Brian Nakamura is about to raise rents all over town – complain to him about it.

I have been so busy lately I can hardly sit down for five minutes. It’s just that time of year, the world moves faster in Spring, and I feel I have to run to keep up.

I always feel taken advantage of when I put out the time to g0 to city meetings, but I was glad I went to yesterday’s Finance Committee anyway. For one thing, Mark Sorensen’s little meeting rules - fill out a card, you get three minutes – are WHACKED!  I’d forgotten all about them, and after the garbage consultant finished his report, I had a question. Clerk had reported, no speaker cards filled out – in a packed room? That’s because the citizens who’d packed that room didn’t know anything about the new rules.  I asked politely if I could ask a question, and  Sorensen just plain had to let me in. Then everybody started talking.

But Sorensen made those rules so he could pick and choose who gets to say what. I went ahead and filled out a card for the next topic – Nature Center loan deferral and possible FORGIVENESS! $206,000 folks, and Nakamura, to whom this amount is chump change, wants it forgiven for some mysterious reason he wouldn’t elaborate on. So, I wanted to make a suggestion that they ask for the center’s books, and that they consider opening this city-owned building to a daycare operator who can run it responsibly. Sorensen didn’t even give me my full three minutes, he raised his voice at me and told me I was off -topic. Then he asked the NC folks about their books – he’d never seen them! 

The nerve of this officious little prick! 

Well, I got friends too. I got some important friends, the behind the scenes kind, who own a lot of shit around here. I had a little meeting of my own, and what I gathered is, RENT IS ABOUT TO GO UP!  One of my sources is the manager for one of the biggest rental companies in town, so you can take that to the bank, Honey. 

I raise my rents incrementally every year, so I don’t have to make a big jump – I tell my tenants that, and they appreciate it. They know I have bills to pay in relation to the house, and those bills go up every year. What I don’t know how to tell them is, the increase is going to be a lot bigger this year, because of the increases in water and garbage. I’ve already talked to them about the water rate increase, but I don’t know how much they have heard about this garbage increase.

I try to keep my rents pretty middling. I know if you charge too much, they move people into the closets and kitchen cabinets and the next thing you know your house is trashed and your neighbors are pissed off. I like tenants to stay a while, and high rent means a turnover every six months.But, I’m not a charity, I have kids to feed and tuition to pay.

So, rent is going up, and I guess I’ll tell them to complain to Brian Nakamura about it.  That’s brian.nakamura@chicoca.gov

 

 

 

 

News Flash! People aren’t all so bad!

Enough of this itchy dry wind, I am sure happy to hear there is rain on the horizon. Hopefully it will wash the tree pollen off of everything, but of course, then there’s the grass pollen. 

Today is Good Friday on the Christian calendar, a lot of you probably know that story. I learned about the Bible from Monty Python – “Always look on the bright side of life…” My favorite Easter epic is “The Long Good Friday”, and I will be sitting down to watch that later this evening. 

My husband meets the nicest people. A few years ago one of our neighbors suffered a serious drop in his well pressure following a wild fire near his property line, and my husband offered to let him hook up to our well. No big deal – this man had always been our good neighbor, we didn’t want to lose him. He ran a hose to our pump house until the rainy season came back and freshened his well.  We forgot about it. 

Until a few days ago, when a tenant who lives in one of our old houses called us up to say, Fed Ex had delivered an enormous honey ham to the  front door, addressed to my husband, from this old neighbor of ours.  We rarely see the man in person, and it had not come up we had a new address.  Out of the clear blue sky he had sent us an beautiful Easter ham. 

The first thing I thought was, “good for that tenant, he could have ate that ham and we never would have been the wiser…”  And then I thought, “good old Jerry, never forgets a favor…”  And then I thought, “wow, people aren’t all bad…”

No food related holiday can be bad. 

 

 

 

Why isn’t city of Chico doing more to help us fight Cal Water rate hike? Here’s what you can do – write letters, tell your friends, tell your grocery checker – spread the alarm!

