Tag Archives: Brian Nakamura Chico Ca

Here’s the real story behind Brian Nakamura’s sudden departure from Rancho Cordova

2 Jul

The article in today’s ER didn’t really tell the whole story. Here is a recent piece from Sacramento Ch 10 and a piece from last October, KCRA Ch 3.



Vacating city manager smears Chico on his way out the door

6 Jul

As could be expected, the Enterprise Record has come to Brian Nakamura’s rescue with a good-bye kiss piece in which Nakamura accuses Chico of  beating him up. 

This whole Nakamura affair has been a mud-bath for Chico. No, I won’t blame him, I’ll blame Sorensen and the others who stood behind him while he looted our city for about a million in salary and benefits and another notch higher toward his ultimate goal – retirement on 70 percent of at least $300,000/year. And we 96 percent of the premium on that retirement for the last two years. Suckers! 

The only thing I’ll say personally about Nakamura is he’s smearing our town. He never intended to stay here – he’s made the exact same speech on the way out of city after city. He’s got some kind of persecution complex. 

Hey folks, have you heard the kind of stuff they say about me? Have you been at the grocery store with me when the checker – a man who stood head and shoulders over me and outweighed me by at least 100 pounds – put his hands flat on the counter and told me, as he got ready to check my groceries, that he didn’t like the letters I wrote to the paper. I’ve had one local gadfly stalk my house, sit right at the end of my driveway in his dark colored sedan, staring into my yard. I heard he pulled the same shit on a candidate in this last election. Know what I did – I confronted him about it, and he’s never done it again. Why would anybody put up with that kind of behavior? All you have to do is hold a mirror to these people, shine a flashlight on them, and they scuttle back into the vegetation.

Brian couldn’t confront his stalkers, cause they were all in his imagination. He could not produce one e-mail when asked about the threats, not one name, nothing. He says his “family” is having a hard time dealing with this? His “family” doesn’t even live here. He’s got a step son in Fresno (eeeek!) and his own son is back east. Both grown men, living out on their own. As for his wife – I can’t find proof that they ever bought or rented a house here, it looks like she still lives in Fresno  near her son. It’s only a few hours on the freeway. A former Butte County CAO was able to hold that job concurrently with a job in Fresno for almost a year, driving back and forth until somebody caught him  and he was fired.  Nakamura was absent alot, late for meetings – I’m guessing he was driving back and forth. Hey, my daddy built Hwy 99 – he could drive from Sacramento to Fresno all day in his belly dump, make 20 trips or more.

I’ve raised my family right here. My kids were with us, I think they were about 6 and 10 years old, the night we were gang-jumped by Scott Gruendl’s little flash mob at a city council meeting. I was elbowed in the nose and spat on. My husband was threatened and Laurel Blankasshit tried to take our video camera forcibly out of his hands. But you’ll note, I didn’t cry for my mama and run to another town. 

So, let me say, and you can quote me – Brian, don’t let the screen door hit you on the ass. Rancho Cordova is just the kind of town for you – a shit hole. It’s a military burg, nobody there calls it their hometown, they come from everywhere. Good luck, Creep – I realize, you cockroaches need to move fast, or somebody is likely to step on you. 

Vacating city manager reflects on tenure in Chico

Bittersweet parting for vacating city manager

By Ashley Gebb

agebb@chicoer.com @ashleygebb on Twitter

POSTED:   07/05/2014 04:54:27 PM PDT


Click photo to enlarge
Brian Nakamura

CHICO >> It is with bittersweet fondness Brian Nakamura reflects on his short-lived tenure with the city of Chico.

The recently departed city manager, who left to take the helm of the city of Rancho Cordova, said recently from his new office that his intention had been to stay in Chico long term but the decisions he made because of the job he was hired for did not make that possible. He decided it was in the best interests of the city, the community and his own family that he carry out his career elsewhere.

“You can’t be the new kid who shows up to school and exert a perception that you are a bully and then months later try to convince everyone you are not the bully and you are going to be their friend,” he said. “You end up having a trust issue with everybody.”

After Nakamura was hired in September 2012 — the first city manager from the outside in decades — he tackled the city’s complex financial challenges head-on, including organizational restructuring, two rounds of layoffs and $5.3 million in budget cuts to begin to address multimillion-dollar deficits and a near depletion of cash assets. It was also with his recommendation that the City Council reimbursed its debts, wiping out reserves and plunging the general fund nearly $8 million in deficit.

