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.

Kung Fu Snowboarding!

An hour ago, the skies were sunny and blue, and there was a mountain where that big snowstorm is sitting.

An hour ago, the skies were sunny and blue, and there was a mountain where that big snowstorm is sitting. I always think of the Donner Party when I’m up here, can’t help it. 

Yesterday my family took me to Tahoe for what will probably be my last snowboard trip of the season. It was sunny and bright when we pulled into the parking lot, but at about 11 am things started to change, fast. At about 1pm, the old cook came on deck, and said, “Fellows (and gals), visibility is getting close to zero, come on in and get some free chicken Cesar salad.”  We ate lunch and headed for the car, having logged a good many trips down the groom.

I have never been much of an athlete. Maybe my mom put the mark on me with her worry – she said, I was clumsy, and somebody should keep an eye on me. So, as soon as my husband isn’t watching, I do something completely out there. Yesterday I pulled off a sideways 360!

I was coming off a run that is always troublesome for me – a steep rounding curve that ends in a swamp. If you don’t take that curve at about a 100 miles an hour, you are in the swamp, you have to unboot and paddle yourself back home. Paddling is probably the worst part of snowboarding, really hard on my back and hips. So, I want to go fast, but my kill switch keeps going off. And, I don’t know how many times I’ve come howling around that turn to find some little family sprawled out across that alley, and no where to go but all over creation.

When I came around that turn yesterday, and saw that alley clean as a whistle, I turned off my kill switch and let her rip. Wow, I was going so fast, I was getting air over little bumps in the snow.  I remember thinking, this would scare the hell out of my mother, she’d probably swallow her cigarette.  As I neared the end of the run, I could see the open lane in front of me, and I made the huge mistake of complimenting myself. Oooooops! As I was making that turn onto the fairway, the edge of my board hit a frozen spot in the snow and Holy Flip Flop Batman! I was thrown onto my helmet, and my snowboard started turning like a helicopter blade. It sounded horrific from the inside of my helmet (btw, did I say, thank goddess for helmets!) – all this crunching and scraping. I don’t know exactly what happened – I always close my eyes, ever since the time I jumped off the chicken house and watched my own knees come up and slam me in the face.   But when I stopped, I was sitting on my butt,  my head was a banging like an old brass drum, and, all my pants (three pair) were on sideways. I had to go to the ladies room and dive in there to straighten everything out.

Well, nothing a good cup of coffee wouldn’t cure, went out and finished what was left of the day. But now, I feel like Landlady after a fight with the Beast. Watch for the part where Landlord tries the spin maneuver on the Beast – that’s what happened to me!


Watch Kung Fu Hustle in it’s entirety at Primewire. 



Liz Merry for City Council – or how about, BFD? Merry Standish Comedy tonight at Duffy’s – show starts at 7:30

Tonight I would like to be going to Duffy’s for a Merry Standish show, but instead I will be sitting at city chambers listening to the talking heads barf out their plastic bag ban.

 I’m so sick of this stupid stuff, right in the face of our “financial problems.” Does anybody understand how much Lori Barker’s time is “worth”? Is this a “business friendly” ordinance? Is it a totally ridiculous posturing by a council full of hypocrites whose lifestyles wouldn’t meet the same standards they lay out for us? The answers to these and other questions are available only to folks who are willing to stick their eyeball to the keyhole.

Council will shortly make the decision to dissolve the Economic Development Committee, which of course does not mean the end of “economic development,” (bust a snicker) but the end of public oversight of the activities carried out by staff on behalf of private business. “Unlike city meetings, TeamChico meetings are not public because of sensitive or proprietary information that surfaces, [Katie Simmons] said.” (Chico ER, 3/26/14)

That sensitive information being, just how much time we are paying city staffers to work for private businesses. Katie Simmons, Chico Chamber director, already receives her salary from city of Chico grants.  

Nakamura claims this move will save staff time, but it won’t. Now we will need to FOIA information like, how much staff time goes into TEAM Chico, because, according to Chris Constantin, staff has been ordered not to answer my e-mails. “At the request of the City Manager, I have forwarded your email to him for response.”  But what’s up Brian? I have not received any response to my question regarding low-income subsidization of the new required garbage service. I had asked Constantin, fist puppet of Nakamura, (I hope you’re enjoying the ride Chris), how the low-income subsidy would pan out – would the city be able to make any money off this scam, if they have to pay subsidies on over half the town’s population? I’m just guessing there – I  think a family of four can make about $40,000/year and qualify for CARE or LIRA, the assistance programs available through PG&E and Cal Water. The median income in Chico is right around $38,000, I’m no math whiz, so I’m guessing, about half the town will be eligible for assistance. But, Constantin, who came to one of our CTA meetings to convince me that the city should drop the sunshine period, has suddenly stopped talking. 

Get some Preparation H, Chris!  Ask Scott Gruendl for some – Gruendl once told me his hemorroids were so bad, he had to have surgery. Wow, that’s awful for a man who was barely 40 years old at the time. My dad had that surgery, after he’d been driving an 18 wheeler for about 45 years.  I told Scott he needed to change his lifestyle – driving constantly back and forth to Orland instead of living a more “new urban” lifestyle here in town. He thought I meant, his gay lifestyle, and things went downhill between us long before I started to realize his  true political agenda. Gosh, those misunderstandings! But, that was the first thing that came to my mind when I heard about his speeding ticket – wow, that’s some drive, on his butt, THAT’S GOT TO HURT! Of course he was going 102 mph, wouldn’t you be? 

But this man feels righteous in putting a plastic bag ban over our heads? This next election better be a housecleaning, cause we got problems. We have a seven-headed stinking fish. We have an opportunity upcoming to get rid of three of those stinking heads in November, let’s not dally here folks. Unfortunately, we only have two council candidates at present. Maybe Liz Merry would be willing to move back to Chico, we can get her a little apartment in  Ann Schwab’s place. I’m telling you, I’d rather listen to Gal Noir, or Tammy Whynot on alternate Tuesdays than the kind of weird comedy that plays out currently.  I’m guessing, attendance at those dumb meetings would go up about 800 percent. And Liz is no dummy – she ran a successful business in Red Bluff for years, and she’s managed to stay married to Aaron Standish without assault charges being filed, so I’d say she’s got a perfect temperament. 

I’ll talk to her about it back stage tonight (women’s bathroom, Duffy’s). Speaking of long-lost city council candidates and other people we miss alot, get ready to laugh your ass off: