smoke shop at Mangrove Plaza advertises Kratom in great big letters on their marquee. She made no mention of that, just brushed me off on the whip cream dispensers. Then she gave me some news about the future.

I apologize for not answering your email about MO! [Mark Orme] I did read it and as you can see he has chosen to move on.  I feel good about it and know brighter days are ahead. There are some exciting projects I’m working on and hope to be able to share some successes SOON.

I had told her I’d like to see council terminate Orme’s contract – but they let him “move on“. I wish I could share her optimism, wonder where she gets her rose-colored specs? She’s working on some “exciting projects” but won’t share what. I responded:

Well, here’s my answer – the dispensers are sold only at smoke shops, they’re not for making whip cream. Ban ’em! You have the power to regulate smoke shops and liquor stores. Same with Kratom powder – it’s been banned in other cities, even several states, Chico can ban it. How old are your kids? Because according to this article, there’s no legal age to buy Kratom powder in CA 

And I provided links to articles showing that other California cities had already banned the stuff, as well as several states. I said, “So you see, this is something council needs to take to task.”

I think I offended her with what I wrote next, although I didn’t mean to, I had to be frank. Reynolds had admitted on her own facebook page, and in a letter to the judge overseeing the transient lawsuit, that she didn’t understand the settlement she’d agreed to. I told her, “It bothers me how dependent council members are on staff for their information. I was shocked when you admitted that you had not fully understood the settlement terms. I find Vince to be difficult. Of course,  the taxpayers are held off by the forehead, whether we would understand or not, we are not part of the discussion. I think it would be a good idea for you to get your own lawyer. You could pay for it out of your council salary. It’s no excuse to say you didn’t understand, Young Lady. “

I was shocked and then annoyed at her response. I don’t think I really offended her, I think she just doesn’t want to answer. “My council salary is $350 a month take home pay so that would get me about an hour!!  This “young lady” will take all into consideration.”

Well, that figure doesn’t match information I’ve got in past from staff, and she’s not including her $18,000 insurance plan. For her entire family. According to her contract, she pays 2% of her salary toward that policy. And she doesn’t have to report the city subsidy as income, like Cal Covered. According to Transparent California, she made $5,783 in salary in 2020, so her share of the insurance premium would be a little over $100/year. There’s also a $900 “other pay” figure – is that the gas and cellphone stipend? I don’t think she’s being completely honest about the salary she votes to pay herself, or her very nice benefits, and that bugs me.

Furthermore, I can’t think of a better use of her council stipend than to do some legal research that would help her do a competent job. What, new shoes, a new outfit? A trip to the hair salon?

Every time I contact this woman I walk away frustrated. I think she’d probably read it better if it was in the newspaper.

The atmosphere of drugs, crime and violence didn’t just happen, it’s a result of policies made by staff and council

1 Apr
The little metal objects there in the foreground are CO2 cannisters, properly used by restaurants and caterers to dispense whipped cream. Did you know they can be used to get high?

When I was about 13 years old, I saw a neighbor kid running down our street, with whipped cream all over his face, laughing hysterically. His mother was chasing him, crying and begging, desperate to catch him. He just kept screaming gibberish at her, and that laugh, it was insane. Later that day the police came around to talk to other kids in the neighborhood. They told us our neighbor was getting high on the fumes from the whipped cream can, CO2, and that if we saw that again, we should go home and tell our parents. We were clueless, we just thought David was the freakiest kid in our neighborhood.

When I was in college, I actually saw people using a very elaborate dispenser, specifically made for using these cannisters to get high. There was that laugh again. They spoke as though it was illegal, and that the dispensers were hard to get.

Forty years later – I was leaving Mangrove Plaza yesterday morning when I spotted these cannisters laying along the sidewalk. It wasn’t hard to imagine some nut standing there, in the dark, laughing hysterically as he “huffed” his CO2.

I hate to be a quitter, but this is exactly why my husband and I finally sold our home just down Palmetto five years ago. Long time neighbors were dying or moving, and we started to see the weirdest stuff going on in the hood. Car break-ins started moving up Palmetto toward our house. We spent a few hundred dollars on security lights and spoke to the neighbors. Two doors down, a neighbor’s car window was shattered and the car was rifled. Right in her driveway, outside her open windows. Finally, our son’s car was broken into, sitting in the driveway – they forced the window open, and it was over $150 to get it fixed. At that point, we decided we were done with the old hood, and we sold the house. The folks who bought our house have since installed a very formidable security gate across the driveway.

But I’ll tell you what, security measures are spit on the griddle in the atmosphere our local leaders have fostered in Chico. I’ve lived in Sacramento folks, and what I’m seeing in Chico is the same big city problems that come along with a rise in the population. I’ve seen it for over five years, what’s taking our local government so long to deal with it?

