Jul162018

by Lou Binninger

The Department of Transportation is the beneficiary of the President’s fourth quarter salary of $100,000. The announcement came one day after introducing his plan to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure.

The White House announced a proposal to spend $21 billion on infrastructure in fiscal year 2019, which is the start of a campaign to devote $200 billion to infrastructure over the next 10 years.

The spending on federal programs would lead to an investment of $1.5 trillion on roads, bridges, waterways and railways, the White House says.

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Since taking office, Trump has donated his pay quarterly to federal agencies. His previous donations have gone to the National Park Service for battlefield infrastructure, the Department of Education to fund a summer camp and the Department of Health and Human Services to battle the opioid crisis.

Trump predicted that if he was elected Americans would begin winning. In fact, he suggested they may get tired of winning. It sounds prophetic now.

Obamaites were furious hoping for just the opposite. They are still grousing over millions of new jobs, $1,000 bonuses and record low unemployment.

Last week, though liberals predicted a stock market crash should Trump be elected, the market hovered at the record 25,000 mark. Unemployment percentages for blacks and Hispanics have never been lower. Women are doing very well with 17-year low unemployment.

Anyone caring about their fellow humans should be happy that people can support their families with dignity. Those people relying on food stamps dropped below 40,000,000, the lowest number in 8 years.

Fake news media accuse Trump of destroying NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). What’s new?

Actually Trump scolded Europeans to grow a pair and protect their interests versus being an international welfare case. Liberals hate that. Putting people on welfare is Godly to liberals.

Trump left the Europe meetings with NATO financially stronger than when he found it. Germany was paying Russia for its natural gas supply while expecting the US to protect Germany from Russia. Trump exposed Germany’s hypocrisy.

Back home Trump could do the nation’s youth a favor by eliminating the minimum wage and rolling back age restrictions to operate equipment to 16 years of age. Unions have forced the young people in need of soft occupational skills out of job opportunities.

Unions pressure politicians to increase the minimum wage thereby pricing young, unskilled, inexperienced people out of the job market. Replacing them are “immigrants”, taking the jobs of black, white and Hispanic American youngsters. The job-getting advantage that the inexperienced could have against more skilled older workers is a willingness to work for less. The minimum wage removes that edge.

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) found that as the number of U.S. teens with summer jobs has dropped significantly, employment of immigrants has doubled.

“Immigrants, legal and illegal, are crowding out U.S. - born teenagers from the labor market,” according to the director of research at CIS, and demographer Karen Zeigler. That could be reversed if the minimum wage were eliminated.

Key findings showed the current low rate of teen employment at 41 percent versus 48 percent in the labor force in the summer of 2007 before the Great Recession, 61 percent in 2000, and 64 percent in 1994. In the 10 states with the largest share of immigrant workers, just 36 percent of U.S. - born teens was in the summer labor force.

For young people in the 1960’s jobs in the Sacramento Valley were plentiful. Operating tractors, bobtail trucks and forklifts were mastered by 16 years-olds. Today, teens are treated like sissies. No wonder they prefer getting high to being put on pause.

Camarota says, “Researchers have identified several reasons why working as a teenager creates so many short- and long-term benefits. Holding a job as a teenager seems to instill the habits and values that are helpful in finding or retaining gainful employment later in life. This may include showing up on time, following a supervisor’s directions, completing tasks, dealing politely with customers, and working hard. Learning good work habits and values seems to become much less likely without holding a job at a young age. Once a person who has little or no work experience reaches full adulthood, learning these skills seems to become more difficult. Other factors also may explain the benefits of early employment. Teenagers may gain social contacts on one job that provide them the opportunity to find their next job as their career develops. In some cases, teenagers may even acquire specific skills that make them more employable, such as basic auto repair or learning to be a short-order cook. Whatever the reason for the benefits of teenage employment, they are large and long-lasting.”

Trump understands work ethic and needs to set America’s youth free to go to work.

