Tag Archives: Randall Stone Chico Ca

Now it’s “many displaced Camp Fire victims” – they don’t have any numbers, they’re just making it up to get the money

13 Apr


Gavin Newsom partnering with Chico for affordable housing on state property

“Randall Stone, the mayor of Chico, is welcoming the governor’s efforts which could help build much-needed housing locally, as the city has absorbed many displaced Camp Fire victims.”

 

Why do people ignore a problem until it’s too late to do much about it, then expect to complain? Trash deal has been in the works since 2012 – now people want to bitch about it?

5 Jan

I just got my new 2018 Waste Management bill for three months (32 gallons) of $59.70, up about 55 percent from previous bills of $38.55. I realize there is always a bit of inflation but 55 percent? By chance, did the city hire the negotiator from the Pentagon’s F35 program for the Waste Management contract?

I also read that pot was legal in California in 2018 but our City Council decided that a retail pot store was not appropriate for our fair city. How am I supposed to relieve the anxiety of opening my Waste Management garbage bill? I’m very unhappy with our City Council.

— Geoff Bartels, Chico

You know how I love to say “I told you so.”   

That’s not really true – it drives me nuts, trying to get people to pay attention to an issue when there’s still time to stop the bulldozers, but they give me that same old tired bullshit – I’m sorry, I have a life! Why don’t you get one Juanita?

But of course, later, they  get to whine and complain about it.

Somebody read one of my old posts on the subject yesterday, from 2014. At that time, Joe Matz of Recology was saying rates would triple, and the city was looking at requiring service for everybody. If you wanted to haul your own trash they wanted to inspect your vehicle, etc, which was tantamount to requiring a hauler’s permit.

When Juanita raised her scrawny little fist and said, “If you require service the city will have to provide a low-income subsidy…” 

To which the consultant answered, “She’s right.”  He smiled at me across the room. It wasn’t the consultant’s fault, he was very truthful about the whole thing.

OOO! The bulldozers had to stop and listen! You’ll notice, service is not required under this deal, and you can still take your trash to the dump without a hauler’s permit. Which means, neighbors/relatives/friends can still share cans to save money.

Just think if there was four more Juanitas.  Or at least four more people who went to these meetings and raised a scrawny little fist?

And here’s what I’ll  tell Geoff – read the Waste Management website – you can opt out of yard waste service and save almost $6 bucks a month. My family, who share service with our tenants, also opted for a smaller bin. Our son has moved away to college and our tenants don’t have much trash either – we realized we didn’t need that 96 gallon bin anymore.

Once I made those changes in our account, the rate is still about $5 more per month. No, I’m not happy about that. But I wish people who complain would educate themselves – the real problem at this point is the city wants to use the new revenue to pay down their pension deficit instead of fixing the streets like they said they would. That’s where we need to hit them, and hard.

In fact, public works director Brendon Ottoboni says the road/streets fund is tapped, and they are almost 10 years behind on necessary projects. When developer Bill Webb asked at a recent public meeting how a person could get their street on the projects list, Ottoboni again said there’s no money for fixing any more streets.

thumbnail_20171129_095754

This is the “pedestrian right-of-way” down my street. Every now and then I look in that pothole, make sure there isn’t an old lady or a jogger with a stroller stuck down in there…

Want to have some fun? Write to council member Randy Stone, who recently declared the deal was working cause we have less trucks on the streets.

randall.stone@Chicoca.gov

Really Randy? On Wednesday I have a Recology truck on my street, servicing the “commercial enterprise” known as the Evangelical Free Church. On Thursday my bins  are picked up by Waste Management. On Friday Waste Management picks up the bins on the street that intersects my street. So, I get a minimum of seven trucks a week running up and down the street in front of my house.

How about another picture.

thumbnail_20171129_095932

The asphalt is almost completely separated from the base here.

