Tag Archives: Ann Schwab

Here’s the video from that Sept 23 Finance Comm meeting – ever wonder what people are saying about your money behind your back?

9 Oct

Oh yeah, I’m still talking about the September 23 Finance Committee meeting.

After I went to so much trouble to get the video on flash drive, I asked the clerk why it isn’t just posted on the website, like council meetings, her response:

“I can provide it on an USB but we can’t post it to the website. If we started it with this one meeting we couldn’t sustain it because the video only exists because we used WebEx.  Once we go back to in person meetings, those meetings won’t be recorded. Does that make sense?  “

I’m not sure how to respond. I’ve been asking them to record and post the morning meetings for years, and now that they’ve got Chico Engaged I really don’t understand why they don’t record and post all the meetings. They just created a new, management level, position – “Public Information Officer” at over $100,000/year in salary, just to create a new city website, and I assume, manage it. But they still can’t record and post videos of the meetings?

Well, Dave sent me a link to a website where you can load just about any file you want and make it public – FOR FREE. It’s called “Go File”


So, I copied the USB the clerk gave me onto my laptop, and I uploaded it at Go File. Wham, bam, thanks for nothin’, Ma’am. Here’s the link they created for me.


Hit the link and there it is, the meeting. It’s a must watch, because they are talking about YOU, and YOUR MONEY, as if you weren’t there.

Oh yeah, there’s going to be a quiz.

Dump mismanaged – needs MORE trash!

9 Nov

Well, the headline below says it all – we aren’t trashy enough in Butte County, the dump is staaaaaaarving!  Come on people, shake down – you are not living opulently enough! 

Just kidding. The real problem is mismanagement, or rather, too much management.   The dump currently has at least two management personnel that I know of – Bill Mannel and Steve Rodowick – both of whom yank in almost $100,000/yr, TWO MANAGERS, largely just to drive all over the county and sit in meetings. Hasn’t the county ever heard the one about “too many chefs”? Why do you need two managers, both with separate  benefits, and pension packages, none of which they pay for themselves? 

So, they try to make the increase sound like “pennies”, but Mannel is already crying that this will not be enough. This hike over three years is not going to be enough? No, it’s pissant to these guys with their salaries.  What Mannel really wants is to force the two local haulers to take all trash from Chico to the Neal Road dump. In past, when the county dump has raised their fees, the haulers have hauled ass for Yooooooba City, where other cities’ garbage is considered a “revenue source”.  Yes, Waste Management and Recology, two of the longest-running members of Ann Schwab’s Sustainability Task Force, will truck garbage 50 miles to save “a few pennies.”

The county owns the dump now, “managed” by Mannel and Rodowick. I have listened to these two complain before that the dump does not take in enough trash/money (same thing to them). They want the city to force the two haulers to take all trash from Chico to Neal Road, but the trash companies say they won’t do that unless the city can guarantee them EACH  a certain amount of business every year by instituting  “enterprise zones” – dividing the town up like a pie and handing certain sections to each hauler. Meaning, you don’t choose your hauler, your hauler chooses you.

This is a problem for me because  I WON’T USE WASTE MANAGEMENT.   Linda Herman and Ann Schwab and Larry Wahl know why – they were sitting on the now-defunct “waste management committee” when I brought in a complaint that drivers from WM were driving pell mell across my property, trespassing in my private driveway, tearing holes big enough to form little ponds, to access houses on the other side instead of requiring those customers to put their trash out on the public street like everybody else. At one point a WM truck, trying to turn around on my skinny little private driveway,  took out an electric pole, cutting power to four houses on my street. The manager from WM came out and tried to tell us we had to pay PG&E  for the damages, because it was in our driveway!  The driver of the truck told my husband it was his second day on the job. Wow, good job! Took out a phone pole on your second day at work! We’re so glad to know what kind of people they hire down at Waste Management. My husband told the WM manager to get the hell off our property and we’ve used Recology eversince. The city told Waste Management to stay off our property too, but we’ve had to tell their idiot drivers a number of times since -they’ve admitted to me, they don’t know where their accounts are, so they will enter little cul-de-sacs and alleys  just to check for WM cans. 

