Tag Archives: Chico Enterprise Record

Election 2018 took all the fun out of Democracy

6 Nov

Google reminds me this morning, “Go Vote!”

Go stuff a sock in your ass, Google! I voted two weeks ago, where have you been? 

But County Clerk Candy Grubbs says less than half the ballots she sent out have come back in. Wonder why? Cause people are disgusted and confused, is why. Just yesterday I talked to two elder Democrats who are not supporting Newsome, Denny or Feinstein, but can’t stomach their opponents either, so will not be voting in those races. These are people who have voted the Demo ticket since before I was born, and they say they’re just disgusted with the way this election has played out. They told me they are still out on many of the ballot measures too. 

They’re not alone.  Recently I talked to a young couple who say they are confused by many of the ballot measures and will probably not vote on any of them. I asked them to reconsider Prop 6, telling them if they read the description of the measure completely through they will be able to make a better decision. I don’t like to tell people how to vote, I try to tell them to educate themselves, but this election has been a textbook example of misleading and manipulating language and misinformation. 

And the press has been playing dirty too. I found a Yes on 6 letter in a Fairfield paper that had been titled “No on 6”. I wrote a note to the editor but have not received any answer. When I looked at comments below the letter I saw others who were asking why the title didn’t match the letter, but there it stands today, “No on 6”. 

https://www.dailyrepublic.com/all-dr-news/opinion/letters-editor/letter-to-the-editor-stop-waste-by-sending-message-no-on-6/

At the Chico Enterprise Record, it’s a pretty clear case of advertising. While editor David Little finally endorsed Prop 6, he’s been running a really obnoxious “No on 6” drop down ad for weeks. 

I don’t know if I should tell this story, I have enough trouble getting the ER to run my letters, hate to piss them off further, but I’m kind of pissed off about being held off by the forehead. I started writing Prop 6 letters early, and I sent my last letter BEFORE Dick Little announced the deadline. He held my letter for over a week, then announced the deadline, and ran my letter AFTER the deadline.

When I called him on that, he told me I could have one more election related letter, “but not about Proposition 6, because then Vercruyssen will call foul and insist on another one as well. I don’t want to go down that road. “

And then I had a note from a friend who had sent in a Yes on 6 letter and hadn’t seen it for a couple of weeks. I asked Little about it – he’d been on vacation (?!),  hadn’t seen it. 

I’ll tell you what happened – it was “lost” while Little was on vacation, and Schlobover and Urpseny were running the paper. My friend had to resend, and I told him to be sure and cc Little. And there it was!

So, what I’m hearing is, there’s a split on the ER editorial board, and when the editor is away, his underlings do whatever they want – mainly pander to their advertisers. That’s journalism! 

This is the worst election I can remember, as far as deceptive advertising and terrible press coverage. I’m just holding on for tomorrow, when I can scrape the last crap mailers out of my mailbox and stuff them in my garbage can. 

 

 

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You heard it in the Enterprise Record: “Chico Government Can’t Be Trusted with Tax Increase”

22 Jul

I wrote a letter to the paper in response to Stephanie Taber’s suggestion of raising sales tax to support salaries and benefits Downtown, it ran yesterday, now it’s gone! You have to know it was there and search it! How LOW will they GO?

That’s how Dave Little treats people he doesn’t agree with, he just squelches their letters.  He’s a very “Little” man, his testicles have to be put in the microwave every morning.

So, I ain’t proud – here’s the link:

http://www.chicoer.com/opinion/20170720/letter-chico-government-cant-be-trusted-with-tax-increase

And here’s the letter:

A letter writer has suggested a sales tax increase to “fix a couple of major roads a year”.   

Chico has reached financial crisis because of employee overcompensation.  In 2013,  third-party auditors found a $15 million deficit. Council cut workers and services, while raising management compensation to unprecedented levels. By October of 2016 we were one of six cities in California being investigated for fraud, having exhausted our emergency fund and outspent revenues for six years.. We are still on the state’s “watch list”.  

