Tag Archives: Schindelbeck for City Council

A real “grass roots” endeavor

20 Oct

I remember way back when Casey Aplanalp contacted me via my “Ad Hoc” blog in the Enterprise Record, asking me if I would like to form some kind of group to oppose Tom Lando’s proposed sales tax increase.  We talked it over and came up with the name “Chico Taxpayers Association,” and an “organization” was born.  I started this blog on word press, and yakked it up, and before you know it, we had a group of the “usual suspects” – people who had very little in common except their compulsive curiosity about government spending and intuitive suspicion toward tax increases. We’ve carried on with regular First Sunday meetings, same place, various times, trying to get the public to pay attention what we consider to be EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS.  

We found no support in this community for a sales tax increase, in fact, we heard from many people who were angry about it.  I think we added to the pressure that forced Lando to take a “break” from his tax-raising activities, obviously hoping that public sentiment will change significantly by next year, when I believe he intends to ask council for a special election. 

But we couldn’t let up at that point, because Ann Schwab had already introduced her cell phone tax, eventually Measure J, and it seemed like a “no-brainer” to re-tool our little weed-whacker to oppose this obvious G-snatch. 

We have no registered PAC, no officers, we collect no money, and we have no manifesto. We have a word press site, and a regular standing date at the library. 

According to wikipedia,  “A grassroots movement (often referenced in the context of a political movement) is one driven by the politics of a community. The term implies that the creation of the movement and the group supporting it are natural and spontaneous, highlighting the differences between this and a movement that is orchestrated by traditional power structures.”

Well, I’d say, we’re about as “grassroots” as it gets. 

And then there’s the opposition – led by our mayor, Ann Schwab. I’d say, a woman who’s been sitting on council since 2004, mayor since 2008, is pretty clearly a “power structure.” Of course, city council is supposed to be a non-partisan body, but try telling that to Bob Mulhullond, the guy who kept his own wife in a “non-partisan” office for 30 years! There’s nothing “spontaneous” about these people  – you can always expect an ugly letter from Steve Troester regarding whoever the conservative front runner is. This morning he unleashed his pen on Toby Schindelbeck – how telling! And you can expect the same last-minute hit-mailer from Michael Worley, even though he got fined by the FPPC for the mailer he sent out in the last election because he put a fake name in the return address – tried to rip off Mothers Against Drunk Drivers – how low will “Miguel” sink this time? It’s anybody’s guess. 

Somebody has already trashed one of the signs I gave a neighbor, along with a Bob Evans sign. Somebody!  Welcome to Chico Elections! 

Oh well, I will say, it has no effect on my enthusiasm. Today I spent an hour at the library, sitting in the lobby with some signs and my sample ballot. The library was busy as usual, I’d say, two or three people came in that door every ten minutes. I had a couple of good conversations – the usual reaction – people are surprised to find out about the tax. It’s not like anybody’s advertising it. You don’t see any “Yes on J” signs around town, do you? The sample ballot was only delivered Tuesday, I wonder, has anybody read it? This morning my husband and I drove out around town, covering the east-south corridor from mid-town out toward Doe Mill and then over to Chapmantown. Most of the people we spoke to had not heard of Measure J, had not had a chance to look over their sample ballot. I worry that people will not have a  chance to look at the text of this measure until they are standing in the voting booth, so I’m out there, and I’m saying something. 

I’m telling people, read your sample ballot, you’re likely to find all kinds of outrageous stuff! 

 

 

Schindelbeck is the only council candidate who’s been willing to take on $taff and Measure J

19 Sep

I got together the other day with some friends and talked about Measure J. We came up with a short analysis of this measure. These are FACTS that everybody should know about Measure J:

  • Measure J will add a 4.5 percent tax to cellular phone services and every form of electronic communication service existing now, as well as those yet to be invented.
  • Measure J allows the city Finance Director to add new forms of electronic communication to the list of those services taxed, without voter approval.  
  • Measure J revenues will be directed to the General Fund, which means there is no guarantee they will be used to fund public safety as proponents claim, but could be used for any purpose determined by council.
  • Measure J revenues can and will be used to pay the outstanding pension obligations of our city employees, more than 100 of whom make over $100,000/year and pay none of their own pension premiums. Only the fire employees pay any pension premium, and only 2 %. 

These can be typed or written onto a card or half sheet of paper and handed out or sent to anyone you know who receives a phone bill within the city of Chico. Or you can memorize them for enlightening conversations!

Here’s another list of facts –  these are the top 21 pension earners at  the city of Chico – those who get over a $100,000 a year, in pension. “Warrant Amount”, in case you didn’t guess, is how much they get a month.  John Brown, by the way, is our recently retired fire chief. Want to make a guess at what the new fire chief makes, the guy who shut down Station 5? 

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  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

You not only pay these pensions, you pay the interest on the money we have to borrow to pay them. See, the California Public Employee Retirement System gambled it’s money on the stock market, and lost our ass. CalPERS officers still take huge salaries, and of course, get 70 percent of their salary as pension.

The salaries these Chico pensions were based on  were negotiated by people sitting on council now, including Ann Schwab. When Tom Lando  left the city of Chico he was making over $190,000 a year, largely because of a memo Ann signed that linked city worker pay to revenue increases but not decreases. 

That memo was really the last nail in our coffin. Like a little time-release bomb. The public salaries went up, up, up, and they took the cost of living in Chico with them, never to return. Unfortunately, at the same time, council, led by Ann Schwab and the liberals, went on a building permits spree to fund their salary increase, ruining the housing market and the construction industry in our town.  The contractors they brought in from towns like Fresno brought not only their own workers, but undocumented aliens, who took their paychecks out of town. Meanwhile long-time local contractors and workers were left unemployed. This had a long-term effect that is coming to fruition now – those folks are losing their homes, which are selling for much less than they were assessed at five years ago, and now the big stinking pigeon has come home to roost – the city is broke.

And that’s where the memo comes in again – revenue increases but not decreases – revenues went down, down, down, but salaries DOWNTOWN are still going up, up, up. I’ll never forget the time Finance Director Jennifer Hennessy was allowed to hire her own performance auditor, and when he gave her the expected favorable review, she gave herself a $14,000 a year raise. Wow – talk about your perks and benies – a job where you get to be in charge of your own pay! 

This hayride has to end, but when?  The only candidate I’ve seen in this election taking any of these people to task is Toby Schindelbeck, and that’s why he’s the only candidate who has the endorsement of the Chico Taxpayer’s Association.  I like Coolidge, but he hasn’t done much, and some of the stuff he’s said has left me wondering. And Morgan doesn’t know what he’s talking about –  he’s just a rubber stamp for the “public safety” unions. Meanwhile, Evans won’t admit he knows anything about Lando’s sales tax increase proposal, even though he’s been sitting in on the discussions. 

I‘m sick of the same old same old Downtown, I’m not voting for Fist Puppets. I want somebody different in there. Right now, most of them are public workers or ex public workers, including career military pensioner Bob Evans and Biggs city mangler Mark Sorensen.  I don’t think these people can stand up to $taff because they are blinded by self-interests – they know, pension reform could affect them! We need a small business owner, an employer, a person who does business with the general public – somebody who still has his feet planted firmly on the same dirt the rest of us are standing on. 

That’s why I’m supporting Schindelbeck. His future is more tied to Chico, and the rest of us.