But here’s another funny fact – my street is not considered a  “feeder” by the city of Chico, because there is no new subdivision on my street, so my street will never be on the “projects” list – ask Ottoboni about that.

brendan.ottoboni@Chicoca.gov

Letters to the editor of a newspaper that reaches less than a third of local residents isn’t going to cut it. A few months ago council member Ann Schwab suggested a complaint line for garbage customers so they wouldn’t have to write to the mayor. Why not write to the mayor?  He approved this deal too.

sean.morgan@Chicoca.gov

Don’t forget the chief engineer – city mangler Mark Orme

mark.orme@Chicoca.gov

If you’re going to complain, make it count. 

 

 

Randall Stone takes responsibility for phony election mailer, says it was legal

24 Mar
1027161440a

City of Chico Elections?

When I found this post card in my mailbox, I did a double take – it looked like an official city of Chico mailer, but I realized – there is no “City of Chico Elections” department.

https://chicotaxpayers.com/2016/11/03/looks-like-neither-karl-ory-ann-schwab-randall-stone-nor-tami-ritter-have-any-respect-for-the-voters-or-the-rules/

A couple of readers asked me to follow up on this post – so I sent an e-mail to the county and city clerks’ offices, and cc-d Karl Ory and Randall Stone. I left Ann Schwab off by mistake, but intentionally ignored Tami Ritter because she seems to have to have done a Rumpelstiltskin since losing to Karl Ory, her running mate.

I got an immediate response from Randall Stone, who was able to retain his seat in the election. 

“1) I knew about it.  It is (in part) my mailing and I authorized it (as is indicated on the envelope…that’s not counterfeit).
2) I sent it (in part).  I paid for it (in part).  Both of these details are part of my campaign disclosures.
3) I’m sorry you find it misleading.
4) It is legal (and not uncommon).
5) I don’t know who you should ask and for what purpose.  But if you believe something about it is untoward, I would encourage you to ask anyone you feel appropriate – up to and including the FPPC.
Sorry I can’t be of more help than that.  We get a lot of accusations of violations about any number of things (you wouldn’t believe some of the wild charges that have been levied in the past), including requests for us to file accusations against our “opponents” or detractors.  Generally, I leave these types of requests for others to address.  I haven’t got the time.

Randall”

The city clerk’s office is responsible for accepting filings from candidates and groups who want to place items on the ballot, but she told me, “I do not have any authority over mailer content and format.”

The city clerk had forwarded my inquiry to the county clerk, who asked me if I wanted to come in to her office to talk about it? What? Why can’t you just give somebody a straight answer Candy Baby? 

She’s still pissed at me over this:

https://chicotaxpayers.com/2016/11/02/grubbs-resents-my-asking-questions-about-missing-ballots-thrown-out-ballots-undeliverable-ballots/

https://chicotaxpayers.com/2016/11/07/turn-those-ballots-in-according-to-butte-county-clerk-less-than-a-third-of-mail-in-ballots-had-been-received-by-october-29-with-1789-of-them-undeliverable/

https://chicotaxpayers.com/2016/11/12/grubbs-claims-20000-uncounted-ballots-will-not-affect-election-results/

So, there’s election accountability in Chico and Butte County – two women who just won’t do their jobs, and candidates who do whatever they want. And then there’s the voters, who apparently couldn’t care less.

I think the Nature Center is lying about their revenues so they don’t have to pay back the city’s $186,000 (now $206,000) loan

9 May

I’ve been corresponding with Randall Stone regarding the outstanding debt owed to the taxpayers of Chico by the Chico Creek Nature Center. Stone and Mark Sorensen both sent me Nature Center Form 990’s when I requested them from the Nature Center director and she said I’d have to come down to the center and pick them up, it was too onerous a burden for her to send me this information that she had told me days previous was available to the public and she’d e-mail it to me. 

Randall and Brian Nakamura are pushing for “forgiveness” of $206,000+, consisting of a $181,000 loan and the interest and fees that have accrued over the last few years of NO PAYMENT. Both of these guys, who’ve never had a child attend the center’s daycare program, say the center provides wonderful services for the city and people of Chico.