To avoid further audit, staff cooked up an “aggressive” repayment plan, purporting to raise employees’ share of compensation costs. But the increased shares came with salary increases that more than covered the new CalPERS shares.  According to publicpay.gov, the city now has a $180 million deficit and will soon be paying more than a million a year to beat it down. 

According to California Policy Center, “As Chico recovers, new development projects have been downsized to reflect the city’s long-term financial reality.”   Staff has spent all the money on management pensions and benefits, there’s no money left for road base, asphalt, or  qualified workers needed to fix the roads. 

Proponents of a tax increase measure say the money will be dedicated to the roads – don’t believe it. Staff has instituted a “fund allocation” policy – they move money from one fund to another like peas under walnut shells. 

Juanita Sumner, Chico CA

 

It’s sad to me that we have such poor media here, Dick Little and Melissa Dogtree are just government shills. We have a council that plays lackey to the staffers who are ripping us off because all but one member of our council either get public  pensions or are married to one. 

Enterprise Record running interference for Chico Area Rec District

14 Sep

I sent a letter to the editor of the Chico Enterprise Record Sunday, detailing the breach of promise described by Off The Wall Soccer in their dealings with CARD. My letters usually run within three days of sending. Instead, today, the ER published the following announcement about this week’s CARD board meeting.

CARD agenda filled with master plan, soccer, ideas

Staff Reports

CHICO >> An update on the projects on the table, as well as possibly competing with a local soccer business, and getting involved with a community- based recreation entity will be on the agenda for the Chico Area Recreation and Park District board.

The next board of directors meeting for the Chico Area Recreation and Park District will be 7 p.m. Thursday at the Chico Community Center, 545 Vallombrosa Ave.

General Manager Ann Willmann will be providing an update on the various projects that are in development or exist, as well as what’s happening with the CARD master plan. The board asked that the master plan be updated, and a $ 19,500 contract was awarded to Melton Design Group of Chico to provide those services.

At the last meeting, the board directed Willmann to meet with Off the Wall Soccer and others about the soccer program. Representatives from the indoor soccer business said in August that an old agreement with CARD not to compete over some soccer programs has been overlooked. The board asked to talk about that issue in September. The business maintains that competition from CARD is jeopardizing its financial stability.

At the August meeting, the board also heard from private organization Everybody Healthy Body representative Bill Brouhard who asked that a CARD representative participate in its meetings. The community group is evaluating local recreation assets and has been looking at developing a recreation complex or campus in Chico. CARD is interested in the concept because it has been talking about a proposed aquatic center.

Yeah, you see the Melon Head is going to get yet another very posh contract from CARD – $19,500 to update their General Plan? Why do they need Ann Willmann? 

Then that weak paragraph about OTWS.   She’s taking CARD’s perspective – she was there when OTWS presented the documentation of years of agreements, acknowledgements of agreements broken, and promises to keep their word in future. Over and over again. She heard the whole story, and this is what she prints. I say “she” because I know Urseny wrote the story, or at least provided the outline, but she’s embarrassed to put her name on it. I would be too.

And then they act as though “Every Body  Good Body” just rolled into town – surprise! They want to build an aquatic center too! Urseny doesn’t say anything about the inappropriate nature of their relationship with CARD or Chico Aquajets – Brad Geise, president of Aqua Jets and member of the old “aquatic facility advisory committee” is a board member of EBGB. Ann Willmann gave them cut rate pricing for their meeting(s?) at Cal Park Pavilion. Let’s stop being coy here folks, this is not being reported properly to the public, and the newspaper is going along with it.

We need this newspaper like a moose needs a hat rack.   Reporter Laura Urseny is in bed with CARD, they need to send somebody new into those meetings. But who? All of their reporters are horrible.  

What to read some journalism?  Here’s the letter I sent Sunday that hasn’t been run yet. 

I attended the August 18 CARD board meeting at which owners of Off The Wall Soccer reported CARD management has not honored a good faith agreement made with them in 2006 and is undermining their business with predatory pricing.   