Lou Binninger

Golden State people don’t get too excited about being overtaxed these days. Maybe they remain here due to a career, grandchildren or they are too old to start over elsewhere.

The highest income, sales and gas taxes in the nation combined with extortion-like DMV fees and hundreds of other charges make you wonder if residents don’t have Stockholm syndrome. However, there was another era where taxes erupted like a plague. It occurred under Governor Ronald Reagan.

Reagan inherited budget deficits from Governor Edmund “Pat” Brown (father of the current Governor Jerry Brown). Reagan later calculated the state was overspending by $1 million a day. This calculation actually underestimated the problem. Reagan’s solution was to balance the books with a tax increase.

David Doer, a tax specialist who worked on the plan said, “Basically, the legislature taxed everything that moved.” Sales taxes were increased; liquor taxes went up, as did inheritance taxes. But the key to the largest tax increase in California history was the income tax. Rates were increased, brackets were narrowed, and exemptions were replaced by tax credits. The income tax was made extremely progressive. Doer concluded with regret, “It became a money making machine.”

Reagan thought by increasing income taxes they could come-up with property tax relief. However, once the tax and spend spigot was on, Reagan could not stop it. For the five years between the defeat of a Reagan tax-cut initiative to Proposition 13’s tax revolt in 1978, state spending increased 12.5% a year while state revenues went up 18.4% a year. Money was coming in so fast the government couldn’t spend it all.

Jerry Brown (his first term) inherited the state’s massive surplus from Reagan while property taxes were spiking and infuriating the public. Then, the Proposition 13 property tax revolt erupted led by Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann. Property tax horror stories abound.

Howard Jarvis told of watching an elderly lady suffer a heart attack while at the Los Angeles assessor’s office when she couldn’t convince the authorities to change her tax bill.

The Newhall Signal newspaper described a retired couple living near a new apartment house. The assessor refigured their property at the land’s highest and best use, as if their land would host a motel. Their small home was taxed at $1800 a year. The total income of the couple was $1900 a year. This incident occurred in 1968, 10-years before Proposition 13 passed. Thousands were losing or facing selling their homes.

Another tax victim told of an empty house at the end of their street, which was routinely flipped by speculators. No one ever moved in, but every time it sold, all the houses in the neighborhood were reassessed upward.

The story that best describes the nonsensical nature of the property tax debacle is set in San Francisco prior to the passage of Prop 13. The San Francisco assessor was taking bribes to keep business property taxes down. He eventually went to jail.

The new assessor used computers to insure valuations were correct and fair. When a property sold, all adjacent parcels received tax bills reflecting a new market value, resulting in huge and frequent increases in taxes for everyone. Property taxes went up so quickly in San Francisco that bumper stickers soon appeared pleading: “Bring back the crooked assessor!”

Politicians and bureaucrats believed homeowners were making wild profits from the housing price boom with some properties being assessed with 50%-100% increases in value. However, for those not selling their homes, these “paper profits” could not be used to pay real inflated tax bills. Retirees who had lived in their homes for decades now could not pay their property taxes.

On June 6th, 1978, nearly two-thirds of California’s voters passed Prop 13, reducing property tax rates on homes, businesses, and farms by about 57%. The amended constitution said property tax assessments could not exceed 1 percent of the property’s market value and future valuations couldn’t grow by more than 2% per year unless the property sold.

In addition, Prop 13 required that all state tax rate increases be approved by a two-thirds vote of the legislature and that local tax rates also have to be approved by a vote of the people. The people’s right to vote on taxes is a key protection in Prop 13.

Today, politicians knee-jerk blame Prop 13 for all of society’s ills and are doing their best to undermine it. However, government revenues and salaries are at record levels judging by real constant dollars compared to 1978. Watch for a proposition on the November 2018 ballot that at least will try to remove commercial property from Prop 13 protections.

by Lou Binninger

Californians, today, are paying taxes for every move they make and don’t make. Money is forcefully taken and then laws and codes are manipulated to take more and more. For the bureaucrats it’s like angling at the fish farm. The fish are trapped.