Up until the day he left, he still heard people say the city’s problems were all manufactured. While controversial, his actions were necessary and he has few regrets, he said.

“When you turn a rock over and you find something unexpected or unanticipated, the easiest thing to do is put the rock back in its place and walk away,” he said. “Hopefully during my tenure there, if we turned over a rock and we found something we didn’t like, we did address it or we did fix it.”

People can always question whether the problems were fixed correctly or with the right approach, but the undeniable fact is issues had to be addressed, Nakamura said. If anything the cuts should have been done more quickly and all at once.

“One of the things that I would criticize myself for is maybe we should have taken a really hard look at making one large decision,” he said. “I think the pain kind of festered and dragged on because we kept trying to incrementally make it a better place, when in reality what we needed to do was the major surgery. People would have still been upset but I think it may have played out better for the organization and the community.”

Despite the struggles of his first year, the difficult decisions he made and way he was as a result treated, when a job opening in Rancho Cordova arose in October, he didn’t apply. Several months later, with the realization he may never be welcomed with open arms in Chico, he said yes when recruiters reached out.

Even now he still wonders if he made the right decision. Nakamura likes Chico, and despite what doubters think, truly hoped it would be a place to work for a decade, retire and perhaps land a spot teaching at Chico State.

“Maybe I should have stuck it, out but the reality is I can’t look back,” he said.

As time grew on, it had become more difficult for him and his family members to hear harsh and constant criticism from the public. He declined to go into detail about some of the negative ways he was treated but said at his one-year anniversary he had faced verbal assaults and vandalism.

The 2013-14 Grand Jury report also noted that once hired, he did not receive support from sitting management, received false or incomplete information, was excluded from meetings and was misrepresented or falsely quoted to subordinate staff.

“These actions were intended to undermine his position, credibility and acceptance by the council, the rank and file employees and the citizens of Chico,” the report states.

Nakamura doesn’t blame anyone for how he was treated.

“There are people that are passionate about their community, there are some that are obsessive and there are some that are fanatical,” he said.

The council’s ongoing support, as well as that from some employees and community members made it difficult to resign.

“After the news hit that I was leaving, I ironically got more calls, letters, emails from people saying, ‘You did a great job. Sorry to hear you are going,'” he said. “I had to ask myself, ‘Where were you when I was getting beat up?'”

Nakamura hopes the city will commit to resolving its financial issues, stay on track and keep the community a priority. He’s supportive of Mark Orme, his former assistant manager in both Chico and Hemet, becoming Chico’s city manager, and said he thinks the existing leadership has the knowledge, skills and desire to continue pushing the city forward.

“Chico is a wonderful place. I wish I could have stayed and my wife wishes we could have stayed, but we realized it wasn’t in the cards,” he said. “We love Chico as a place to visit, a place we will always remember we lived and contributed to the community. I wish the city the best of luck.”

With his move to Rancho Cordova, Nakamura looks forward to being closer to family, with his parents in Lodi, his wife’s mother in Sacramento and a son interviewing for jobs in the capitol city.

But mostly, after years of working in cities that needed restructuring, he’s eager to take charge of an organization that’s structurally and financially sound. He’ll be able to focus on growth and economic development, rather than enforce painful choices.

Nakamura hopes to become integrated into the community in a way he never did in Chico and be able to tout the town’s values, something he should have done more during his 20-month tenure here, he said.

“I hope that part of my leaving will bring back the positiveness that needs to be shared among the community and the focus can get away from the hardships, the hurt,” he said. “The community will continue to grow and move on.”

Contact reporter Ashley Gebb at 896-7768.

I think the Nature Center is lying about their revenues so they don’t have to pay back the city’s $186,000 (now $206,000) loan

9 May

I’ve been corresponding with Randall Stone regarding the outstanding debt owed to the taxpayers of Chico by the Chico Creek Nature Center. Stone and Mark Sorensen both sent me Nature Center Form 990’s when I requested them from the Nature Center director and she said I’d have to come down to the center and pick them up, it was too onerous a burden for her to send me this information that she had told me days previous was available to the public and she’d e-mail it to me. 

