Tag Archives: Scott Dowell City of Chico Finance Officer

Will the gas tax repeal make the ballot? Stay tuned!

2 Mar

Carl Demaio and Reform California are still working to put the gas tax repeal on the November ballot.  I believe (?) the deadline was Wednesday (Feb. 28) but have not heard whether they were able to gather the required number of signatures. 

Here’s what Ballotpedia has posted:

https://ballotpedia.org/California_Voter_Approval_for_Gas_and_Vehicle_Taxes_Initiative_(2018)

“The California Voter Approval for Gas and Vehicle Taxes Initiative (#17-0033) may appear on the ballot in California as an initiated constitutional amendment on November 6, 2018.”

Scroll down and have a laugh – Jerry Brown says, “I can’t believe the proponents of this ballot measure really want Californians to keep driving on lousy roads and dangerous bridges. Taking billions of dollars a year from road maintenance and repair borders on insanity.”

Listen, Moonbeam, you should think before you speak. You can’t believe it because it’s not true – proponents of this ballot measure have repeatedly said the money for road repairs is available but being siphoned off for other purposes. You’ve also just acknowledged lousy roads and dangerous bridges, for which you, as Captain of our ship, are responsible, and therefore, liable!  And yes, taking billions of dollars a year from road maintenance and repair to fund your pension borders not only on insanity, it borders on corruption, Sweet Cheeks. Should we have a court martial? Maybe set up a plank? Ooooo – keeeeel haul!

I think Brown is privately shocked about the voter’s response, lots of people have signed. I’m guessing the petitions were turned in, but it will take a while to verify the signatures. 

We’ve been talking about hidden taxes, such as the “franchise fees” the city and county are allowed to collect from utility companies such as Comcast and PG&E. This gas tax was shoved on us by the governor and the legislature, without any input from the voters.  For years now they – including Jerry Brown – have siphoned their outrageous salaries, pensions and benefits out of the road funding. I’ve sat in meetings many times and watched the local agencies pilfer “restricted”  fund to pay down their pension deficit, while roads and other infrastructure in Chico have turned to absolute crap. 

The foxes are in charge of the henhouse People.  For example, Scott Dowell used to be the finance manager for Chico Area Recreation District before he got hired by the city of Chico. While CARD allowed two public swimming pools to deteriorate to sub-code and sub-ADA conditions, Dowell made a extra $400,000 “side fund pay-off” on CARD’s $1.7 million pension deficit, saying it would save the agency money on interest payments to CalPERS. Meanwhile, CARD management has only started paying toward their pensions within the last two years, “classic members” like CARD manager Ann Willmann are only paying 2 PERCENT.  That all happened on Dowell’s watch.  Now he’s running City of Chico finances.  Next Thursday I’d bet my last $5 he’s going to lay down a pretty wild argument for a sales tax increase. 

Cause taxes are their heroin. As long as they can get a fix, put off rehab for just one more fix, one more fix, one more fix…

Just look at Chico Unified School District – they’ve had a bond measure on almost every ballot since 1998, and the last three have passed. But they are getting ready to put another bond on the ballot, because they just got new demands from both CalPERS and CalSTRS for more money, more money, more money…

You probably think you hang around with a nice crowd, but if you send your kid to a Chico school – any Chico school – you are leaving them all day with a bunch of freaking junkies. Wake UP!

A friend of mine recently asked me if I knew city council member Randy Stone is running for Butte County Assessor. I was kinda bitchy – I told her I didn’t give a shit who was running for election, because elected offices don’t matter anymore – it’s $TAFF. And we don’t get to vote for them. 

But, voting is important, especially the initiatives. So I’ll gas up the old election buggy and try to get it out on the road, try to start posting some news about the local candidates, besides just…YECHHHHHHH!

cause we can’t and we won’t and we don’t stop…

 

 

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Jan Sneed attacked me at today’s CARD finance meeting – this woman is out of control, and isn’t suitable for public office

13 May

I tried to attend the CARD finance meeting today, I had an appointment that ran long, and came in just as the meeting was getting over (wow, less than 25 minutes!)

 As I was apologizing and asking Finance Director Scott Dowell how I could get a paper copy of the finance report that he’d given at the meeting, longtime CARD board member Jan Sneed walked by me and whispered at me, “oh, the woman who’s harassing Maria Rock!” or something to that effect. In shock I turned and said, “Excuse me?” And she just launched at me with a verbal attack, her face got red, she raised her voice and she started poking at me with one finger, actually touching me at one point.
 
I kept telling her to back off, my husband stepped between us and told her to back off – she start pushing and poking him.
 
I kept telling her, if she wanted to  talk to me, she needed to write a letter to the paper. She kept saying, “I AM talking to YOU!” and kept advancing on me.
 