There is a case before California’s Supreme Court questioning the legality of transfers of monies from city-owned utilities to the general fund of that same city. Citizens have accused the City of Redding of creating an unconstitutional tax by diverting surplus electric revenues ($6 million annually) to the general fund. The move was not approved by the voters. The strategy is called “payments in lieu of taxes” (PILOT or PILT) to rescue city budgets.

Californians have repeatedly amended the Constitution to keep politicians from taking their homes and belongings via taxation beginning with Proposition 13 in 1978. These efforts however have not prevented local governments from devious practices to take more cash.

Proposition 13 stopped assessors from reappraising property values routinely to raise more revenue. The measure established a new controlled method of property appraisals and taxation and how future taxes would need to have voter or legislative approval.

Local governments responded by relabeling taxes as special taxes as fees. In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 218 to again amend the state constitution to require that new special taxes be approved by two-thirds of those voters subject to the proposed tax, with the exception of fees for gas or electrical service.

In 2010, Left Coasters passed Proposition 26 closing another loophole by stopping cities from raising electricity and gas rates to pay for the utility-to-general fund transfers without voter approval, or without showing that the higher rates are necessary to cover reasonable utility costs.

“The City of Redding owns a municipal utility to provide electrical service to homes and businesses within the city. The city council approved a rate increase, then, six months later imposed a “payment in lieu of taxes” to “obtain funds” to cover general city budget items,” according to the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF). Citizens say this is a hidden and unconstitutional tax. The Supreme Court soon will decide.

The City of Gridley in Butte County has been using the same tactic by annually drawing $1.6 million, then in 2016-2017 / 2017-2018 $1.5 million yearly and a proposed $1.4 million in 2018-2019 from its electric revenues. The shrinking transfer is due to maintaining the solvency of the electric operation which is the Goose providing Golden Eggs to keep the Gridley General Fund in the black.

In December 2017, the city council voted 3-2 to increase electric rates by 18% since the electric fund now had a deficit of $400,000. The deficit was caused by annually siphoning off millions and suffering some bad outcomes on speculative power purchases.

Not one community member attended the meeting to comment, according to the Gridley Herald newspaper. The rate increase meant a $25-$35 bump to the average homeowner’s bill said City Manager Paul Eckert. Without the increase Eckert and the council discussed options including bankruptcy.

The annual transfer of electric monies appears illegal according to Proposition 26 and the Pacific Legal Foundation. The solvency of California cities using these tactics may be threatened if the Supreme Court rules for the citizens of Redding.

What is Gridley thinking? While its hired staff says all is well, Chief of Police “Diamond” Dean Price makes more than any law enforcement leader in Northern California at $ 332,742 regardless of the city size, including San Francisco. City Manager Paul Eckert is at $206,672 for 2018-19. That’s over a half-million dollars for just two employees. Finance Director Juan Solis makes $178,876.

So, Gridley is running low on cash and raising electric rates with no vote of the constituents to cover overspending. That was supposed to be illegal.

Gridley covers 2.08 square miles and has 6,074 residents. Some of Bell, California’s DNA must have made it this way noting the notorious city salaries and monetary shenanigans for this Hiccup on Hwy 99.

Bell’s leadership went to jail, were fired or resigned for their nefarious management policies. The term “Bell” is now synonymous with government ripping-off the public like “Going Postal” describes the violent actions of a disgruntled employee.

by Lou Binninger

All 2017-2018 Sutter County Grand Jury members resigned Monday June 25th and Judge Brian Aronson announced there would be no Grand Jury (GJ) report after one year’s work and findings by local citizens. The report should have been available by the end of June as it is a public document.

Since there is no report and GJ proceedings are confidential there is little clarity now as to exactly what happened. What is known is the Board of Supervisors initially funded the GJ with $45,836.

Then, on December 19, 2017 Supervisors authorized an additional $10,000 to hire an independent legal counsel to assist jurors with their task. That outside advisor was reported to be veteran local attorney Charles Poulos. Poulos had previously served as the foremen of the Yuba County Grand Jury.

