Tag Archives: Butte County Election 2014

Chico Taxpayers Association – how I voted. I won’t use the word “endorsement,” it was more, hunt and peck…

1 Nov

Halloween was great, and in Mexico they will celebrate “Day of the Dead” all weekend this year, but next week we have Election Day, and that’s enough to scare the daylights out of any intelligent person.  I wish they’d move it, this is a season when I’d rather be doing happy things. But, people keep asking how I voted on various issues, so I thought I’d sit down and talk about it. This was one of the worst elections I’ve ever participated in.

I voted Kashkari for Governor without the slightest confidence – he’s going to get smeared. And probably deserves it, being an out-of-state carpetbagger with a lecherous gleam in his eye.  But, a vote for Kashkari is a vote against Brown, that was good enough for me. Sheesh, I might not have voted for him if I thought he’d win – at least Jerry was raised in California, that’s one thing we can say for The Moonbeam.

 I didn’t vote in the 1st Congressional District – I couldn’t vote for Heidi, she’s a egg-sucking trough dweller, but I’m sick of voting for Doug and getting The Business. Doug can’t be reached via e-mail, he’s just gotten too big. So, I decided to reach out and touch him via the ballot box – if I could actually, physically reach him, I’d pull that stupid hat down over his ears and kick him right in the ass. I DON’T support the Sites Reservoir or Prop 1, or water transfers, that’s why.  He’s not working that hard in Washington either, I want to see Obamacare overturned and these fat asses in Congress are just sitting around trash talking each other. I’d like to see LaMalfa and Harry Reid stripped down to tidy whities and go around until they turn into butter. 

In the Third Assembly District, I didn’t exactly vote FOR Gallagher, I voted AGAINST Reed. Gallagher is okay, in fact, I ended up liking him better than Chico candidate Ryan Schohr, who I had earlier supported because he was from Chico. Schohr supported the Sites Reservoir, and wouldn’t answer questions  I had about who was losing water in that deal, and where the water would be going. Gallagher supports “new water storage,” but focuses more on levee repair for flood control. On the other hand, Reed is all about relaxing immigration laws, getting more people on welfare, widening the trough. We don’t need any more people like Reed in Sacramento. I don’t think the Sites Reservoir is as immediate an issue as our border problems.

The Chico Unified School Board election was a total wash for me, I didn’t vote on this one. The two incumbents, especially Kathleen Kaiser, need to be termed out. They’re awful, go to a meeting sometime. The third candidate is not an  incumbent but identifies himself as the chair of the Measure E (recent bond) committee. I used to care about the school district because they have their dick in my tax bill, but homeschooling my kids really helped me to put  this issue in it’s place – the bond is a very tiny portion of my taxes, and I have the satisfaction that they never got my kids or their ADA money.  I’ll let you poor bastards who are stupid enough to turn your kids over to strangers figure that one out for yourselves. 

Assessor was a toughie. In the beginning I supported Al Petersen and frankly still think he was the best candidate. Why? Because he contacted me, he wanted to embrace the public. That’s a big deal for tax assessor. But I had to laugh – nobody cared. You people are meat heads – you let strangers stick you for money, but you don’t pay attention to how they do it. Do you close your eyes and think of Mother England? 

I had started to endorse Diane Brown because of her obvious experience in the job. But she miffed me when she came in to speak at the library – she looks at the homeowner/taxpayer with suspicion, she’s out to get us. She wants to get in your house and include your carpet and drapes in your assessment. She thinks anybody who doesn’t want to let her in is a crank cooker. 

The other side of voting for Connelly is, get him off the Board of Supes. The last few years, he’s let that job go to his head – I swear, look at the pictures, his head has gotten bigger! He’s lost all his modesty, acting like a king instead of a public servant. He’s got a swagger reminiscent of the Sheriff of Nottingham.  So, let’s give him the Assessor job – at least we won’t have to look at that pork face or listen to his smart ass blowing wind. And we all get to be titillated with fear and foreboding over who Jerry Brown will appoint to fill his seat! Talk about Halloween!

