Tag Archives: Andy Holcombe

Thanks to Toby Schindelbeck for taking on Miss Finance MisDirector and Councillor Moonbeam

10 Aug

Lately a little drama has been playing itself out Downtown – better than any crap you will find on tv – but I really wonder if anybody is paying attention.

Local business owner and city council candidate Toby Schindelbeck has been trying to take our financial bull by the horns and make it behave itself. My family were farmers, I’ve seen a few of these struggles. My great grandfather was gored, almost in his private parts, by a bull when he was trying to administer some vaccination or another. He survived, but it became a legendary story in our family – the moral of the story being, you better be sure of yourself if you’re going to mess with a bull.

Well, I think Toby was sure of himself, and he was ready for a bull, but what he got instead was a greased pig. Ever try to catch a greased pig? Let me tell you, the grease is not the worst of your problem. Don’t wear your best outfit, that’s for sure.

Section 908 has become a greasy little pig. Pigs duck and dodge, they dart, they wiggle, and just when you think you’ve got one, he slips away. If you’re not careful, you end up on your hands and knees in the mud and pig poop. If you’re not determined, you go home with wrecked clothes for nothing. But if you can get that little pig by the tail, or better, by the hind leg, and hold on, you will have yourself a pig. Or $50, that was the deal.

Toby is pretty good, I must say, he’s got  that little pig by the foot. Of course, you never seen anything til you seen a kid being dragged around a fairground arena by a pig running on only three legs. Pigs are incredible, determined, smart little animals who can make fine use of those stubby legs.  This is the beginning of the real battle, you still don’t have yourself a pig, and the danger of slipping in pig poop is ever present. And a mean pig, a real smart pig, will turn and bite. Ever seen a pig’s teeth? Nasty little spikes, like a terrier. It’s enough to make a kid let go, if he or she is not really determined.

Toby Schindelbeck is determined, that’s the truth. He’s got Section 908 by the foot, and he’s going to drag it down and make it behave itself. In a greased pig contest, it was good to be able to pick up and carry your pig, but if that wasn’t possible, you could just sit on it, and the judge would give it to you. Pig was usually so tired by that time, he didn’t put up much squawk, but now and then, he’d make one last move on your ankles, and you better keep your fingers away from that little mouth.

Toby is doing everything right with this pig – persistence really pays.  But it’s tough. In one of the most ridiculous conversations I’ve ever heard at council (it was a discussion of nudity in Bidwell Park that takes the top number one position of all time), Schindelbeck finally got the talking heads to agree to discuss Section 908.  I know, it’s like some skit from Monty Python, or the chapter on Volgon poetry from “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe…”

This e-mail below illustrates Schindelbeck’s persistence. He stays calm and polite, but firm. 

Ms. Hennessy,

Thank you for your time and response. I appreciate it. However, my request was for the monthly financial reports as defined and required by the City Charter, Section 908, which states the following:
“The finance director shall submit to the council through the city manager monthly
statements of receipts, disbursements and balances in such form as to show the exact
financial condition of the city.”
I understand that the only portion of the Charter requirements that you comply with are the monthly disbursements, which are posted online in the links you sent.
Quarterly reports are not adequate to show the real-time exact financial condition of the city, especially when we don’t see the quarterly report for 90-180 days after the end of each quarter. In fact, on your website you only have the Q1 and Q2 reports for ’11 and ’12. The 4th quarter ended 6/30/12, and yet neither Q4 nor Q3 of ’11/’12 are posted.
Not only are quarterly reports inadequate, they are not what the City Charter Section 908 requires you to do.
As you are well aware, the Charter requires not only the monthly disbursements, but also the receipts (revenue that came in that month) and the fund balances (which would reasonably include each individual fund balance, along with transfers/allocations to and from each individual fund.) These items should be in such a form to show the exact financial condition of the city, not a hodgepodge of numbers.
As you admitted on 6/5, you struggled with providing this monthly report from the time that you were hired seven years ago. You also said that the city manager at that time directed you not to do it. Here is a clip from that meeting, in which you tell us this:
Fortunately for the taxpayers and citizens of Chico, neither the city manager, the city council, nor any other individual has the power or authority to modify the requirements of the City Charter. Changes can only be made to it by the voters of Chico, if such changes are on the ballot.
Thus, when the city manager directed you not to comply with the Charter seven years ago, he had absolutely no authority to do so and was acting illegally.
Ms. Hennessy, in my Public Records Request dated 8/2/12, I asked specifically for the monthly reports as defined and required by Section 908 of our City Charter. This request is not ambiguous; it is very specific and the language in Section 908 is very specific as well.
Let me ask you for this again; please send me the monthly reports containing the monthly statements of receipts, disbursements and balances, in such form as to show the exact financial condition of the city, for the following months: January 2012, February 2012, March 2012, April 2012, May 2012 and June 2012.As I understand the nature of Public Records requests, once a request is made the city has 10 days to provide the requested information. This applies to Public Records which are created, or which should have been created as required by the City Charter.Thank you very much for your time, and I look forward to the timely delivery of the specific information that I have requested.
Toby Schindelbeck

CC:
BTA
CTA
Chico ER

The above email was part of the ongoing correspondence that finally got the ball rolling. A formal request was handed to council during the “Reports and Communications” segment of this past Tuesday’s council meeting. The public was also allowed to speak, and I joined about half a dozen citizens who stood up to urge council, and Jennifer Hennessy, to comply with Section 9o8. The council discussion that followed was pretty ludicrous. Andy Holcombe insisted that “we already comply”. He referred to the months old figures that Hennessy gives out quarterly, by request, at her office, Monday through Friday, 9 – 5. Unless she’s out for a three day weekend.