A1207007 – Proceeding

 

Filed By: California Water Service Company
Service Lists: Service List 1
Industry: Water
Filing Date: July 5, 2012
Category: Ratesetting
Current Status: ACTIVE
Description: In the Matter of the Application of California Water Service Company (U60W), a California corporation, for an order 1) authorizing it to increase rates for water service by $92,765,000 or 19.4% in test year 2014, 2) authorizing it to increase rates on January 1, 2015 by $17,240,000 or 3.0%, and on January 1, 2016 by $16,950,000 or 2.9% in accordance with the Rate Case Plan, and 3) adopting other related rulings and relief necessary to implement the Commission’s ratemaking policies.
Staff: ALJ: Robert Mason (Assigned Jul 13, 2012)
COMMISSIONER: Catherine J.K. Sandoval (Assigned Jul 13, 2012)

 

Almost every day I search for information regarding our Cal Water rate hike, and finally I came to this page. It’s so hard trying to stay informed, it’s not like any of the public workers behind this move are going to help us. 

Click on “Service List”. You will see all the people who have been in touch with the various state agencies involved here, people who have really worked hard to stay informed. I recognize a lot of these names from the group I’ve been networking with, people from Oroville, Sutter and Lake Counties, and others I’ve seen in their e-mail lists. I also see officials from various towns, like Scott Huber, who is now the city attorney for Oroville.

But sheesh – no county officials? No city of Chico officials? 

The county has been helpful, when I’ve asked, but they haven’t exactly dived in to take the lead. And let’s face it – the city of Chico WANTS THE RATE HIKE! It means, more Utility Tax, no brainer there. 

A few months back, a state staffer gave me CPUC president Michael Peevey’s e-mail – that’s micheal.peevey@cpuc.ca.gov  

I’ve been sending him inquiries, and forwarding the letters written by the county board of supervisors (they sent them to staffers, I wanted to make sure the commission actually saw the letters). So far, I have had no response, but neither have I had any indication that my e-mails to Peevey are not being received. So, I see in the notice above that commissioner Catherine Sandoval, a former utility company attorney, has been assigned to our case. I will try to contact her.

People, I am screaming for your help. A woman I know just told me, her homeowners association dues are going up due to the water rate hike, and her neighbors are shocked. “Most didn’t have a clue...” she told me.  Well, where in the hell have they been? What do they do with the notices they get in their water bills – Origami? 

We must write letters, write letters, write letters. And TALK! Tell your friends, bring it up to your grocery checker. Next time the over-trained monkey at your bank asks you how your day is going, say, “It sucks, Cal Water is about to raise my bill 38 percent!” Let me tell you, that blank expression on their face will give way to “What!?!” When Stephanie and Sue went out to the Thursday Night Market to spread the word about Measure J, the cell phone tax we defeated two years ago, they were met with almost complete surprise, and anger. People were shocked, cause they hadn’t been told. 

Yes, Cal Water has told us about these hikes. There was a packed house at the “hearing” they held in March 2013. But what? Everybody just forgot? Yes, they most certainly did. And it’s our job, to remind them. 

 

How far should we go in calling our city council members on their hypocritical ways?

Busy, busy, work, work. The days blend together now, everything needs to be done all at once. 

Today I pedaled down to the grocery store with my husband on our Schwinn Twin for meat and grog. And, oh yeah, those chocolate covered marshmallow bunnies. Dammit I love the holidays. 

I was just telling my husband about my latest fantasy job – candy tester for Mars Corporation – when I was confronted with Ann Schwab. Sheesh what a sour puss that woman is. Took the air right out of my cloud, there went my candy tester job. Along with a guaranteed health insurance policy and a profit-sharing plan. And crimony the free candy!

I see Ann at Safeway alot, heck, it’s right across the street from her apartment, or I’d think she was stalking me. That’s just sarcasm, of course – the look on her face always says, “Oh, shit, you again.” Pretty obvious she wouldn’t get her kicks snooping me out. We just have the same work day, the same eating schedule, the same last minute shopping habits. 

One habit I’ve gotten down fairly good is reusable bags. I been carrying reusable sacks for years, and I had to keep reminding myself. No, I never turned around in the parking lot to drive home for my sacks, I never even walked back out to my car. I’ve never purchased bags unless I’ve wanted that particular bag.  I have even purposely left my bags at home to get plastic bags, so useful around the house. But, I would say, I carry my groceries out in a reusable sack over 50 percent of the time. I have a couple that I like particularly for their square bottoms and long handles, suitable for carrying as a knapsack. They also fit real handy into a bike basket next to a six pack of Sierra Nevada. 

I notice Safeway has followed suit with Raley’s and put a sign on their entrance reminding customers of their reusable bags. Good, I really think that stuff works. Reusable bags are logical for a lot of goods, and I think most people would agree we should cut waste of all kinds. It’s simple – bags have always added to the cost of our groceries, they were never “free”. So sure, providing sanitary, durable reusable bags for a reasonable cost and then putting them out there, reminding people, sure, that’s great. Like subliminal advertising, it gets into people’s heads, and more of them will eventually imprint it and start practicing it.  When it’s appropriate and convenient for them. 

