Tag Archives: Maureen Kirk Butte County Dist 3

Humboldt Fire caused by transients?

21 Jul

You have probably heard about the 100 acre Humboldt (Road) fire that occurred along Hwy 32, just above California Park and the new Forgarty houses on the other side of the road. It came within yards of Cal Water’s new tank.

When my husband and I drove out on Hwy 32 yesterday, we saw that it came from the area where we had reported illegal camping a few months ago.  There was a tent with a tarp, clearly visible from Hwy 32. When we investigated we found a fire pit surrounded with garbage and scattered household goods. The fire pit was well established, lined with rocks gathered from the surrounding hillside.  The site looked as though it was regularly used for years, and very recently.

We reported it and were referred to Office Scott Zuchin, who told us he hadn’t seen any camp there. He offered to set up a neighborhood meeting, but when I persisted in my complaint he got testy. 

Please be more specific then. We may not be speaking about the same location. You may attach photographs to your email if that helps.

I had given him the exact location, and told him it was visible from Hwy 32.  I don’t think these people read an e-mail completely before they respond. Shortly thereafter, the tent and tarp disappeared, but the campsite was never cleaned up.  We saw signs of illegal camping all along Humboldt road, in the exact vicinity of that 100 acre fire, and aside from a poorly organized last minute clean-up of the road by a private group for the Wildflower Century, there have been no attempts made by any city or county agency to clean the garbage out of that area.

I had cc’d  Third District Supervisor Maureen Kirk into that discussion because she lives in Cal Park. She is fully aware of the transient camps along Humboldt Road and complained about crime being on the increase in Cal Park. This woman needs to wake up and get off the pot – she’s up for re-election in 2018 and doesn’t have a clue as to the problems she is causing every time she votes to fund some “homeless” program. The county brings these people in here for the stipend attached – $550 a day to pay down a pension debt that has them cutting  staff and closing fire stations. But to these agencies money is like an ice cube in hell – it’s already gone to management salaries and pensions before it even hits  the floor.

Write to Kirk and tell her she has to do something to stop the flood of insanity she’s turned loose on our town – that’s mkirk@buttecounty.net

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Butte County supervisors need their heads examined

6 Jul

This morning my husband and I went out early to do chores, expecting the digits to triple by noon or one pm. It’s nice to be able to look behind yourself at a day well spent by 2 pm, and find a shady spot to take a nap or a baby pool to soak your toes until the mercury settles back down a little.

It’s smart to do your shopping early these days. Just that trot from the front door of the grocery store to your car can take the crisp out of a head of lettuce and chop a day or two off the life expectancy of that carton of milk.

Unfortunately it’s not just the heat that makes going out around Chico unpleasant. Transients have set upon our town like some kind of locust plague. You’d think they’d head for the coast, or at least some river town, where the temperatures would be cooler. The temperatures here have proven deadly –

http://www.krcrtv.com/news/local/butte/chico-police-investigating-body-found-behind-ihop/555241431

http://www.chicoer.com/article/NA/20170626/NEWS/170629827

I can only imagine what misery would drive this woman to lay down and die in a cluster of bushes along Hwy 99, trucks rumbling just yards from her body, but I do realize, she had nobody outside her immediate family to turn to.  A $63 million budget for the county Behavioral Health Department and we still don’t have any sort of crisis center or crisis team to deal with people who are in trouble. As we all found out from the Desmond Phillips disaster, calls for help are too often answered by Chico PD officers who may or may not have had one week of training at Butte College in determining, as former police officer Linda Dye put it, “who’s crazy and who’s just faking it…”

Today that was the answer for a young man I feel was determined to take his own life to get help.

As my husband and I rounded the corner out of the deli section of the Mangrove Safeway, my husband stopped to look at  the lunch meat. As I stood by the fancy cheese counter, this 20-something year old man, clean and shaven, with clean clothes, came walking toward us with a very determined look on his face. His expression was almost hostile. He walked straight into the liquor section and I turned my back. Suddenly a young employee brushed by me, smiling in apology. She ran toward into the liquor section saying, “wait, you can’t do that…Sir!”