I turned to Dowell and frantically asked him again about the report. I was very polite to all staffers. Dowell held me off for a few moments, he said he wanted to hear what Sneed had to say!  I asked him, why are you holding us here to be attacked by that woman?” but he wouldn’t answer.  
 
She was ranting and raving about my letters, saying I’d accused them (CARD) of “being dishonest.”  I just kept telling her she needed to write a letter to the newspaper.
 
She also mentioned several times that I am “harassing Maria Rock.”  
 
We went to the office and she followed us down the hall, despite my husband telling her to stop following us. At this point I was near tears, shaking, and about ready to throw up – I’m sorry, but I work for a living, I’m tired, I make a lot of arrangements to attend these  meetings, and this crew of publicly paid people allow this woman to verbally attack me when I ask for public records. They all just stood there listening to her as though she was speaking for all of them. 
 
We told desk staff that if she came into the office while we were waiting for Dowell to get the records, we wanted them to call the police. Hearing this she turned and walked the other way down the hall. 
 
Staff never once apologized. Dowell gave us the report and told us it was the report he’d given at the meeting today.  The desk staffed offered to staple the pages together for us, but we politely declined.  We thanked Dowell and Visconti personally for their politeness, we thanked staff, and left with the report. 
 
When we attended the last regular board meeting, she made a similar move leaving the meeting – came up close to me and whispered something at me, but I didn’t make the mistake of saying, “Excuse me, ” so I didn’t get attacked. 
 
This isn’t appropriate behavior for a public official. All I did was tell the public what I’d heard at the last meeting. None of them denied any of the stuff I said in my letters to the papers, it’s all true. They just don’t seem to want people talking about their CalPERS payoff. 
 

Any advice would be  welcome – but what I’d really like, is some other people to attend the meeting Thursday night. 

I sent this above to county supervisor Larry Wahl, David Little over at the Enterprise Record, and some other folks in my mailbox.  Sneed’s behavior is outrageous. I wondered what happened to former director Mary Cahill – now I get it! 

From the Chico News and Review, Sept 15 2005:

Mary Cahill, who was terminated Sept. 6 as general manager of the Chico Area Recreation District, took issue with CARD board and media characterizations of her parting.

While a press release issued by CARD attorney Jeff Carter stated Cahill was “terminated … without cause,” Cahill said she left by “mutual agreement” after much discussion over a period of time. She was given $100,000 in severance pay as required by her contract.

“I was not fired,” Cahill said. “It was a discussion and it was definitely both-sided. … It makes it look like I did something wrong when I didn’t,” she added.

Jan Sneed is the longest running member of the CARD board, having been there since before any of the other standing board members, and before Steve Visconti was promoted to the rank of General Manager. I wonder how much her personality problems had to do with Mary Cahill’s “mutual agreement” to leave CARD, taking $100,000, just in severance.

I’ve long wondered what’s wrong at CARD, and now I’m figuring it out.

UPDATE:  This morning I came in from a few hours of weed pulling and raking to sit down with a cup of coffee and watch a quick episode of “Leave It To Beaver.” 

It seems Wally’s big friend Lumpy has been picking on Beaver. Beaver asks his dad for advice, and Ward tells him a comical story of a prank he himself had pulled on the neighborhood bully when he was a boy. Beaver pulls a similar stunt to get back at Lumpy, but instead, Lumpy’s dad ends up getting into it, and gets really mad. This creates a sticky situation for Ward – Lumpy’s dad Fred is not only his long time friend but a partner in his business. Of course Ward straightens the whole thing out and the boys apologize, and Fred forgives them, admitting that not only Lumpy but he himself had pulled some stunts too.

But the best part of every episode is the private chat between Ward and the boys.   Ward explains to Beaver, there will always be people who bully “to get their way, and you can’t always do anything about it. You just have to learn to live with people like that.” 

Hmmmm – how do you “live with” people like Sneed, without being taken advantage of?

Sneed complained loudly that I had insinuated the board was being dishonest. Well, yes, I am. I still have that survey, posted here:

img003

Look that over and show me where they mention their nearly $400,000 CalPERS side fund payoff, or their nearly million dollar budget overrun. Instead they make promises they can’t keep – “In order to construct and maintain a new aquatics facility…” AND  “to construct and maintain a new gymnasium…” These are totally unrealistic goals – during the RDA discussion about building an aquatic center, the figure they produced was EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS. Just for construction. And what does a new gymnasium cost? The survey insinuated that an assessment of $130 would pay for that,  adding  suggestions like  “Well maintained and accessible sports fields for sports programs help keep kids off drugs and out of gangs.” 

Right now the capital projects fund that would pay for all that bling is TAPPED OUT. That fund was cleaned out of over $350,000 to make that side fund payoff. 

Yes Jan, I’m accusing you, point blank, of  being dishonest with the public in asking for a bond or assessment to pay for an aquatic center or new gymnasium. Like I said at the meeting, you can answer me in your letter to the editor.