Tag Archives: Chris and Maria Rock Chico Ca

Get ready for your cell phone tax refund!

14 Dec

Well, just when I was getting the posse together to write a letter to the city attorney, giving her a little prod to write letters to the cell phone carriers and tell them to stop collecting that cell phone tax, she’s already on the ball! Here’s an item from next Tuesday’s council agenda:

ITEM 4.2   ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CHICO AMENDING SECTION

3.56.150 OF THE CHICO MUNICIPAL CODE REGARDING REFUNDS FOR OVERPAYMENTS
AND ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS OF UTILITY USERS’ TAXES – Introduction

From the staff report:  “Because the measure (J) did not pass, City staff will be taking action to notify companies currently providing non-land line telephone services that the city will no longer collect the tax for those services. Additionally, amounts received will be placed in a holding account to be available for refund requests that may be received. The statute of limitations to request a refund is one year. Any amounts remaining after one year will be deposited in the  city’s general fund. “

Well, isn’t  that interesting – there’s a time limit on collecting something that was stolen from you – how charming! 

And, the staff report goes on to say that there’s a stipulation that you prove you tried to get the money back from your cell phone provider first – but they’re going to talk about dropping that requirement, apparently. Well, that’s mighty big of them!

So, it is now up to those of you who have been RIPPED OFF to get down there and get your money. When they took it out of my bill, I went down every year and got my Utility Tax rebate, so they don’t owe me anything. Well, aside from the hours taken from my life, but that’s another blog, for another day.

The other item on the agenda that gets my attention is committee and board appointments. Notice  Ann Schwab’s request to start ANOTHER AD HOC COMMITTEE, this time, “focusing on the homelessness issue.” Oh, come on! Nakamura has already said that we need to get rid of  these ad hoc committees, because “they take on a life of their own,” meaning staffers who get salaries and benefits to do nothing but forward e-mails. Look at the Sustainability Task Force page on the city website – they haven’t even posted the cancellation for the meeting they had announced for December. Please!  Schwab doesn’t want people at these meetings.  These ad hoc committees are just a way to keep the public out of the discussion. They don’t even have to post the schedules for the meetings, and they don’t. 

Meanwhile, they can’t seem to get anybody on the airport commission, which I would say is probably the most important committee they have. To think, this is how  they run the airport – the city manager puts on a different “hat”, and sits down at an empty table with a couple of people handpicked by council because they gave good campaign donations.  The airport needs a professional manager and a board of “stakeholders” – meaning, the people who run their businesses out of the airport. There are a lot of disgruntled business owners and plane owners out there, pissed off over the sloppy management and downright nepotism going on at Chico airport. Chris and Maria Rock are being allowed to monopolize fueling at the airport and they’re not even doing a good job of it. According to the budget, the city is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on maintenance, but still the airport is unusable because the runways are inadequate for modern aircraft and the fueling station is being run like the gas station in Mayberry RFD. 

I think I will attend next Tuesday’s meeting, just to give a rebel yell when they read Item 4.2. 

 

Ann Schwab sold the airport to Northgate Aviation for $250

10 Oct

Last spring I did a couple of posts about the airport lawsuit – still in progress – and the other day I got a comment from a person who seems to be in the know about the situation. I don’t know who this person is, or if their information is reliable, but it is interesting, I’ll say that.

From “frequent flyer”:

Just a few facts as I understand them to augment your story:

1. Jay’s budget is hardly unlimited, and apparently the city can outspend him. I don’t personally know his finances, but this really stings. He also is paying one lawyer; the city has many fighting him.

2. Northgate Aviation used to reside in his building and left suddenly. However, that’s just business. It’s what happened after they left that went off the rails.

3. When Northgate moved into the hangar next door, I heard they did so without any permits. They eventually received permits I believe, although I heard it took two years.

4. When the city gave Northgate the lease on the hangar, they included the ramp space in front of Jay’s (privately owned) building, a building which according to the city can only be used for aviation-related business. Mr. Jay cannot park a plane in front of his aviation-only building, and to make sure no one else does, Northgate parks their fuel trucks in front of his building. This is like buying a house and finding out that the city gave the driveway access to your neighbor. BTW, Mr. Jay’s primary business is selling airplanes. Ever see a used car lot without any cars? Totally weird. Anyway, the lease should have been rewritten IMO, but has not been. It is a 30 year lease I believe.