Anybody who doesn’t believe me can listen to my story about former employee Ginger, who used to run the WM office. Oh yeah, now you know I know what I’m talking about. Ginger retired a few years  back, but anybody who’s been in the trash trade in this town more than five years know who I’m talking about, and probably has a pretty good story of their own. 

The dump is poorly managed, and money isn’t going to fix the problem. Now they cry they don’t have enough trash, and need a guarantee of more trash to come. But later this year they will switch gears, and say, as they have in the past, the dump is getting USED UP, they need more money to PROLONG THE LIFE OF THE DUMP. They just switch their story whenever they need more money.

The dump needs to be completely overhauled. It is an old-fashioned dump, the kind where you just bury garbage and hope gnomes will carry it deep into the earth before the next generation finds out what you’ve done.  Nowadays, intelligent towns are converting to “composting dumps” – a “no-brainer” as far as I’m concerned – go look at that giant composting machine they use at the “green waste” facility on Cohasset. A-MAY- zing!  Other towns, like Truckee, have also become a lot more careful about what they allow in the dump – they give customers more options for sorting trash.   They actually manage their dumps, not just talk about it.

Neither Rodowick nor Mannel actually “manage” anything, they spend the lion’s share of  their time raising money to pay their own salaries.  Rodowick  gets paid  to sit in Sustainability Task Force meetings, along with employees from both haulers. They’ve asked Schwab  for more trash regulations that benefit their collective bottom line. They’ve  managed to get Schwab to put extra requirements on landlords, lowering the number of units per garbage can and requiring locking recycling bins at rental complexes, so people can’t “steal” from recycling bins. They’ve asked for “enterprise zones” before, but it hasn’t gone anywhere so far. I think Schwab and Herman are aware, I’m not the only person who has pointed out the vast difference in the levels of service you get from Waste Management and Recology. 

Of course, I don’t trust Recology all that completely, but they haven’t burned me yet, I’ve got good service out of them at various rentals for almost ten years, without complaint. It’s only their actitivies in the STF that lead me to mistrust them. They don’t care about the planet, they don’t care about us, they care about money, and that’s the bottom line folks. 

Neal Road dump needs 20,000 more tons of trash a year

Chico Enterprise Record
Posted:   11/09/2012 12:06:17 AM PST

OROVILLE — Tuesday, Butte County supervisors were told additional trash is essential to the economic health of Butte County’s Neal Road Recycling and Waste Facility.Bill Mannel, county solid waste manager, made that point when he lobbied the supervisors to impose an increased gate fee at the dump.

Mannel asked the board to up the facility’s gate fee by $1.50 a year over three years.

Mannel said the hike will add about 10 cents a month per added dollar for residential trash removal. So at the end of the three-year hike cycle, according to Mannel’s figures, the residential fees will have climbed by 45 cents.

Having asked for the hike, Mannel said the price hike by itself “will not get us where we want to go.”

In order to keep the facility solvent, Mannel said there needs to be a fund balance of $3 million to $4 million a year to be ready for unanticipated operational costs.

To achieve that goal, in addition to the hike, the county needs to bring in 20,000 more tons of garbage a year.

Mannel said in recent years the tonnage coming to Neal Road has slipped. He said the faltering economy and the associated sharp reduction in construction, combined with increased efforts to recycle an ever-larger portion of the refuse, are the primary causes for the drop.

With the $1.50 addition, the gate fee at Neal Road would be $42.11 a ton.

Oroville Supervisor Bill Connelly said when he came to the board eight years ago, the gate fee was less than half of that, and

he asked Mannel to justify the need for the hike.Mannel agreed the fees were lower then, but said in the interim there have been additional state and federal regulations that have sharply hiked operational costs.

Chico Supervisor Larry Wahl said regardless of the need, it is just the wrong time to raise fees on anything, particularly on a service needed by the hard-pressed construction industry.

The $1.50 hike “will add pennies” to individual bills, observed Supervisor Kim Yamaguchi of Paradise. He said it was better to make hikes in increments than to wait until things reach a crisis stage and have to raise bills by a huge percentage.

The hike was approved on a split vote with Yamaguchi, Chico Supervisor Maureen Kirk and board Chair Steve Lambert in favor, and Connelly and Wahl opposed.