 

OTWS opened in 2000, offering 7-a-side  soccer programs that were not offered through CARD.  In 2005, OTWS experienced dramatic decline in membership and found CARD had begun offering 7-a-side programs, at less than half the price.  OTWS owners felt it was inappropriate for a public agency subsidized with taxpayer money to undercut legitimate private businesses.  They approached CARD’s board, which instructed management to resolve the conflict. CARD management agreed to offer 7-a-side soccer only in the summer months 

 

OTWS owners report CARD has reneged on their agreement several times since 2006, and they’ve had to go back to management and the board repeatedly to get them to honor their word. 

 

At the August 18 meeting, long time board member Jan Sneed acknowledged “we agreed to this,” promising to “make it right”.  Nonetheless, staff again told OTWS they have scheduled competing programs that began this Fall. 

 

With six-figure salaries and nearly $2 million in pension deficit, the CARD price of $319 per team does not even begin to reflect overhead at CARD. Are they offering these programs below cost in an attempt to steal business?   They are using taxpayer dollars to compete unfairly with businesses all over town.  

 

Is this really an appropriate mission for a recreation district? 
Juanita Sumner

Enterprise Record running the tax increase campaign? I thought newspapers were supposed to be objective

23 Nov

It seems  the Enterprise Record is running the campaign for a local tax increase – read Laura Urseny’s “Biz Bits” column for Sunday:

“Former Chico airport commissioner Karl Ory certainly brought a surprise to last week’s City Council meeting. During the public comment period over the AvPORTS proposal to manage the Chico airport, Ory suggested that airport improvements might warrant a bond measure.”

I know Ory has been beating this horse, can’t figure out what his interest is. Maybe somebody out there can fill me in. 

“AvPORTS — and others — have suggested that the terminal at the Chico airport is too small, given airline industry trends toward larger planes to carry more people. Sky-West used to fly in with a 30- seater, but nowadays the planes that might come to Chico — if commercial service ever returns — could be in the 100- seat size. AvPORTS suggested a larger terminal with a larger area for the Transportation Security Administration processing is needed.”

Chico couldn’t even fill the 30-seater, is the reason Sky-West is gone. Why in the hell would they send in a bigger plane? 

“One criticism was that Chico has no way to pay for the improvements. A counter was that no airline was going to come to Chico without those improvements.  Ory suggested Chico could turn to a bond for a public vote to pay for capital projects at the airport. Ory is a retired Chico airport commissioner and retired city councilman.”

Here she forgets to mention, the airline wants a subsidy to cover their losses when they can’t fill the planes – like $200,000/year!

Then she seems to be playing the Devil’s Advocate. “But this is one of those suggestions that raised eyebrows. We wonder if the community would vote to tax themselves for airport improvements, when a smaller group wouldn’t even fly out of Chico to help support commercial air service here.”

But here she comes again with that bond stuff.

“Since then, I’ve heard from another airport advocate who didn’t automatically dismiss the idea of a bond.”

She’s talking about Tom Lando, I’d bet my last $5.  Maybe Lando is finally getting a thin-skin about being tagged with this tax increase.

“Why such a thing might warrant community support, he explained, was because the airport benefits many in Chico. Benefits include the transportation for residents and businesses, as well as jobs. The advocate pointed out that large companies in considering a new location would consider getting in and out of Chico via commercial service important.”

Lando is also a member of the CARD board, as well as member of the Aquatic Facility committee. He listened to the consultant say that not having an airport was a bad indicator for the success of the Olympic style swim center CARD is pushing.  If we can’t support an airport, how could we support this aquatic facility? Lando and friends are even proposing a sports stadium for Chico, all to be built with a bond.

What neither Urseny nor Lando is talking about is how big of trouble every public entity around here is in over their unpaid CalPERS liability. You just read here, the city has assigned $6 million in pension debt to the Private Development Fund – that’s only the tip of the iceberg.  That’s what a bond would really be about, and then, in a couple of years, like Chico Unified, they’d be telling us they need yet another bond to actually improve the airport. Same old story. I hope you kids are paying attention.