Randall and Brian Nakamura are pushing for “forgiveness” of $206,000+, consisting of a $181,000 loan and the interest and fees that have accrued over the last few years of NO PAYMENT. Both of these guys, who’ve never had a child attend the center’s daycare program, say the center provides wonderful services for the city and people of Chico.

It was good of Randall to send me the Form 990 filed by the Nature Center – “Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax.” Wow, a daycare operation that pays no income tax? In this town? They try to say they don’t make any profit, only bringing in about $136,000 a year. $47,000 of that comes from a city grant. They expect us to believe they only bring in $80,000/ year from that daycare camp they run four months a year?


When my kids attended, the fees were double what you’d pay for a regular daycare operation. People were willing to pay, because it’s in the city park. On city owned  land. In a city-owned building, and another building that should be owned by the city. CCNC and friends spent about $800,000 on that Taj Majal, $186,000 came from the city of Chico. It came out of the development fund, which is now millions in arrears. 

Sure, they’ve coughed up their 990, but there’s no accounting or paperwork for their daycare operation. I’d say, if they’re not lying about their revenues from that operation, they are incompetent. Who runs a daycare operation in this town without a profit? 

That’s why I tried to suggest we find somebody else to run this thing. It could be great, it was wonderful under the first director, a woman named Stephanie. Since then we are expected to put up with people like Tom Haithcock, who had no credentials for running  a kids’ day camp, and now this Caitlin woman who can’t even send me an attachment to an e-mail. 

When I tried to make that suggestion, Sorensen cut me off before my three minutes was up, and yelled at me that I was off topic.  When I tried to tell him why it was on topic, he yelled, “That’s enough!”

Sorensen sent me the 2011 990.


Only a year previous, but revenues are more than double 2012?  They’ve lost some grant money, including city CBGF money, but not that much. What’s to explain for this sudden loss in revenues? I’ll opine, BOOK COOKING. They knew the city would be coming after that loan money, so they’ve hidden their revenues, is what I’m guessing.

Nakamura seems to be saying, “we’re not going to get this money, so let’s make hay by writing it off…”  I don’t think he’s telling us everything. 

My mom used to have this little sign over her desk – “I am a mushroom. They keep me in the dark and feed me bullshit.”  

Mark Sorensen is a mushroom farmer. 



Money Grubbers

8 May

Well, here’s some news – I not only blew off Tuesday’s council  meeting – I didn’t even  read the agenda! And look what I missed – council drove another nail into Downtown’s coffin with plans to put a parking nazi – just for Downtown – on the permanent payroll.

This is how desperate the city of Chico has become, read it yourself.  It’s not about compliance with the law, or they’d be over here at the church across from my house every Sunday. It’s about revenues for our cash-strapped, spend-happy little town. They need to find some way to pay for those pensions, 70-90 percent of their highest year’s pay, available at age 50.

Our community is upside down. Our public workers are supposed to serve us, and receive a secure job with a livable wage in return. Instead we have a pack of elitists who have grown to expect slave behavior out of us. We serve the public workers, and we get nothing in return.

We should  be asking our council candidates, would they support “right to work” legislation, which would dump the unions that currently run our town.


Parking enforcement turnover leads to lower revenue

City planning to make one position full-time

By Ashley Gebb

POSTED:   05/07/2014 05:49:03 PM PDT


Parking services specialist Jim Stanfield writes a ticket for a car having an expired parking meter in downtown Chico on Wednesday,
Parking services specialist Jim Stanfield writes a ticket for a car having an expired parking meter in downtown Chico on Wednesday, (Frank Rebelo — Enterprise-Record)

Chico >> Parking fine revenue has fallen drastically in the city of Chico, but city officials say it has little to do with parking habits and more about enforcement challenges.

This week, the Chico City Council approved a supplemental appropriation to accurately adjust this year’s budget, including recognizing a $170,000 shortfall in parking fine revenue. Though countered by increases and shortfalls in other fund areas, that decline in revenue impacts the general fund, where it would otherwise be available for purposes such as public safety, roads and parks.

“We are confident that it’s tied to performance related to enforcement and not necessarily decreased demand or people actually obeying the law more?” Mayor Scott Gruendl asked staff Tuesday.

Expired parking meters in downtown Chico seen on Wednesday.

