Tag Archives: California State University at Chico

Camden New Jersey throws out their cop contracts – Chico needs to look into this

27 Oct

People think I hate all cops – no, I just hate cop, or any public employee, who abuses the public trust to enrich themselves. This is how I see Kirk Trostle and most of our police force – greedy pigs who threaten us with increasing crime unless we meet their demands for pay increases, extra overtime, and more officers. They refuse to pay ANYTHING toward their generous health benefits and retirement packages.   Asked along with other city departments to cut 10% of their budget, they came back with demands for raises and promotions.  Recently Trostle said they need more money for Halloween overtime, their continual foot in the door being a threat of Chico State and Butte College students and their “friends from out of town” having a “riot”. 

Here’s what a “riot” looks like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vD_amsSsg78

I realize, these holidays bring people into town, whether they are registered to attend college, I do not know. But I think the cops’ hype is overblown, and poor advertising for our town. I think they bring in as many problem visitors as they keep away, maybe more, with their taunting, baiting, threatening attitude. They’ve taken a children’s holiday and turned it into a dirty word with continuous threats of Anarchy to frighten and mislead the public into giving in to their demands.  

Trostle went on and on about the consequences of drinking in our town at the Community Alcohol Workshop last week. There was plenty of talk about instituting fees for bars and restaurants, mainly Downtown, but not one word about holding the actual perpetrators – the people who choose to over-consume alcohol – responsible for their actions. Chico PD tells us again and again, registered college students, in disproportionate numbers,  are getting drunk, drinking underage or providing alcohol to underage persons,  getting in fights, getting alcohol poisoning,  being both the victim and perpetrator of sexual assaults, and other dangerous and just plain annoying – oh and did I mention ILLEGAL – behaviors related to alcohol intoxication. They tell us this group is causing a disproportionate drain on resources, both public and private. So, why don’t they prosecute these kids, and better yet, get them in trouble over at the college?  

 I’ve been told Mike Ramsey won’t prosecute these cases – not enough time he says. I think he means, there’s not enough money in them.   I wonder if it also has anything to do with the college being afraid parents will get mad and the college will get a bad reputation. I think the “Party School” image works more positively for a sausage school like Chico State than a reputation for putting kids in jail and squeezing them for money. As for Chico PD, I look forward to a chief that will take on the DA and the Chancellor, but Trostle isn’t that chief.

Instead Trostle is trying to demonize not only bar and restaurant owners but landlords.  Seeking to bill property owners for problems arising out of  their tenants’ house parties, he’s asking council to put a  “civil response cost” ordinance on the ballot.  This will allow Chico PD and Fire, as well as ambulance companies and hospitals, to bill landlords instead of the actual party hosts, without due process of law. This ordinance gives Chico PD the right to attach a landlord for expenses occurred under police discretion without proving the landlord had any knowledge of the party. Here again, we have a blatant money grab by a chief who does not want to go the proper route through court because it means actual police work.   In typical style, he tries to use statistics about underage drinking, alcohol deaths, and sexual assault as an excuse to shake down landlords and property owners. 

Chico PD also uses the street people to flame the public’s fears,  using the failure of the “sit/lie” ordinance as their excuse for not dealing with the increasingly bad atmosphere Downtown and the proliferation of transient hot spots all over Chico. An employee at Rite Aid on Mangrove says they don’t call the police anymore because they’ve refused to come, saying they don’t have the personnel to deal with “code issues.” They tell us they can’t arrest them without “sit/lie.”  A guy standing in front of the automatic door of a store, filthy, waving a bottle of booze and screaming at the top of his lungs, stepping back and forth into the sensor beam on the automatic door, causing the door to open and shut itself into a fit, is a “code issue.”  Standing in the middle of a walkway, hostile to passerby, finally staggering out into the parking lot to confront a man in a Blazer is a “code issue.” 

As Peter Durfee demonstrated recently, there are already many reasons for Chico PD to interact with street people, ticketing them for a variety of violations that have been a part of the Chico code for over 10 years now, a response to people who saw the writing on the wall that long ago.  We’ve also had State Parks employees in Bidwell Park, citing campers and removing illegal campsites. The city, both the police department and the park department, have allowed Bidwell Park to become infested with illegal campers, supposed “homeless” folks. I’ll tell you what, I see them when I traverse the park in the morning out to do my errands, I see them when I’m doing business up and down Mangrove Avenue, and I see them when I cross Lindo Channel to head over to the North side of town. I don’t feel safe. There’s been too many incidents lately, with transients attacking each other, attacking other people, knifings, and strong arm robberies. Chico PD has allowed this army of the night to take over various areas linked up by the creeks and the convenience stores by simply not enforcing basic laws of loitering, trespassing, public intoxication, camping and urination/defecation.  I don’t know what law covers it, but I’m pretty sure these people are not allowed to harass others either.  These things have always been illegal, and there’s also rules about where they can panhandle that are blatantly violated, but only lately has anybody been enforcing them. Just Durfee? Just long enough to get his fat puss in the News and Review? 