Recently I’ve noticed our local media has fallen to yellow journalism. We don’t really have a newspaper in this town. I know, I’m just a blogger – internet gossip monger? But these people are supposed to uphold some sort of journalistic integrity. They are supposed to work for the public at large, not the government, or the corporations. 

Aside from the rather loose rules set before me by Word Press (for one, you have to publish, something, somewhat regularly, or they will take your blog away!) , I am free of corporate and government influences. I will continue to work in 2016 to inform you and be a tack on the chair of the Overlords. 

POST SCRIPT: And today (11/25/15) Dave Little has foisted an editorial – he’s actually mad because Chico isn’t “stepping up” to “save the airport”

Mr. Little, you need to step aside, and let a real journalist save the newspaper

I’ve had enough of David Little’s bullying

15 Aug

NOTE: I’ve closed comments on this post because last night I got a mail box full of pictures of obese police officers. Unfortunately, they were all real, but none of them were Chico cops so I didn’t see the point. That wasn’t the subject of the post – David Little edited my opinion because he didn’t like what I thought of his actions. That’s not good editing, I’ve written to too many other papers where the editor had a difference of opinion with me, and said so, but printed my letter verbatim. 

But, sorry for the baby temper tantrum – I’ll go on writing letters to the ER, we’ll see if Little will continue to print them, and how.

The Enterprise Record printed a letter with my name on it two days ago, but it wasn’t the original letter I sent them over a week ago. Here’s the letter I sent.

On Thu, Aug 6, 2015 at 7:29 AM, juanita sumner wrote:

In October of last year, right before a city election, I asked the city clerk and council why the campaign reports were no longer available online. Reports that had been easily available for years had suddenly vanished,  the current filings had also disappeared.   

The clerk responded [read her full response at chicotaxpayers.com ] ,   “There is no regulation requiring the documents to be uploaded to the City’s website unless an agency has implemented mandatory electronic filings (Gov. Code § 84601(d)). ” She acted as though I was harassing her.  The reports were restored to the website briefly, but disappeared again sometime after the November election. 

In her response to my inquiry, the clerk said that the city was going to have a new system “up and running by the first of the year”, but here we are again, with the reports in disarray. The old system worked beautifully right up until October of 2014. 

I’d like to thank Randall Stone for raising this issue to the public. I’m very concerned that neither the Mayor nor  the Editor think this is any of the public’s business. 

This problem lies in the charter – the clerk works for council, not the voters. I’m with Jim Matthews – the charter needs to be changed to make the clerk an elected official so that person is answerable to the voters. 

Juanita Sumner, Chico

I was starting to wonder what had happened to it when David Little got back to me the following Monday:

Date: Mon, 10 Aug 2015 09:01:19 -0700
Subject: Re: letter to editor
From: letters@chicoer.com
To: juanita sumner

Regarding the line “I’m very concerned that neither the mayor nor the editor think this is any of the public’s business,” that will be deleted from your letter for print unless you can show me precisely where that was said. At least in the case of our editorial, you are drastically changing our words.

David Little, editor
Chico Enterprise-Record, Oroville Mercury-Register
400 E. Park Ave., Chico, CA 95927
Telephone: 530-896-7793
Twitter: @ER_DavidLittle

Why is this guy such a creep? Please note, I didn’t use anybody’s words. I didn’t put quotation marks around that line, he did. It was not a quote, it was my opinion. That’s what the opinion page is for.

I’ll say here, the letter Stephanie Taber wrote criticizing Randall Stone has mistakes. For one thing, she refers to Todd Boothe’s public Facebook page as a private e-mail, saying Stone had disclosed a private e-mail. That’s a lot different than what Stone had done – alert the public to a vicious and demented member of the police department who was behaving very inappropriately on a website that could be seen by anybody who searched his name. 

