Tag Archives: EPMC

Chico Taxpayers welcomes city manager Brian Nakamura for a Q&A meeting Sunday July 7, 9am, Chico Library

29 Jun

I like Brian Nakamura because no matter how I argue with him and even accuse him of stuff, he’s always nice to me. I appreciate his agreeing to come in to our meeting next Sunday to answer our Mom and Pop questions about what’s going on Downtown.

I don’t intend to be a bitch, but I want to be able to ask dumb questions without being told I’m off subject, or off the agenda. We gave up agendas at our meeting about the third meeting – it’s too hard to predict what people want to talk about, and where a simple question or bit of information will lead a conversation.  Our meetings are dynamic, and I think we like it that way. 

Our meeting with Randall Stone was like a good loaf of bread – unique, nutritious, good to the last crumb. Councilor Stone explained the employee bargaining process to us, and shared our opinion that city employees need to pay their own share of pensions. He’s since been attacked by CPOA Peter Durfee for mentioning the combined total of salary and overtime enjoyed by the public safety employees. While I roundly disagree with Stone on other subjects, I sure appreciate his taking a strong stand on the pensions, publicly, opening himself to the usual trash talk that passes for discussion down at the cop shop.

I’m guessing our conversation with Brian Nakamura will be another productive meeting, I’m looking forward to seeing a nice group around the table July 7, 9am, Chico library on Sherman Avenue.

Last week to get your Utility Tax Rebate – let them know what you think of a sales tax increase while you’re at it

22 Jun

Friday is the last day you can take in your Utility Tax rebate application. I will have to check in with the Finance Department and see what the totals were, once the dirt settles.  Even if you won’t get much back, it’s good to go down and let them know you don’t want them to have the money.

I can’t get over how desperate city council and $taff are to drum up revenues, any way possible, whilst holding us all off  by the forehead on the subject of paying their own share. Between the seven of them, council receives over $130,000 in health benefits, for which they pay two percent of their salaries – about $1,000. Yes, all of them split that $1,000, and walk away with health insurance packages ranging from $8,000 in value to over $21,000. Staff meanwhile spends about $2 million a year, of our money, just on the “employee’s share” of their pension premiums. The full cost of their benefits and pensions, according to a hastily departing Jennifer Hennessy, is over $10 million a year

Brian Nakamura says we have to cut about $7 million from out budget. Well, I see the solution right in front of his face – PAY YOUR OWN SHARE BRIAN! 

Brian Nakamura, with a $217,000/year salary, pays 4 percent of the premium on his 70 percent pension, and we pay the rest of his share, plus another 20-something percent (this figure goes up every two years or so), and then the other 70 or so percent rides the stock market. That hasn’t been working out lately – CalPERS needs a 7 percent return on their investment and they have been lucky to get 1 percent. So, they keep sending letters upping  the contribution for employers. They don’t care how much of that contribution comes from employees. 

It’s council’s job to determine how much the employee’s should pay of their pension premium. The current 9 percent “employee share,” which, of course, they don’t really pay, is “only a suggestion.” Our city council could ask the employees to pay the entire share demanded by CalPERS. Instead, they take the full 9 percent only from the lower-paid classified staffers, while management types who make upwards of $100,000/year get away with paying 4 percent and neither cops nor fire pay anything. 

But Mary Goloff has the nerve to stand up in front of the public, after what we heard about the misappropriation and outright mismanagement that’s been going on for the last six to eight years, and ask us to pay an increased sales tax? 

Is she on the hooch again? 

And then there’s Tom Lando, who walked unelected into a  board position at Chico Area Recreation District (CARD) because nobody else ran. Lando has made the rounds of many public agencies, oftentimes receiving a pretty nice “consulting fee” for serving as interim director of agencies like Feather River Recreation District. But what I see him doing, really, is networking these agencies – like the Chico Chamber, Enloe Hospital, CARD –  in support of raising taxes on the public to pay off the ever mounting pension debt at CalPERS.  His $143,000/year pension depends on keeping CalPERS afloat. (See Jan 30, 2012 “Here’s why Lando wants to raise your sales tax!”)

So, he keeps bringing up this sales tax increase idea at CARD, at every meeting we’ve attended. I don’t know if CARD can put a sales tax increase measure on the ballot, but a group of like-minded agencies could approach the city about it, and then run a pretty expensive campaign to pass it. 

We need to let them know, we will oppose it. We need to show them we’re ready to take out our wallets to fight it, just like Measure J. And we need to let them know, we’re ready to take our wallets to Paradise, Red Bluff and Oroville, Redding and Sacramento, to spend our sales taxes elsewhere. And, we’ll be shopping online. When we shop online, we may pay California sales tax, but Chico gets nothing, and Chico retailers suffer. 

So, write those letters, please. Write to the papers, but write to the players too –

  •  Mayor Mary Goloff at mgoloff@ci.chico.ca.us
  • Tom Lando at tlando@chicorec.com

If this campaign starts to pick up there are other people we should write to – including the full council, the chamber of commerce, DCBA, and CARD. We can’t just sit here while they run their propaganda machines against us. Get busy writing those letters.