Outside of the meeting, Paul Hahn, Butte’s chief administrative officer, said the county hopes to broker a deal with trash haulers and the city of Chico to see that all of the trash collected in the city is funneled into Neal Road.

If that can be arranged, according to Hahn, the 20,000-ton goal could be achieved.

Casey Aplanalp: Measure J “aims to sanctify years of theft”

3 Nov

From CTA member Casey Aplanalp:

Measure J is a devious attempt to legitimize the taxation on our cell phones that is currently not authorized. The City has been pilfering these monies for over a decade, last year taking in $900,000 alone. This is illegal, but if Measure J passes it will be as if we voted for these additional taxes years ago. It aims to sanctify years of theft, and to continue doing so.
Not only does Measure J allow for cell phone taxes, it goes to include any and all technical modes of communication now and in the future, broadening the tax base. Furthermore, it would give the power to increase taxes to the City Finance director, bypassing voter approval. This is taxation without representation, and circumvents the democratic process. 
Supporters of Measure J call it a tax rate decrease while also claiming, incredibly, it to be revenue neutral. Supporters also claim it merely updates the verbiage, another lie. Of course, supporters claim the money goes to public safety, but there is nothing specifically written in the measure to support that claim. It is spent at the whim of current bureaucrats. 
Finally, Measure J was drawn up in the hopes of preventing a massive class action lawsuit against the City for the millions of dollars it has taken in over the years. Those behind Measure J have been dishonest with the public, but that is to be expected because they’ve been caught stealing from the public. Measure J deserves defeat. Vote NO on J.


THANKS CASEY!     And remember everybody, only you can prevent a massive takeover of our city, county, and state by the snout-nosed trough dwellers.  Don’t forget to VOTE! 

Measure J – That’s Ann Schwab sliding her hand into your purse.

23 Aug

The other night the Chico City Council signed a new city manager at $217,000 a year, plus benefits. That’s an increase of about 14 percent over retiring city manager Dave Burkland’s salary. Meanwhile, the median American income, according to the census bureau, has fallen by 7 percent. In Chico, the 2010 figure for median income was about $38,000. Seven percent would be a hit of over $2500. OUCH!

I wonder if the researchers took into account those families whose incomes have remained fairly steady, while expenses like utilities and taxes have grown unrepentantly. You’ve probably received the same notices I have got from PG&E and Cal Water – they seem to raise rates at will these days. You probably read Cal Water’s notice that we weren’t using enough water so they had to raise rates to recoup money they spent when they thought we were going to use a lot of water. But,  talking out both sides of their mouth, they raise the rate per ccf tremendously when we use over a certain amount of water – to encourage us to conserve water! What kind of circular bullshit is that?

The same circular bullshit you get from the city of Chico, that’s what.  For several years now we have heard one report after another about our dismal financial situation. We had to close a fire station for a month.  We can’t keep enough cops on the street to serve a citation for a second noise complaint. We don’t have enough money to fix our streets. We don’t have enough money to properly maintain Bidwell Park.  But without missing a beat, they tell us they are increasing their own salaries.  They are signing a contract with Chico PD that gives them a raise, along with structured overtime and pays the “employees’ share” of their benefits and pension premiums. And now they hire a guy at $217,000  a year, plus the benefits and pension payments, whose successor in Hemet is only making $162,000 a year.


And they propose to cover these asinine appropriations by raising our taxes. That is the intention behind the phone tax –  measure J – already placed on this November’s ballot, as well as the motivation behind Tom Lando’s coming sales tax increase proposal – watch for that in a special election in 2013.

Measure J is our immediate problem. It is billed by it’s sponsors, including Mayor Ann Schwab, as a tax reduction.  Sure, they will lower the existing land line tax from 5 percent to 4.5. But this measure will allow them to extend the tax to cell phones, pagers, and forms of electronic communication that have not even been introduced to the consumer yet.   This measure will allow the city Finance Director to add any future form of electronic communication that is included in your phone bill to the tax base without consulting the voters. You will simply see the increase on your phone bill.