But I’ve been through this with Little before – he’s not a journalist, he’s a propagandist. Here he doesn’t like my opinion, so he edits it. Or, in this case, forces me to edit.  I didn’t want his edit, so I had to rewrite my letter.  I apologized to the asshole and sent a rewrite – and later I felt really cheap. 

I’ll never write another letter to the Enterprise Record. I’ve had enough of David Little. He’s a bully who uses his position to further his and his friends’ agendas.  I don’t read the Enterprise Record anymore, there are so many better newspapers locally and throughout the state. Channel 7 (KRCR) even carries stories that the ER misses on a regular basis, check out their website here:

http://www.krcrtv.com/

One of the worst things about the ER is Topix. Little announced a few years back that because of rude remarks and personal attacks, Topix was being closed to folks who do not have a google, twitter or facebook account. Did the ugly attacks stop? No. They’ve kicked Rick Clements off a couple of times, only to let him back on – I’m going to throw this out there – Larry Wahl is a very good friend of Rick Clements. 

People don’t like the way I talk – at least I don’t spread misinformation. Little ran a letter weeks ago from a woman who said I called Chico PD officers “fat.” I asked Little to ask her to “show precisely where that was said“, but he didn’t answer me back. 

There’s still time to write to CPUC to protest Cal Water rate hike

26 May

I wrote the letter below to the Enterprise Record about two weeks ago, but David Little claims he’s had so many campaign letters he can’t squeeze this in. I don’t have time to complain about how that little prick runs his rag, so here it is:

Thank you Maurice Picard for writing about the Water Rate Adjustment Mechanism by which Cal Water punishes us for conserving water. The California Public Utilities Commission allows water companies to use WRAM to adjust rates monthly to cover their expenses, not our usage.  We are “damned if we do, and damned if we don’t.” 

WRAM was initiated as a “pilot program” in 2008, “to remove any disincentives the company may have to implement Conservation Rates and Conservation Programs”… This latest notice says the purpose is to “make sure Cal Water collects the right amount..”  

My May bill also includes a separate notice explaining an “18-month surcharge…to allow recovery of fixed costs not covered due to unanticipated sales variations…” But they said they used WRAM to make sure that doesn’t happen, that doesn’t make sense. 

Furthermore, Cal Water has proposed a rate increase, originally 38 percent, now down to 19 percent. The notice I received in 2012  said most of the money would go to compensation for workers who don’t pay anything toward their own defined benefits packages. 

We are under demand to cut our water usage, at the same time, pay more in rates for extravagant benefits packages for these for-profit water companies. Please write to CPUC Administrative Law Judge Robert M. Mason III, 505 Van Ness Avenue, Fifth Floor, San Francisco, CA 94102 and tell him this rate hike is neither justified nor in the public interest. 

Juanita Sumner, Chico 

At last we’re talking nuts and bolts on employee contracts – ER does a story on vacation and sick day accrual

28 Sep

I was pleasantly surprised to see Ashley Gebb’s story on city employees’ accrued sick and vacation days turning into massive payments at lay-off time. Wow, at last the media is paying attention to these insane city contracts. 

http://www.chicoer.com/news/ci_24196124/layoffs-come-price-tag

Gebbs explains  how employees accrue unused vacation and sick days, and then get paid for all these unused days when they leave.  Think about that – they already  got paid for those days. This system allows an employee to get paid twice for one work day.  Chris Constantin makes it sound onerous – these people aren’t getting vacations!  Hey, that’s their choice, and it works out pretty good for them if you ask me.  Gebb’s reports that this round of layoffs cost over $80,000 in vacation and sick leave payments. 

What Gebbs doesn’t mention is, those contracts are  being hashed over right now, to  be negotiated in December. It’s never too early to write to council and let them know just what you don’t like about the employee contracts. You can see those here:

http://www.chico.ca.us/human_resources_and_risk_management/labor_agreements_home.asp

I will bring copies of contracts to the next Chico Taxpayer’s meeting so we can discuss a list of items we can forward to council. The next CTA meeting is postponed to the Second Sunday in October, the 13th.