Hit the road, Jack! Or maybe not?

Over the river and through the woods – it’s time to make that annual trek to Gramma’s house! Or is it?

I’ve spoken to a number of people who are staying home this year, inviting the family to come to Chico. That sure makes sense – Chico still manages to be a nice town to visit when held up in comparison to the other shit holes around California. 

In the park yesterday we ran into a huge family group, all come to visit one relative and her family. I can use this $64 word – “exuberant” – that’s how they acted, so happy to be out on a magnificent day, in our fantastic park, sun filtering through a stained glass ceiling of blue and gold and various shades of green.  Often times I meet people like this again – they move here! 

It’s always nice to look at our town through the eyes of people who live in nasty towns. They look at our problems and laugh – “so those are your transients? ha ha ha!” “wow, three days and my car hasn’t been broken into!”  Four days my husband and son spent in San Jose they heard police sirens constantly and witnessed a chase right in front of the motel. On a trip to San Francisco, they ordered a pizza – almost four hours later the pizza place called to say the delivery guy had been in an accident and they wouldn’t be getting their pizza! Compared to Bay Area or LA traffic, our freeway is a cake walk, even at the height of rush hour. But you can’t always compare your town to worse places, every now and then you should try to imagine how much better your town could be

You know what Joni Mitchell said – learn it, know it, live it – “you don’t know what you got til it’s gone!”  Pardon me for being bitter, but Chico used to be better, and will get worse if people don’t step up and start rattling chains. I wanted to tell those outsiders, “sorry, our park looks like shit.”  The road is trashed from the garbage trucks the city brings in to empty the trash cans, the trees are in serious need of attention – watch where you are standing please – and non-native species are taking over. Trails are ignored – Cal Trans cut off a very heavily used trail under the freeway and left a ditch running across it when they pulled out. I made a phone call to the city and I know many others have – somebody has put a pretty rinky dink wooden bridge over it – it’s got LAWSUIT written all over it. 

They’ve let the park go to hell in a hand basket, all the while raising salaries. I’ve watched park supervisor Dan Efseaf’s salary go from around $70,000 to over $90,000 in the past couple of years while his staff has been cut to almost nothing. Try to catch that guy doing work, I’ll give you five bucks. He says he can’t even afford to hire jail crews, the park budget has been cut to nothing but, well, salaries and benefits for people like him who don’t do any work.

I started out today trying to think of things to be “thankful” for. I’m NOT thankful for our city staff or council, or the way they’ve mismanaged our city. 

I am thankful for the gumption my grandmother and mother gave me, taught me how to say SHIT! when I’ve had a mouthful. I plan to keep saying SHIT! until they stop shoving that spoon at me. 







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