Tag Archives: Pension Bomb

Ride the Tiger?

15 Aug

The first question I would have for Reanette Fillmer is what’s a  CALPELRA Labor Relations Master (CLRM) ?



Reanette Fillmer


t: 530.520.5775
f: 415.678.3838


Ms. Fillmer is a human resources consultant with the firm and has over 25 years of experience in public and private sector employee relations and human resources. Ms. Fillmer works with our public sector clients on a variety of human resources and personnel issues including: integrated disability management (FMLA/CFRA/PDL/ADA/FEHA), employee and labor relations, arbitrations and mediations, organization management, strategic planning, terminations, policies and procedures review, and recruitment. Her years of experience in both the public and private sector make her a valuable addition to the firm’s consulting team.

Related Experience

As a Human Resources Director with the County of Tehama, Ms. Fillmer oversaw all aspects of labor and employee relations including bargaining, mediation, arbitrations and PERB hearings, EEOC claims, contract interpretations, settlement agreements, and disciplinary issues. She also provided advice to all County departments regarding regulations and policies related to the Civil Rights Act, EEOC claims, ADA and FEHA considerations, workers compensation, recruiting standards, staffing and employee issues and investigations of complaints. Prior to taking a position with Tehama County, Ms. Fillmer served as the Human Resources Manager and Payroll Manager for the Sacramento Superior Court.

Community Activities

  • Member of CPAAC
  • Member SHRM
  • Member of Tehama County Employer Advisory Board
  • Past member of Board of Directors for CSAC EIA
  • Served on CSAC EIA Primary Workers Comp Committee
  • Served on Legislative Committee and the Benefits Committee


  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
  • CALPELRA Labor Relations Master (CLRM)

Chico Taxpayer’s Association off-schedule meeting this Sunday, October 13, 9am.

11 Oct

Chico Taxpayers Association will be meeting this Sunday, off schedule, because last Sunday’s regular meeting had to be postponed. 

We’ll continue our conversation about the city employee contracts, which are now up for discussion, in closed session, between Chico City Council, their consultant, and $taff.  I am hoping to get people to write letters to council asking that they hold the line and ask employees to pay their own benefits. I’ve asked Mark Sorensen and Sean Morgan to offer to pay 9 percent of employee benefits and ask employees to pay the rest, but I haven’t had any answer from them.  I fully expect them to roll over for the cops like my dog when he wants a belly scratching. 

We can also yak up the latest efforts to raise local taxes – CARD and some guy named Matt Olson. I invited Olson to come to our meeting to discuss his plans but he refused. I think it’s because, he doesn’t have a plan, but we might want to keep an eye on him.  Same for CARD – although the group I saw was pretty lame, there were a few individuals at that CARD meeting that seemed pretty determined. 

So, I will be picking up the library key today, and I hope to see you down there at 9am Sunday.  

Staff has hit a beehive with a rock – they better run!

7 Jul

It’s Sunday and I’m feeling religious – THANK YOU GOD for bringing Abigail Lopez to our meeting this morning. Actually, truth be told, thanks to Jim in Chico for contacting Abigail and telling her about our meeting. Jim also has the power to move things, make things happen. 

Abigail brought us an update on her efforts to stop the closure of Caper Acres – here’s the letter she sent to the Enterprise Record:

One-Mile and Caper Acres are among the most visited attractions in Chico. Caper Acres is arguably the best park in town, and most certainly the one that offers the most shade and security. Generations of children have grown up playing there, and to cut park hours so that homemakers or parents who work non-traditional hours are unable to bring their children there is unfair and unconscionable. It makes no sense to close one of the best free sources of entertainment for children on weekdays during the height of summer.

In addition, closing restrooms that are needed by scores of visitors is short-sighted and will only result in increased maintenance costs when less scrupulous visitors elect to use the bushes as a toilet. It is also unfair to children, the elderly, and those with disabilities, as many have conditions that make it difficult to hold their bladders for any length of time.

Closing Caper Acres and several restrooms is a poor choice for Chico. I believe we can find a way via volunteers and donations to keep the park open in its current capacity. The citizens of Chico need to know exactly what would be required to maintain the park’s current availability. I have created a Facebook group called Caper Acres Volunteers to address this and will be contacting city officials to find out exactly what we as a community can do to keep our park the way it is.