This gets inane, it’s hard to take Holcombe seriously.  Andy Holcombe would be great as the Emperor who gets new clothes. He’s just as persistent in his complete denial as Schindelbeck is in his insistence that there’s a problem here. Well, maybe not. In this next e-mail, Toby again asserts his position. 

Andy,

Regarding your comment tonight that you think we already receive the reports required by section 908 of our Charter, please watch this 1:38 minute clip of Ms. Hennesssy telling us that she is well aware of the Charter requirement, but only meets a portion of it. She goes on to say that she “struggled” with complying, and so she went to the city manager at that time (Lando), and was directed not to comply.

Here is the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKjKixdGdO0&feature=plcp

I am not making things up, Ms. Hennessy herself said that she doesn’t comply with all of the Charter requirements in Section 908. 

Since she is our finance director, she would know, right?

Toby Schindelbeck


I can’t get into these Merry-go-rounds with Andy Holcombe, he makes me sick. I have no patience – I just want to land one right on the end of his nose.  Of course Holcombe has a response – another Butler Amusements special!  But Schindelbeck stays with it. This is the kind of “grit”  it takes to be on city council these days. Leaches have taken over our town, and it’s time for a council member who is ready to stand up to $taff. 

I’ll post the rest of the conversation as it comes in.

Please take a hint from Toby Schindelbeck, and write a letter to council or the newspaper, demanding that Hennessy and Burkland make the finance reports as is stated in the city code, section 908. 

 

My name is Sue! How do you do!

7 Mar

I oftentimes get so frustrated with the cornmash that passes for public discussion Downtown, I’ll admit – I’ve avoided meetings because I just can’t stomach any more. 

You have to listen to people like Valerie Reddeman, owner of the flopped business Green Feet, lecturing about how everybody else should behave. You have to listen to the “Emily Latellas” –  people who obviously haven’t read the agendas or reports and don’t really understand the subject at hand but insist on blathering on for their three minutes of absolute attention – thank you singing bag lady! Last night we got our own local version of The Voice! 

If you’re lucky, you will be there when somebody gets up there and tells it like it is. Last night that was Sue Hubbard. Sue stood up against the bag ban, telling council and the assembled bag-ban groupies how sick she is of watching her town run into the dirt by a bunch of self-aggrandizing egomaniacs. 

Sue goes to the meetings regularly, so she knows what she’s saying. These meetings are frustrating. Certain council members don’t listen to the public, and make no bones about that. Andy Holcombe has actually admitted that he makes his mind up previous to a meeting and nothing the public has to say is going to affect him. Last night he tried to derail a conversation I had requested be agendized, regarding the placement of tax increase measures on the ballot, by pretending not to understand what I was asking for.

Thanks to Sue, who stood up during “Business from the Floor” and asked them to honor my request. And I stood up. And then the crickets chirped. I thought we were dead. 

But then Mark Sorensen came roaring in, reminding everybody, there’s THREE possible taxes coming round (like some rough beast) on the June ballot – including that phone tax I was talking about – and Sorensen suggested there should be some kind of public discussion regarding the nuts and bolts of deadlines, etc. 

And, along came little Ann – butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth! – to agree with Sorensen!  

So, while they aren’t agendizing any big to-doo about it, the city attorney is going to write up a little “informational” ditty to be included on an upcoming agenda explaining the process we are about to watch unfold. I’ll get that as soon as I can. 

I’d like to dedicate this blog to Sue. Here’s one of my favorite songs by Johnny Cash:

This is from San Quentin, and the song is so new you can see him reading his notes as he sings. 

I tell you I’ve fought tougher men, but I really can’t remember when…” Go Sue! 

There’s nobody driving the train.

22 Feb

I don’t know how many of you watch Chico City Council meetings on tv or over the internet, but last night’s meeting brought us to a new low.  Ann Schwab, Andy Holcombe and their liberal friends are completely out of touch in regards to our financial situation. These folks, particularly Schwab and Holcombe, seem determined to SPEND their way out of fiscal insolvency.

Yes, I know, sometimes you have to spend money to make money. When my family got a bad diagnosis on our old stationwagon, we sold it to a refurbisher for the best price we could get, and then we went down to Wittmeier and got the best deal we could get on a new car. Yes, the old battle wagon was a gas hog, and every repair was a major expense, so we really started saving money as soon as we drove off the lot. It hurt, taking so much money out of our savings, but yeah, you got to take risks sometimes.  Not having a car is not an option for a working family.