I find it annoying that council has spent a ton of staff time on cannabis dispensaries, but smoke shops and liquor stores go along as usual, selling not only the CO2 cannisters and dispensers, but selling products such as Kratom Powder.

From WebMD: Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tree native to Southeast Asia. The leaves contain a chemical called mitragynine, which works like opioids such as morphine. Kratom has pain-relieving effects like opioid drugs. It also has many of the same serious safety concerns as other opioids. People commonly use kratom for withdrawal from heroin, morphine, and other opioid drugs, as well as coughdepressionanxiety, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. Using kratom can also be unsafe.

From Mayo Clinic: If you read health news or visit vitamin stores, you may have heard about kratom, a supplement that is sold as an energy booster, mood enhancer, pain reliever and antidote for opioid withdrawal. However, the truth about kratom is more complicated, and the safety problems related to its use are concerning

Unfortunately people do use it recreationally. “Kratom is also used at music festivals and in other recreational settings. People who use kratom for relaxation report that because it is plant-based, it is natural and safe. However, the amount of active ingredient in kratom plants can vary greatly, making it difficult to gauge the effect of a given dose. Depending on what is in the plant and the health of the user, taking kratom may be very dangerous. Claims about the benefits of kratom can’t be rated because reliable evidence is lacking.”

And when a person that I know was using it, I witnessed many of the reported side effects: “Kratom has a number of known side effects, including: weight loss, dry mouth, chills, nausea, vomiting, changes in urine and constipation, liver damage, muscle pain, dizziness, drowsiness, hallucination and delusion, breathing suppression, seizure, coma and death.

The most frightening effect my husband and I witnessed was our friend’s psychotic breakdown. We’d never seen anything like it, and we were unable to help. The paranoia and delusions were too much for us to deal with, and when we tried to get him to a hospital, he jumped out of our car and ran away.

I’m mentioning this because the “smoke shop” at Mangrove Plaza advertises Kratom Powder on their marquee in giant letters.

The atmosphere of drugs, alcohol and crime didn’t just happen to Chico, it’s grown out of policies made by staff and rubber-stamped by a council that is completely dependent on staff to make their decisions. I don’t think any member of our council is particularly qualified to do this job. I’ve watched them follow Mark Orme like a brood of newly hatched ducklings.

I don’t remember when I’ve seen them turn down a new liquor store or smoke shop. The staff recommendation is always JUST DO IT! Those businesses generate a shit-ton of sales tax, which of course, Council is determined to raise by a full cent. And you’ll pay that on all your over-the-counter medicines, aspirin, cough syrup, cold and flu medicines, allergy remedies, rubbing alcohol, epsom salts, etc.

I sent the picture, with my concerns, to my city council rep Kasey Reynolds – Vice mayor, gee, does that mean, Mayor of Vice? Not sure. We’ll see if she gets back to me.


Be careful what you wish for! Orme’s departure leaves us out of the frying pan and into the fire

28 Mar

Well, if wishes were horses, eh? I’ve wished for Mark Orme to be fired many times. I’m sure resignation under pressure is almost as bad for his professional reputation. But, he’ll get another job, if he hasn’t already, and probably a higher salary. His former assistant manager, Chris Constantin, at least as culpable in this mess as Orme, did exactly that.

But what is council thinking, installing Police Chief Matt Madden as interim city manager? We have an assistant city manager, Jennifer McCarthy. McCarthy was hired away from her position as Butte County Deputy Administrative Officer (asst mgr). It seems to me she would be the natural choice to move into Orme’s position. And then you know what? I’d eliminate the Assistant Manager position altogether. The city has actually paid consultants, Chad Wolford for one, to tell them they are “management top-heavy” and have “too much overhead”, but they don’t listen. Council just keeps making the same left turn right into a pile of doo-doo.

I’d sure like to see the argument that was made in favor of moving the police chief into the city manager position. He’s been chief of police for less than two years, and I don’t think he’s done a very good job as of this point. One concern I had was when he took the Police Advisory Board off the radar, holding “private meetings”. Comments he made regarding his relationship with council were very alarming.

Madden told the News and Review in July 2021, “This is not a City Council-run board; this was created by the chief of police, for the chief of police,” he added. “If council wants to create some different type of board, ad hoc committee, whatever—similar to what we saw last year [with then-Mayor Ann Schwab’s Policing Ad Hoc Committee]—they have all the authority to do that.”

He has held PAB meetings in “private”. What right does he have to take public business into his back room? And with his chosen board members, he’s rewritten the rules for participation. According to board member and failed city council candidate Jovanni Tricerri, “You’re not going to find on this board somebody who doesn’t want the police department to exist… ” Who does he mean exactly? I thought the whole purpose of this board was “community input”.

This is not a good direction for the city of Chico. As of now, I’m looking for somebody to run against Kasey Reynolds. I will support you.