— Tanya “Abigail” Lopez, Chico

I’m thrilled to have new people in the conversation. Abigail even read the budget to get ready for this conversation, that’s determination. I’m so glad to get new people involved in this discussion, but it’s so much better to talk to somebody who cared enough to read the documents and even  call various staffers to get explanations. Thanks so much Abigail for bringing something to the table. 

Of course, the meeting went all over the place. I read my notes later and think, “What the hell!?!” But mostly we talked about the real reasons for our fiscal distress – salaries, benefits and pensions. We talked about the employee contracts, which are only good through December, and will therefore be up for discussion from here on in.

We need to keep on top of this discussion, as best we can, being held off by the forehead by council and staff. The two sides, by way of negotiator Brian Nakamura and a human relations firm hired by the city, will each make their offers, chew them up, and spit them out with demands both ways. It’s just like you’d imagine – a total Repo-Man grab, with pushing and shoving, nose-twisting, shin kicking, and best of all – threats from unions to bring out their big wallets at election time to punish or reward councilors who vote the right or wrong way. 

The biggest issue in the contracts, for me, the simplest, clearest issue, is the payment of the benefits and pensions premiums. Right now, most city employees pay little or nothing toward their packages. Only the lowest paid, “classified staff” pay their full 9 percent share. Management pays 4 percent, which is less than half the suggested “employee share”, the fire dept pays 2 percent, and the  cops PAY NOTHING toward pensions of 90 percent of their highest year’s pay available at age 50. 

Just the “employee’s share” costs the city over $2 million a year. Nakamura is only trying to shave about $5 million from the budget right now, that $2 million would go a little ways toward his goal, wouldn’t it?

Right now we have one city councilor, Randall Stone, who has come to a CTA meeting and said he’ll press employees to pay their suggested 9 percent share, all of them. Stone has been taking heat from the fire department for being honest – we need to support him with more letters to the editor and also to council.

Scott Gruendl has also made comments to the Enterprise Record indicating he’d like to see the employees pay their share. Gruendl is up for re-election in November 2014, so we need to hold those remarks to his butt like a torch. 

We also need to remind him, he approved those contracts, as well as the MOU that linked salaries to revenue increases but not decreases. Mary Goloff also signed the contracts that gave public safety workers their incredibly generous benefits and pensions packages for little or nothing out of their own pockets. Mary actually went on and on about how great the contracts were at that time, thanking staff up and down for doing her job for her. I’m guessing she never even read the damned things. Jim Walker admitted same, almost like, “duh – who reads that stuff?

We need to tell these folks that the closure of a playground is not going to come out as they intended. I think they expected to throw a rock at a beehive, and those mad bees would all say, “hey Chico, you need to pay more taxes to keep our playground open!” After I met Abigail today, I think the bees are going to turn on the rock throwers. 


John Moorlach for Governor?

24 Apr

I should get a good book, but instead I find myself sitting on the computer in the early morning, reading about public pensions and how they are destroying the economy.

You might have seen my letter in this morning’s Enterprise Record:

Letter: CARD pensions a drain on funding

Chico Enterprise-Record
Posted:   04/24/2013 12:00:00 AM PDT

At Thursday’s Chico Area Recreation and Park District board meeting, General Manager Steve Visconti said the results from the recent survey should be available at the May 16 meeting.

Regarding the survey, board chair Ed Seagle wondered, “Do we really want to push an aquatic center? Sounds like too much …”

The conversation turned to the “side fund payoff” recently made to CalPERS to cover employee pensions — $400,000. This payment, they said, had saved them a 7 percent interest penalty on their pension premiums. But it completely drained their capital projects fund and put them over budget.

Earlier in the meeting, a staffer had requested a supplemental budget allocation for more “coverage” for neighborhood parks. Apparently parks are being vandalized during broad daylight, and they need more supervision. They’ve closed the skateboard park repeatedly. These workers are part-time, and receive no benefits for cleaning up the parks and repairing damage from vandals. Subject to rules from CalPERS, they are not allowed to work over 30 hours.

The board did not approve this request.

CARD is management top-heavy. The administrators receive full benefits and pension for supervising the part-timers who do the actual work. They pay less than 10 percent of their premiums, and want us to pay the rest. They keep using “aquatic center” as a carrot, but here the board chair admits this is unrealistic and the real purpose of a bond or assessment is to pay pension premiums.