It was good of Randall to send me the Form 990 filed by the Nature Center – “Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax.” Wow, a daycare operation that pays no income tax? In this town? They try to say they don’t make any profit, only bringing in about $136,000 a year. $47,000 of that comes from a city grant. They expect us to believe they only bring in $80,000/ year from that daycare camp they run four months a year?

https://blu170.mail.live.com/mail/ViewOfficePreview.aspx?messageid=mg5P88qUbN4xGOVwAhWtiMYg2&folderid=flinbox&attindex=0&cp=-1&attdepth=0&n=31726321

When my kids attended, the fees were double what you’d pay for a regular daycare operation. People were willing to pay, because it’s in the city park. On city owned  land. In a city-owned building, and another building that should be owned by the city. CCNC and friends spent about $800,000 on that Taj Majal, $186,000 came from the city of Chico. It came out of the development fund, which is now millions in arrears. 

Sure, they’ve coughed up their 990, but there’s no accounting or paperwork for their daycare operation. I’d say, if they’re not lying about their revenues from that operation, they are incompetent. Who runs a daycare operation in this town without a profit? 

That’s why I tried to suggest we find somebody else to run this thing. It could be great, it was wonderful under the first director, a woman named Stephanie. Since then we are expected to put up with people like Tom Haithcock, who had no credentials for running  a kids’ day camp, and now this Caitlin woman who can’t even send me an attachment to an e-mail. 

When I tried to make that suggestion, Sorensen cut me off before my three minutes was up, and yelled at me that I was off topic.  When I tried to tell him why it was on topic, he yelled, “That’s enough!”

Sorensen sent me the 2011 990.

https://bulk.resource.org/irs.gov/eo/2013_02_EO/68-0341188_990_201206.pdf

Only a year previous, but revenues are more than double 2012?  They’ve lost some grant money, including city CBGF money, but not that much. What’s to explain for this sudden loss in revenues? I’ll opine, BOOK COOKING. They knew the city would be coming after that loan money, so they’ve hidden their revenues, is what I’m guessing.

Nakamura seems to be saying, “we’re not going to get this money, so let’s make hay by writing it off…”  I don’t think he’s telling us everything. 

My mom used to have this little sign over her desk – “I am a mushroom. They keep me in the dark and feed me bullshit.”  

Mark Sorensen is a mushroom farmer. 

 

 

Michael Jones: Police union plays hardball

7 Feb

Yes, we just watched Chico City Council approve police employee contracts that allow for salaries three to four times the median Chico income and only demand employees pay nine percent of their  total pension cost, and then saw Scott Gruendl turn around within two weeks and make a speech about how much financial trouble our city is in. 

Yes, the cops own Gruendl, and his friends Sorensen and Morgan, donating thousands of dollars to those three campaigns in every election, and/or spending as much on their endorsement. See for yourself, at Michael Jone’s blog, Chico Politics.

http://chicopolitics.com/?p=513

Here Jones has documented the inappropriate relationship between certain councilors and the police department. They get their talking heads elected, and they enjoy salaries in excess of towns in Marin and Napa counties where the median income is twice as much as Chico’s.

I know, friends of mine are incensed over Randall Stone’s outing of police officer Todd Boothe’s Facebook antics. What ever happened to the investigation we were promised? It got swept under the rug just like we said it would. Durfee wants Stone off the Police Advisory Board and out of any decisions involving the police department? Oh, come on. If that’s the case, then Sean Morgan needs to take the same door – he told me in an e-mail that he is very close friends with Peter Durfee, has known him since going to school with him here in Chico, and makes frequent ride-alongs with Durfee in his patrol car, at all hours of the night. When I asked Morgan if he could attend an August Sunday morning CTA meeting, he answered,

“I’ll chose a Sunday and come on down. I’ll give you a heads up. Won’t be this Sunday as I’ll be out with your favorite police officer until 4:00 AM.”  

If they want Stone out, then Morgan goes too.

Thanks Michael Jones and friends for going to a lot of trouble, a lot of research, and then putting it up in an easy-to-read format.  

