Tag Archives: Camp Fire

Now it’s “many displaced Camp Fire victims” – they don’t have any numbers, they’re just making it up to get the money

13 Apr


Gavin Newsom partnering with Chico for affordable housing on state property

“Randall Stone, the mayor of Chico, is welcoming the governor’s efforts which could help build much-needed housing locally, as the city has absorbed many displaced Camp Fire victims.”

 

Orme “estimates” 10 – 15,000 refugees living in Chico, based on “nonregistration, couch living, trailers parked on streets…”

12 Apr

I don’t know how you feel about roundabouts, but one fact we know for sure – they bring a lot of money into the city by way of grants.

From the Chico Enterprise Record, “According to senior traffic engineer Bikramjit Kahlon, the cost of the project is between $5 and $6 million. ‘It just depends when we go out to bid,’ he said Monday. The city’s match is about $1 million, with Caltrans funding the remainder amount.”

Eaton Road roundabout proposed for traffic, safety

$5-6 million for one roundabout? Most of that will go into the salaries Downtown. An old contractor I know says “boots on the ground labor” and materials make up about 2% of the cost of these public jobs.  This is one way Staff turns money we paid toward maintenance of our roads into their salaries and pensions.

Here’s a thought – how’d you like to see that million the city is kicking in on the street in front of your house? How far would that million go toward the streets in your neighborhood? 

And again, they are using Camp Fire refugees as bait.  Read these excerpts.

“Even before the Camp Fire pushed thousands more new residents into Chico, the intersection was known for commute-time traffic jams and lines of traffic out to the freeway, along with traffic accidents.”

“thousands more new residents”?  I had to ask reporter Laura Urseny if she has any hard numbers on how many evacuees have settled in Chico since the fire. She had none, but asked city manager Mark Orme if he had any. “He [Orme] said he doesn’t have hard numbers from FEMA because of nonregistration, couch-living, trailers parked on streets etc. He said  the city is still using the  10,000-15,000 estimate.”

So, Orme drives by your house, sees a trailer in your driveway, and assumes it’s full of evacuees? Sees somebody sitting on your couch through a front window and assumes you have a “couch liver” in your household? On this basis he assumes and reports that we have “10,000-15,000” new residents in our town?

Excuse me, this guy gets over $200,000/year in compensation, and he expects to give up this kind of crap?

Unfortunately he’s  got a willing media to help him pull the wool over our eyes. Urseny skirts the truth, but keeps promoting the lie – “The project has been proposed for a long time, but has been sped up with the city’s dealings with Camp Fire impacts. However, Kahlon said there is no FEMA-related funding in the project.” If this project was truly necessitated by the Camp Fire evacuation, or any impacts, the city would be getting FEMA funding.

They started this campaign before the fire was even out.  “The project was discussed during a public meeting about Camp Fire impact on Chico last year, but has been in the works much longer.”  Here Urseny mentions a proposed refugee housing project that was rejected, but still includes it as a “Camp Fire impact”.  “Initially, a FEMA proposal called for Camp Fire mobile homes to be placed on a vacant parcel on Eaton Road between Highway 99 and Cohasset Road, but that residential project has been abandoned.  Nevertheless, the traffic on the current two-lane road is huge, impacted by Chico’s growing population, but also by residential subdivisions developing in north Chico.”

In the same edition that Urseny ran her promo piece, there was this map:

Map: See where Camp Fire evacuees have moved across the country

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=10YY_flCa-v2h-qofl8x0L49kmuOT3AeE&ll=33.09184936709246%2C-91.56768772732823&z=4

“Relocation destinations are also listed below from most to least popular, in terms of the number of households registered with FEMA now living there. FEMA only provided information about individual counties in California, not other states.”

In other words, if you had insurance on your destroyed home, and therefore did not go to the ridiculous lengths to register for something you were not eligible to receive, you were not counted.  