— Juanita Sumner, Chico

I signed that letter “Chico Taxpayers Association,” but editor David Little always drops that reference from my name. I don’t know what his problem is with our group – oh yeah, we opposed a tax measure that he supported, how could I forget Measure J!

I don’t have a subscription to the ER, so I look through the green screen at the titles of the letters, and then I google them. They pop up for free in the O-ville Mercury Register, what’s with that? Why do we have to pay to read a rag like the Enterprise Record when it’s all for free in the O-ville paper, right online? They don’t seem to be thinking too straight down at the ER these days.

This morning, when I saw that headline, I forgot I’d written a letter, and I thought, “oh boy! Somebody else is writing about the CARD bullshit!” So I googled it.

Wow, did I ever get a google-full.   All these articles from all over the United States about how public pensions are ruining our economy.


In Ohio, the cops and fire only pay 10 percent, their contribution is being raised to twelve percent, but the city’s contribution is being raised to 24 percent. 


In Illinois, they’re cutting education funding by a few hundred million to meet their pension payments.


Florida has the third largest retirement fund in the US, with NO EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS.


In San Jose, CalPERS demands $5.7 million to dump city council pensions. What? 

We need to dump the collective bargaining laws.  Instead, Jerry Brown signed legislation in 2011 putting more onerous burdens on local governments in bargaining salaries and benefits, giving public employee unions more advantage in the contract talks.  


Meanwhile, the California Republicans fight among themselves – the Republican party is split in California – Jack Lee and his friends have formed a “Conservative Republican Party,” or something like that. They don’t like “RINO’s”, so they all filed along and voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. That doesn’t make sense to me.  It’s a  pissing match, and we’re all the losers. 

We can elect a new governor in 2014. I’m looking at John Moorlach, a Republican who currently serves on the Orange County Board of Supervisors. I’ve read about Moorlach before – he correctly predicted bankruptcy for Orange County, one of the first government entities to go bankrupt in the US and the largest bankruptcy in US history, back in 1994. Moorlach then took the job as Treasurer/Tax Collector and presided over the next 12 years of returning economic health for Orange County.  After that he  got over 70 percent of the vote for supervisor.  We need a guy like Moorlach to fix what Jerry Brown and his friends have done to our state. Apparently he’s thinking about running. At 58, he’s prime, and he’s got a lot of fiscal experience under his belt. 

But, it would be good to find out more about this guy, by digging into the records in Orange County. I’ll start working on that. 

Capital Appreciation Bonds – how could ANYBODY not see this is a SCAM? How much money does Greg Isom make off the sale of these bonds?

17 Apr

The school district is contemplating selling “Capital Appreciation Bonds.” These bonds are a disaster – they just did a story on the news the other night, explaining how one local school district borrowed $6 million but will pay back about $80 million.  The district superintendent in that case defended himself saying they’d never be able to get the money to do anything if they didn’t borrow it at these outrageous rates and then just leave it for the grandchildren of their students to pay later, with interest on the interest.

That guy should be driven out of town in tar and feathers, and so should Kelly Staley, who is proposing the same deal for Chico Unified. In this case, they claim the  “emergency” project is the replacement of a gym floor, but we all know, they’re under pressure from California State Teachers Retirement System to make whopping pension payments for their crazy pensions.   

And don’t forget, Staley just led the campaign to extend the taking from ill-fated scam Measure A. She said she wanted $78 million out of that. Geez, where will it end? 

They give us all this crap about “projects” – excuse me, Kelly Staley (and I got this from her long-lost foster brother Norm) is a (bleeping) LIAR! They want this money to make their CalSTRS payments.

I got one of those 99 cent subscriptions to the ER so I could copy the salary charts. I’ve been looking over the CUSD  payroll.  Do you realize, there’s something like 2400 employees in the Chico Unified School District? And they’re management heavy – three “assistant” principals at each high school? Starting at about $70,000/year and ending up at about $100,000/year. And then the principals make around $110,000 or more. I saw a couple of principals at $120,000/year. One charter school has not only a principal at $120,000, but a “CEO” making same. 

