Tag Archives: 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.

 

CARD takes consultant’s advice, sends out messengers to brighten it’s image before the public

2 Jul

Today Chico Area Rec and Parks District, aka CARD, is starting a public relations campaign suggested by a consultant they hired to run a survey a couple of months back, trying to “guage,” or more likely create support for a new bond or assessment on our property taxes. 

The consultant came back with a “negative” –  not enough support indicated for any kind of tax to float CARD.  For one thing, only 1800 of 10,000 surveys were even returned – you can interpret that however you want, they sure did. I interpret that as, people don’t even CARE about CARD, much less want a bond on their homes.

The reasons listed by the consultant – summarized from respondents’ comments: “bad economy; recent passage of Measure E, prop 30, and other tax increases; and ‘government spending’”.

Of course she didn’t elaborate on “government spending.” You can speculate there too. I will speculate that at least some people either read my letters to the editor or found out for themselves – the aquatic center held up as a prize for your correctly-answered survey was nothing but a rainbow – it disappeared before the survey had even been completed. Board member Ed Seagle sat right there at a meeting and said they were wrong to even suggest they had anywhere near enough money to even think about building an aquatic center, and that notion dried up quicker than spit on a griddle. But not as loudly – they never took out a press release or anything, they let it ride silently. They knew I’d sent those letters, and Seagle was just doing damage control, covering his own ass if you ask me.  

Seagle of course didn’t mention the $400,000 “side fund pay-off” to CalPERS for THEIR pensions. They act like they were buying something for us with that money – Scott Dowell keeps repeating, like some kind of snake handler, “we saved $40,000 with that pay-off.” Big fucking deal, Preacher Man. You saved YOURSELVES $40,000, you ripped the taxpayers off for $400,000, and counting. CARD staff does not pay one thin red dime toward their own pensions.

The consultant had some wisdom to offer the board and staff. She said they needed to get out  there and create a more positive image of CARD. I’d say, “an image at all.” How many people don’t even know CARD exists until they need an “after school program” to dump their school age kids in when school’s out?  That’s where CARD gets most of it’s “program revenues” – they get most of their money in property taxes and new home fees, but of the revenues they generate themselves, those after school programs are their Blue Ribbon Cash Cow. But recreation superintendent Monica Jameson loudly announced at one meeting, she doesn’t have enough staff to supervise your children properly – she’s going to have to turn hundreds of kids away. Good luck finding somewhere to dump your spawn this summer.  And, if you are “lucky enough” to get in, keep an eye on your own child – she said she only has two adults to supervise over 300 children in one program, and some 500 signed up! 

It’s going to take a lot more than some little gal sitting in the park handing out “free” flying discs and other stuff paid for by the taxpayers to untarnish CARD’s reputation with me. 

UPDATE:  I had errands to do in my car yesterday, so drove by Hooker Oak Park at 10:50 to see the CARD gal and get some of that free bling – she wasn’t there. “Almaguer will be at Hooker Oak Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 2;”    We drove all over the parking lot at Hooker Oak, looked around the playgrounds and the ball fields – nobody but the usual $5,000/year maintenance workers.   There was no place she could have been that we wouldn’t have seen her. If I’d rode my bike over there in that heat, I would have been pissed off. Why would she say she’s going to be there for a certain time block, and then right in the middle of it, nothing?

I’ll drop her a note.

CARD delving into community park-love effort

Staff Reports

Posted:   07/01/2013 12:55:40 AM PDT

Click photo to enlarge

Marketing coordinator Lisa Almaguer shows off the flying discs she’ll be giving away at parks…

CHICO — Lisa Almaguer will be staking out a corner of several Chico parks through July, hoping to talk to lots of people about what’s behind their feelings for Chico parks.She’ll be at Hooker Oak Park on Tuesday morning.

This is the unfurling of “I love my parks and recreation” campaign, which she is pursuing as a way to reinforce how important play and parks are to people. July is National Parks and Recreation Month, designated by the National Recreation and Park Association.