 

More views on the cop flap

30 Nov

Below I have posted two more letters about Randall Stone and Chico PD.

 Chico Enterprise-Record

POSTED:   11/29/2013 12:33:30 AM PST

I find the comments attributed to Councilmember Randall Stone (Chico E-R, Nov. 21) to be an insult to not only the citizens who attend the Chico Police Community Advisory monthly meetings but to the other board members who have taken their personal time on a voluntary basis to attend those meetings. To say “It’s like lunch with the chief but it doesn’t have any value”; “most of the members miss most of the meetings”; and the most egregious comment of all, “The topics are relatively mundane.” How uninformed and arrogant he is.

Topics discussed over the last year centered on exactly what have been the most important topics that have affected our community — homelessness and its causes, the Grand Jury report on mental health, downtown anti-social behavior, Police Department staffing, etc. All meetings start with citizen/community input. The meetings last exactly one hour and in that time impart of great deal of information regarding issues facing the city and our Police Department. To call them “mundane” shows the ignorance of the man who uttered that.

Stone has struck a tone not befitting a member of the Policy Community Advisory Board but also that of a council person. He needs to be dismissed.

— Stephanie L. Taber, Chico

Frankly,  I’ve been to the PAB meetings, and the only other member of “the public” besides me was Stephanie. Kirk Trostle has never exactly invited the public into these meetings.  Just recently, I found that Trostle had stopped posting the notices for these meetings on the city’s agendas pages, and I had to ask city clerk Debbie Presson to please start posting them again.

I also agree with Stone that these meetings are like “lunch with the chief,” an inappropriate use of high-salaried officers like Lt. Linda Dye. Dye and Lt. Jennifer Gonzales  spent almost an hour total giving the assemblage of bloated trough dwellers their take on homelessness and mental illness, based on a one week course at Butte College.

The other people at the meeting I attended were on public salaries, including Chico Chamber of Commerce director Katie Simmons, whose salary is heavily subsidized with Community Block Grant Funding from the city. These meetings are just chatter-babble intended to make them look like they’re “doing something about it.”

Chico Enterprise-Record

POSTED:   11/29/2013 12:33:30 AM PST

The Nov. 21 front-page article concerning the controversy over the racist photo illustration allegedly posted by police officer Todd Boothe on the Internet reminded me of the adage that when you point a finger at a problem, there are those who will study the finger ad infinitum. It seems to me that the primary fact here is that a member of the Chico Police Department may be guilty of a racist posting and that any investigation ought to focus on that accusation. Investigating Councilman Randall Stone’s behavior in this matter looks like nothing more than a smokescreen to shift the focus away from the main issue.

I applaud Stone for bringing the matter to public attention. What we need in government, whether it’s the police department or the finance office, is transparency.

As for Peter Durfee, the Chico Police Officers Association spokesperson, I would suggest that if he is sincere about wanting to improve relations between the citizens of Chico and its Police Department, then he should first tone down the abusive in-your-face rhetoric and stop making ridiculous charges about due process and such. I am convinced that Chief Kirk Trostle is quite capable of handling this matter and will reach a conclusion satisfactory to all parties involved.

— Charles W. Bird, Chico

I do agree with Charles Bird, but I’m tired of talking about the Facebook page. I wish people would focus on the real matter at hand here – the contract talks. That’s why I wrote this letter, which ran today.

 

I hope Chico voters will not be distracted by the “flap” between Councilor Randall Stone and the Chico Police Department. The real issue here is not free speech or racism, it’s the “employee share” of pensions and benefits.When Stone spoke to the Chico Taxpayers Association earlier this year, he said in order for Chico to regain fiscal solvency, the various employee groups would have to agree to pay their “employee share”. Especially fire and police, who pay 4 and 0 percent, respectively.

The Police Department subsequently made an offer to pay their entire 9 percent share, but only if given a raise proportionate to the cost. According to Mark Sorensen, “The proposal would have cost the city about an extra $500,000 over the term of the contract, and gave up some management rights.”