Teachers get plenty – those salaries run from around $60,000 to over $100,000 too. We’ve got elementary school teachers making in excess of $80,000, and then paying LITTLE OR NOTHING toward their own benefits, as seems standard in the public sector. They get 70 percent of those salaries in retirement, plus an additional salary if they substitute teach, like our mayor, Mary Goloff.  And we still pay for their health insurance. (And don’t forget, we pay for a $21,000 a year policy for Mary as mayor too!)

And then there’s the weird little bits of money they give people without any explanation – $6,000 to a woman I knew several years back, and I’m wondering – for WHAT?  How do I get in on that? 

This district is AWASH IN MONEY. They spend so much money they could qualify as a small country. With no accounting, none. They tear up some stuff at one or another school, they “fix it” – where’s the bills? When do we get to see some accounting for this money?  How much goes out the door on salaries and benefits and pensions? 

And now these Capital Appreciation Bonds. Here’s how they work, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/capital-appreciation-bond-work-39357.html

Capital appreciation bonds offer an opportunity for a non-profit or small business to gain working capital to assist in starting or expanding the business. To the small business owner, the bonds work effectively like a loan that must be repaid with accrued interest. Unlike a traditional loan, the principle and interest are paid in one lump sum on the bond’s maturity date instead of making a series of regular payments. This lack of periodic coupon payments classifies a capital appreciation bond as a zero-coupon bond.

But then, oh no! You have to pay it back! Annual compound interest is accrued on a capital appreciation bond up until the maturity date. The principle plus this accrued interest exactly equals the par value of the bond. Therefore, the annual interest rate paid fluctuates with the investor’s original purchase price. Small businesses can calculate the interest rate they are paying by reversing the compound interest formula. Dividing the par value by the purchase price gives you the overall multiplier. Taking the nth root of this overall multiplier — where n is the number of years until maturity — gives you the annual multiplier. Subtracting 1 from this annual multiplier gives you the interest rate in decimal format. As an example, for a $5,000, 10-year bond purchased at $3,000, divide 5,000 by 3,000 to get 1.667. Take the 10th root of 1.667 to get 1.0524. Subtract 1 to get the annual interest rate of 0.0524, or 5.24 percent.

Greg Isom, as you saw in an earlier post, is the guy who sells the school district these bonds. How much commission does he make, I have to wonder. 

I tried to e-mail this question to Staley and the school board but the e-mail links on the district website do not work. I’ve never been able to find direct contact information for these people. They don’t want to hear from the public. When I  tried to call, I got a machine with a message from the superintendent’s secretary. I guess you have to go to one of their insane meetings. They do everything they can to keep the public out. 

I can’t make the meeting tonight, so I will have to send my questions via snail mail – that’s  1163 E. 7th Street, Chico, CA 95928. I’ll keep you posted. 


So much for “pension reform”!

9 Mar

Yes, the people of Chico WILL pay over half the “employee share” for our new assistant city manager, for his pension and his health benefits.

At this past city council meeting, in answer to the issue of getting employees to pay their own share,  Mark Sorensen was saying that new employees would have to pay their own share!  Unfortunately, Sean Morgan reminded him, only if they come in from outside the California Public Employee Retirement System.

This new guy from Hemet, Mr. Orme, former assistant to our current city manager Brian Nakamura, WILL ONLY PAY 4 PERCENT.

Sorensen explained it to me in an e-mail:

The California law that passed last year requires that new CalPERS participants go into a lower benefit tier, and prohibits the employer from paying any of the ’employee share.'”

You get that – “new CalPERS participants” – not new employees. This Orme guy, transferring up here from city of Hemet, CALIFORNIA,  is already IN CalPERS. So, according to Sorensen, “Mr. Orme would not fall into that legal requirement that he pay the ’employee share.'” 

Gawd you just have to hand it to these people, they are pretty damned slick! The crap they pull, right in broad daylight. 

But Pollyanna Sorensen still stands behind this whole deal, like the steadfast tin soldier. He claims this new policy regarding, well, some new hires, will provide “some encouragement to move existing employees to pay their own ’employee share’,” promising, “there is a definate [sic] desire to move in that direction.” 

Desire on whose part, I’m asking. Not sure. He offers no further illustration. 

