Please contact the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control board and tell them why you’re voting ‘No’ on the assessment

Thank Goddess for that little spritzer we enjoyed last night. My husband had to run out and take the plastic off the rain barrel, which I had emptied out on my strawberry pots and other  sundry items. He also grabbed a 5 gallon bucket to set under another spout, but that was all we had handy. I wish I had a couple more of these big blue barrels, they are really useful. I already emptied the 5 gallon bucket onto my porch plants and those that are too far under the eaves to get any benefit from rain fall.

Of course, when it’s not raining,  I cover the rain barrel with a piece of plastic, tied up good with a bungee cord. I have a spigot installed in the bottom where I can attach a hose and use the water when I want. The rest of the time it’s sealed up tight to prevent female mosquitoes from laying eggs in the tepid water.

I grew up in Glenn County, where you can’t go out at night without getting swarmed, I know the routine. No old tires laying around, no empty up-turned buckets or planter pots – I’ve even found wigglers in an old pop bottle left upright next to my recycling bin, in about 2 inches of water.

I took that pop bottle in the house and put an old sock over the top, held on with a rubber band. My kids and I watched, fascinated, as those wigglers (larvae) swam happily in that bottle for a few days, then seemed to disappear. Then we noticed the tail-less black things that didn’t move unless you touched them – the larvae had pupated.  The pupae don’t move much, but will swim away if stimulated. Then one day we came to the kitchen counter to check our bugs, and they were gone! Or so we thought. We found adult mosquitoes huddled under the sock at the top of the pop bottle, just waiting for an opportunity to get out. 

My husband and I just cleaned the gutters on our home and our rentals last week. Your rain gutters catch junk and that catches enough water to raise a good batch of skeeters.

I’ll admit, I’m a skeeter hater, having grown up in rice country, where they breed ’em. I’m well aware of a mosquito anywhere near me, and neither I nor any member of my family has seen more than two of them on our property  since March. 

So, I have to wonder – why am I being asked for $10 an acre for my home here in Chico city limits, when rice farmers are only being asked for 8 cents an acre? God I love rice, my family still  grows it, I cook it several times a week. But, it’s a for-profit operation, often times already subsidized with tax dollars, and I don’t think rice farmers need charity. This assessment is just an all-around grab.

Take a look at the BCMVCD budget – $309,000 for health insurance and $224,000 for pensions in 2013, for 16 people who divided among themselves almost $1.2 million in salaries. According to the district proposal, they want $700,000 out of this assessment  – it seems more than a coincidence to me. They just lost RDA funding, which used to cover the health benefits.  Even though they’ve cut back on staff and the salary total has gone down, the expenditure on benefits and pensions has gone up. An assessment just seems questionable. 

I tried to get an answer today out of the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control Board. I had asked Butte County Administrative Officer Paul Hahn for their contact information, and he sent it to me.

I bet you didn’t even know there is a Mosquito and Vector Control Board, did you? Did you know these people are appointed by the cities and county of Butte, by your city council and board of supervisors? I tell you what, that’s what this blog is all about – get your ass out there and learn something!

Below is the list of representatives, with the contact information they gave. Some of these are home phone numbers – please call at reasonable hours, I’d say, 9 am to 8pm.  It’s reasonable to expect them to be available to the public, but don’t wear it out.

I don’t like phone calls, I get nervous, I forget stuff, I talk too fast, etc. So, I actually practiced what I wanted to say. I opened up with my name, said I was calling in regard to the BCMVCD assessment ballot I’d received, and that I had two reasons for voting ‘No’ –  employee pensions and benefits, and the unfair assessment in favor of rice farmers. I told them I saw the budget and got additional information from  District Manager Matt Ball. I tried to keep it short and to the point. 

I was lucky enough to get an answering machine for  Albert Beck, so I just went through my little ramble, left my phone number in case he wanted to talk to me, said ‘Thank You’ and hung up.

On to Jack Bequette. Don’t ask me about strategy – I didn’t have one. I just assumed I should go methodically down the list. After talking to Mr. Bequette, I decided, I needed to rethink my strategy. The rice farmer angle isn’t going to work on a guy from Gridley, in fact, I think I might have pissed him off. He hung up on me in the end, I don’t remember hearing “Thanks for calling,” or even “Good-bye.” His wife was nice to me. 

You might only want to call the person(s) who represents where you live, I don’t know. There are actually a couple of e-mail addresses here. I just feel it’s important to get ahold of these people – they have the power to put an assessment on your home, and it’s a pretty subjective process they go by to figure people’s assessment, if you ask me. 

By the way, if you’re a renter, you can bet this assessment will show up in your rent, along with the Cal Water rate increase and the garbage tax, so I would suggest you make a phone call or two on your own behalf. Landlords only get one vote, no matter how many properties they own, of what size. This whole process seems whacked to me, it just seems there’s some racket coming at us from every direction these days, and it all boils down to PENSIONS AND BENEFITS.

BUTTE COUNTY MOSQUITO AND VECTOR CONTROL DISTRICT GOVERNING BODY

Tom Anderson – Hamilton City, Glenn County rep – (H)  530-826 – 0113

H. Gordon Andoe – Oroville, city of Oroville rep –  (H)  530-533-0674;   (W): 530-538-2535; e-mail andoehg@cityoforoville.org

Albert Beck  – Chico, Dist 1 rep – (W): 530-342-5991

Jack Bequette – Gridley, Dist 4 rep  –  (H): 530-846-2620

Charles W. Bird – Chico, Dist 3 rep – (H): 530-894-7251

Jerry Ann Fichter – Gridley, City of Gridley rep –  (W): 530-846-5695; e-mail jfichter@gridley.ca.us

Dr. Larry Kirk – Chico, City of Chico rep –  (H): 530-345-9055

Terry Mallan – Paradise, town of Paradise rep –  (H): 530-877-7775

Allan Seefeldt – Magalia, Dist 5 rep –  (H): 530-873-3645

James “Bo” Sheppard – Biggs, city of Biggs rep –  (W): 530-868-1362; e-mail BoS@biggs-ca.gov

Carl Starkey – Oroville, Dist 2 rep – (H): 530-343-5734

 

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