Stone has exposed the nature of the contract talks and why so many people want to keep them behind closed doors. Now Stone is being ostracized and persecuted by the Police Department and their cronies. This is exactly the kind of behavior City Manager Brian Nakamura described at a recent tea party meeting.

Please join the Chico Taxpayers Association in asking council and staff to come up with contracts that require employees to pay at least their full “share” — only 9 percent of the total cost of their generous benefits and pension packages.

What decent person would expect taxpayers living on less than a third of their generous salaries to also pay their benefits?

— Juanita Sumner, Chico

This is the copy I cut and paste directly from the ER, and I have to ask – why did they go to the trouble to change “Tea Party” to “tea party.” They had to make an effort to do that, why in the world would a newspaper that claims to be besieged by letters lately take the time and trouble to change two upper case letters to lower case? I just don’t get that. 

I hope we can keep this conversation going, and get some results out of the council. If not we need to dump the three that are up for re-election in November 2014 and get some new faces in there. 

Trostle needs to GO!

21 Nov

Sent to Chico PD Chief Kirk Trostle at kirk.trostle@chicoca.g0v

Chief Trostle,

 I think you are making a mistake trying to kick Councilor Stone off the PAB.    We all know this is about Stone’s asking you police officers to pay your own benefits. 

 Boothe should be disciplined for calling a council member “an idiot” because of his stance on employee pensions and benefits.  I believe Boothe has created a “hostile work place.” In fact, from a  citizen’s point of view, you have created a “hostile environment” for all of us, refusing to pay your own benefits when our town is in this kind of situation. Then allowing your subordinate to harass an elected officer publicly? That’s really poor judgement on your part. 

 I think you should also consider stepping down. You are obviously not suited to a management position. 

 

Juanita Sumner

Where does the money go?! Chico councilor Randall Stone offers some answers

19 Jul

Thanks Councilor Randall Stone for sending me an interesting link to a table he’s posted regarding average salaries, by department, Downtown.

You can see it at this link:
www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=524942580893900&l=bf000f939b

But I’ll summarize – the fat paychecks are in “Public Safety”, police and fire.  Number One, Public Safety Management – and I’m not sure, but I think this covers everybody over the rank of “officer” – is paid an average, average, of $128,900/year.  Those salaries range from about $98,000 to the police and fire chiefs’ salaries at about $185,000/year.  

Peter Durfee, president of the Chico Police Officer’s Association, wants us to remember that these salaries include overtime. He makes the same circular argument the cops and fire have always made – if you’d hire more officers, we wouldn’t need so much overtime…but overtime is cheaper than hiring new officers…”  They won’t take structured overtime out of the contracts – the CPOA was just screaming for MORE structured overtime last year. Former CPOA president Will Clark said they needed to schedule overtime for EVERY three-day weekend. This is NOT cheaper than hiring new officers, especially if the new officers are paid their agreed-upon salaries of $63,000 – 80,000. Instead, everybody through the rank of sergeant is allowed to spike their checks with OT. The lieutenants just demanded and got raises because their underlings were spiking their paychecks so high as to be getting more salary.  But Durfee insists that overtime is not the same as pay. I can’t follow his reasoning, it’s like chasing a greased pig. 

Management certainly ain’t doing too bad, averaging $96,000 a year. Considering the city manager makes $212,000, and his immediate subordinates like Assistant City Manager make  $185,000 a year, you realize there has to be ALOT of management to average that out to $96,000.  At this point, Brian Nakamura has trimmed so many of the worker bees, about all we got left down there is Management.

As Randall Stone has reminded us, these figures are just PAY. They don’t include the pensions, benefits, and other expenses we pay to float these salaries.  

Thanks again Councilor Stone, and hope to see you again soon at an upcoming CTA meeting. 

Thanks Randall Stone for one of our best meetings ever!

3 Jun

Yesterday’s meeting with Randall Stone was one of our most productive yet. Even though I don’t agree with Stone on everything, we found common ground – we would both like to see the employees pay their own share.