Let me color this in for you, my interpretation, see? There’s a lot of ugly jealousy among the ranks Downtown. First we have this problem of “compaction” between supervising lieutenants and their subordinate sergeants – the lieutenants are jealous because the sergeants use overtime to make almost as much as their lieutenants. Now I’m hearing from Sorensen, existing employees need to see it stuck to the new employees before they will do the right thing, maybe. This is sickening to me. I can’t formulate much of an opinion of our city workers. They seem like a pretty “Me” kinda bunch. 

And then you have our council. Sorensen says they’re working as hard as they can, but “trying to move 9 bargaining units and contract employees into that direction has not been easy.

Do tell. 

Have you ever noticed that the bad kids get all the attention?



Stephanie Taber – Citizen at Large: What is “compaction”?

18 Feb

The city is currently in contract talks with various employee groups, and this week’s council agenda includes a little snatch of the cops’ contract.

Under the terms’ of Council’s request to sunshine employee group proposals, the Council has received
the first proposal from Public Safety Management (PSM) for consideration. The fiscal impact of PSMs
proposal is approximately $10,367 per year in order to rectify an on-going compaction issue. The city’s
proposal consists of administrative changes and has no financial impact.

I’ve been reading these agendas for years now, and I still need to bust out my dictionary and do a lot of research online just to figure out what’s going on. “Fiscal impact” means, the new contract is going to cost us money, I got that much.  But, what’s “compaction?”  Long time council watcher Stephanie Taber wrote this note to staff:

Could you have someone in PSM define the word “compaction” as it is used in the “Fix Compaction for Police Management”.  It’s apparently the salary spread, or lack of it, between a sergeant and a lieutenant pay scale which is normally 5% but because at the lieutenant level they no longer get overtime it is obviously more advantageous to a promotable employee to stay at the sergeant level.  Is that the crux of the argument?

Also, what will be included in the benefit package offered to the newly created department directors.  I am particularly interested in whether they will pay their full share of their pension plan and if they will have a special severance package and if so what that would be.  They appear to be salaried position and increases will be based on merit???  A little more info would help.

Thank you.


I think Stephanie is right – I just saw an episode about this on “The Office.” Dunder-Mifflin has just been bought out by Saber, and Michael and Jim find themselves vying for the office manager position. Then Oscar explains that sales staffers make more money because of commission, so they both change their minds and want to be salesmen.  

Yes, Chico PD and Fire often double their salaries with overtime. They agree to $60,000 salaries and end up taking as much as $120,000.  So,  I can certainly see this “compaction” business to be a problem, especially when you’re dealing with people who routinely put  their own interests ahead of the community. 

You’ll have to follow this link to get the report, and then scroll all the way to the bottom – Debbie Presson and staff purposely load these reports in such a way that they cannot be cut and paste. Even Mark Sorensen has complained about this – I feel it’s Presson’s way of keeping the public out, but you think whatever you want: 

Click to access 2-19-13CityCouncilAgendaPacket.pdf

I will also post any response Stephanie gets from staff, but don’t hold your breath, she usually has to yank their chain a few times, Goddess bless her! 


I’d like to get a discussion going on this subject, so I’ll lead with a few snippets from the report. Now remember, I have to go between two screens and hand-type this stuff, thanks to city clerk Debbie Presson, so pardon me if I tend to get a little beee-chee.

The report leads off:

“Historically the compaction issue for the Police Department was masked by merit pay. Once merit pay was eliminated (2008) it exposed several structural problems.  The first structural issue relates to compaction. The second to internal promotions.”

“The police manager to police supervisor pay ratio immediately experience compaction when two lieutenants were promoted from the sargeant ranks. This compaction was never remedied, and eventually led to a personnel grievance filed by these two lieutenants.” 

(The spelling error there, by the way, belongs to our “quality employees”  – it’s sergeant, not sargeant)

There you have it. Two of our police department employees, lieutenants,  are complaining they don’t get paid enough. That’s the kind of “quality” employees we attract with these salaries. I have a salary sheet from 2010, listing four lieutenants – their salaries range between $108,000 and $126,000/year.  They’re complaining about salaries like that? And on top of that, they pay NOTHING toward their own pensions and benefits. They are eligible to receive 90 percent of their highest year’s pay at age 50. 