A strong point in this Jury was its foreman Frank Hopkins. Hopkins’ spent his career as a special investigator. That’s what the GJ does, investigates.

The GJ began under the oversight of Sutter County Judge Sarah Heckman. However, she was recently replaced by Judge Aronson. Aronson had no comment as to his or the GJ’s actions, or why there would be no report. Was Aronson sent in to be a “cleaner?” Or, was Poulos responsible for holding the report back?

The GJ resigned after refusing to sign whatever product that was created from the original. The normal protocol is that all jurors sign the report that is to go public.

Jurors produced an original document that was said to be 166 pages in length. Supervisors received a “cooked” edition. Angered citizens are not interested in an edited version but want the entire report including the edits hidden from the Supervisors. Citizens want to “judge” for themselves.

After Aronson’ actions the new 2018-2019 GJ was impaneled once again by Judge Heckman last week. Since Heckman is known as the weak link among Sutter County jurists some are suggesting that Aronson took over the GJ because of the toxic and troubling nature of the findings and the pressure to censure the document.

A letter from County Counsel Jean Jordan (some believe unauthorized) was sent to jury members threatening that they could be individually sued because of their findings and the county would not defend them. That letter or another letter may have suggested the legal action could come from District Attorney Amanda Hopper.

However, GJ members are to be represented by county-paid legal counsel if they have done their job according to their mandate -- present evidence gleaned by them or presented to them under oath versus hearsay, gossip etc.

Certain department heads received a preview of the report before it was proofed and prepared for GJ member signatures. That is normal since it allows for corrections due to miscommunication or misunderstanding.

The GJ year was full of controversy. There was the Anu Chopra lawsuit and pay-off after her firing from the District Attorney’s (DA) Office. Then there is the dismissal of Chief DA Investigator Jason Parker and his current lawsuit against the county. Parker made whistleblower accusations against DA Hopper, County Counsel Jean Jordan and the county.

That case is proceeding in Sacramento Federal Court with an outcome due in October. DA Hopper also publicly questioned the integrity of both Parker and fellow investigator David Williams causing chaos in numerous cases proceeding through courts.

Another employee of the DA’s office Francisco Cervantes is also said to be suing the county over troubles at the DA’s office. Long-time county employee Marisa Garramore who moved to the budget analyst position in the DA’s office was dismissed as her one-year probationary period ended. Then there was controversy over how the Danelle Stylos’ (County Development Services Director) arrest and firing was handled.

The original report is said to be critical of DA Amanda Hopper and County Counsel Jean Jordan and was favorable toward Parker, Cervantes and Garramore. Since Judge Aronson is now privy to possible unethical behavior by Hopper and Jordan how will it impact cases coming to the courts? Will he inform the defense of his knowledge gleaned from the unpublished GJ testimony?

Taxpayers’ funding for the GJ now appears to be a complete waste along with thousands of hours sacrificed by local Jury members. The new 2018-2019 GJ may wonder whether they should spend a year of their lives to conclude nothing damning in order for a report to be produced. Why flit away the time and money. Resign now.

by Lou Binninger

California may be a blue state politically, but the raising of gas / diesel taxes again and DMV fees in 2017 have angered citizens across ideological lines.

It has already cost first-term Senator Josh Newman (Fullerton) his seat in a June 2018 recall. Democrat Newman was elected from a normally conservative district in Southern California, but cast the deciding vote to make the gas tax bill a law.

The recall gave Newman’s former opponent Ling Ling Chang his seat and rid the legislature of a democrat supermajority. A supermajority meant that the democrats did not need a republican vote to pass most legislation.

Now, the Secretary of State officially authorized the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association’s “Repeal the Gas Tax” initiative for the November statewide ballot.

Senate Bill 1 was deceptive from the start. It was officially titled “The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.” However, the money is not all going to roads and there isn’t accountability. Remember, politicians lie.

The SB 1 website says that the annual $5.4 billion of new gas and registration “revenues” will “rebuild California.” What does that mean?