Almaguer works for the Chico Area Recreation and Park District, which owns Community Park and the others she plans to visit.

While she knows park users have an appreciation of CARD parks — because they’re already playing there — Almaguer hopes her campaign will bring a better understanding of how valuable parks are in people’s lives.

She’ll be asking park users what they love about the parks, writing down the comments on slips, and then displaying them on bulletin boards at each park. There will likely be a report to the CARD board as well.

The national association’s turnkey campaign came with minimal costs, so CARD decided to adopt it in July.

“Basically, we’re looking to find out why parks are vital to the users,” said Almaguer, who handles marketing for CARD.

Almaguer will be at Hooker Oak Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 2; at DeGarmo Community Park from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 9; at Wildwood Park from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. July 18; and at Community Park

from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. July 27.Initially, she’ll have give-aways like flying discs and stickers, and by mid-month, she’ll also have sunglasses, water bottles and more.

My name is Sue! How do you do!

7 Mar

I oftentimes get so frustrated with the cornmash that passes for public discussion Downtown, I’ll admit – I’ve avoided meetings because I just can’t stomach any more. 

You have to listen to people like Valerie Reddeman, owner of the flopped business Green Feet, lecturing about how everybody else should behave. You have to listen to the “Emily Latellas” –  people who obviously haven’t read the agendas or reports and don’t really understand the subject at hand but insist on blathering on for their three minutes of absolute attention – thank you singing bag lady! Last night we got our own local version of The Voice! 

If you’re lucky, you will be there when somebody gets up there and tells it like it is. Last night that was Sue Hubbard. Sue stood up against the bag ban, telling council and the assembled bag-ban groupies how sick she is of watching her town run into the dirt by a bunch of self-aggrandizing egomaniacs. 

Sue goes to the meetings regularly, so she knows what she’s saying. These meetings are frustrating. Certain council members don’t listen to the public, and make no bones about that. Andy Holcombe has actually admitted that he makes his mind up previous to a meeting and nothing the public has to say is going to affect him. Last night he tried to derail a conversation I had requested be agendized, regarding the placement of tax increase measures on the ballot, by pretending not to understand what I was asking for.

Thanks to Sue, who stood up during “Business from the Floor” and asked them to honor my request. And I stood up. And then the crickets chirped. I thought we were dead. 

But then Mark Sorensen came roaring in, reminding everybody, there’s THREE possible taxes coming round (like some rough beast) on the June ballot – including that phone tax I was talking about – and Sorensen suggested there should be some kind of public discussion regarding the nuts and bolts of deadlines, etc. 

And, along came little Ann – butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth! – to agree with Sorensen!  

So, while they aren’t agendizing any big to-doo about it, the city attorney is going to write up a little “informational” ditty to be included on an upcoming agenda explaining the process we are about to watch unfold. I’ll get that as soon as I can. 

I’d like to dedicate this blog to Sue. Here’s one of my favorite songs by Johnny Cash:

This is from San Quentin, and the song is so new you can see him reading his notes as he sings. 

I tell you I’ve fought tougher men, but I really can’t remember when…” Go Sue! 

Chico Taxpayer Association meeting – We are not alone!

5 Feb

I’d like to thank the folks who came to the library today, thanks very much.  We had a good “think tank” session and I feel like I have more direction with this effort. The meetings I’ve been having lately have made me feel good about  this.  I found out there are others,  I’m not the only one who doesn’t like this tax increase idea, and I’m not the only one who is willing to do something about it. And how!

We’ll have another meeting March 4, same place, same time. Thanks to Casey Aplanalp for setting that up with the library folks. Casey is right, we need to get ourselves organized, dole out chores and responsibilities.

In the meantime, I will ask Debbie Presson if this measure can be placed on the ballot without a petition. This is an important question, I’ll get on it and have a report asap.

But the first wave of defense in an effort like this is e-mails and letters, saying we will NOT support this tax.  I hope people will write to council. Write early and write often.

Thanks everybody, this is going to turn into something.