One of those Lieutenants listed on that salary sheet is Linda Dye, who recently invited me to get the hell out of the secret meeting I stumbled into one day Downtown.  Here’s something weird, maybe somebody can explain this to me – in addition to her $109,000 salary as Lieutenant, she received $11,557 in “special pay,” $3,619 in “other pay,” and $939 in “overtime.” Well, gee, I thought that was the problem, that Lieutenants don’t receive overtime? 

It says, right in the agenda report, “As a lieutenant, you are not eligible for overtime, are on call, and serve as ‘at will’ employees.”   

I’ll have to ask somebody about that and get back to you. 

UPDATE: Stephanie Taber reports she has had no answer to her e-mail question, nor was she able to get an answer at Tuesday’s meeting. They don’t discuss the cop contracts in front of the public, the item was included because by law they are supposed to show us the contracts before they sign them. Supposed to. They signed Kirk Trostle’s contract without showing it to the public – it was signed on Tuesday, and when I asked for it on the following Friday it still wasn’t available to the public. That just shows you how the city of Chico respects the rules. 

Did you know that our city manager only makes about $20,000 less than the vice president of the United States? More than Hilary Clinton and all the other members of the cabinet?

2 Jan

A friend of mine sent me an article the other day about President Bronco Bama ordering raises in his executive salaries. He just gave Joe Biden a raise – as of March, the VP will be making $231,900 a year, up from $225,500. 

Of course, Obama takes a salary of about $400,000 – raised from around $225,000 during the George W. Bush administration. People howled about that raise, but the Bronc just walked right into it.  

My friend expected me to be outraged about these salaries – I am!  But here’s what’s really got my panties in a knot – our city manager, Brian Nakamura, demanded $212,000 to take the job here, roughly $50,000 more than his predecessor, almost as much as the Vice President of the United States, and MORE than the following individuals:

  • Hilary Clinton (currently Secty of State and third in line for the throne) – $186,600/year
  • Tim Geithner (Secty of the Treasury) – $191,300/yr
  •  Eric Holder (Attorney General) – $191,300/yr
  • Ben Bernanke (Chairman of the Federal Reserve) – $199,700/yr

In fact, Nakamura is paid higher than ANY member of the president’s cabinet. To manage a town of less than 100,000 people. 

And we’re depending on Nakamura to “do something” about our budget problems? He doesn’t even pay his entire “employee share” for the pension he expects to take, 70 percent at age 55.  He only pays 4% of the “employee share.” How will we get our financial house in order with a guy like this running things? 

Write to Brian Nakamura, at bnakamura@ci.chico.ca.us and ask him to pay his own pension premium. CC the mayor – mgoloff@ci.chico.ca.us

Time to write to the city council about these pension payments – Scott Gruendl thinks “pension reform” means making US pay MORE!

12 Dec

Hi Debbie, Council members, 

I was just going over the minutes for  the Finance Committee meeting I attended earlier this month. I see that one question I asked, about the cost of certain consultant reports, was included in the minutes, but not the question I asked regarding what the city pays toward the “employee share” of pension premiums. Jennifer Hennessy stated at that time, “about $7 million.” Later she sent me an e-mail correction – the actual figure was closer to $10.1 million.
I wonder why my question and Hennessy’s answer are not included in the minutes? I asked this question during the discussion regarding the loss of Measure J. I was trying to point out, that while the city is complaining about losing $900,000 on a failed tax measure, they spend millions paying THE EMPLOYEE SHARE of pension costs, in addition to the employer share. Our city’s financial problems would be solved if the contracts were rewritten so that the employee pays their own share. Why isn’t this option coming up in the discussion? 
I also notice, the police advisory board gets verbatim minutes. I wonder, why aren’t all the committee meetings, including the ad hoc meetings, recorded verbatim? 
I’d like this letter to be attached to the next city council agenda as a “communication.” 
I’d also like to thank Fritz McKinley for answering my flood notice question. 
Thank you for your anticipated cooperation, Juanita Sumner

Let’s make Scott Gruendl squeal like a pig

1 Dec

I love living in Northern California and these winter storms are part and parcel. I keep my house maintained and I try to watch the storm drains up and down my street because you can’t depend on the city to do anything until there’s a problem. All along the Manzanita corridor intersections have suffered severe flooding because the city isn’t cleaning the storm drains.  They make a lot of noise about leaf pick-up, allowing landscapers to dump tons of leaves in the street every year, but all it takes is a handful of leaves to plug a storm drain, and that’s what I’ve been seeing around town. 