I had booked the library room for a long meeting, and glad I did. We spent the entire two hours talking about budgetary problems,  from superficially low developer fees to employee contracts.

Randall reported that he had agreed with lowering developer fees during the last few years, in hopes of stimulating development and new businesses moving here. But, he says he realizes, fees here are some of the lowest in the state, a lot less than other cities of the same size, and it’s time to raise them back to levels sufficient for the development services department to pay for itself. Can’t argue there.

We talked about Measure J, which Randall feels should have been passed. I tried to get him to explain why we should pay more taxes,  given the report we’d both heard last Tuesday morning at the Finance Committee meeting, but we never got past the “agree to disagree” phase.

But the questions I had for Randall involved the employee contracts and employee share. I reminded Randall that Chris Constantin had told us at the Fin Comm meeting that he’s willing to pay his own share, but “they” won’t let him.  Randall explained this very well – “they” would be Constantin’s union fellows.  He may vote to pay the full share, but the others in his union all vote to take the E(mployer)P(aid)M(ember)C(ontribution). The majority rules, and that’s the package they hand over to our labor negotiators – city manager Brian Nakamura and a contractor who comes in to help.

The negotiators deal with the union representatives behind closed doors, and then make a closed door presentation to the council. It is up to the council, all seven of them, to decide whether to accept the offer or not. If there is no offer accepted by a certain deadline, the contract already in place rolls over and the employees just have to take it or leave it.

Instead of taking the hard line that a lot of us would like to see, council recently unanimously approved a contract that gave the cops raises and kept the EPMC  intact for another year.  Instead of telling the sergeants to cut their overtime, they gave police lieutenants a raise to solve the “compaction problem.” They gave police employees $330 a month toward a kind of HSA, in addition to their paid benefits. The cops even get paid for the time it takes them to get in and out of their uniforms every day.

I have asked Mark Sorensen and now Randall, why approve this contract? They both tell me, this contract only lasts a year, at which time they feel they will be in a better position to negotiate a new contract.  Sorensen won’t say anything beyond that, but Stone insinuated that after Nakamura gets done making cuts in both those departments, both public safety groups will be more reasonable. He mentioned, “naming names” of people who will actually be laid off – this is apparently what it takes to get the fire department to do the right thing.

Now we can only wait until talks begin next fall. Wait and see!  

But in the meantime, I hope people will start to turn up the heat on both public safety management and council to come up with better agreements. Randall Stone agrees – he wants everybody to know, the city is in trouble, and the EMPC is a large part of the problem. We need to “press” our city employees, particularly the public safety employees, to pay their own share of their benefits and pensions.

Stone said a few times, he doesn’t want “vitriol,” but he expects it, asking at one point that we “please don’t let the fire department pit the people against the council.” Last Summer, faced with the same request to cut his department budget, Chief Beery closed Station 5. Then fire department employee Ken Campbell and some others actually went door-to-door in the neighborhood surrounding Station 5,  telling people council had closed the station. They told folks to call the council members at home and tell them what they thought. Boy, Bob Evans was so mad – he got some pretty hot calls! This is the kind of “vitriol” the fire department likes to stir up.

Ha ha – that didn’t end up well for the Fire Department, Ken Campbell being made to stand at the podium like a whipping boy tied to a post, while Bob Evans got him to admit he had essentially lied, knowingly, to the public, to get his way – a bigger budget for the Fire Department. You must be careful when you throw a rock at a bee hive there, Ken, you better be all knees and elbows, that’s for sure, or you will get a pantsful of mad bees. 

So this time, when Brian Nakamura asked each department to make a 10 percent cut, rather than take a chance with the fickle public (bees), Chief Beery decided to threaten closure of the airport fire station. The public might not care – out in the “middle of nowhere,” the airport station only really serves a legal requirement for a fire engine to be available some 15 minutes before and after a commercial airplane lands (or takes off?). But, that brings the Federal Aviation Administration into it, like a water buffalo in a kiddie pool. I’m going to assume that Chief Beery has already drafted, if not sent, a letter informing the FAA of his decision to close that station. 