As I turned, I saw the young man was trying to rip the security top off a liquor bottle. The employee rushed up to him, and around the corner came the manager, who also smiled at me. They know us, we come around the store every couple of days, we walk the same route, buy almost exactly the same items every time.

We saw the young man was argumentative, and there were other employees coming fast on the scene. As we hustled toward check-out, we watched the manager following the young man, who was more agitated, as he walked toward the front of the store. I was glad to have Rafiki and Pete at my check-out, but I worry about my friends at Safeway, having to deal with these people, more and more constantly.

The young man went out the front door, the manager watching at a distance. As we exited the store, we saw Chico’s finest putting the guy in cuffs and leading him toward their car.

We’ve seen similar people at the Safeway plaza – young, clean, new casual clothes, just loitering around the front of Safeway. Once we saw a young guy who seemed to be passed out on the sidewalk outside Kwando, with several empty wine bottles laying nearby.  As we came into Safeway, we watched him ambling up the sidewalk toward the store entrance.

I have to wonder – are these people who have been discharged by the Butte County Psychiatric Facility in Oroville? I have heard they are offered a ride to the Torres Shelter or other facilities, and then just left to their own resources. Many of them have been given prescription drugs, on their own recognizance, which seems, well, crazy to me.

It’s institutionalized insanity. These people are brought here from other cities and counties because we have, as BCBH director Adrian Kittrell describes them, “beds”. Each person come with a sort of dowery – $550 a day. The county is allowed to hold them with or without their consent for a total of 45 days. You do the math, this kind of transparent corruption makes me sick.

But do they treat them?  Well, go out and about around Chico, and tell me what you think. The streets are horrible even for the transients.  I think they seek out incarceration because  it’s meals and a place to get clean and maybe a little safer than sleeping along Hwy 99 or Bidwell Park. At least it’s air conditioned, and you can sit around and smoke cigarettes and not do anything productive.

Including treatment. I’m sure they are interviewed, just enough to glean the personal information required for funding the center. But therapy? I wouldn’t bet on that.

And after 45 days, they are released, by law the county can’t hold them any longer. Unless they make a bee-line for the nearest retail center and boost a bottle of booze, or display any behavior that shows they are a “threat to themselves or others”.

It’s a merry-go-round of insanity, starting with Butte County Supervisors. They all need their heads examined. Garry Cooper pointed out in this morning’s Enterprise Record, it’s all about the pensions and benefits.

 

Public employee unions take advantage of citizens

Here we go again. “Supervisors cut 69 positions” — mentally ill thrown to wolves, fire and public protection saved from cuts, thanks to their generous campaign contributions and vote-getting public endorsements.

“Pension liabilities looming” — both the city of Chico and county supervisors report, after these leaders put the taxpayers’ concerns at the bottom of the totem pole in exchange for public union bribes.

Next comes — “Half cent sales tax increase needed to enhance public safety,” when it is, in reality, needed to pay the over $100,000 per year retirements for these public union members which begins at age 55, 10 years younger than the taxpayers and five times their Social Security retirement.

How about new headlines, like “Supervisors approve term limits for themselves and abolish their CalPERS pension costs paid by taxpayers for their part time jobs” or “Chico leaders hire law firm to set aside public union contracts negotiated under conflict of interest with unions due to campaign contributions” or “Governor and Legislature require all public union retirees work until average age of taxpayers before receiving pensions” or “City leaders pursuing using privatized fire protection firms to same millions in salaries and pension costs” (instead of pursuing Cal Fire help — an even more bloated bureaucracy with a more powerful union able to contribute more to their campaigns.)

Our communities and public safety is being cannibalized by these public unions, and taking more from average-Joe taxpayers to support these exorbitant pensions and ridiculously early retirements is simply abuse of the taxpayer.

— Garry Cooper, Durham

 

 

 

 

What ya gonna do?

22 Apr

Today, at 9 am, my husband and I encountered a man at Mangrove Safeway who was so intoxicated he was trying to enter the “EXIT ONLY” door. He just stood there with his nose to the glass, pressing at the door with his chest, pushing the concrete with his feet. His face was red with alcohol poisoning.

