Tag Archives: City of Chico Sustainability Task Force

Sustainability Task Force to discuss new “green” building requirements

30 Aug

From: MStemen
To: chicotaxpayers
Subject: FW: City of Chico STF agenda 9/11/14
Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2014 01:08:43 +0000

Take care,


From: Jessica Henry
Date: Friday, August 29, 2014 4:36 PM
Subject: City of Chico STF agenda 9/11/14

Please see attached agenda and attachments for the next City of Chico Sustainability Task Force meeting on 9/11/14. This has also been posted on the City’s website,http://www.ci.chico.ca.us/government/minutes_agendas/sustainability_task_force.asp.

Have a great holiday weekend everyone!

Jessica Henry, ARM-P
Administrative Analyst II
City of Chico, Community Development
530-879-6820 phone, 530-895-4726 fax
PO Box 3420, Chico, CA 95927
411 Main Street, Chico, CA 95928

Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it ethical. Some people can’t be trusted with discretion. Sustainablity Task Force needs to GO. Are we going to have to call The Exorcist?

12 Jan

I was not able to get to last Thursday’s Sustainability Task Force meeting until the end, but I did get some answers to my questions regarding staff coverage and noticing of these meetings. Yes, Brian Nakamura is going to let this committee form ad hoc committees but he’s not going to provide staff to either notice these meetings nor supervise and take notes.

Mark Stemen, committee chair, has promised me a million times that a committee member will be responsible for noticing and taking notes. Unfortunately, it’s pretty haphazard. Stemen noticed me, very tentatively, weeks ahead, and then neglected to send the usual 72 hour notice. That’s why we have paid staff, and that’s what ‘noticing’ is really all about to me – it’s a last minute reminder, because that’s when people forget, at the last minute. Frankly, I resent the notion that they can just create these committees that allow for inappropriate interaction behind closed doors, and then expect me to step and fetch to make the meetings. 

So, believe me, I was thrilled to see Stephanie Taber sitting in the front row when I walked in the last five or so minutes of the meeting. I sent her  the following e-mail the next day:

Good Morning Stephanie,


Was very relieved to see you at the STF meeting last night. These are impossible for me to cover, I only came down last night to talk face to face with Mark Wolfe about getting noticed of the ad hoc meetings. He says Staff doesn’t have to notice the ad hoc meetings, and doesn’t plan to do so. 


I think it is outrageously inappropriate, given the excesses of the past, to allow this committee to form ad hoc committees but not provide staff to cover them, but that’s up to Nakamura. Since you are able to cover these meetings and have your connections Downtown, I’m going to leave it with you, I have other obligations.  Good luck. If you have anything that you think the taxpayers should know, feel free to send it to https://chicotaxpayers.com/ and I will print it verbatim with your byline.


Thanks again, JS

She responded to me and to Brian Nakamura and staff:

See Juanita’s comments above.  My gut feeling is the two (or three) “ad hoc” committees will run amok unless we have some notice so the “public” can sit in and listen.  I don’t know how admin can make that happen but as Mark W [Wolfe] can tell you we have at least one zealot on the committee that thinks all the work that has gone before is worthless ’cause the conclusions the former staff came up with is greatly flawed and the committee needs to start over.  (Specifically Neal Road methane gas capture which taints the upcoming discussions re the waste management franchise) Surprisingly Dr. Stemen tried to rein  that person in but that was at a “public” meeting – not certain he would do that if no public was present .. sorry but I’m a real skeptic when it comes to the Sustainability Committee having been in attendance many times over the last few years.  I am not suggesting that any staff needs to be present at any of the ad hoc meetings but it would be greatly beneficial if there was mandatory notice….any possibility?