Remember when the only people who had cell phones, or “mobile phones,” were guys like Elvis Presley? Yeah, a cell phone used to be for rich people only, a status symbol even. Well, try living without one today.  Land lines are pretty unreliable – unless you live within a few blocks of the router over in college town, you get hit and miss service, at best. When we had AT&T, we’d be without either phone or internet service for days at a time.  We felt forced to switch to cell phones. When my son was looking for a job, they expected him to have his own cell phone, mom or dad’s number was a real turn-off to employers.  So, yes, in this day and age, not having a cell phone has become akin to not having a car – what’s wrong with you?

This cell phone tax is a matter of TAKING, by people who just expect to TAKE. The city does nothing to guarantee or improve or even cheapen the cost of your cell phone service. They’ve actually refused to permit cell phone towers on occasion, citing “aesthetics.” But they expect to add a 4.5 percent TAX to a service you contract with a commercial provider?

We need to get the word out on this TAKING. Ann Schwab and her friends are billing it as a TAX DECREASE! You know better, and you need to tell your friends, your co-workers, and people with whom you do business – you need to start telling everybody you know who lives in the city of Chico, that they are about to be had.

I’m starting with my close friends, and then I’m going to mail letters to people like my dentist, my auto shops, my vet, etc. You would be surprised how many people don’t know what this phone tax is all about. People who don’t have time to educate themselves often depend on their friends to give them the heads-up. Be a good friend, tell everybody you know about this tax.

That’s Measure J, Ann Schwab’s plan to stick her little pig nose into your phone bill.  Bad Pig! Time to give her a sharp rap across the snout – No on J!

Phone tax resolution is not clear as to exactly which services are to be taxed

14 May

Tomorrow night the council will again take up the subject of the phone tax – they tried to slip it by in the  consent agenda, but I for one will be there to ask that it be “pulled” for discussion.

Pull!   BOOOOOM!

We’ve already discussed the poor wording in the resolution. It was so bad that it was sent back for a rewrite. That’s how desperate Schwab and the other four are to pass this thing – it’s their life raft. If they don’t get us to swallow this hook, the city ship will begin to sink.   The last five years they have held their SS Titanic together with RDA glue.  Now that the RDA glue bottle has been taken away from them (I think they were sniffing it), they need a new revenue source. You know, like a vampire needs a fresh neck!

Oh yeah, that would be funny – everybody wear a string of garlic to council tomorrow! 

The resolution that $200,000-a-year city attorney Lori Barker brought back was no better than the first one – in fact, this one is more deceptive. She has continued to omit much of the pertinent information needed for the voters to make an informed decision.

At the first meeting, I distinctly heard Barker say, that she wasn’t even sure what would “happen” under this ordinance. That’s because, the ordinance provides for the Finance Director, currently Jennifer Hennessy, to add new technologies to the list of taxable services at her own prerogative, without any input from the voters. 

The definition of what can be taxed is so broad at this point, the city attorney says she doesn’t even know what might end up being taxable. Her ballot resolution describes the taxable services here:

2) modernize the definition of telephone communication services subject to the tax to include new technologies such as wireless and voice over internet services; 3) apply the tax to all telephone communications regardless of the technology used;

We are told, “new technologies such as…”, but she just lists two here. In the report she included texting and paging. It seems to me she has omitted those two from the ballot resolution  intentionally. And, in today’s ER, she says SCYPE can’t be taxed because it’s a free service, but “You could use a computer for telephone services”  What services could they include in this tax later? She isn’t telling us. She’s being as vague as possible. 

She says SCYPE is not included now because it is free. Well,  it will be included as soon as the phone companies get enough of you using it and start charging for it. Always be wary of FREE STUFF! It’s wrapped around a great big hook, my fine little fishes! 

Here’s something else they aren’t telling us. Right now, some carriers are collecting the tax ILLEGALLY. If we don’t pass this turkey, the city will lose a lot more than $9o0,000 a year.  They are this close to not being able to meet obligations they’ve made to $taff, and when that happens – oh oh! Bankruptcy! And then? None of them get paid until they go to court. 

Ever deal with an addict? Well we have a building full of them Downtown, hooked on the green stuff. And they’re about to get a serious case of the DT’s. 


Chico Taxpayers Association discusses pending local tax increases

6 May

We had a great meeting at the library this morning. We discussed the phone tax resolution that is currently being crafted by the city attorney, as well as the sales tax increase proposal being forwarded along by Tom Lando and friends. 