The article said that 16,583 of the registered (and that includes entire households who live under one roof) have remained in all of Butte County. That includes Paradise, Magalia, Butte Meadows, Yankee Hill, Concow, Cohasset, Forest Ranch, Gridley, Live Oak – did I miss any? Personally, the Camp Fire victims I know  are all planning to rebuild their homes in Paradise. Some have already hired private contractors to clear their lots and are already living back at their property. Some are struggling to live in unburned homes with no safe water or power, and dead/dying trees hanging over their heads. Roads are a mess, workers everywhere, and Butte County has not even started their lot-clearance program. But the folks I know are all determined to return, they have no desire to remain “stuck in Chico.” 

And here’s another fact that Orme cleverly ignores – many of the folks who evacuated to Chico already worked here and drove down to town almost every day, where they also shopped and socialized.

So, the “impacts” are largely MADE UP. Staff continues to lie to get their way. Next Tuesday they will bring a revenue measure consultant to make report regarding the $25,000 survey they are planning to get us to tax ourselves to pay their pensions. They want $65,000 more for a consultant to actually run their campaign. This is illegal, but who will call them on it? 

Will you?

 

Hey Mr. Orme, is the seat of your pants getting a little warm?

14 Mar

I got a kick out of the letters section in the Enterprise Record today – sometimes I think I’m the only person who takes offense to the city’s actions. This guy takes on the public toilets and other poor spending choices. 

Letter: Leaders need to spend our tax dollars wisely

Regardless of individual political beliefs, most citizens within a community have much in common.  We work, we pay taxes, and we care for our families and friends. Within this framework, what is the role of government?  To collect taxes and spend funds appropriately, and to make laws and enforce them.  The questions of how various income/wealth levels are taxed, how funds should be spent, what types of laws are created, and the way laws are enforced, are the fundamental topics of many political debates.

That said, elected officials have a fiduciary responsibility to the overall community they represent.  Does this mean that politicians must make decisions that make everyone happy?  No.  It means they have a responsibility to benefit the overall community. In other words, how can they support the quality of life for as many citizens as possible?  When politicians divert focus, funds and energy to pet projects that do not benefit most of the citizens, they are neglecting their obligation to the entire community.

Let’s get specific. How will 24-hour public toilets benefit the overall community? Just look at how it worked out at the Sundial bridge in Redding.  If by miracle the door is unlocked, you’ll be rewarded with a floor covered in human waste and used needles.

If our local leaders can’t spend public funds in a manner that benefits the overall community, they are failing to do their job.  Let’s be sure to vote them out of office.

— Matt Dutton, Chico

This one made me laugh out loud – 

Letter: The streets are pleading for some warm weather

Let’s see, “I gave at the office;” “The check is in the mail;” “Hi, I’m from the government and I’m here to help you;” or we can’t paint stripes or lines on your Chico streets becauseLetter: The streets are pleading for some warm weather we use special paint that needs warm weather to bond with the asphalt.  It will be some months before we get that kind of warm weather.  I guess Chico hasn’t had any “warm weather” for six or eight years.

— Dennis Anderson, Chico

And here’s a real ass-kicker – 

Letter: Ridge residents not to blame for increase in crime

Just to let you all know, we are very offended by the comments from the Chico City manager, Mr. Orme, about the Camp Fire survivors who were forced to take up residence in Chico after our town, our homes, our businesses and our lives were destroyed by the Camp Fire.

He implies that the increase in violent crime and traffic accidents are all the blame of the “invasion” of Chico by displaced people from Paradise and Magalia.  None of the stabbings or armed robberies that I have seen reported have been committed by Paradise people.  They all seem to be from Chico.  Traffic has increased, yes, but pay attention and most accidents can be avoided.

Many Paradise and Magalia people have always come to Chico to shop and I certainly haven’t heard any whining about us spending our money here, now even more money than before the fire.  Mr. Orme, have you considered that Chico’s liberal policies toward the homeless caused many new people to move here to take advantage of the relief help that was and is intended for the wildfire survivors and they just decided to stay here?  Why don’t you use some of the increase in sales taxes to help fund a few more police officers?  Or put in some new shelters and bathrooms?

This is not our home.  We want to go home, but we can’t.

Mike Johnson, Paradise

I know a lot of Paradise evacuees, and that’s the main sentiment – they want to go home. Hearing Randall Stone and Mark Orme, among other staff members, on the news, citing all these problems they are supposedly causing, is like a knife in the back. 