The city has also allowed an enormous amount of development around town, especially along Big and Little Chico Creeks, without providing any kind of flood mitigation. That’s why you’re all getting notices right now. 

Meanwhile, they are blaming the defeat of Measure J for all their problems and getting ready to mount a campaign to raise your sales tax, starring Ann Schwab and  Scott Gruendl, and produced by Tom Lando and his fist-puppet Brian Nakamura.

Schwab and Gruendl are currently undertaking a scare campaign, with the help of the local media, to convince Chico voters that if they don’t pay more taxes, anarchy will reign in the streets of Chico and we’ll all be home-invasioned and carjacked. Ken Campbell says we complain too much. 

They’re also cutting street maintenance, and watch for the park to start looking pretty bad too. Those bread bags hanging out of those dog doo dispensers are looking like weird trash cans. Wait til we see old crappy bread bags laid alongside trails full of poop, that’s going to look good. 

You probably watched Kojak as a child, if you’re reading my blog. You know what a “protection racket” is, don’t you? 

Nakamura, like a broken record, keeps repeating the same words over and over: “To give you some perspective, $900,000 means seven to eight police officers or potentially two-thirds of an
operation of a fire station…”  
That fucker is threatening us. 

Maybe I need to put this in perspective: at the same meeting referenced  below, Jennifer Hennessy told us, we spend over $7 million a year paying  our employee’s pension premiums. She didn’t have the figure on health benefits.  

Yes, that’s just the “share”. The city only contributes 18 percent of the actual costs of these pensions, including the employee and employer shares.  The rest of the cost is what they called, “the unfunded pension obligation.” 

I’ll save you rereading those epic blogs I wrote about the Pension Bomb – the California Public Employees Retirement System – CalPERS – expected to fund 82 percent of these pensions by loading them into a little cart and sending them off to the stock market with Mr. Toad. Mr. Toad fell out before the got the cart off the runway, and every time the cart comes back around it’s full of nothing but I.O.U.’s – or rather – “we owe them’s”. CalPERS has lost 10’s of millions on the stock market, they’ve never made the returns they’ve promised, and now Governor Moonbeam is starting to talk about making the cities and counties pay their own pension obligations. 

Here’s a little slice of what that’s going to look like – these are just the top management pensions, current as of 2010. Yes, all these people are RETIRED. They do NOTHING but still get this money. 70 – 90 percent of their highest years earnings. The “warrant” amount means, their monthly check.  Right now, they are being paid out of RDA funds and off the premiums of lower level workers who pay more, but soon Jerry Brown will turn on us for this money. And guess what – we don’t have it! 

Name Employer Warrant Amount Annual
ALEXANDER, THOMAS E CHICO $8,947.23 $107,366.76
BAPTISTE, ANTOINE G CHICO $10,409.65 $124,915.80
BEARDSLEY, DENNIS D CHICO $8,510.23 $102,122.76
BROWN, JOHN S CHICO $17,210.38 $206,524.56
CARRILLO, JOHN A CHICO $10,398.98 $124,787.76
DAVIS, FRED CHICO $12,467.78 $149,613.36
DUNLAP, PATRICIA CHICO $10,632.10 $127,585.20
FELL, JOHN G CHICO $9,209.35 $110,512.20
FRANK, DAVID R CHICO $14,830.05 $177,960.60
GARRISON, FRANK W CHICO $8,933.56 $107,202.72
JACK, JAMES F CHICO $9,095.09 $109,141.08
KOCH, ROBERT E CHICO $9,983.23 $119,798.76
LANDO, THOMAS J CHICO $11,236.48 $134,837.76
MCENESPY, BARBARA L CHICO $12,573.40 $150,880.80
PIERCE, CYNTHIA CHICO $9,390.30 $112,683.60
ROSS, EARNEST C CHICO $9,496.60 $113,959.20
SCHOLAR, GARY P CHICO $8,755.69 $105,068.28
SELLERS, CLIFFORD R CHICO $9,511.11 $114,133.32
VONDERHAAR, JOHN F CHICO $8,488.07 $101,856.84
VORIS, TIMOTHY M CHICO $8,433.90 $101,206.80
WEBER, MICHAEL C CHICO $11,321.93 $135,863.16

This is what Gruendl doesn’t want to talk about.