Expired parking meters in downtown Chico seen on Wednesday. (Frank Rebelo — Enterprise-Record)

Unfortunately no, said Administrative Services Director Chris Constantin. He would prefer people complying with the law but such a dramatic drop in revenue indicates otherwise, especially as meter revenue is down only slightly from the prior year.

As a result, one addition to next year’s budget is to make one temporary parking enforcement position a permanent benefitted position to combat turnover and lapses in enforcement.

An effective enforcement specialist will generate revenue that more than equates for their salary and benefits, Constantin said. They will also gain more experience and provide a better balance of discretion in issuing citations – a complaint the city has heard from downtown constituents.

The Police Department currently has two part-time parking services specialists, though that is not consistent throughout the year. As temporary employees, they are limited to a lifetime maximum of 2,000 hours with the city and as a result the position, which pays $11 to $14 per hour, has regular turnover.

“This year it’s becoming more of a challenge to find new people,” said Accounting Manager Frank Fields.

Expired parking meters in downtown Chico seen on Wednesday.

Expired parking meters in downtown Chico seen on Wednesday. (Frank Rebelo — Enterprise-Record)

For 2013-14, about $530,000 was projected for enforcement revenue from all types of parking violations, but actual revenue appears to be just two-thirds of that. It’s difficult to quantify the exact reasons for the decrease, but turnover has reduced parking enforcement officers’ time on the streets, Fields said.

In 2007-2008, 27,000 citations were issued. That fell to 15,200 the following year but returned to 27,400 the next year. Through April of this year, 13,036 citations have been issued — a 31 percent decrease the same period of 2012-13.

“When we have a consistent presence of parking specialists or enforcement efforts downtown, the citation issuance goes up,” Fields said. “When we see those dips in the past, there was less staffing.”

Expired parking meters in downtown Chico seen on Wednesday.

Expired parking meters in downtown Chico seen on Wednesday. (Frank Rebelo — Enterprise-Record)

Meter violations have risen in cost over the years, now at $29. They yield the highest percentage of citations, at approximately 75 percent of the total issued.

“There comes a point in time when certainly the amount will change behavior,” Fields said. Whether or not that has happened here and is part of the reason for the decrease is hard to know.”

Parking services specialist Jim Stanfield started with the city two months ago. The city wants parking enforcers to be downtown ambassadors and a positive figure of enforcement, he said, and he expects it will be an enjoyable job for the next two years.

Some days he won’t see a single car for hours and other days it can be a continuous stream of violations. While some people complain, most are understanding when they have gotten a ticket, Stanfield said.

He does his best to educate people about obeying parking laws downtown, including locations of free spaces and how to keep the meter fed, to help avoid tickets.

“Don’t play the game. Just pay the extra 25 cents,” he advised. “It’s better than $29.”

The city’s total parking revenue from meters, lots and leases adds up to $ 1 million a year. Other parking related revenue for 2013-14 has seen only minor changes, small drops in street and lot meters and an increase in parking permits.

Nakamura is dumping the fire department – in 2017!

14 Apr

Tomorrow night city council will discuss serving a three-year notice to the fire department that they will be considering a contract with Cal Fire. You may be asking the same question I am – why did they just approve new contracts with the fire department, with a proviso that says we have to give them three years’ notice before we dump them? This is not a sincere move on the part of Scott Gruendl or Mark Sorensen, it’s election year pandering.

Look there it says, “recently completed negotiations…” meaning, weeks ago. Why did they go through with the contracts at all?

REPORT IN BRIEF: The City of Chico recently completed negotiations with its nine (9) bargaining groups. One
outstanding issue, pertaining specifically to the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), Local 2734, that
essentially binds the City, is Section 5.7, a contracting out provision. The City Manager believes this section
adversely affects the City’s ability to consider alternative service delivery options in order to evaluate the costs related
to salaries and benefits. Thus, in light of the City Council’s desire to treat all bargaining units respectfully and equitably
in future negotiations, the City Manager recommends that the City provide the attached notice of intent, which
becomes effective April 16, 2017.

Now, lets be nice!

27 Dec

Word Press is a fun site – one of my favorite features is the stats it keeps on my blog. It shows me terms people searched that brought them to my blog. Yesterday somebody keyed in the phrase, “Brian Nakamura’s head on a stick.” Whoa, now, I’m not advocating anything like that!

