Tag Archives: Chico’s drinking problem

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.

 

City councilor blames county DA for “drinking problem” – why should the cops arrest these kids or the college throw them out if Ramsey won’t prosecute?

31 Aug

I am an alumnus of Chico State. I think I finally graduated about 1991 – I didn’t know, you had to apply to graduate, I finished the classes they told me to take and sat around waiting for my
diploma in the mail for about six months before somebody finally told me I had to fill out forms and lay down $75 before they’d officially let me out of that insane asylyum.

I did well enough – “suma cum laude” – had to look that up. I’ll admit, a lot of those ‘A’s were for “apple polishing,” but I was just glad to get the hell out of there.  I had my problems, mostly trying to stay awake in class.  One thing I never did was fall in a puddle of my own puke or get arrested for any bad behavior.

My cousin Charley had lived in town for years, he went to PV High.   When I enrolled at Chico State, our grandmother’s Alma Mater, he was working at Gepetto’s. My first Pioneer week, I went in to have a cup of coffee with him while he was prepping the kitchen before opening one morning. He told me, “go to Gramma’s Teet, I’ll see you there later.” Apparently he’d gone out of the restaurant earlier that morning to take the trash, at about 10 am, and encountered a pack of sorority sisters egging a police car. The cops had pulled over, got out, and were watching the attack from a safe distance. “It’s going to be a bad weekend,” Charley predicted. With that I left for class – some teachers insisted on holding class during Pioneer week, there was a pretty solid divide through the faculty on this matter. Some of them felt the kids should be allowed to have fun, others had tried to fight it for years and gave up. But it seemed all my teachers were holding that thin blue line. I had to go to class, under threat of failure. 

I also needed to pay my PG&E bill, so I headed over toward Salem. Walking back toward the college I encountered my first revelers – I was meandering along Third or Fourth Street, passing a two story house with an upstairs deck, when a beer bottle smashed on the sidewalk a few feet ahead of me. “Oops!” I heard from above. A girl, looking pretty drunk, leaned over the railing to apologize. “Sorry!” she sniggered. At this point, I suddenly realized – my cousin Charley was one of the more level-headed members of our family.  I went to my class, I went home, I loaded my cats in my car, and I headed for my grandmother’s house over in Glenn County. 

Charley came out later, we had the usual “dab dinner” (leftovers), and turned on the news. Oh yeah, that was the Big One. “Student” parties had gone out of control, a riot had broke out in the intersection of Fifth and Ivy. The laundromat on the corner was trashed, a fire started in the street using furniture from the laundromat, and a news van responding to the scene was overturned by rioters. Turns out, that was a good weekend to spend at Gramma’s with the cats! 

I think that was the first time, in modern history, that the students had got that out-of-control. Most of those arrested were enrolled at one or another of our local colleges.  Since then, we’ve had similar but smaller incidents at the beginning of almost every semester. When they “cancelled” Pioneer Week to stop it, Halloween became a problem, then Cesar Chavez Day? 

My grandmother  told me, the college has always been some sort of problem. Back in “The Day,” it was sexual assaults. Yep, back in the “good old days,” men would flock to Chico every weekend to pick up some babes! Some times the babes weren’t so willing to be picked up! And sometimes it wasn’t randy farm boys – it was male teachers and students. My grandmother gave me stern advice about going to male professor’s offices alone, or letting men walk me home at night. “Better to be all knees and elbows,” she’d say, meaning “Run home,” and stay under the street lights.  

So, don’t waste my time telling me what a nice town Chico  was – it’s never been a perfect town, there’s always been problems associated with bringing 15,000 non-residents into your town without doing any sort of background check.

So, this semester we had the obligatory bottle and rock assault on Chico PD. I don’t know how we’d start the semester without it! I don’t know how the cops would get their foot in the door for more funding if they didn’t have these barreled fish to hold up to council as a threat during contract talks. This year, as always, the Chief has made his “Zero Tolerance” speech – oh, I’m so scared Kirk! You say that every year, Muloney said it, they’ve all said it.  We’re still waiting for you to explain what “zero tolerance” means. 

To me, it means, for certain infractions, you only get one chance, and then you’re out. But, looking over the police reports and the Butte County Superior Court case index, you’ll see some people making repeated violations with alcohol. For example, a Chico State student who’d been arrested for “minor driving under the influence” in 2011 was just arrested again at a party on Hazel for “disorderly conduct, alcohol.” He lists his current age as 20, so that’s two violations we know of involving minor in possession of alcohol within the last two years. Why did Chico State accept this person as a student? They wouldn’t get into one of my rentals, and my neighbors are glad to hear that.