When we’d entered the parking lot via the back alley, we saw him laying in a fetal position behind Kwando, two wine bottles laying nearby.  We were surprised to see him lumbering up to the front door of Safeway a few minutes later. He looked to be in his late 20’s, long hair, unshaven, but weirdly clean. He was wearing new clothes – a t-shirt and what appeared to be medical scrubs for pants, and bright aqua blue sneakers. 

When I was young I worked at a retail store on a busy boulevard in Sacramento.  The entry had an old brick planter with an awning over the front, to shade the store from the intense afternoon sun. We’d long since given up trying to plant anything in the planter box, the bums would sit on it all night, drinking cheap booze and watching the cars go by, it would be full  of empty bottles and other junk the next morning.

The boss would schedule a team of two to open the store – one big, mean looking guy to deal with the front entrance, and another person to run the cash registers and get the store going. The planter and awning created a neat little shelter.  Most mornings there would be at least one human body blocking the front door, and the ground would be sticky with urine, spilled drinks, food trash, and sometimes a pile of human poop.

The front door guy was given a janitorial style mop bucket on wheels, a jug of bleach, a push broom, and a big, yellow fat hose, with a key to open the spigot on the side of the store. Of course that had to be locked up good – we’d actually  had transients who’d found a way to get on the roof, set up a neat little camp, with a hose running down to that spigot for fresh water! Ginchee!

One morning my co-worker came into the store to say he thought the old man on the front steps might be dead. His own face had a tint of green – the old man had thrown up blood and booze all over the entrance, and he wouldn’t respond to my friend’s prodding and pleading.

These people drove us nuts. We were open late at night and they were always trying to  get into the store. If they made it past the front cash register we’d have a hell of a time getting them out, and the cops wouldn’t help us. I think the oldest one of my co-workers was about 24 years old, we’d all grown up in the suburbs, the worst thing we’d seen was our dad with a hangover.

So my  friend and I were both really scared this guy was dead. It wasn’t exactly sympathy, but we had never seen a dead guy before. We went into the back of the store to call the cops and – you guessed it – when we came back the old bastard had picked himself up and wandered out into the busy street, swearing and swinging his fists at the early morning traffic.  And then he was gone, but not quite forgotten…

Nothing left to do but call the cops off and clean the front entry. Yeeeeeeccccchhhhh!

So I don’t know what to do when I see these people flocking all over the Mangrove Plaza. As could have been predicted, the warm weather is bringing them in droves.

I don’t know what to do about the general atmosphere of “Who gives a shit” that seems to be overcoming our town.  Worse – so many people are in point blank denial – today the park is packed with people participating in that paint run – are they blind to the condition of the park? There are pot holes with white spray paint circles around them in the park road  – Hello!?! 

The other day my husband and I went up to walk our dogs along Humboldt Road. Wow, what a mess that’s become, but if you watch out for broken glass there are a few nice hikes.  We found a place along the road that’s become a couch dump – even a big screen tv. Wandering along a little creek, we came upon a trashed car we hadn’t seen before, so we guessed it’s been dumped within the last month or so. The trunk, hood, doors were wide open, stuff was torn out all over the place. A faded note held in place by a window wiper said the car had not been abandoned, please leave it alone. 

0421170904

Anybody recognize this car?

It sure looked “unused, disused, neglected, idledeserted, unoccupied, uninhabited, empty” to me.  I always wonder if these cars have been stolen and are in the process of being stripped. 

Even though this is within the city limits and jurisdiction of Chico PD – a city work crew was up there, dumping slobbers in pot holes – I don’t even know who to report it to. When I reported a very much inhabited campsite we found down there,  Chico PD acted as though I was just being a pill.  I can’t believe the city road crew didn’t see all that stuff from the cab of their big bulldozer. The county has known about it for years.

I sent a picture I took of the homeless camp out front of Home Depot to the Enterprise Records’ “Hotshots,” we’ll see if they print it.  I don’t know how else to draw attention to this issue when so many people just don’t want to hear or do anything about it. 

Questions for our county supervisor: Butte County Behavioral Health gets $61 million a year in “Revenue Transfers” – is that the money they get for taking crazy people from other counties?