5. Tycoons and small business folks alike visit FBOs, and I stand side by side with these guys when buying fuel. Some of us need 80 gallons, some need 2000, but we’re all treated like royalty. To give you an idea of the service differential between Chico and the rest of the world , Sacramento International’s Jet Center is like Nordstroms, Northgate Aviation is like buying a Gyro at the Thursday Night Market. Not swank. It’s embarrassing and frankly, if I were a corporate exec, I’d tell my pilots to get some fuel in Oroville at $1/gallon savings, fly to Sac and have a nap, and pick me up at 4pm. The worse part is not knowing is someone is going to show up. I’ve called for fuel at 6pm (they’re open 7am-7pm) and have been arbitrarily told that fuel stops at 6pm. Seriously? Then there was the guy who found out he couldn’t buy fuel on Thanksgiving. That’s not how pilots roll. We land, we need fuel, as we often carry just enough to get from point a to point b….weight considerations and all.

6. Apparently the City/Airport manager told Mrs. Maria Rock in a private email that was accidentally CC’d to someone else involved with the case that an exclusive deal to run the FBO could not be assured, but he did assure that no one else would be able to have an FBO. That’s actually illegal, since the city has accepted federal funding which specifically states that the city cannot limit competition. In other words it is not up to the city to determine who operates an FBO, as it is meant to be a capitalist, Darwinian Free-For-All. Could Chico support 2, 3, or 4 FBOs? Who knows, but it’s not up to the city to determine the fate of the service providers. Let me be perfectly clear: The city has no jurisdiction over who can open and run an FBO. If they don’t pay rent, that’s another story, but insofar as the application and approval process is concerned, it’s winner take all, may the best man win, and all that rut.

7. Finally, and this is just plain annoying, Mr. Jay registered the name Chico Jet Center on 11/19/2007, and the Rock’s did so on 1/7/2008 4 times: One for Chris, one for Maria, and twice for Northgate Aviation Inc as Northgate Aviation Chico Jet Center. Part of the lawsuit I believe (really I’m not sure but I’ve heard this come up) is a cease and desist order barring the use of the name. The problem is that Dan Jay was denied a “Jet Center” and the name will eventually wind up with whomever uses it the most.

Wow, what an earful of mismanagement.  I’ve talked to other people who fly fairly often out of Chico airport, and they tell me the same thing about the fueling station – Gomer and Goober could do a better job, apparently.

A friend of mine told me even the commercial commuter jet has problems with the fueling station – a  commute flight he was on was held up because the employee at the fueling station had fueled the plane incorrectly, dangerously so. The pilot had to get out of the plane and wander the FBO area, looking for the attendant. When the employee couldn’t fix it, the pilot had to sit on the tarmac running the engines until half the fuel was “burned off,” then re-fuel correctly. That’s absolutely unacceptable as far as I’m concerned.

In past the airport has been managed by Dave Burkland, city mangler. Now we have a new city mangler, with a new contract. I’m not sure what’s going on at the airport these days, but I bet Ann Schwab knows.

See, Maria and Chris Rock, the owners of Northgate Aviation, are Big Dicks in the Democratic party. When I did a casual google search, besides contributions to the Democratic party and  Democrats like John Edwards, I came up with a $250 contribution from Maria Rock to Ann Schwab’s 2008 campaign. That may sound like peanuts, but it was one of Schwab’s biggest individual contributions. And, as I scanned the contributions reports, I found there are many ways to contribute to various organizations and keep your name completely out of it. I’m guessing the Rocks are heavy hitters among the local liberals.

But here’s the real reason. Money might get you some attention, but you better be ready for the push and shove of politics too. People like the Rocks who open their checkbooks for politicians always expect something in return. And Maria Rock apparently gets what she wants, not so much with her checkbook as her nasty temperament.  I talked to two different people who don’t know each other, but know Maria and Chris Rock, and both used the same word to describe Maria Rock – “bitch.” One said, “horrible bitch,” and the other one used “awful bitch.” I was shocked, neither of these people use profanity with me, but wow, they sure called Maria Rock a bitch. All I did was ask them what they know about it, and that’s what they said, Maria Rock is a bitch. She makes phone calls that could skin a cat, and will confront people and humiliate them right in front of others.