Those of you Merry Standish fans – fess up you lurkers – might remember the bit they did about Jane Dolan and Kim Yamaguchi, two long-time Butte County Supes. They were pretty bitter enemies – I watched Jane Dolan during one campaign speech, try to light up a bunch of old-timers with the fact that Yamaguchi was Japanese. I know she’s well educated, she knows how to talk – but she purposely mis-pronounced his name with a short ‘a’, like ‘a-munds’, to show those old-timers she is a local! That’s doubly-funny since Yamaguchi’s family had been in the area longer than transplanted Dolan.  Politics are so fun.

I thought Merry-Standish hit the nail on the head when they dressed local musician Steve Cook up as Jane Dolan, in a blonde wig, dumb glasses, furry sweater and bra, and had him/her charge around the room with a really good paper mache reproduction of Yamaguchi’s head on a little pike. Yes, that was funny, cause it was just a skit. You’re allowed to have feelings, even ugly feelings. But, you’re not always allowed to act on feelings, even nice ones. Don’t hug people you don’t know, don’t ask dumb questions about family members who aren’t there, and don’t invite that young chick in your office under the mistletoe, for gawdsake.

Yes, you can vent here, and I will keep it anonymous. But I just wanted to say, as annoyed as I am with Brian Nakamura, I would not wish anything more ill on him than he gets sent somewhere else, thankyouverymuch.

You can put a dress on a pig, but you don’t fool us – it’s a GARBAGE TAX!

16 Dec

At tomorrow’s city council meeting, there’s a vague item on the agenda regarding a $100,000 budget appropriation from the not-so-aptly-named “Emergency Fund” for another consultant. If you didn’t read the item you might not know, it’s about the garbage franchise zones that Brian Nakamura is trying to flop on us. He’s lied all the way through on this one, telling us alternately, it would get trucks off our streets, bring in fees to fix streets, that it would give us more control over the haulers so they couldn’t use “their old trucks” here, among other accusations, and finally, that the companies would have to perform “free” services, such as street sweeping and emptying the cans in our public parks. 

On that last note, I’d like to point out, Park Staff used to empty the trash cans in the park. This involved one or two guys wearing appropriate clothing and gloves, lifting 33 gallon trash bags out of the stationery cans, picking up any errant trash, and tossing it all into the back of a city pick-up truck. Now we have a gi-normous WM truck trolling through the park. They come in on days when the gates are closed, so the driver must have a key to the gate, or a staffer who goes over and lets the truck in and out, I don’t know. The cans are off the road, so the driver can’t get them with the truck – I’ve seen him at 5 Mile. He has to park the truck and walk over to take the bag from the can. I’ve never seen a WM driver pick trash up off the ground, he’s just walked right by it on his way from can to can. I don’t blame them at what they get paid, they shouldn’t have to bend and stoop to pick up trash off the ground. 

I’m guessing it’s cheaper to have WM do the parks because their drivers don’t get a fraction of the pay that our park workers got, and they only get the nominal worker’s comp, no benefits or pension. But, the trucks are literally “trashing” the park road, just like they trash streets all over town, and the smell of exhaust hangs in the air for a good 10 minutes after the truck has left. 

As for Nakamura’s claim that people have complained there are too many trash trucks on the street, I’ve asked him for those letters, e-mails, transcripts of phone calls – all of which are part of the public record. He has never even answered those requests. I don’t believe he has any such complaints, because as soon as I came at him with that question, he started saying the new fees from the Franchise Agreement would go to fix the streets. Like the Castaways said, “Liar!” The city already gets about $20,000 a year in license fees from the haulers, and this money disappears into salaries and benefits, along with the receipts from the Gas Tax. 

Another claim Nakamura made was that our haulers “dump” their old trucks here, bringing in old trucks from the bigger cities, where Nakamura claims the air quality restrictions are higher? Some people will feed you anything, don’t leave your mouth open too long. I wasn’t the only one to call BULLSHIT! here – Joe Matz, from Recology was pretty offended by these accusations, but kept a cool head in reminding us that ALL California has the same air quality and safety restrictions on any motor vehicle, and those accusations were just pulled right out of Brian Nakamura’s ass.

So now Nakamura is desperately trying to tell us that with a FA, he can “make” the haulers do extra chores, like street sweeping, park clean-ups, community clean-ups. No, we will all pay the haulers do that stuff, when we are already paying city staff to do that stuff. We pay for all of that in our property taxes, even those of us who don’t dump our backyard leaves in the street, even those of us who don’t leave trash in the park, even those of us who don’t throw garbage on the  ground, but pick up the trash of others and dispose of it in our own garbage cans at home.

Please write letters to council and the newspapers rejecting this garbage franchise. It’s just a sneaky way of getting the ratepayers to pay more taxes to pay for Nakamura’s sweet pension.

Nakamura and friends want to sell Bidwell Ranch to pay their pension obligation – NO WAY SAN JOSE!

17 Nov

(Chico Enterprise Record) Letter writer Kathy Moran innocuously suggested we sell Bidwell Ranch. Is this just a thought that skittered across her brain, or is this the beginning of a campaign? 

Twice now I’ve heard Brian Nakamura suggest selling Bidwell Ranch. This is just another indication that Nakamura is incompetent to manage our town. He wants a quick fix – what? $20  million or so? To cover a $48 million pension deficit? $20 million is less than half the city’s operating budget for a year.  The money would be gone before the ink dried on the sale agreement. 

He also fails to mention what 1500 homes built on that constricted property would do to traffic, schools, our water system, etc.  He also fails to mention the environmental restrictions.  Scott Gruendl once opined that houses built on that property would be so expensive only the very wealthy could afford them. 

Nakamura will tell us we need the property taxes – to pay his pension and benefits. Nakamura currently pays only four percent of his pension out of his $212,000/year salary. He wants to sell off our resources to enrich himself. 

When asked if he would demand concessions from city employees during current contract talks, Nakamura professed a fear of the police and fire unions. Instead of fixing the root of the problem – over-compensated employees – he wants to empty our cookie jar to keep making the CalPERS payments. 

 We deserve better leadership. 

 Juanita Sumner, Chico Ca

Scott Gruendl and friends in denial over loss of Measure J – still giving away rainbows down at City Hall

9 Nov

With the help of the media, the city of Chico continues to distract us with “Sit/Lie,” while behind closed doors they’re negotiating the employee contracts. Just the other night they handed a bone to the cops – longtime Chico police officer George Laver was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant, a significant pay raise. Days later, the department announced Laver intends to retire soon. He will retire at lieutenant’s salary. This is one form of spiking, and there they do it right in front of us, with the full blessing of our idiot council.

Including Mark Sorensen, who told me personally that Brian Nakamura was hired to wield a big stick with the employees and their unions. But just a couple of weeks ago, Nakamura complained to a full room at a Tea Party meeting that if he tried to make any changes to existing cop or fire contracts, “the city chambers would be packed with people wearing red Chico Fire shirts… ”  The cops and fire bring in big lawyers from out of town, he said, wa wa wa! Sheesh, this big gun assassin I heard so much about is a quivering woos!

They are laying off people Downtown who do work that brings in revenues, and protecting a pack of prized pigs who won’t even pay their own benefits to keep the city from going under. This idiocy needs to stop with the next election.

Scott Gruendl is up in November 2014. Gruendl, Ann Schwab and Mary Goloff, put Measure J, the cell phone tax, on the ballot, and wrote the arguments in favor. They tried to tell us the money would go specifically to police, fire, fixing the streets and maintaining the parks, but instead of putting those specifics into writing they wrote the measure to deposit the receipts in the General Fund, where they could use it any way they wanted. They also lied about the average amount a customer paid in UT, and about what they would be losing if Measure J failed to pass. They wrote the measure to include “all forms of electronic communication now available or those which become available in the future,” with staff deciding what constituted “electronic  communication”, without any input from the public.

Gruendl complained again about the failure of Measure J in an August article in the Enterprise Record. “Two cents actually makes a difference these days,” he complained to the reporter. “We are so cash poor, every dollar counts.

Then why did they promote a guy who’s going to retire in less than a year? So that he could collect pension at that amount for the rest of his life? Because “we are so cash poor, every dollar counts“?

The reporter continues, “[Gruendl] also noted the measure’s failure has not caused changes in city salaries and benefits that opponents of the cellphone tax had argued for, saying they wanted the city to extract funds in other ways. Changing employee compensation continues to be a challenging and ongoing discussion, Gruendl said.”