Breitbart News reports that over one third of the initial $2.7 billion in gas tax spending is pledged to fund high-occupancy-vehicle lanes, bicycle paths, and light rail projects. Were you dreaming of more and better roadways in the north state? Forget about it.

SB 1 raised the tax on gasoline by 12 cents per gallon and 20 cents per gallon for diesel. It also raised vehicle registration fees this year by a minimum of $25 to $175 (depending on the value of the vehicle), and imposed a $100 registration fee for zero-emission vehicles, which will go into effect in 2020.

California’s registration increase is more than the total vehicle fee in other states. Texas charges $51.75, Nevada $29.25, and Oregon $86-112 for 2-years. Some auto fees in the Golden State are more than a cheap car used to cost.

The price of fuel is already a dollar higher in California compared to most other states. Since all items purchased here are trucked at some point, the fuel increase affects the price of everything consumed.

The car tax is “regressive,” meaning it hurts lower-income families most. The person who drives 25,000 miles a year in a car valued at $15,000 that gets 27miles per gallon will eventually see a jump of $17.19 a month, or $206.28 per year.

Low-to-moderate-income households with cars drive about 10,000 miles annually and spent about $1,500 on fuel when the average price of gasoline was about $2.80. Gas prices are now approaching $3.80 a gallon in some parts of the state.

Every dollar increase, holding the number of miles driven constant, would cost moderate and lower-income households an extra $530 per year. For a family with an annual income of $20,000, this is an additional 2.7% of their total income. These people have few options but to cut somewhere in the family budget.

The democrats have for forty years robbed road monies to fund entitlement programs including benefits to illegal aliens. They want to force state drivers off the road to nonexistent or inefficient public transportation in most of California. Higher fuel and maintenance costs due to bad roads will encourage people to stop driving. That’s the democrat thinking.

Gov. Jerry Brown argues that because California has a $67 billion backlog in highway, bridge and road repairs, he will do everything in his power to defeat the gas tax repeal initiative. Brown, like local politicians, mismanages current monies and then wants more.

Brown can spend the $15 million remaining in his campaign coffers to sway voters to preserve the tax. He has also assembled a coalition of contractors, chambers of commerce, unions, local governments, law enforcement officers, and firefighters to fight the repeal.

In a “taxes are good” campaign, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association is warning that repealing SB 1 could cost California 68,203 jobs and reduce $18.3 billion of annual economic activity and benefits for business and residents. Let the propaganda begin.

Governor candidate John Cox said in a written statement, "This (repeal measure) is a message to the millions of forgotten Californians ignored by the Sacramento political elite, help is on the way. Let this also be a message to every special interest in Sacramento, we’re coming for you. You can outspend the people, but you can’t outvote the people, because there are more of us than there are of you.”

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a democrat who is heavily favored over Cox in the race for governor, opposes repeal of the gas tax, saying the money is needed to handle a backlog of road and bridge repairs.

by Lou Binninger

Have Yuba County leaders and the citizens been estranged? It feels like every week residents are getting fancy gloss mailers suggesting that we need to talk. The mailers ask for people’s opinions, provide county trivia and offer photos reminding people of their community.

The communications are signed by County Administrator Robert Bendorf like a personal letter. People are wondering who is paying for these solicitations and how much is it costing?

One 8 ½ X 11 item offered some trivia under “Do You Know?” It said sheriff’s deputies were serving 664 square miles of Yuba County. Unless the county has grown by 20 miles the easiest found source says 644 square miles (632 – land and 12-water). Not a huge difference, just the equivalent of 5 1/2 Marysvilles.

Noting the county size was coupled with the statement “response times can take up to 50 minutes in some areas.” Of course, response times usually depend on where you are going and where you start? Are all the deputies starting in Marysville to head to Strawberry Valley or Camptonville?

Maybe the mailer’s point was that a long response time meant that there wasn’t a free deputy to respond right then, thus taking nearly an hour. However, the statement itself is misleading for what it doesn’t say.