Thanks to all these letter writers – I hope Orme is  feeling a warm sensation in the seat of his pants.

Oroville transfers $366,000 in Camp Fire money to Pension Stabilization Fund

5 Mar

PUBLISHED OROVILLE MERCURY NEWS:  | UPDATED: 

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

“Let the games begin, or should I say, let the shell games continue.  On Feb. 19,  Oroville Financial Director Ruth Wright,  gave an update on Oroville’s city  budget. She caught my attention when I heard her say $366,000 in FEMA funds were applied to the “Pension Stabilization Fund.”

Oroville’s previous council decided to repurpose all “one-time money”, to this fund.  This year over $1 million was swept  away from city improvements and funneled into the  CALpers stabilization accounts.

For those that voted themselves a one percent tax increase in hopes of fewer crimes, street repairs, and clean parks, I fear you will be disappointed. It’s all about  the unsustainable CALpers fund. Oroville now has a one percent added-on sales tax plus a five percent Utility Users Tax. Look at the five utility bills you receive each month. Check out the UUT you are paying.

The city has been asked to repeal the five percent Utility Users Tax now that the one percent sales tax has passed.  City staff has recommended “no,” citing the city’s precarious financial situation. The council decided to delay that decision for a year.

I would predict there will be no repeal. The shell games will continue. The city will still be crying poor. New fees and tax proposals will be pursued. The proceeds will be used for CALpers contributions in a futile attempt to delay its inevitable collapse.

— Lorraine Christensen, Oroville”

Assemblyman to introduce legislation to let PG&E off the hook for the Camp Fire – they’ve already been allowed to pass the Santa Rosa fires off onto the ratepayers

24 Nov

 

With Christmas right around the corner, I’d like to start a new tradition: The Scrooge Awards

Let me make a few nominations, you send yours, we’ll have a cup of cheer and vote the winner on Christmas Eve. 

Candidate Number One: PG&E – I think you know why.

Candidate Number Two: Assemblyman Chris Holden (D, AD 41, northern San Gabriel Valley)

Maybe these two should be co-candidates, they’re thick as thieves. Holden is introducing a bill to let PG&E off the hook for wildfires they cause. I wish I could send them all a card – “Well Merry Christmas to you too, Assholes!”

From Insurance Journal:

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2018/11/20/509841.htm

“A bill that would help PG&E Corp. absorb liabilities from this year’s fatal wildfires in California is being drafted at the request of a state assemblyman who helped shepherd earlier legislation on the issue.”

Assemblyman Chris Holden is carrying this bill because, according to his staffer, “He is concerned about the instability of the utility and the adverse effect it could have on ratepayers and the ability to deliver services at a reasonable cost…” 

I don’t believe he’s worried about the ratepayers, I think he’s more worried about the effect it would have on PG&E shareholders.

“News of the bill sent PG&E shares up as much as 5.8 percent in after-hours trading. The stock has plunged by more than half since the Camp Fire broke out on Nov. 8.”

I know people here are mad, screaming for lawsuits, some already filed, but this piece of legislation could allow PG&E to pass their liability on to the taxpayers/ratepayers. That’s all of us, including the direct victims of the fire. 

“Holden’s bill may serve as a framework for lawmakers to consider relief for PG&E from the billions of dollars it faces in potential liability for death and property damage in Northern California’s Camp Fire, the deadliest in state history.”

They’ve already got away with passing the fines for the Santa Rosa fires on to the ratepayers. 

“In response to deadly fires in 2017, lawmakers approved a legislative package that allows PG&E to sell bonds backed by customers [ratepayers] to cover liabilities.”

We need to pay attention, write our state lawmakers, write letters to the editor, tell friends to do same. This legislation should be sneaking around in early 2019, and needs a two/thirds vote to pass. If they think we’re not paying attention they’ll do the bidding of their benefactors at PG&E.

Here’s another article from the San Jose Mercury News:

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/11/20/pge-friendly-wildfire-bill-being-eyed-by-state-lawmakers-in-wake-of-lethal-butte-county-inferno/