20 Jan

I’ve been chatting with Chico PD and my third district supervisor Maureen Kirk about transients, illegal camping, and crime in our neighborhoods. When I read that city council had just agreed to more money and more staffing for Chico PD – even when our city manager tells me our “resources” are “constrained” –  I had to ask, does this mean more cops in Bidwell Park to rout the illegal campers? 

O’brien responded, “Both the Rangers and our Police Officers move campers out of the Park, but it is helpful to have the specifics as to when and where.  I am including Interim Lieutenant Scott Zuschin in this email and would ask that you reach out to him specifically with the specifics of the camping sites.”

What do you hear – I hear “No!” I also hear, “we will continue to expect you to do our job…”

When Kirk chimed in to complain about crime in her Cal Park neighborhood, I told her I’d just seen a tent encampment along that little creek that runs adjacent to Hwy 32 east, in that new Oak Valley subdivision.  I just saw the little tent again yesterday, just below the new Cal Water tower.

I also told Kirk I believe Butte County Behavioral Health is behind this problem, because they bring transients here from other counties, selling “beds”, as BH director Dorian Kittrell  calls spaces at the psychiatric facility, known officially as “The Puff”.  Kittrell told me the county  gets $550 a day for housing a patient. The county passed an ordinance last year allowing BH to place people on a 45-day involuntary hold. At $550 a day, that’s $22,500 for each person, for a month and a half of cooling their heels at The Puff.

Here’s one man’s story, about how he was 5150’d in the town he’d lived for 30 years, and then ended up at the Torres Shelter by way of shelters in Yuba City and Oroville. 

http://www.newsreview.com/chico/searching-for-snipes/content?oid=9361141

When I shared this story with Kirk she  responded, “I don’t agree with your conclusion that we are bringing people into Butte County for financial gain. It seems that the author of the article brought himself to Butte County.”

Does Kirk even understand what a 5150 is?  This woman’s refusal and denial are a huge part of the problem. I told her I’d look at the county budget and get back to her. Here’s the adopted 2016-17 budget:

http://www.buttecounty.net/administration/CountyBudget/FY16-17AdoptedBudget.aspx

You can skip to Behavioral Health through the table of contents:

http://www.buttecounty.net/Portals/1/Budget/FY16-17Adopted/13-BH.pdf

This budget is not written for the public to understand, but I did learn some stuff.  One phrase I kept seeing again and again was “Intergovernmental Revenue”, another was “Revenue Transfer.” I suspect this is the funding received with these patients that travel from county to county like a plague – they bring funding, funding to pay salaries and benefits.

Here’s a report that explains things in more human terms:

https://www.buttecounty.net/Portals/1/FY15-16RecommendedBudget/Behavioral_Health.pdf

There you see, according to BH director Dorian Kittrell, $61 million a year in transfers. I forwarded this information to Kirk and asked her for an explanation. We’ll see if she gets back to me, I think she’s a little pissed off right now.

As for the little tent along Hwy 32, Chief O’Brien forwarded my concerns to Public Relations Officer Zuchin, and he responded:

“The Target team linked up with realtor Tamara Lambert-Valencia from Coldwell Banker DuFour to address the encampment issue near the water tower located inside the new Oak Valley subdivision two weeks ago. This camp is no longer an issue.”

Really? It was still there yesterday, rain fly  a flappin’, bicycles with carts piled up next to the  tent, a well-worn  path off Humboldt Road. Well see if it stands through this dumper, but I don’t  think the cops  are going to do anything about it. That area has been a homeless camp for years. 

Hey Maureen,  keep your garage locked!

UPDATE:  Kirk responded with an e-mail from Behavioral Health Director Dorian Kittrell:

Hi Maureen

The overall budget is approximately 61 million dollars.  This total comprises the county general fund contribution of roughly $280,000 dollars which gives the county access to state and federal funding via state sales tax revenues and vehicle license fees.  The dollars (also known as “realignment revenue”) is spent on treatment which includes outpatient and inpatient services.  In spending these dollars we are able to receive federal (medi-cal) reimbursement (anywhere from  50% to 95% of the cost of treatment)  We estimate each year how much reimbursement we will expect to receive based on previous years claims for medi-cal that we received.    When all these at totaled we project the total budget.  Of course, this explanation is a broad overview.  There are also some grant dollars and other funding streams (for example MHSA tax dollars) that add to the total.   I am happy to sit down with Juanita and my finance person if she would like further clarification.