Is it only clear to me Chico PD has long ago stopped serving the public? 

I know there’s other ways to solve our problem.  Thanks Jim in Chico for this story from Camden, New Jersey. I did some research, and you will also find an article about how they did it by getting rid of things out of the contracts, like paying employees for unused vacation and sick time!

From National Public Radio, reporter Elizabeth Fielder:

Last year the city [of Camden, New Jersey] set a new record with 67 homicides, the worst since 1995. To combat crime, [Camden County Police Chief Scott] Thomson says the department is trying a blend of old school policing, getting officers out of their cars and on to foot patrols, and newer technology using microphones to record gunshots and cameras to capture license plate numbers and remotely keep an eye on the streets. Camden’s made some inroads. Since the new police force took over, the long ailing city’s crime rate has fallen 15 percent. Homicides are down 22 percent and burglaries dropped nearly 30 percent. In one tough neighborhood, a bunch of little kids are playing football in a patch of grass.

[According to Camden County Commissioner Louis Cappelli Jr.,] “We will have 401 police officers, 100 civilians at the same cost that Camden was paying to employ 260 police officers and the salaries for the police officers that we brought over are the same as the salaries that they were being paid before. What we were able to do is to eliminate some of the frivolous financial terms that were developed over decades through labor negotiations.”

From NBC News, April 30, 2013

The last remaining members of the 141-year-old police department in Camden, N.J., will retire their badges Tuesday as the city — stricken by brutal murders and crippling poverty — yields its streets to a new metro division of the county police force.

Gov. Chris Christie and other advocates hope that the transition to a county-run force will help drag the city of 77,000 out of a half century of post-industrial decline and decay, its annals pockmarked by open-air drug markets and sky-high murder rates. Union leaders called the new policing model, which was approved by local and state officials in August 2011, “untested” and said the move amounts to union busting.

Officials have struggled for years to reduce crime in a city where more than 42 percent of people are thought to live below the poverty line. Budget cuts forced the city to lay off 168 officers in January 2011 — 46 percent of the entire department. A spike in crime ensued

Even after some of the laid-off officers trickled back with the help of federal funds, crime rates never fully leveled off. Camden had about 270 cops to rely on as the streets turned into killing zones last year, with absentee rates reported as high as 30 percent, said Jose Cordero, a consultant with 21 years of New York City Police Department experience.

Police union contracts had gotten too expensive for the city, said Cordero, who helped design the new force. Officers could earn an 11 percent bump in their pay by working an anti-crime patrol, or 10 percent more for working a nighttime shift.

“The primary purpose of this was the city could not afford to staff up its police department to the number of officers required to have a fighting chance in what is one of the deadliest cities in America,” Cordero said.

Officers in what will be a 400-strong metro division, to be backed by 100 civilian employees, have trained on the streets of Camden alongside city police since March. About half of the regional force is expected to be comprised of members of the old Camden Police Department.

“I’m looking to see a partnership form between the metro division officers and the citizens of Camden; that partnership is crucial to prevent future crimes,” said Freeholder director Louis Capelli, Jr., who helped develop the new force.  “For the first time in decades they’ll have officers walking the beat and in their neighborhoods on bicycles.”

Camden is so far the only town or city to make use of the regional police department, which will be paid for by city property tax revenues and state municipal aid funds, Capelli said.

Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson will take control of the new force on Wednesday after retiring his city post. The force will cost Camden an estimated $62 million, the same amount the city use to pay for the smaller previous force.

Some city residents and business owners said they were pleased with the change as the new force began to roll out on streets in April.

From nj.com, March 13, 2013 –

By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal 

on March 13, 2013 at 9:42 PM

Jersey City has come to an agreement with three labor unions representing fire and police officials and rank-and-file police officers that give the employees a 2.5 percent salary hike for the second half of this year.

The three new contracts, which also provide a roughly 2 percent pay increase for each of the next three years, were approved unanimously tonight by the nine-member City Council.

The new labor agreements address some issues that have caused headaches for city finance officials for years, including terminal leave. New employees will not be eligible for this perk thanks to the new contracts.

“We’ve all seen some of the larger payouts, and the union representatives were willing to work with us to address that growing concern,” Assistant Business Adminstrator Robert J. Kakoleski told the council on Monday. “All three deals make significant impacts on that benefit.”

The new contracts apply to workers in the Jersey City Fire Officers Association, the Jersey City Police Superiors Officers Association and the Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association.

Workers in the three unions hired after Jan. 1, 2013 will not be eligible for “terminal leave” payouts, which cost the city roughly $10 million last year.

Longevity pay, which amount to bonuses tied to the number of years an employee works for the city, will be capped at 12 percent for new employees, down from 16 percent for current workers.

Members of the three unions will also have to pay increased co-pays on prescription drugs.

 

Searching for accountability in local government – Good Luck!

