Tag Archives: Internal Affairs Committee

Blowing money out their patoot, Part II

18 Feb

I am a woman of many moods. People who’ve known me a long time say they’ve watched me turn from a liberal to a conservative. I hate labels – those feelings have been mixed up inside of me for years, and I’ve followed one party or another because I thought they were expressing the same feelings. Over the years, I’ve realized, you can’t trust any big political party, and the bigger politics get, the less effect the common person will have.

So when Planning Commissioner and long-time gadfly Jon Luvass brought forward a “discussion” of “corporate personhood,” I was conflicted. Yes, I think “corporate personhood,” as explained to me by Ralph Nader about 1993, is bad.

“Corporate personhood” came from a legislative decision made decades ago – about 100 years ago? –  that gave corporations “human rights.”  Boiled down, this means, they can scream “harrassment” if you go after them for say, coloring the stream that runs through your town with toxic waste, or turning the air over your city into soot soup. It gives them all kinds of protections they don’t deserve, and it’s caused us a lot of problems in holding them to the laws that you and I must obey.

If you want a better explanation about this, go to www.nader.org/ – Ralph has been hashing issues like this for years, that’s why I have voted for him in every presidential election ever since 1992. 

Meanwhile, Jon Luvass has supported MoveOn.org and the Democratic Party. Hmmmm.

What Luvass, prodded forward by Ann Schwab and Linda Furr and who knows who else,  brought to the Internal Affairs Committee last week was not a discussion about “corporate personhood” but their own hypocritical diatribe on campaign spending

Our election process, he says, are being “swung” by “big big money.”

This is where I find Luvass disingenuous. This is a guy who has supported MoveOn.org since it was created, going to the first MoveOn convention and then holding a party at his co-housing community to spread the word. Luvass has also long been one of the stinking heads of the Esplanade League stinking fish, the Super PAC of the liberals. He’s closely connected to Dave Guzzetti’s “Chico Democrats,” which by the way, has nothing to do with Democracy.

Luvass had the nerve to ramble on about how these evil PACS – not his, see – are ruining Democracy. “This is a matter of money speaking louder than the mouths of human beings…” but, “I’m not talking about corporations in general (like the Esplanade League), but ‘MAJOR’ corporations…”

Well, that’s real pretty Jon, but it doesn’t carry much weight coming from a guy who bought his way onto the Planning Commission with the single largest donation allowed in a Chico City Council race.  Yep, Luvass gave Maureen Kirk $950, just short of the $1000 maximum, in the campaign directly leading to her appointing him as Planning Commissioner. 

Yes Jon, that looks really bad, especially given the fact that you had no qualifications whatsoever and didn’t even read the city code until I pointed that out to you a good eight months into the job.

Luvass acts as though butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, but he and his friends are also quick to call in their big guns when they really need money  – the California nurses union and the SEIU were the biggest contributors to the campaign against Measure A, and they both waited until the last quarter to donate so they wouldn’t have to disclose until AFTER THE ELECTION. Same with the Esplanade League, which also refuses to disclose just  exactly where it’s money comes from.

I saw Nancy Pelosi on PBS’s MacNeil Report the other night, railing about how the Republicans’ Super PACS are just ruining life as we know it. Reporter Judy Woodruff pointed out that Obama will be going with a Super PAC. Pelosi, looking like one of those apple-head puppets, croaked back that Obama’s money is DIFFERENT!  He discloses! Yeah, just like the Chico Democrats and the Esplanade League – we won’t find out whose fist is up Obama’s ass until he’s already made his inaugural address.

So, Jon, Ann, Linda – you can save your bullshit for those ignoramuses who would listen to you.  Nobody believes you are sincere in limiting campaign money, and this “corporate personhood” discussion is just more of your whitewash.

Meanwhile, council turns a deaf ear to my request to agendize a discussion of how a tax increase measure can get on the ballot WITHOUT one shred of support from the community.  Yes, five of them can contrive to shove it on the ballot without a petition. 

Please write to council and ask them to agendize my request for a public discussion of how a tax increase measure gets on our local ballot. I’ve written a formal request to the clerk’s office, and already one member of council has answered back that he won’t discuss it until Lando comes forward with his proposal. I told this council member, I’M NOT ASKING FOR A DISCUSSION OF LANDO’S PROPOSAL. I’m asking for a discussion of HOW ANY TAX INCREASE PROPOSAL CAN GET ON THE LOCAL BALLOT. 

If they can sit around for two hours masturbating themselves with this kind of crap, they can agendize my request.