I don’t know if I should even waste time on Chico City Council – I didn’t vote for any of the candidates offered, instead writing in Joe Montes out of sheer frustration. I hope they know I voted for him because he’s the one who brought up the conflict of interest posed when City Council members approve contracts allowing for the city to conscript union dues that are funneled into city elections. Later I see that he is supporting the very people who asked him to step out of the election, without making any further statements about the conflict of interest, and I realize I threw my vote away on another Meat Head. 

Dead from the neck up = Meat Head. 

I’d also like to add that neither candidate/Mayor Gruendl nor candidate/Vice Mayor Sorensen made any public gesture toward getting the Chico Police Officers Association to turn in their campaign paperwork when it was a couple of years overdue. 

The CARD race is also a disaster. I would expect every candidate/incumbent in that race, including Dave Donnan, to come out next year in support of a property assessment on your house to build an aquatic center for the use of the Chico Aquajets. Maureen Kirk says Herman Ellis is a nice man, and that’s a qualification?  Kindly old Mr. Ellis is a fist puppet for Tom Lando, and very nicely does whatever he is told. If you vote for Jan Sneed you’re voting for a woman who will stick her fist in your face if she doesn’t like what you have to say.

As I’ve already said, Chico Taxpayers votes NO on A and YES on B. 

If I have time or if anybody wants to,  I’ll discuss the state propositions later, but just for curiosity’s sake, here’s how I voted:

NO on PROP 1.

NO on PROP 2. 

YES on 45.

YES on 46.

NO on 47.

NO on 48.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

District 2 voters have got a lot to think about – Andrew Merkel not just for “potheads”

12 May

We had a good turnout of new and returning faces for Second District Supervisor Andrew Merkel yesterday, thanks to those of you who made it in. I was glad to hear, people actually read those notices in the Enterprise Record, but I was not able to contact the paper in time to get another notice about the cancellation.

I swore to God I wasn’t going to talk about pot. I wanted to find out what Mr. Merkel knew and thought about some other issues before the board, and I did, but when voters started trickling in, the questions all turned toward the marijuana ordinance. Oh well, that’s what these meetings are about, I was so thankful to have some people to ask questions.

What I had wanted to know for myself was whether Merkel is actually qualified to take on the job of supervisor or just angry over an issue and, Hollywood style, throwing his hat in the ring. When Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor, his brother-in-law made a successful bid for city council because the city told him he had to cut his hedges. He turned out to be qualified for the position, and ended up serving two terms. Today, I found out, sure, Merkel is annoyed about one specific issue, but he showed knowledge of other issues that will be in the forefront over the next few years.

Merkel, after all, has been working with county staff for the last few years, making a legitimate effort to bring the kind of regulation he sees as necessary for the pot industry. As one man said at our meeting today, “Pot is here to stay,” and Merkel believes regulation through registration will be good for the county, the growers and the citizens in general.  In working with staff, he’s gotten to know County Administrative Officer Paul Hahn fairly well, and has working relationships with most of the sitting supervisors. He knows his way around the county offices, knows who to ask for documents, is familiar with the county budget, revenues and expenditures, and feels confident that he is ready to take a responsible position in leading the county forward.

He holds a degree in Organizational Management, comes from a family background of financial management, and feels, “the county is a big non-profit corporation.”  He was excited to talk about ways in which the county could benefit from regulated marijuana farming, from permit fees and taxes, increased property values, and health-related tourism.  “Marijuana should be regulated,” he said, noting that not everybody should be allowed to smoke it nor should it be allowed to be grown everywhere. But overly onerous restrictions are not realistic, he says. They don’t address people’s true need for their “medicine,’ and criminalize otherwise productive and respectable citizens. I met some of those folks yesterday and I have to agree.

We also had some folks with anecdotes about  harassment or bad behavior by pot growers, but like Merkel explained, the activities they described – burning a field in the middle of the night, growing crops along river levees, threatening neighbors – that’s all illegal, and can and should be reported, no matter who is doing it. Merkel also quoted county appraiser and assessor candidate Diane Brown who said that property values are going up, up, up in the hills. I have also seen this on the real estate sites. Whether this is because of pot growers or despite pot growers is up to speculation, but it certainly weakens claims that pot growers lower property values.

I didn’t want to be contrary, but  I will say here, there are alot of things your neighbor can do that are annoying and will lower your property values – try living next to an unlicensed daycare, or a “party” house.

Here Merkel agreed with opponent Larry Wahl – the code enforcement department is short of staff. It’s funny, the county people, including Larry Wahl,  have contradicted themselves – they’ve all said the county is doing fine financially, but then turned around and said there are staff shortages in various departments, unfilled positions that result in inadequate service. Looking at salaries, you see the same old same old – management compensation packages over $200,000, close to $300,000 – like the two management positions they just filled in Behavioral Health. Then the “subordinates” are expected to get along on the drippings – less than $40,000, including benefits. I tried to talk to Merkel about this but we didn’t get far before other people came in and immediately wanted to talk pot.

Merkel did report the Department of Water Resources has recently dedicated $3.8 million toward “Weed, mining, and lumber.” See there it is – try living next to somebody who’s clearing or logging their lot, or maybe doing a little illegal mining operation. Walk along Butte Creek sometime, see all the high-banking going on. Go to Downieville, where my grandfather once shot a Frenchman for high-banking on his property – read the paper, at least once a year, somebody gets shot over gold. Pot farmers are hardly the threat to our environment or community safety that is posed by mining and logging, but I don’t hear any cockamamie stories about those activities at Board of Supes meetings.

We were able to touch on some other topics. Merkel believes fracking is an irresponsible practice, reminding everybody how much the price of clean water would shoot up if there was an accident that contaminated our complex surface and groundwater system. This topic should get more attention than pot, but I know it scares the crap out of me. I guess people just feel helpless on this issue, nobody ever wants to talk about water except for the vested interests, and they treat us like the back door cousins come begging around with our little buckets.

Merkel has worked largely as a realtor/developer. He believes the county should go full-steam ahead on infill development, primarily in Chico. He wondered aloud, what would it take to get these people on big lots to develop – I almost lost my temper here. We just went through a building boom that ruined many people’s lives, just to get revenues to pay salaries and outrageous pensions, and here he comes, suggesting we need to develop our way out of the mess they made doing that. I just had to grind my teeth and wait til he shut up.

Impetuous youth.

I will say, he’s at least as qualified for the job as Larry Wahl. I also admire his stance as an “independent,” meaning, he is not running for a non-partisan office on a party ticket. I like that. I’m sick of the good old boy network that has run this area since I was a tot. Sure, in Chico, the good old boys were both Republican and Democrat hats, they fight like two big dogs, and we get the scraps. This is a non-partisan office, I  don’t want to hear Republicrap or  Demogogue bullshit folks. 

I also have to admire his willingness to be available and listen. Larry Wahl also came down to the library, I’ll give him that, but he has taken a stone-wall stance on many things, especially pot. He’s also made pot a big issue in the election, to the exclusion of many other important topics.  Larry has put the pot people on the defensive, attacked them, and now they’re coming out of the woodwork, many people who might otherwise have gone on, minding their own business and paying their taxes. 