21 May

At city meetings over the last few years, I have sat  through one after another “power point presentation” regarding the city budget mess. It’s like a kindergarten-level slide show, designed more to distract and confuse than inform. They always turn the lights down to make you sleepy. It’s maddening to sit through this insulting and condescending babble – I don’t even want to think about the hours of my life these people have stolen, in addition to my tax dollars.

These stupid reports and “PPP’s” add up to hours of $taff time and related expenses – the computer programs to produce this junk, and the paper and ink to print it for a cavalcade of $taffers and council. They say it’s for us, for our information – hah! What they could have done in a page and a half report, in plain language, they turn into a marketing extravaganza, complete with graphs, charts, little cartoons – color glossy photos!  I remember one whole page illustration, showing a sad, rather obese  man, looking quizzically at his surroundings, tentatively holding out his umbrella to a darkening, sinister sky. At the bottom of the graphic, the caption read, “How did we get here?” 

Oh here, let me field that question. As if it isn’t obvious – you people Downtown spend money like you were printing it in the basement, alongside all these glossy pamphlets and newsletters you hand around among yourselves. Not only do we have to pay your ridiculous salaries, we have to pay for something to keep you busy. 

I got an interesting e-mail newsletter from Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, who was kind enough to address our Chico Taxpayer’s Association meeting a few months ago. He says, Recent independent reports suggest that state government agencies and departments routinely spend on programs and projects with little accountability to taxpayers, failing to consider what is the most efficient and effective way to stretch tax dollars to the fullest. Eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in state government is essential to our efforts to solve California’s long-term budget problems once and for all.”

I think you could substitute “Chico” for “state”, and “California” throughout that passage.  An example of a program on which the city of Chico routinely spends with little accountability to taxpayers is the Sustainability Task Force. Talk about your “color glossy photos” – get a load of this pamphlet recently produced by  city $taff  as a “Sustainability Indicators Report”:

http://www.chico.ca.us/government/minutes_agendas/documents/5-21-12STFAgendawreports.pdf

Yes, this is how they present a “report” to council – what the hell? I hate to see what they will do with anything REALLY important.

Hey, did you see the slick glossy pamphlet they produced to report about all the jobs they been bringing into town? TRICK QUESTION DAWG! You know they have not been bringing any jobs into town, look alive there!

This pamphlet mentions only two employers. They again mention Build.com, which has been here a few years now, as if they just got here and are hiring in droves.  B.c claims to “support” over 400 people, but I’m not sure if that means employees, or includes whole families. Also, I don’t know where their employees came from – did they move here to take these jobs? Placing more strain on everything from housing to groceries to roads and schools? And I realized – Build.com competes directly with Lowe’s, Home Depot, and a half dozen or so other small, locally owned hardware stores and suppliers. Sure they can sell goods outside Chico, but they will sell them inside Chico too, taking business away from other employers. I wonder if city $taff takes this into consideration when they write these “reports.” 

The only other business mentioned in the pamphlet is Springboard Biodiesel. The city apparently helped this developing company secure a $758,000 grant to start building it’s facility, but doesn’t say when they’ll start hiring people. I don’t know what “assisted in a grant submittal” means either – a lot of times, it means the city had to put up a certain amount of money to secure the grant. Nor any mention of who gave the grant – but I’ll guess, The Taxpayer! Thank Me Very Much! 

The $taffer who produced this report makes over $100,000 a year in salary with a $50,000 benefits package. You got to keep a guy like that occupied. 

At 5:30 this evening, Mayor Marie AnnShwabnette will be convening her court, the Sustainability Task Force, to give this “report” one last look-see before they present it to council on June 5.  Frankly, I wouldn’t recommend these meetings – Schwab and her committees are what my friend Casey refers to as “time vampires” – they will steal your life with their incessant clatter, suck your brain drier than a biscotti, and leave you thinking you participated in something. Something.

You don’t have to attend these meetings to keep up on them. Send an e-mail to  Linda Herman  at   lherman@ci.chico.ca.us  and ask her to put you on the e-mail list, not only for the regular meetings but ALL the ad hoc committees. At least you’ll see the agendas – you will have to attend these ad hoc meetings if you want to know what’s really going on, and let me tell you, you’ll get an earful. 

We will, by the way, be having a meeting of the Chico Taxpayers Association on Sunday June 3 – WE MAY DO IT EARLIER THIS TIME, I’LL KEEP YOU POSTED! Our agenda will be a discussion of the phone tax facts and also some background on the $255,000 hole in the city budget. Geez, let’s hope it doesn’t get any bigger before then! 

POST-IT-NOTEAt 4:12, about an hour and 15 minutes before the meeting was to convene, I got a note from STF $taff liason Linda Herman.   “After polling members, today’s the Sustainability Task Force meeting has been cancelled due to a lack of a quorum.”

Well, that’s the way to keep the public out of your meetings – have them at inconveniently inconsistent times,  with little or no notice, and then cancel them at  the last minute!