Council heard a first reading of the phone tax resolution, in three versions with three rate proposals,  at the May 1 meeting last week. In answer to complaints that the language in those drafts was misleading and deceptive, council voted to send one of the proposals back to city attorney Lori Barker’s office for some editing.  Council majority (with Evans and Sorensen dissenting) chose a rate of 4.5 percent, but made no specific demands regarding the language or exactly which parts of the resolution should be rewritten. The revised edition should come back to council shortly, I’ll be watching for it.

The sales tax increase proposal is being kicked around at the Chamber of Commerce, of which Tom Lando is a member and past president. The Chamber seems to be vetting the measure, keeping a low profile and trying to get as many clouted individuals on board as possible before they bring this turkey out to greet the public. 

At today’s meeting we read over and discussed the reports made by the city attorney and the city manager regarding the phone tax, and also the proposed resolution itself. I’m going to try to post a bit of those reports day by day so we can discuss the pertinent points here, please stay tuned.

Lando still working on sales tax increase, behind closed doors with Council members and $taff

4 May

Thank you Toby Shindelbeck for attending the Legislative Action Committee meetings which are NOT LISTED ON THE AGENDAS PAGE of the city website.

CORRECTIONmy apologies – I found out, this is NOT a committee of the city but of the Chico Chamber, of which Lando is a member and past president.

I have been remiss – I knew about these meetings, but I have not attended. What I didn’t know, is this is where Tom Lando is plotting and planning with Council members and city staff to get that sales tax increase on the city ballot.

They (Lando and friends)  have until the first council meeting in July to come up with a proposal for Council, and it looks like they are  planning to do so.

If we have to mount an opposing campaign, we are ready to open our checkbooks.

The closure of Station 5 should have tipped me off – they are tying public safety to the train tracks to threaten us into passing both the phone tax and the sales tax.

We have a meeting Sunday at the library, 11:30.  I hope some folks will show up,  ready to work.

You pat my back, and I’ll pat yours!

15 Mar

Every two weeks the city council gets another dose of medicine – budget updates on the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency. Malfeasance Director Jennifer Hennessy is trying to break it to them slowly that we are out of money, and then they have these little confabs about how to hand the situation. These meetings are maddeningly the same – they never really come up with any solutions, they just sit wringing their hands. 

At my house we have had some financial shocks. For example – I had to get some dental work done, cause I ain’t been to the dentist in six years. My teeth were in generally good shape, except for my back molars – the ones I grind like 24-7. In fact, I’m holding my tongue between my teeth right now to keep them from grinding.

My back molars needed a little extra work – at $170 a tooth, I’d like to think of it as a weekend in the Poconos. All told, between the initial exam, the standard all-around cleaning, and the two back molars, this little adventure ran me about $650. Yeah, $90 for a 40 minute pick and scrape, that was kind of a shocker. By the time I paid all this off, I had taken a hefty broadside at my family’s budget. 

But, I have to say, my teeth were still in pretty good shape – I’ve always had trouble with those molars. When my kids were little, my dentist had me coming in four times a year, at $90 a pop – just put a bell around my neck and lead me to the barn!  When I’d see my dentist at the grocery store, I felt like saying, “Mooooo-oooo Fred!” So,  I actually saved money by not going in, contrary to the lecture I got from my hysterical hygienist, Carol. You heard me – I saved money by NOT going to the dentist. 

So, I’m going to practice the same kind of budgetary magic our Malfeasance Director, Jennifer Hennessy has taught me over the last five or six years – instead of recording the $650 as a loss,  I’m going to write off a $720 savings! 

Unfortunately the city budget is not so simple. Our city has become addicted to endless spending – it’s like heroin, and they are hooked bad. To watch these idiots try to fumble their way out of the mess they’ve made for themselves is very frustrating. It’s like watching the teenagers do all the wrong things in a slash movie. You scream at the movie screen – DON’T OPEN THE DOOR! – but they don’t hear you! 

When I sit through these discussions, I want to scream, “CUT THE CRAP!”