Stephanie is asking for staff to keep track of and notice the ad hoc meetings, we’ll see what Nakamura says. I think the ad hoc meetings should be cut off. They should be able to do what they want in the full committee meetings. And here they are, demanding staff time to do new studies, etc. “Oh, we don’t need staff to take notes, but we want to be able to order them around…”

These ad hoc committees are exactly what Mary Fitch called them – an end-run around the Brown Act. I asked Stemen why he needs these committees and he flat won’t answer. But he admits to knowing that plenty of inappropriate stuff went down with Ann’s committee, including a $70,000 pay off to one STF member and $10,000 to another. The city got  the rest of that $400,000 PG&E “grant” (ratepayer money) to pay Linda Herman’s salary and benefits.  I have nothing against Linda, but if I’m  going to pay her that kind of money, she could get her sorry ass over here to help with the laundry or something.

Do we have to call in an Exorcist?  

Write those letters! Sustainability Task Force needs to GO!

23 Jan

I have finally given up trying to attend city council meetings. It finally hit me that all the real business goes on in the daytime meetings, by the time it gets to council, it’s pretty done.  As if I’m going to sit through another plastic bag discussion when I know the votes are already there.  Or, if it’s an especially contentious issue, or too complicated for their tiny minds, they kick it down the road. Right now, service fees, for stuff like, monopolizing a city parking lot for five hours every Saturday morning, have not been reviewed since “2005 or 2006, not sure…”  According to Scott Gruendl, the city is losing money hand over fist as long as we don’t update, or raise, those fees.  But our Finance Director won’t have any reports on that until March or April – she waiting for her paid consultant to get back to her.

This is how they milk us for money, they just take FOR-EV-ER to do anything. 

All the real important stuff is done behind closed doors anyway. The employee contracts are being discussed tomorrow night behind closed doors. We are not allowed in there. They are supposed to bring us some contracts to look over, but according to one council member I asked, they have NOTHING right now, they’re still hashing it out. I’ll never forget Steve Bertagna’s answer when I asked why the public is not allowed in those discussions – it would put the city at a disadvantage he said, to have the discussion public. He explained how they play the various groups against each other, and secrecy is a big part of that. 

Yeah, just like the mafia, eh? Don’t worry about it! Just like Bronco Bama’s Chicago gang-style politics. Just like Richard Daley and the Chicago cops at the 1968 Democratic Convention. 

As long as the public is held out of the conversations we will continue to have problems with our public safety salaries and benefits. It was the public safety departments that forced Vallejo and Stockton into bankruptcy. 

The contracts are the only important discussion on the agenda. The “work plan” discussion is just more crap, they keep mouthing the same things over and over and doing absolutely nothing. Right now, the only important issue we’re facing is what these salaries and the refusal of the management and public safety staff to pay more of their own benefits is doing to our local economy.  

I’m not putting aside my family dinner for one more of these meetings. I might watch on the box once in a while, but the daytime meetings are where it’s at.  If you want to have any effect, you need to watch the morning meetings and write letters ahead of the council discussion. 

In February the council will discuss the future of the Sustainability Task Force. City manager Brian Nakamura has been meeting  behind closed doors with members of the STF, who are desperate to keep their little trolley on the tracks. He and Linda Herman assure me nothing illegal or inappropriate has gone on at these closed meetings, but that’s what they say.  How are we supposed to know when we aren’t allowed in? 

We need to write letters to Nakamura and council now, telling them the STF is a giant waste of staff time.  Read the old reports available on the city website, and look at the waste of staff time – how many meetings were cancelled because members didn’t care enough to show up.   I have the e-mail conversations – Linda Herman, at $85,000 plus benefits, e-mailing for days, trying to get up a quorum. Some of the original members have quit – either frustrated with the lack of real action, or because they just got bored, I don’t know. One original member told me it didn’t take him long to figure that Ann Schwab wasn’t going to do anything “real,” like squash the college parking structure, or force people into new urban housing. He agreed with me – this is just about Ann Schwab’s resume, feel-good gestures with regulations that end up affecting private citizens without really fixing anything. 

Look along the highway next time you’re out – she’s banned certain plastic bags, what about all the other garbage you see piling up out there? 

The STF needs to go. We finally have a city manager who is trying to clean house – let’s help him! Write to Brian Nakamura and council and tell them the STF needs to go. 

That’s bnakamura@ci.chico.ca.us, and you can reach the council at dpresson@ci.chico.ca.us