Fun and games on your dime

15 Feb

You may have read that the City of Chico Internal Affairs committee yesterday refused to recommend a Downtown smoking ban.  What you didn’t read was that they spent almost an hour and a half  leading the cancer folks on as though they might consider it.

An hour and a half of $taff time, mulling over almost identical $taff reports regarding two almost identical items (see my previous post):

https://chicotaxpayers.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/sitting-with-the-circle-of-jerks-down-at-city-hall/

The room was packed with supporters of two proposed smoking bans – one a comprehensive ban of smoking almost anywhere Downtown. The other, a redundant ban that also includes all of Bidwell Park.  There was not a full committee present – Holcombe already seems to be making his way toward the exit.

Chair Jim Walker and third leg Bob Evans made it clear from the get-go that they would probably not recommend either ban. One of the proponents actually said they already knew they wouldn’t get Item A, and most had come to address Item B. But, Walker proceeded to ask for comments regarding Item A, and took up a good half hour on it.  At one point Walker actually used the words “convince me,” even though he had made it clear that he thought the Downtown ban was an attack on civil liberties, motivated by  a simple dislike of smokers. Regardless of his opening remarks, he continued to lead this group on for an hour and 25 minutes, telling me at one point, “I think this is the best use of public salaries…” .

This pandering  is an incredible waste of $taff time. I tried to point that out but  Walker kept interrupting me. Well, let’s do the math kids. At the table sat John Rucker, at over $165,000 a year, playing secretary to the committee. Next to him sat city attorney Lori Barker, at over $190,000. Then two members of the clerk’s staff (writing the reports that Rucker will read verbatim at the next meeting), the head of the parks department, one of his rangers, and a guy from CARD.  Want a grand total on those salaries – all of which YOU pay?  Well, I don’t have the current figures in front of me, but I’ll make a shot at the general ballpark  – we’re talking almost three quarters of a million dollars in horseflesh, sitting in one room, babbling two identical items that have  already received hours of $taff time in various reports and meetings. And that’s just the salaries, don’t forget we tote their benefits and pensions.

Feel like a pack-mule? Well you should – a blind pack mule headed for a precipitous drop.

These meetings aren’t video-taped,  and the minutes are questionable – it depends on who’s taking minutes how complete they are. The clerk or her assistant tapes the meetings, but only for their own use. I’ve been to meetings that went all over town, voices were raised, huge arguments were had, and then read the minutes: a list of the items discussed and sometimes the names of any people who spoke, but nothing about what they said. Sometimes the minutes make note of whether a speaker supported or opposed an item, but that’s it. The committee members are allowed to read the minutes and ask for things to be stricken, even if they are true. The council does not allow verbatim minutes of any meeting. You figure that out.

I think these committees should all be thrown out. The reason behind committees is supposed to be airing these matters WITH THE PUBLIC.  Let me ask a stupid question: how many of you are available for an 8am meeting, Downtown?

I have been to these meetings for years. I may not have a paid job, but it’s not like I don’t have other things to do. I used to take my kids, as young as four years old, and was proud how well behaved they were and how they’d always pay attention and make the most adroit observations afterward. But frankly, intelligent humans that they are, they got sick of going – it will wear you down morally, if you don’t have enough experience to put it in perspective.

So now, I go in by myself.  Yesterday I got up at 5 in the morning in order to get my  morning chores done – I get sick of coming home at 10:30 in the morning, feeling like I’ve been running behind somebody’s truck, and find myself two to three hours behind in my day. So, by 4:00 in the afternoon, I feel pretty shagged out, but take a nap? No, I work for a living. When I don’t work, I don’t eat.

And I’ll complain here: Jim Walker treated me like shit. He doesn’t like me, and he doesn’t like what I have to say. When I tried to ask the woman from the Lung Association just how she intended to enforce this rule, Walker interrupted me and  told me I was out of line. I told him this was part of the conversation, that Bob Evans had already brought it up. He asked the Lung Association woman if she was “comfortable” being asked questions by me, and she said no,  so Walker told me to shut up, essentially.

The Lung Association bitch had made this statement: “We don’t expect business owners to enforce it (a ban on smoking in doorways Downtown)  – the public will enforce it.” Her exact words. When I tried to ask her just exactly how far she expected public citizens to go in enforcing this ban, she wouldn’t answer me. She didn’t want to say, “I don’t care if you get the front of your head knocked out, I want you to attack smokers wherever you see them.”