Scott Gruendl is a sneaky little creep. The discussion in the meeting lasted less than five minutes, but after everybody was gone he sidled up to reporter Ashley Gebb and continued his threatening diatribe against the public. “After the meeting, Councilor Scott Gruendl said he was disappointed and a bit confused by the measure’s failure.  ‘The voters have sent a conflicting message,’  he said.  Citizens reportedly say they are concerned about
public safety and want more officers on the streets, yet they knew this revenue was tied to preventing cuts, he said.”

Gruendl has a selective hearing problem –  he is deaf to our concerns about salaries, benefits and pensions. 

When I questioned Jennifer Hennessy about the  shares, she told me what an employee pays toward their perks depends on what “unit” they’re in and what kind of “package” they choose. Most pay less than 5 percent toward their health package and NOTHING toward their pensions.  She also acknowledged that all our city councilors receive benefits packages paid by the taxpayers, for which they pay an amount equal to two percent of their city salaries.  For example, Gruendl receives a $16,935 health benefits package, for which he pays 2 percent of his $7,800 council salary – about $150 a year.  That in addition to his salary and benefits out of Glenn County, two other salaries from Chico State, and his partner’s salary. According to his Form 700, Gruendl takes over $140,000 in public money, not including benefits packages. I’m assuming his partner, who takes “between $10,001 – $100,000” as a supervisor at a local rest home, also gets a benefits package. 

This guy never ceases to amaze me. Ever hear a pig scream when you are late with that bucket? Well, there’s Gruendl for you. 

Here’s the article from the ER below.

More cuts to Chico police on the way?
By ASHLEY GEBB — Staff Writer
Posted: 11/29/2012 01:46:41 PM PST
CHICO — Chico voters’ defeat of a proposed change to the city’s telephone users tax almost inevitably will cause
cuts to public safety, members of the finance committee said this week.
Measure J asked voters whether to amend wording to the city’s phone tax to encompass modern technology such
as cellphones while decreasing the tax rate from 5 percent to 4.5 percent. The measure was voted down Nov. 6,
gaining only 46 percent of the vote.
The telephone users tax, like other utility taxes the city collects, supports the general fund. The city receives about
$1.4 million annually in phone tax revenue, of which $900,000 to $1 million comes from wireless
telecommunications providers and likely now will disappear.
Discussion of the impact was brief at Tuesday’s meeting but City Manager Brian Nakamura said the revenue loss
will be a significant hit to the general fund, which primarily supports public safety.
“To give you some perspective, $900,000 means seven to eight police officers or potentially two-thirds of an
operation of a fire station,” he said.
Cuts to public

safety have a trickle-down effect, he said.
“Public safety, that’s what drives economic development, with businesses wanting to locate here and residents
wanting to locate here,” he said.
Revenue loss is expected to start this year, said City Attorney Lori Barker, who plans to bring the topic to the City
Council in December for discussion.
The issue will be determining the loss’ size and
where to adjust the budget, Barker said. The city will
also need to address how it will deal with any
refund requests and notifying phone providers.
Until specific legalities are ironed out, Finance
Director Jennifer Hennessy said the Finance
Department will hold any revenue from phone
companies in an account.
After the meeting, Councilor Scott Gruendl said he
was disappointed and a bit confused by the
measure’s failure.
“The voters have sent a conflicting message,” he
Citizens reportedly say they are concerned about
public safety and want more officers on the streets,
yet they knew this revenue was tied to preventing
cuts, he said.
“People are going to blame us for taking cops off
the streets,” he said. “I’m OK with being blamed
because I’m an elected official, but I voted yes on Measure J.”
Proponents of Measure J said its passage was critical to protect tax revenue, while opponents argued it was a
regressive tax that unfairly targeted students and economically disadvantaged.
Options to address the revenue loss through negotiations will be limited, Gruendl said.

“Part of where my disappointment is, is the unions who are affected by Measure J did absolutely nothing,” Gruendl
This revenue loss is not the only fiscal challenge the city faces, Nakamura said. Several other issues coming
forward will have to be addressed, and he anticipates a significant budget discussion will take place in January.