I’d like to make double note of that fact. Here he actually seems to be bragging that he ain’t going to knuckle under to the citizens who won a majority decision over his measure, that he just won’t listen. He’s just not going to do his job as our elected representative, he’s just point blank refusing to deliver the will of the people over this special interest group. I’d also like to mention, as an employee of Glenn County, he is a member of the very same special interest group – a member of the public employee unions.

But  neither will I forget the way Mark Sorensen held me off by the forehead when I complained about Nakamura’s salary and terms of his plush contract. Sorensen insisted that Nakamura would prove himself worth the money when he wrestled the employee unions to the table, kicking and screaming, bluster, bluster, bluster.

 Now Nakamura is the one doing the kicking and screaming, or more appropriate, whining and squirming. Wiggling out of his job.  Flaking on his promises to get our employee expenses under control. Why would anybody be surprised? The first thing he did was give himself an out-of-control salary, and a contract guaranteeing a lifetime of paychecks for only four percent of his bloated salary. 

Sorensen is no better himself.  Remember, he’s was the one who wrote the opposing arguments for Measure J. I think Stephanie Taber or even I could have done a much better job, but it fell first to the council member who wanted it, and Sorensen snatched that opportunity, within the narrow time limits given by the clerk’s office, to write a pretty lackluster argument that lacked sincerity. As if anybody would believe that Mark Sorensen and his friends give a rat’s patoot about low income people.  I have never been fully convinced that Sorensen didn’t want J to pass, even while posturing for it’s defeat. I’ll bet he was surprised it lost. If it had won, I’m absolutely certain he’d be standing aside while the revenues were poured into salaries and benefits, including his own $21,000 insurance policy. 

 Gruendl told the Enterprise Record “I don’t think (Measure J) really changes how we bargain and negotiate.”  That seems to be true. They still negotiate these contracts as though they’ve got a money tree out back of City Hall. They don’t get it, they won’t get it – Measure J’s defeat was about more than excessive taxation, it was about what they’re doing with the money. But they ignore the will of the people, they never intended to pay attention.  They’re not up there to serve us, they’re up there to serve themselves and their friends. 

Cellphone tax rebate applications start to slow down

By ASHLEY GEBB-Staff Writer

POSTED Chico Enterprise Record:   08/10/2013 01:19:22 AM PDT

CHICO — Six months have passed since cellphone tax refunds became available to Chico residents, and the city has since issued $9,550 to taxpayers who want their money back.Chico accounting manager Frank Fields said 191 individual refunds had been issued since February to both residences and businesses, for an average of $50.

The city began offering the refunds in the wake of the failure of Measure J. Nearly 54 percent of voters struck down the proposal to update the city’s phone user tax to include modern technology such as cellphones.

All wireless phone companies have stopped collecting the tax on the city’s behalf. The 5 percent phone tax equated to about $2.50 of a monthly $50 bill or $5 of a monthly $100 bill.

The city will continue to issue rebates one year past the date of any cellphone taxes charged to customers but the number of applications is already starting to dwindle. Only eight applications were submitted in July.

“At this point, somebody could claim back through August of last year,” Fields said. “The one year window is sort of closing every month that goes by. Somebody might have August through January-February. Next month, it will be September through January-February.”

As for the volume of rebate requests, it wasn’t something the city could anticipate, Fields said.

“I don’t know if there was a way to predict what kind of response we would get,” he said. “We had no preconceived ideas about how many refunds we would issue.”

The refund money comes out of the general fund, which is also experiencing the impact of the overall tax loss.

The last three months have been the best indicator of the impact the loss of Measure J will have because only small amounts of tax have been paid to the city, Fields said. Compared to the previous year, the lost cellphone revenue tallies $217,000.

If multiplied to represent the entire year, the loss looks to be about $870,000.

“That’s general fund revenue that’s no longer available to pay for general city services,” he said.

The loss of revenue related to Measure J was noted during the June budget study session, as councilors cut $4.8 million from the 2013-14 budget.

Councilor Scott Gruendl said he remains disappointed by the measure’s failure, especially as the magnitude of the city’s financial situation continues to be realized.

“Two cents actually makes a difference these days,” he said. “We are so cash poor, every dollar counts.”