So, “intergovernmental revenues” refers to any dollars that come from local, state or federal government sources.

Call me if you have any questions!

Dorian

I realize Kittrell’s response is in heavy Bureaucratese, but really, read it – that’s just what I told Kirk in the first place. In fact, it looks like they get all but $280,000 of their BH budget from those transfers.  Does Kirk understand it? Then why did she have to ask Kitrell to explain it?

Maureen, you need to start making plans for that Del Webb  Leisure Village you were talking about. 

 

Camping in Bidwell Park is a crime – report it!

31 Dec

Yesterday, having reported an illegal camp in Middle Bidwell Park to city of Chico officials, my husband and I walked over to the site to find that the campers seemed to be gone but had left mounds of trash behind. In fact, we encountered more trash yesterday than we’d seen the day before.

These pictures were taken yesterday morning. 

1230160853

Here’s the pile we encountered Thursday December 29, still there – notice the dismantled bikes. Somebody had added – a real estate sign? – to the pile.

We noticed new piles, clothes,  trash bags,  kipple of all kinds.

1230160856r

I wonder if they steal from each other, and here’s somebody’s stuff that has been rifled and left.

 

This is located about a block or two from my home, my tenant’s home. We’ve always locked everything up – Chico was never that nice of a town that you could leave your valuables unlocked, that’s been known for some time.  

But lately we’ve been hearing about weird stuff, stuff that goes beyond home security.  One guy was caught stealing a woman’s panties off her back yard clothesline, in broad daylight. Her husband  caught him in the garage, having broken in through a back door to steal a bike.

A man on the  website Nextdoor reported someone had torn the door off a storage shed in his side yard, but said there was nothing of value, so nothing was taken. Lucky him!  I had been bothering my husband to buy one of those metal  sheds at Home Depot for our tenant’s bikes, so she wouldn’t have to keep them in her laundry room. He laughed  and told me, “that’s like telling the transients, ‘look, here’s some stuff for you…'”  He’s right, these people can just rip the door off a shed, hidden in your back  yard, you and  all your neighbors gone off to work. 

As I’ve said, Chico is not a nice little town anymore. How do we fight this? Report it, report it, report it. Demand action.  I’ll e-mail city manager Mark Orme and ask him who is responsible for cleaning up this mess and when that will be done.  I’ll cc both news editors as well as my third district supervisor Maureen Kirk. I may cc the entire council, but Reanette Fillmer is the one who has shown the most interest in this issue.

Please join me in reporting illegal campers. Follow up – if you still see the problem the next day, politely ask what has been done or why nothing has been done. Don’t be intimidated by their polite refusal to do anything – send your e-mail conversation  here, and I’ll print it verbatim. 

  • Mark Orme, city manager – mark.orme@chicoca.gov
  • Sean Morgan, mayor – sean.morgan@chicoca.gov
  • Reanette Fillmer, vice mayor – reanette.fillmer@chicoca.gov
  • Maureen Kirk, Butte County Supervisor District 3 – mkirk@buttecounty.net
  • Larry Wahl, Butte County Supervisor District 2 – lwahl@buttecounty.net
  • David Little, editor Chico Enterprise Record – dlittle@chicoer.com

NOTE: As of Sunday Jan 1 the trash is gone.  I don’t know who picked it up but will thank Orme for staff’s response. 

 

 

The Good Old Boy Network is alive and well in Chico

6 Nov

This afternoon I attended a meeting I had never attended before – the Local Government C0mmittee, made up of representatives from county and city elected officials and staffers. This was easily one of the worst meetings I have ever attended.   I sat there looking at a group of trough slickers, people who’ve grown comfortable getting paid to sit  in meetings  for endless hours, their mushroom-shaped asses molded right into those chairs. They don’t have any sense of time anymore, they just sit in these rooms breathing their own gas until they’ve all dissolved into a slurry of communal back-scratching.