So, that’s the game they play, both of them. I say, play your hand Chief Beery – we can give that contract to Cal Fire/Butte County Station 42, right up the road. I’m betting they wouldn’t mind making a run to and from the airport three or four time a day.  

We’ll have to keep up the pressure, they’ll be discussing the contracts again in the fall. Write to your council members, tell them to get tough.  Getting the employees to pay their own share would eliminate a lot of our burden. 

Thanks again to Randall Stone for frank conversation. I hope he’ll come back in. We’d like to get some other council members to come in, maybe some staffers. This discussion was so much better than the council meetings, where you are limited in what you can say and how long you can talk. This was a table top discussion, with members jumping in as they had something to add.  It got a little push and shove at times, but we self-regulated really well, and everybody got to add their two cents. 

We also decided to start studying the employee contracts, get the public to read them, and get some public dialog going between now and next September. Let’s do it! 

Chico Taxpayers Association meeting, Sunday June 2, 9am, Chico library – city finance discussion led by our guest, council member Randall Stone

30 May

I am really looking forward to our meeting Sunday. Council member Randall Stone is planning to attend and will try to answer our questions regarding the budget crisis.

Stone is a member of the Finance Committee and sat through the Horrible Truth report from Chris Constantin last Tuesday. He will give us his take – I know I missed stuff while my brain was screaming.

I read Tom Gascoyne’s story in today’s News and Review and it jogged loose a lot of details I forgot, like the Downtown parking discussion. They were talking about  raising fees, and the subject of parking fines Downtown got a little hot. Like Brian Nakamura said, there is a divide  between people who don’t want parking enforcement because they say it drives away business, and those who do want parking enforcement because a lack of it is driving away  business.  Now, there’s a dilemma! Let’s just cut that baby in half and see how they like it!

That is the problem all over town. People in Chico can’t agree on what government is supposed to do. We can’t get a collective voice, because we all want different stuff. Alot of our wants are contradictory.  I will give Scott Gruendl credit for having asked this question before – what level of “service” do we want? But he never asked, “what is a reasonable price to pay for it.” With Gruendl it’s  My Way or the Highway.

In the real world it’s a bargaining session, and all the “stakeholders” have a voice. If you don’t like the price of eggs at one store, you find another, and the first store will either be throwing eggs in the dumpster or they will lower their price. The public sector doesn’t want to have a public discussion. They’ve kept the contract talks and the entire discussion of how much they get paid and payment of the “employee share” completely behind closed doors. They don’t want to hear what the public thinks, and even more so – they don’t want the people whose kids go to school with their kids, or the people who clean their teeth down at the dentist’s office, or the people who stand on a concrete floor all day at the grocery store to know what they make or how much of their benefits are taken out of our paychecks.

They’ve kept it behind closed doors with the help of council.  I once asked then-councilor  Larry Wahl if I could get in on those talks, and he actually tried to get me in.  But the other council members – including Sheriff Billy Bob Bertagna – wouldn’t go for it. Mary Flynn Goloff made it loud and clear from the dais – if I wanted to be in on the contract talks I could run for city council. Evita speaks! Bertagna, bless his heart for his fresh ground pepper honesty,  told me they couldn’t let the public in because they needed secrecy. He explained to me without shame – they play the various employee groups – especially the cops and fire – against each other, and they need a cone of silence to pull that off.

The stuff that goes on down there, please!

This dialogue with Randall Stone is what we need, and I can’t say enough how much I appreciate him having the balls to come down to our meeting. I hope we can get more members of council and staff to come in. I’d like to invite Police Chief Trostle and Fire Chief Beery in another time to explain why their employees can’t pay their own share of benefits – there is actually some legal explanation for that, and I’d like to hear it.

So, come on down to the Chico Library,  Sunday morning, I’ll have the doors open by 9am.