And the “CRAP” I’m talking about are the committees. Like the Sustainability Task Force. Linda Herman is struggling to keep this group together, to keep them on “task”, because her salary depends on it. She makes over $85,000 a year, plus benies and pension, to administer to a pack of children who can’t even make meetings. In fact, lately, Linda seems to have had trouble making the meetings:

Hi Everyone,  Fletcher called me last week concerned about the timeline that was set regarding the Sustainable Business Program.  Primarily he was concerned that the beta test businesses being contacted this week and then having Alan gone on spring break during the time when the businesses may have questions.  I know that the problem was that Fletcher and I were not at the Ad-Hoc meeting and we sincerely apologize for that.   

Right now they are working on the “Sustainable Business” program. Each member is supposed to survey local businesses, find out what they think of the checklists and “tasks” the committee has come up with – stuff like, replacing all your lightbulbs with little mercury bombs, and providing bicycles for your employees to ride across the street to have lunch. We’ll see if they do any better than the Diversity Action Committee, who had to be nagged constantly by Mom Rucker, and turned in less than 200 “surveys” in a town of over 85,000 people. 

But I notice right away, in an e-mail from committee member and Recology employee Jill Ortega, they only seem to be contacting businesses who are already on the bandwagon –  “My list includes the following: Chamber of Commerce, DCBA, Transfer Flow, Woodstock’s, Sierra Nevada Brewery, and Masie Janes.”


In fact, Ken Grossman, owner of Sierra Nevada,  is a member of the STF, regardless of the fact that he never does any work and only shows up at a few meetings a year.   This whole “Sustainable Business Program”  is really just a bunch of people sitting in a circle patting each other on the back at our expense. 

Why would Ortega choose to include failed Greenfeet owner Valerie Reddeman in her survey? You got me. “Even though her business has recently closed, I believe she can provide some valuable insight.”  Well, she’s also a member of the committee, and I’ll bet she’ll be real cooperative too. Between these two gals, they’ll come up with a favorable review of their own program, how nice.  

Neither the DCBA nor the Chamber were interested, according to Ortega, so that leaves her with nobody but the choir to preach to. By the way, Ortega is one of several garbage company employees, as well as employees from the county dump,  who are paid to sit in these committees. They tack that onto your garbage bill every month, I hope you don’t mind. 

This is how they fiddle while you are at work all day. They’re supposed to meet next Monday afternoon, but they still haven’t confirmed that yet. I’ll try to keep you posted, but if it snows over the weekend, I ain’t going. 

Drawing a line on the editorials page

14 Mar

Below is Chico Taxpayer Association board member Casey Aplanalp’s letter to the Enterprise Record, run in this morning’s paper. 

If you haven’t seen the survey he mentions, look here:


The survey isn’t just leading, and it isn’t just misleading, it’s downright dishonest, insinuating that certain people and groups support the tax without asking these folks for their permission – including Larry Wahl and the Bidwell Presbyterian Church, both of whom contacted me/this blog. 

Lando will use the dishonest survey results to write his tax increase measure for the council, and I’m afraid certain members of council will try to say that’s enough to put the measure on the ballot. We have to write letters to council – write more than one letter if you feel the need –  telling them we want a petition with the legal number of signatures. We should let both Ann Schwab and Bob Evans know that if they put this measure on the ballot without the signatures, they’re going down in flames in November. 

I believe my question regarding how a tax increase measure gets on the ballot, along with a general report regarding the upcoming tax increase proposals (that’s proposals, plural…) headed for the upcoming ballot is agendized for the first meeting in April, but you’ll have to wait for confirmation from the city clerk. I’ll keep you posted. 

In the meantime, read this letter from Casey and try to search for inspiration to write your own:

We need to know more about the sales tax hike proposed by Tom Lando and Jim Stevens. This needs to see the light of day.

I have a copy of the script the survey company is using, and it’s as crooked as a rubber cane. Biased and leading. Results should be scrutinized and dismissed upon presentation.

I’ve sent Lando an invitation to present and explain his proposition publicly, which has been ignored. What is he hiding? The Chico Taxpayers Association, Butte Taxpayers Alliance, Chico Tea Party, Butte Republican Party, Butte Libertarian
Party, Young Americans for Liberty, and the local Ron Paul Support team are all opposed to this sales tax hike proposed by Lando.

Where’s the tax hike support? And where’s the coverage?

 Casey Aplanalp, Chico

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.