That would include the ones we may or may not have voted for – Randall Stone, Scott Gruendl,  City of Chico;  Maureen Kirk, Larry Wahl, County board of Stupes; Cory Honea, Butte County Sheriff. Excuse me if watching these morons in meetings has left me without an ounce of respect for any of them. They’ve all completely lost touch with what they’re supposed to be doing, and WHO they’re supposed to be serving. Then there’s the usual collection of ass-sucking bureaucrats who go whichever way the wind blows – Chico City Manager Brian Nakamura, representatives from the police department, and then those drip-lickers from agencies like Butte Environmental Council and “park volunteer” Susan Mason, of Fiends of Bidwell Park.

Again, I’ll say, these people have made a life of sitting in meetings on our dime. While we’re out hustling to survive, these soft-handed help-themselvers are sitting in a gorgeously appointed room with a brand new H/A system and fancy furniture, pretending to work for a living. They’re no better than the freaks who hang around the outside of the building. 

The meeting didn’t start until 3:45. That sucks for me, I’m not a professional mushroom ass, I have other responsibilities. And, I like to use my bike to get around – it sure beats the hell out of going everywhere in a conga line of cars – but that limits me to daylight hours. It now starts to get dark at 5 pm, and I don’t feel too secure running around alone in what this council has done to my town after that hour. Lights don’t help, unless we’re talking about a Maglite 6 cell D, or how about a set of nunchucks strung with LED’s?

I also notice, the afternoon and evening meetings are not that productive. I’m not the only person who’s been up all day. Jennifer Macarthy, the county Economic and Community Development Manager  who was supposed to be running this meeting, seemed to forget what she was doing, and let the first topic run off subject a number of times. This was particularly annoying when people insisted on addressing the next topic on the agenda, and then expected to make the same remarks during that conversation as well. Every now and then, sometimes with a nudge from Mo Kirk, Jennifer seemed to remember that she was supposed to be keeping people on subject. This discussion of cleaning up homeless camps ran at least 20 minutes long, at least, with people asking to make just one more off-subject remark after another, and Jennifer allowing them. When one woman’s off-subject comment was ignored, gadfly Emily Alma raised her pudgy little mitt to insist somebody answer the woman. At this point, I wanted to re-enact these old bits from “All in the Family”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kkue1ns4XvU

I went to hear the report on the garbage franchise contract now being stitched together in a cooperative effort between Butte County and the city of Chico. This deal will give either Waste Management or Recology,  or both, exclusive franchise zones in Butte County and in Chico. This means you no longer pick your own hauler, and there’ll be no more incentive for these companies to keep our costs down. There will also be admitted but as yet undisclosed increases in costs for the city of Chico, as well as liability issues. 

Given remarks I’ve heard lately and again at today’s meeting, this is already a done deal in both the county and the city. Right now they’re playing the haulers against each other, nudging them into giving up as much as possible. Today I again heard mentioned the idea that whoever gets the permit should be willing to do all kinds of free services for the city of Chico, like pick up trash in city parks for free, provide free dumpsters for community clean-ups, free street sweeping, etc.

Brian Nakamura has also been running around town saying that we need some kind of prod to make our haulers abide by the laws – during last night’s City Council meeting,  Recology manager Joe Matz finally took exception to this trash talk Nakamura has been spewing. Nakamura said to a Tea Party gathering recently that the garbage companies would use Butte County as a dumping place for their old substandard trucks, that they’d cut recycling services to save money, and all kinds of other fear mongering if we don’t have this franchise to hold over them. Matz reminded everybody last night that all of California has the same air quality laws and vehicle standards. What is Nakamura trying to pull here?

Well, that’s a rhetorical question, you know the answer, I know the answer – he wants the hugely increased fees to pay down the UNFUNDED PENSION LIABILITY. What does he think, that like Herman Goering, he can just keep repeating his Big Lies until they become the truth?

I didn’t have to stay for the rest of the meeting to  tell you what when on – Good Old Boy network. They allow women in now, but it’s all the same stuff that’s always gone on. Our county and city are run by the talking heads, and they run things to their advantage. Your elected officials are just as bad as staff  – city councilors get a small stipend and a big health insurance policy, and last time I checked, county supervisors were being paid almost $60,000 in salary, plus benefits. None of these people are going to rock their little boat. You have to rock it for them every four years, and it’s time for Gruendl, Wahl and Kirk to take a little swim.