Normally, deputies do not respond on medical emergencies unless there is an act of violence or vehicle accident. Between Bi-County Ambulance and local fire departments, help arrives routinely much sooner than 50-minutes. It would be nice to know how often the deputies’ 50-minute mark is achieved and on what type calls.

Are Supervisors guaranteeing hill folks the same emergency response times as city dwellers if people vote for a 1% sales tax increase?

There have always been trade-offs for living in remote California and Yuba County. It is a 45-mile drive on winding roads from Camptonville to Adventist Hospital in Marysville. If the ambulance was sitting at your home in Camptonville that is still a long haul for a critical patient to Marysville or a long time even via helicopter assist.

Rural residents endure poorer roads, missing signage, traffic hazards during storms, more utility interruptions and longer response times of all types. That is the trade – off for peace and quiet, few neighbors and privacy.

The mailer reminded recipients that 2 deputies were “ambushed at an illegal marijuana grow.” Hill residents have been warning county leaders about illegal drug activity and danger in the hills for years. Requests to declare a state of emergency were initially disregarded by the county.

A declaration would have provided additional agencies and personnel to eradicate illegal drug operations. Is the county saying a 1% tax increase would have prevented the shooting?

Another Yuba County “Did You Know?” says “Some fire departments rely entirely on volunteers.” Is that a problem? Will a 1% tax increase provide all county fire districts with paid firefighters?

America’s firefighting industry proudly goes forth on the service of volunteers. As of 2014, there were 1,134,400 firefighters in the United States (not including firefighters who work for the state or federal governments or in private industry). Of these, 346,150 (31%) are career employees and 788,250 (69%) are volunteer.

Another “Did You Know?” states that the county withdrew from the regional narcotics task force. State leadership is in charge of regulating the marijuana industry, establishing a Sanctuary State and open borders. Shouldn’t state funding and enforcement agencies now be available to fend off a take-over of county properties by organized crime? Has an argument been made to this end?

Could these expensive mailers at least be accurate? Can they also stop implying volunteer fire departments are bad and wrongly suggest a sales tax increase will make volunteer firefighters paid employees?

There is a shortage of deputies compared to the past but that does not translate to extended 911 response times for Bi-County Ambulance and the county-based fire departments that are also responding to life threatening emergencies.

Giving partial information and half-truths creates confusion and fear among the citizens. But, come to think of it, that wins elections.

by Lou Binninger

At some point citizens may decide they just can’t afford the help. Yuba and Sutter Counties, Yuba City and Marysville officials are all complaining about being short of shekels. Marysville already charges an extra 1% sales tax to cover past blunders and the others dream about it.

However, hundreds of employees make more than $100,000 per year, many take-in over $150,000 and on up to beyond $300,000 annually. There are more than 2,600 city / county employees in the four jurisdictions. Government jobs offer fancy pay and benefits compared to the private sector. Public employees are getting wealthy off the poorer taxpayers. Government has become the largest employer in the community and keeps growing.

Caltrans employees can be seen strolling around Marysville in packs sipping coffee throughout the day. Even the state’s own auditors say Caltrans is overstaffed but expansion rather than cuts are planned.

Some of the most shocking salaries are in tiny Gridley, CA just across the Butte County line. Dean Price, Chief of Police will earn $332,743 in fiscal year 2018-2019. Line item 8e in his contract forbids any cut in pay or benefits unless all management get the same reduction. Otherwise, it is a breach of contract. Dean is protecting number 1. Does he have something on the city council?

Chief Price watches over the 2.08 square mile city and its 6,074 residents. That’s nearly $55 per breathing human not for the department, just for the boss. Total police budget is $2,818,517 or $1,355,056 per square mile annually.

Gridley’s new city administrator Paul Eckert will collect $206,672 for 2018-2019 or $34 per person annually for his services. Eckert came to Gridley following 3-years at Mt Shasta and before that 10-years in Sioux City, Iowa until a sexual harassment suit against him cost that city a million dollars.