Evans and Walker had already said they believed the Downtown ban was excessive, that 25 feet was onerous, and Evans had already questioned whether it was enforceable. As soon as Walker told me to shut up, Katie Simmons from the Chico Chamber spoke up saying exactly what I said – neither the Chamber nor the DCBA will support this ban because, not only is it not supported by their membership,  it’s unenforceable. Several other speakers followed with the same concern, including a guy who had earlier spoken on behalf of the ban.  But Walker told me to shut up. I’m so sick of that little dick, next January will not come soon enough for me. I wish I could throw that screen door at his ass myself, the self-righteous little prick. Out with bad rubbish!

Walker did make some interesting statements. This is why I question the hour and 25 minutes of $taff time that was taken for this issue. Walker said, right off the bat, “we mix up health issues with annoyance issues…things we just don’t like.” He went on several times to say that he believed the advocates were “just trying to make smoking so inconvenient” nobody could smoke anymore. He made it clear he wouldn’t support it. But, 20 minutes later, he asked for more comments from the audience, saying, “convince me…” It went on like that for an hour and 25 minutes of a two hour meeting with another item still waiting on the agenda.

These committee meetings rationalize millions in $taff costs, for questionable results. They do not make these conversations any more accessible to the public. They instead give the impression that the public has had input when they most certainly have not. It’s just a total scam, and we pay for it.

I’ll get back to Jon Luvass’s little rant later (Item C), but right now I got things to do.

Sitting with the Circle of Jerks down at City Hall

14 Feb

Happy Valentine’s Day! This morning I’m treating myself to one of those 8am meetings Downtown. I can’t resist this meeting. It is a perfect example of the waste of $taff time that is costing us millions a year.

Today’s example is the Internal Affairs Committee. Internal Affairs is part of the city’s  internal masturbation process. I’m sorry to be crude, but this process just lends itself to potty talk.
See, the City $taff have got to stay busy. They have to provide themselves with something to do to justify those salaries, like Burkland’s, over $190,000 a year. Mr. Burkland has to look like he’s doing SOMETHING, or at least his $taff has to appear occupied, so these morning committee meetings are just fuel for their salary rationale.
Here’s this morning’s menu:

A. Consideration of Request from American Lung Association for Comprehensive Policy Regarding the Reduction of Tobacco Product Waste.
The Lung Association, also searching for ways to prove their worthiness, is asking the city to ” protect the public from outdoor secondhand smoke exposure and to reduce tobacco product waste in public areas.
I have to wonder, is the Lung Association “in on it”? Do they realize how much money this request will cost the taxpayer in $taff $alaries? As Dave Burkland points out, the city already has litter laws, they just don’t enforce them. What makes the Lung Association think they’ll enforce a redundant law any moreso than they’d enforce any other law? Who do they think is going to enforce this law, anyway – the same Chico PD who told us they wouldn’t investigate a major vandalism incident in a California Park neighborhood because they’d just been turned down for a pay increase?
I also have to ask, what’s Dave Burkland doing, allowing this use of $taff time? Is he an idiot, or is he “in on it”?  (okay, that’s a rhetorical question, the answer is “both”).
Next item,

B. Consideration of Request from American Lung Association for a Comprehensive Policy to Protect the Public from Second Hand Smoke.

Yeah, you’re reading it right. This is a redundant redundant request. Again the committee will consider “a comprehensive policy to protect the public from outdoor second hand smoke and reduce tobacco product waste.

I know, stop it! Or as Elaine would say, “Shut Up!”

The explanation here is that “The Committee agreed to pursue the issue of second hand smoke after receiving input from community groups representing businesses, health care professionals and enforcement.”

The “community groups, representing businesses, health care professionals and enforcement” amounted to less than a dozen people, actually, well, I’m guessing, exactly three people.

The third item on today’s menu was agendized by exactly one person,  city Planning Commissioner and all around pain in the ass Jon Luvass.  Here’s Luvass’ item, you’re going to love it, you know, they always save the best for last:

C. Resolution to End Corporate PersonhoodDiscussion regarding a request from Jon Luvaas to have the Council adopt a resolution urging Congress to initiate an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to end corporate
personhood. This item was referred from Council at its meeting of January 17, 2012.

See what you’re missing when you’re not sitting with me in these meetings? Total insanity, that’s right. This whole thing is nuts, and not the kind of nuts that bring $$$$ into Butte County, but the kind of nuts that load it into their 401K and take to to Costa Rica.

I’d call it a Circle Jerk, but they don’t sit around in a circle. These meetings are an absolute waste of time, and of course, wads of your money.