So that’s why Ann Schwab is allowing this lawsuit to parole along – she’s afraid of Maria Rock. Our mayor, toothless hound dog, lackey to the rich. Thanks for nothing, Ann.

“Hostile” City of Chico mismanages the airport

20 Feb

For a few years now (since 2008) an item has popped up so regularly on the city council “closed session” agendas that I have come to recognize it without knowing anything about it.

2.1. CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL — EXISTING LITIGATION: The City Attorney will review
the following: Danford A. Jay and Sandra R. Jay v. City of Chico, et al., Butte County Superior Court
Cases 145202 and 145203, pursuant to Government Code §54956.9(a).

It started to pique my curiosity, but I didn’t know how to find out about it. I figured, since it’s on the closed session item, they wouldn’t be exactly eager to discuss it with me, and you know, I get tired of being led a merry chase down at the City of Chico.

So, I finally stumbled onto the info, you know, casual conversation with some parent at a playground, that’s how I find out stuff around town.  I mean, it’s just amazing the people you find yourself chatting with, about what.

It seems this all relates to Chico’s abysmal reputation for being “hostile” toward business.

I’ve sat in at least two different Economic Development meetings in which the main topic of discussion was the airport. At one meeting, a couple of consultants complained that the airport does not offer consistent enough “service” for corporate types to fly to Chico to snoop out our job-ability. They didn’t explain it, they just said, these big-wigs want to be able to fly in and out at their convenience, and that’s not doable at Chico airport.

At another more recent meeting, a spokesman from Build.com said the airport needs a big commercial carrier. He seems to think we can turn our airport into the same kind of behemoth  as the Sacramento Airport, bring in TWA – wowsers! He mentioned regular flights to Disneyland as his main concern – what does Disneyland have to do with bringing job-makers into Chico?

No, no, no. It’s not lack of a commercial carrier, it’s lack of somewhere for really important people to land their own jets. I got news for Mr. Build.com – real employers don’t stand in lines to take a commercial carrier, they fly in with their own plane at 10 am and they fly out at 4pm. The don’t use giant, overrun airports, they use little executive airports unconstrained by heavy traffic and avoiding major accidents involving housing tracts. Chico Airport should be perfect for exactly this use.

Yes, it should be. Chico Airport is equipped with a special landing strip with a gated terminal, just for really important people. You might remember, Oprah landed at that gate. She was whisked away to Oroville to meet and interview a local beauty queen, and then within a couple of hours, there she went.

But, for some reason, when Governor Schwarzenegger came to town a few years ago, nobody came to open the gate to the terminal. Schwarzenegger was left outside a locked gate. This was sufficient to  make a laughingstock out of Chico Airport.  It’s happened more than once, and it’s apparently turned away big execs looking for prime employment territory.

The special terminal is owned by a local couple, Chris and Maria Rock, who have a special contract with the city of Chico to operate the terminal and an airplane fueling station. When a “special” visitor is headed for the airport, they are supposed to contact the Rocks, who are supposed to have that terminal open and functioning. Apparently the Rocks are pretty lackadaisical about their duties and more than one person has arrived to find a gate locked.

Enter Danford Jay.  Mr. Jay wants to be licensed to operate such a terminal himself. He operates a business out of the airport and his livelihood depends on the airport running efficiently. Apparently Mr. Jay is tired of watching the Rocks run business away from Chico.

But the City of Chico protects the Rocks’ contract for some reason, they won’t let Mr. Jay have a permit to operate his own terminal and fueling station. According to my source, this drives people to the airports at Redding and Oroville. My friend is himself considering moving his business and the 25 people it employs to the Redding airport.

This friend has been to meeting after meeting, in Chico, in Oroville, in Redding. He uses the word “hostile” to describe the city of Chico, and particularly, Dave Burkland.

Dave Burkland is not only our city manager, he’s the airport manager.  That’s why his salary is so  high – I’ve seen the breakdown – he gets separate salaries for all these jobs that should just be handed to different, hopefully more competent people. This is how the city “saves money.” And this is how Burkland will retire at over $120,000 a year soon.

And this is why our airport drives jobs away from Chico.

Meanwhile the city’s little protection racket racks up the bucks in court:

http://www.buttecourt.ca.gov/online_index/CMSCaseDisplay.cfm?ucn=145202&sx=1088450740381968