He also noted the measure’s failure has not caused changes in city salaries and benefits that opponents of the cellphone tax had argued for, saying they wanted the city to extract funds in other ways. Changing employee compensation continues to be a challenging and ongoing discussion, Gruendl said.

“I don’t think (Measure J) really changes how we bargain and negotiate,” he said.

Recently, while walking through Bidwell Park in an area now shuttered to citizens because of budget-related park closures, resident Siobhan O’Neil said she sees a direct link between the city’s cuts and the failure of Measure J.

‘You get what you pay for and what you don’t pay for,” she told the Enterprise-Record. “For pennies a month, we gave up a source of revenue to help with services in an economy that’s still struggling.'”

To obtain a refund, residents must provide documentation, including their cellphone bill and proof the bill was paid. Applications are available online and at City Hall’s Finance Department counter.

Fields acknowledged some people have complained about the amount of necessary documentation but said there is no other option.

“We have to have documentation to show that it was paid,” he said. “Unfortunately, those are usually phone bills. There is no way to bypass that part of the process.”

Since November, any phone tax revenue that has come in has been placed in an account earmarked for refunds. As of Monday, about $286,450 had accumulated.

Whatever remains after the one-year mark of not receiving any cellphone tax revenue will go into the general fund, likely in spring 2014.

Reach Ashley Gebb at 896-7768, agebb@chicoer.com or on Twitter @AshleyGebb.

Brian Nakamura under attack? Fears for his personal and family’s safety? Apparently he’s talking about the police and fire employees

7 Nov

Last week I attended the Tuesday night Tea Party meeting, and by Thursday morning I’d sent off a letter to the Enterprise Record about it. On Sunday I realized I had not received the usual response from David Little, so I resent. Little himself has told me, and other regular letter writers, to resend if I don’t get that “it’s in the cue” response directly from him, so I always do. He responded a day or two later complaining he had a lot of letters. My letter finally ran yesterday, Wednesday. Today it’s gone, fuckyouverymuch!

I also can’t help but notice – other letters that ran yesterday are still up.  I hate to be a sour apple, but that’s how I feel when I get the short end of the stick. Especially from a guy who takes the sticks in his hands, measures them up, and then looks around the room and says, “you again – you get  the short stick.”  I’m used to that from him, but it makes him smaller and smaller every time until some day I expect him to disappear and suddenly some new, fresh-minded young person will be standing there, ready to hand over a clean new deck of cards. I  can dream.

I spend time writing these dam-ned letters. In this case, I wrote to the ER instead of writing a blog about this meeting because I was short on time and figured it was important to tell other people. Fat lot of good it did to write the the Enterprise Record! 

I also wrote a letter to the News and Review, about another aspect of Nakamura’s chat at the Tea Party meeting – that ran with the first send, and will appear on the website into perpetuity. Read that here:


I don’t write letters to the editor to see my name in the paper, I write because I know the general public doesn’t make it to these behind-closed-doors ass-kissing sessions, isn’t privvy to this information – even though we all should be. Here’s my letter about Nakamura’s fear of Chico PD and Fire. Why are we letting this guy negotiate our employee contracts? 

Brian Nakamura and Chris Constantin were featured speakers at a recent Tea Party meeting. I was shocked at what Nakamura related about dealing with the police and fire departments. 


The city of Chico is currently negotiating contracts with employee unions. I asked if Nakamura, who serves as city liason, was having any luck getting city employees to pay their own benefits and pensions costs.  He said he could not give us specifics of the contracts, but described the talks as “turf wars.” The police and fire unions he said, bring in “legal resources” from out of town to fight “any changes” in the contracts. 


When asked if he had considered contracting Cal Fire, Nakamura warned, the council chambers would be packed with people wearing red Chico Fire shirts, and he’d be run out of town.  “It happened in Hemet!” he exclaimed, and described himself as a “target” at least five times. 


When asked about a sales tax hike to fund the police department, Nakamura wouldn’t support it – “you can write whatever you want into the measure to try and protect the money, but the complexities of the General Fund…” allow the money to be moved to other funds by Staff without public oversight. 


Constantin agreed, adding, “I’m not going to advocate paying more when police don’t pay a dime toward their own benefits…”


Chico Fire and Police departments are apparently the biggest threat to public safety, both physical and fiscal. 


Juanita Sumner, Chico