Toward the end of our session, the older man who had opined that pot was here to stay asked Merkel if he thought he had a chance of winning. I’ll be honest – this man could pass for Tom Daughterman in a line-up, I would have taken him for a Wahl supporter. No, he said quietly that he was frustrated with Wahl’s stubbornness and unwillingness to come to the  table and be reasonable.  Merkel smiled easily and confidently and said “yes, I’m going to win”. He reported that “Larry has made a lot of enemies,” he’s been rude to people, turned away from folks who’ve tried to reason with him on this issue, and led a campaign of harassment and name-calling instead of working for an equitable solution.  One woman said she doesn’t like the cost of “repealing what they’re doing,” meaning, the constant barrage of marijuana ordinances coming out of the Board of Supervisors. A couple of people questioned Wahl’s reputation as “fiscal conservative,” questioning the cost of having an election “on what the people have already voted on.” 

Merkel reported that Candace Grubbs had checked every single signature on the referendum petition recently handed in, instead of doing the simple sample method, at a cost of $4950 in staff time. Larry told us he was going to make sure she did just that. Friends of mine who know Grubbs assured me she would use her discretion to throw out signatures for simple mistakes, like no middle initial, when she could easily verify most of them using common sense. She has that discretion, whether she uses it to the benefit of the voters or to solidify her job security is up to speculation. This latest complaint isn’t the first against Grubbs, it was initiated by one of her staff, and I’ve heard she’s got a file full of such complaints. I’ve seen the way she treats her staffers at meetings, I wouldn’t work for the bitch. 

I haven’t got a figure on how much it will cost to add this issue to the November ballot, but Merkel told me he received two figures on Measure A (the marijuana measure not the Chico election measure) – I think he was originally told $80,000 but later found out the actual cost was closer to $120,000. 

I guess these are “chump change” amounts to a person who can spend millions of dollars in other people’s money over the course of a morning.

For the record, I do not live in District 2, so I won’t make an endorsement one way or the other. But I will agree that Larry Wahl needs to step down from his righteous pedestal and try to remember, he works for us, we don’t work for him, and that’s our money he’s slapping down on that bar. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Mar

 

I got this notice today.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it, I’ll try to find out more about it. I’m just happy there are people who are working to encourage the voters to educate themselves  about the issues surrounding the upcoming election. I’m hoping this event will be well intended, show these people some appreciation for their efforts. 

Thanks Al Petersen for a wonderful meeting – next up, Bob Evans, candidate for Supervisor Dist. 3

12 Jan

I  was really thrilled to  see a sturdy turnout of serious voters for the first in our series of candidate forums. Today’s speaker, Alan Petersen, rose to the occasion and  gave us a very informative virtual tour of the county Assessor’s office.  I think he was electrified by a really fine audience, or maybe it was the other way around, not sure.

These were educated people, they know what an assessor is, but there were things people wanted to ask. After Petersen gave us the rundown on the function of the office, there was a spirited give-and-take between the guy who evaluates a property for taxation and the folks who are at the other end of that taxation. But it stayed friendly. I was so happy with this discussion, I was floating on air.

And, having admitted this was his first speaking engagement, and having admitted to never having held public office and being new at the politics thing, Petersen stayed firm on course, even when he had mis-haps with his notes, even when he was nervous, even when he wasn’t quite sure about the question being asked, he forged ahead and kept the audience engaged. I learned stuff about the Assessor’s office, and I’m sure everybody in that audience learned something about Al Petersen.

I was so grateful to have a sharp and inquisitive group today, thanks so much to a couple of guys who asked Petersen, what exactly did he have to offer the position, specifically.  Our candidate thought for a moment, and then answered one question I had – as assessor, he would be available to the taxpayers, eager to speak to people about their tax bills, and happy to speak at public engagements in order to educate the public how their properties are assessed. He even had some appeal forms to show us, for anybody who might have issues with their assessment. 

At that point we ran out of time. My lovely audience applauded and thanked Al Petersen, and I had to tell him, he inspired this whole forum, and we’re extremely grateful for that. We’re going to get him back down to the library again when we can arrange it. 

Thanks again all of you who attended, this is what it takes to have a Democracy.

Our next speaker is Bob Evans, candidate for Butte County Supervisor, Dist. 3. – Sunday, Jan. 26, from noon to one o’clock. Come on down, public is welcome.