I met a guy on Topix, who brags about not having a car. But one day there he was on Topix, asking if somebody could give him a ride somewhere. Tim Bousquet also used to brag about not owning a car  – but he sure enjoyed the ride to O-ville in my station wagon, and called me often.

So you can call my family, Risk Takers.  But, if we hadn’t saved that money years previous, it wouldn’t have been there in our time of crisis. Frankly, I think a working family with no working car is far more of a crisis than a city who can’t meet their payroll. I had to SPEND to get out of my crisis, no two ways about it.  But the city needs to cut, and there’s no two ways about that.  Here’s the easy answer – lay people off. That’s what they been doing, but they haven’t been aggressive enough – they still have over 100 people Downtown who make over $100,000 a year.

See, they been laying off the wrong people. They been laying off the workers who we can afford, and keeping the stuffed shirts that DON’T DO ANYTHING.

Did you know, you can get about four to six workers for the price of  a stuffed shirt? At leeeeeeaaaast!

But neither Ann nor Andy would admit it’s the salaries that are the problem. In fact, they kept saying, we need to SPEND our way out of this crisis! Ann even said, she’d use reserve money to HIRE NEW PEOPLE.

Here’s the analogy: We’re on a train. We the people are all sitting on fruit boxes, breathing soot through open windows.  The next car up is made of gold, lined with  plush furnishings and all the modern conveniences. It’s full of Chico’s elite – the mayor and all her fancy friends, like Bob Linscheid, Chris Friedland, Jon Gregory, and Rory Rottchalk. They’re wining and dining, while we huddle on our fruit crates over our scraps.

When we notice the train is swerving dangerously fast around curves,  we make our way to the engine car, where we find, the mayor has fired the crew in order to pay for caviar! Oh Shit! The train is heading for that precipice! And nobody’s driving!

There’s your analogy. Now write a letter to the mayor and tell her to agendize our discussion regarding how a tax increase can get on the ballot.

Sitting with the Circle of Jerks down at City Hall

14 Feb

Happy Valentine’s Day! This morning I’m treating myself to one of those 8am meetings Downtown. I can’t resist this meeting. It is a perfect example of the waste of $taff time that is costing us millions a year.

Today’s example is the Internal Affairs Committee. Internal Affairs is part of the city’s  internal masturbation process. I’m sorry to be crude, but this process just lends itself to potty talk.
See, the City $taff have got to stay busy. They have to provide themselves with something to do to justify those salaries, like Burkland’s, over $190,000 a year. Mr. Burkland has to look like he’s doing SOMETHING, or at least his $taff has to appear occupied, so these morning committee meetings are just fuel for their salary rationale.
Here’s this morning’s menu:

A. Consideration of Request from American Lung Association for Comprehensive Policy Regarding the Reduction of Tobacco Product Waste.
The Lung Association, also searching for ways to prove their worthiness, is asking the city to ” protect the public from outdoor secondhand smoke exposure and to reduce tobacco product waste in public areas.
I have to wonder, is the Lung Association “in on it”? Do they realize how much money this request will cost the taxpayer in $taff $alaries? As Dave Burkland points out, the city already has litter laws, they just don’t enforce them. What makes the Lung Association think they’ll enforce a redundant law any moreso than they’d enforce any other law? Who do they think is going to enforce this law, anyway – the same Chico PD who told us they wouldn’t investigate a major vandalism incident in a California Park neighborhood because they’d just been turned down for a pay increase?
I also have to ask, what’s Dave Burkland doing, allowing this use of $taff time? Is he an idiot, or is he “in on it”?  (okay, that’s a rhetorical question, the answer is “both”).
Next item,

B. Consideration of Request from American Lung Association for a Comprehensive Policy to Protect the Public from Second Hand Smoke.

Yeah, you’re reading it right. This is a redundant redundant request. Again the committee will consider “a comprehensive policy to protect the public from outdoor second hand smoke and reduce tobacco product waste.

I know, stop it! Or as Elaine would say, “Shut Up!”

The explanation here is that “The Committee agreed to pursue the issue of second hand smoke after receiving input from community groups representing businesses, health care professionals and enforcement.”

The “community groups, representing businesses, health care professionals and enforcement” amounted to less than a dozen people, actually, well, I’m guessing, exactly three people.

The third item on today’s menu was agendized by exactly one person,  city Planning Commissioner and all around pain in the ass Jon Luvass.  Here’s Luvass’ item, you’re going to love it, you know, they always save the best for last:

C. Resolution to End Corporate PersonhoodDiscussion regarding a request from Jon Luvaas to have the Council adopt a resolution urging Congress to initiate an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to end corporate
personhood. This item was referred from Council at its meeting of January 17, 2012.

See what you’re missing when you’re not sitting with me in these meetings? Total insanity, that’s right. This whole thing is nuts, and not the kind of nuts that bring $$$$ into Butte County, but the kind of nuts that load it into their 401K and take to to Costa Rica.

I’d call it a Circle Jerk, but they don’t sit around in a circle. These meetings are an absolute waste of time, and of course, wads of your money.