I guess either of the colleges would have a problem trying to reject or kick out these kids without a conviction. That’s where Mike Ramsey comes in. I see most of those arrested for “disorderly conduct, alcohol” are transferred to the county jail. But, I can’t find their name in the case index, I guess it takes a while. I will try to do more research.

But, in an e-mail conversation regarding the “community drinking problem,” councilor Sean Morgan told me,  “To the drunk in public comments. Here we are in complete agreement. When someone is arrested for Drunk in Public they are taken to the Oroville Jail, kept overnight, and, are your ready for this???!! Released the next day! No fine. No consequence. The DA won’t prosecute them. Not enough time he says.”

“He” being, I assume, Mike Ramsey.

Wow, that’s a gobstopper – why should the cops arrest these people knowing they won’t be prosecuted? How will the college know they have a police record, that they’ve caused problems in their host town, if the DA doesn’t prosecute these people? 

I mean, real problems for real people. I had a friend who rented a store front Downtown, it had been a dream of hers to revamp and reopen a long-time Downtown landmark beauty parlor. I don’t think she lasted there a year. Twice drunks broke her front window – witnesses said one drunk just tripped and plowed right in, another was shoved by a companion. Both times, the police had contact with the perpetrators, but because there was no arrest or names obtained, and because the repair was under the deductible on her insurance, she had to pay for it herself. That will drive you out of business.  

The police must be too frustrated to arrest these rowdy troublemakers – I notice, they make a big stink about an out-of-control party, but you check the arrest logs for August 24 – 28, and you don’t see very many arrests for that Ivy Street area, or the Hazel Street party recently in the news. According to the news reports, and the video and photos still running on the Enterprise Record website, they should have brought in a net and corralled the whole bunch, dozens of rowdies. I think it’s illegal to hit anybody with a bottle, or a rock, or any projectile, for that matter, but I see no such arrests for that Ivy Street area on any night around the 24 – you look,  maybe I missed them.

http://www.chico.ca.us/Police/documents/WeeklyArrests.pdf

I do see arrests for alcohol related offenses scattered over the last couple of weeks, but alot of those are people well over college age, with occupations like, “Build.com” and “cleans taco wagons,” etc.  You see the pictures, hear the stories – why aren’t more students arrested? 

I also found the arrest records for that “gang” that was hanging around the railroad tracks at night, robbing people. This has gone on as long as there’s been a bike  trail down there, it should be easy pickings for smart cops to bust people like this. Instead they wait until the beginning of the semester, when new college kids are in town, and roust the bad kids in a big raid. Once. Check the names in that story, you’ll also see them in the arrest report. Then check the court index – I found several of those people had been arrested before for similar offenses, some of them involving methamphetamine. Recently, this year. But they’re still out, available to terrorize the college kids? 

We have a real problem with our local law enforcement, and I’d say, since County District Attorney Mike Ramsey is the highest paid and highest placed officio involved, his is the head that stinks. Ramsey’s problem is, he’s a total egomaniac. He thinks he’s Elliot Ness – one year, he used public money to have himself and his staff dressed in period clothing and posed next to some Ness-era cars for a calendar shoot. Dressed up like Elliot Ness. What a crazy bastard. 

And who does this Ness-wannabee protect us from? Oh, gross, egregious environmental violators, like George Scott, of Chico Scrap. George Scott has run salvage operations in this area for years, he’s kept abreast of the ever-changing rules, and I’d say, run a pretty good business. What would you do, bury that old washer in your back yard? We just took an old water heater over there – I guess I just could have told my husband – “put it in the back of the F-150 and drive it over to one of the double-letter roads in Glenn County, roll it out along a rice field…”  What would we do without businesses like Chico Scrap? 

But for some reason, Ramsey has taken on this business, to the point of harassment. Meanwhile, he won’t dirty his hands with “Chico’s Drinking Problem.” 

Ramsey is elected again and again because no attorney from around here with any sense would run against him. Ramsey is a vindictive ass – look what he did to Bill Hill! Took his teenage daughter’s clothes! Run against that guy, and lose to his Democratic party machine, you’re sending out invitations to your own ass-kicking. 

The voters could help by mounting a recall. Needs to happen, not sure who will try it. George Scott already put alot of money into that carpet bagger he ran last time – not that I blame him, who would he have got from around here? I don’t know if he would be interested in financing a recall campaign.  But that’s the only way we will get rid of Mike Ramsey. And he’s the real “drinking problem”.