Oroville, the Butte County seat, uses a Director of Public Safety, Bill La Grone to oversee both police and fire at $198,492.19 for 2017. Randolph Murphy – City Administrator in 2014 was paid $175,970. In 2016, Oroville had 19,033 people residing on 13.86 square miles.

In 2016, Marysville’s manager Walter Munchheimer made $$131,692.00 and Chief of Police Aaron Easton $155,391. Fire Chief Dale Vogelsong received $143,327. The 2018 budget shows $3,857,229 to police 3.58 square miles and 12,249 people or more than $1 million per square mile annually.

Small towns are running out of financial options trying to keep up with the lush salaries and pensions. The smart move may be to contract out for all services including the city administration. Big salaries and the state pension plan are poison to municipalities as politicians have guaranteed union bosses salary increases and defined pension benefits for their members. What does the impact look like?

Yuba City’s finance director Robin Bertagna said of her city’s $73.3 million pension liability --“This is the money the city owes to CalPERS as a debt, and would have to pay, even if we ceased to have any employees or future salary payments.”

Yuba County has again dipped into Yuba County Water Agency (YCWA) savings for $8 million to cover a timely payment to CalPERS. This move avoids monthly payment interest at 3.6%. Supervisors are celebrating this brilliant financial move while not talking about the fact that they cannot afford to make their pension payment on time to avoid monthly interest penalties. It’s called spin.

The county will reimburse YCWA the 1% YCWA would have earned on the $8 million sitting in savings. Most people know that when you cannot make your payments on time you are going backwards and it only gets worse. Last year’s borrowed amount was $6.8 million and now its $8 million. Next year, will it be $10 million?

County Administrator Robert Bendorf and YCWA Director Brent Hastey keep repeating their nonsense that Yuba County has this wonderful harmonious relationship with the water agency. Very cute.

The five county supervisors and the YCWA directors are the same people except for community members Hastey and Charles Mathews on the YCWA 7-member board. The supervisors with 5 votes get what they want when they want it, very harmonious. The boards have “common (same) interests” because they are the same people.

Finally, “saving taxpayer dollars” nowadays does not mean cutting costs and the size of government. It means borrowing money to pay your annual pension payment on time to pay a smaller interest penalty to “saves the taxpayers money.” That’s like the lady buying a $500 dress on sale for $250 and telling her man she saved the family $250 today.

by Carol Withington

As more African Americans settled in Marysville, it became important that their spiritual needs were met. By 1853, area residents began to notice a group of African-American Baptists who seem to "hum with activities". And, with the help of the entire community, the establishment of the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church was accomplished in 1856 with the purchase of land on the corner of Sixth and High streets.

Over the next few years, the small congregation planned fund-raising events in order to build their church. Women played a major role in this endeavor. For example, Mrs. James Segui, Mrs. Susan Blue, Mrs. Dorothea McGowan and Mrs. William Bland worked ceaselessly on "Ladies' Festivals" with their selling of bakery goods and knitwear.

In October of 1857, a large crowd of Marysville residents also witnessed a public baptism of some of the members in the Feather River. And all along, the Marysville Herald newspaper "applauded the work of the Mt. Olivet congregation". By January 1858, the building, including a basement school, was completed at the cost of $5,000. And although the school did not initially meet building standards, the Marysville City Council appropriated $500 to assist in the remodeling. The school opened in 1859. The first teacher was a Mrs. Sherman followed later by Carrie Oldfield and Emma Washington.

The Rev. Charles Satchell served as the first pastor. The Rev. Thomas Randolph later ministered the church for many years with Mrs. McGowan faithfully serving as treasurer for 30 years.

A.M.E. BETHEL CHURCH

In 1854, members of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church was formed. The congregation initially met in a building on California Alley between Sixth and Seventh streets and was pastored by circuit ministers for many years.