But, legislate behavior? No. That crosses my thin blue line, between where I’ll be reasonable and where I’ll start sticking my tongue out and mimicking everything you say. The bag ban has always insulted me. It’s not the sentiment that should be behind it, it’s the hypocrisy that shows like a an old yellow slip. 

I don’t know, maybe Ann had one of those Neat-O! Chico bags in her purse, sure, that’s what. Cause I never see a sack hanging over her shoulder or off her back or even crumpled in her hand. It must be a Chico bag,  all tidily cinched up in it’s own teeny sack, hidden in her purse, that’s the thing, right. I never have the nerve to follow her, watch her purchase her goods, and then see, once and for all, does she use a cloth, nylon or other reusable sack?  Or is she a hypocrite? I never have the nerve, I tell myself, this woman should not be bothered in the grocery store! geeshy sakes Girl, have some class! I stare ahead, I sing “La, la, la” in my head while pattering some inane BS at my husband, and I walk on by. I wish I could say, “Hi Ann,” but I don’t have any sincere feeling of goodwill toward the woman, I can’t fake good will. So, I just shut up and pretend she’s any other person in the crowd. 

Well, tonight, after I got home and unloaded my goods, I realized, she bothers me in the store. What do you call this dang bag ban? It specifically targets grocery stores, like, can you set the limbo pole any lower Honey? How many people can avoid the grocery store? Any other store can use whatever horrific bag they want – tear down a forest, pulp it into bags, throw them at customers two thick, pile them 100 feet high in the land fill – hey, put a Post It note on the top for the archaeologist who digs it out of Tampon Mountain – “We really didn’t mean it to happen this way…”

Oh well, I will try to take the high road. At least through Easter, cause the high road leads into the candy section. 

 

 

 

Honk if you’re still standing after Springtime! in Northern California

As the sun went down over the old clothesline, we had no idea was was in store for later that evening.

March 29: As the sun went down over the old clothesline, we had no idea was was in store for later that evening.

What’s Spring without some crazy weather? Yes, in Northern California we have record heat in February, then hail and tornadoes in March. It just doesn’t get any better. Of course we’d already put out some of our little tomato plants when la vida went completely loca on us. You may remember, I gave my husband a bunch of seeds for Christmas, and he planted them.

Alright girls, no crowding, there's room for everybody.

Alright girls, no crowding, there’s room for everybody.  Sheesh, who would have known – every seed was good!

He had them all lined up neatly on a little shelf in our plastic green house. One morning we went in there and there was hardly enough room for people.  My husband realized he had to start getting them outside, but the weather was still throwing pitch fits. We decided to put out about nine little plants in a bed we had ready. That was Friday the 28th – over the weekend, we had tornado warnings and a heck of a rain, wind and hailstorm. My husband and I didn’t expect to find anything standing in the garden.

Here they stand after a night that would have sent most people scrambling for cover.

Here they stand after a night that sent most people scrambling for cover.

Our little fruit trees had just flowered, we didn’t expect anything good out there either.  But, the budding fruits have held on.

Here's some little peaches the day after the storm. We've watched them for bruising, but they have all held in there.

Here’s some little peaches the day after the storm. We’ve watched them for bruising, but they are looking pretty good.

This apple tree took a good beating, but as of yesterday the tiny apples were still hanging in there.

This is one of those apple trees with three different kinds of fruit - it really produces good fuji's. Of course it took a beating, but still looks as though it will produce some nice apples this year.

This is one of those apple trees with three different kinds of fruit – it really produces good fuji’s. Of course it took a whopping in that storm, but still looks as though it will produce some nice apples this year.

The whole garden looked refreshed.

All the sudden these artichokes seemed to grow about two feet.

All the sudden these artichokes seemed to grow about two feet.

Every year the mustard patch gets bigger. I like to eat the heads, they're deliciously mustardy.

Every year the mustard patch gets bigger. I like to eat the heads, they’re deliciously mustardy.

Isn’t it just amazing how Mother Nature will act as though butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth after a whopper like that.

March 30: As if nothing ever happened!

March 30: As if nothing ever happened!

 

This redbud Whipple gave us gets more flowers every year, and seems to bloom almost exactly on the first day of Spring.

This redbud Whipple gave us gets more flowers every year, and always blooms the first  calendar week of Spring.