By 1864, a "neat brick church" had been built on the corner of California Alley and Fifth Street for this growing membership. Among the first church officers were Darius Stokes, a pastor who founded many A.M.E. churches in California; and G.A. Cantine, D.W. Sands and Samuel Ringol, who served as trustees. Over the years, the church included 200 books in its library with Mrs. C.J. French serving as Superintendent in 1879.

Ten years later, the church was in need of repairs and the congregation also hoped to build a parsonage. In addition, a special event was going to occur in August of 1889 with the 22nd Annual Session of the California Conference A.M.E. Bethel Church set to take place in Marysville. From early on, the church began its fund-raising beginning in January of that year with a Bible Exhibition of over 250 scenes as a benefit. An advertisement in the Marysville Daily Appeal noted that a sum of $500 would be needed to complete the repairs and build the parsonage.

Once more the community of Marysville came forth to help the church as Pastor J.R. McClain and Trustees H. Brown, W.M. Wapple, J. Churchill, A. Pinckard and Johnnie Churchill continued in their quest to "advance the cause of our Master's Kingdom".

As the churches were established, so was a need of an organization in the area that would "perpetuate fellowship and project a sense of dignity and self worth" for the African-American men.

MASONS

According to research, the first lodge of black Masons in America was the African Lodge No. 1 of Boston, which was established on September 29, 1784 with Prince Hall as its leader. By 1879, African-American Lodges were in every state.

The first Masonic Lodge in California was organized in San Francisco in 1854. A year later, local Marysville resident John C. Jenkins was a participant of the Prince Hall Masons in San Francisco. It appears that Jenkins was interested in organizing a local Masonic Lodge. However, it was not until July 1864, that the Laurel Lodge No. 6 was established. Among the Charter members was J.C. Jenkins, who served as Worshipful Master; along with Charles Bush, David W. Sands, John R. Johnson, Isaac Watkins, John Bright, Samuel Williams, Morse Wiley and Thomas Randolph, who made up the various offices.

The Society met the third Monday of every month in a hall which they owned on High Street. The building and property value at that time was $1,000. At one time, the Lodge had up to 20 members. However, by 1879, there were only ten with Johnson, Randolph and Watkins of the charter members remaining.

This concludes the series of the many accomplishments of the over 200 African-American pioneers who settled in Marysville and surrounding areas beginning in 1848. All were major contributors to the rich history that encompasses the Gold Rush era with their strength and determination. May they never be forgotten.

by Lou Binninger

Yuba County Supervisors say the county is doing just fine but cannot afford adequate emergency services. It’s your fault, not theirs. And they are pitting the sheriff, deputies and fire departments against the citizens to raise taxes.

The county has money, just not for law enforcement and fire. What if the cash shortage was described as affecting the County Administrator ($277,207 – 2016), Supervisors’ salaries ($80,000 each) plus retirement along with bloated employee pension payments? A sales tax increase measure would surely be doomed.

Since the county now wants the input of citizens, how about cutting other department budgets that taxpayers do not want to support and transfer that money to law enforcement?

Supervisors “promise” that taking another $4-5 million annually from taxpayers will go to public safety, Swear to God and Scouts Honor. However, politicians do not tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Transparency is a dirty word to politicians and bureaucrats. Information is hard to come by from government. Try asking for some data or documents. You’ll need to properly submit a Freedom of Information Act request. It then goes to the county attorneys for review. Finally, there is a ten-day period for the county to provide the data if they decide they must.

What’s up with that? This is now big brother versus little people, not a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

The City of Marysville is using their new “emergency services” 1% sales tax stream wherever they wish. Campaign rhetoric is long forgotten. There are no legal restraints and no accountability. As personnel and city council members change no one cares or remembers what commitments were made to citizens.

Even if the new Yuba County sales tax increase received an OK from 2/3’s of voters vs. a 50%-plus majority only the designated tax funds are legally restricted to emergency services. The rest of the budget is fungible or exchangeable. Other emergency service funds can be transferred from law enforcement for others.

That’s how we got into this predicament. Supervisors used the sheriff’s budget elsewhere while relying on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) monies to fund the sheriff’s department. Supervisors have overcommitted to the salaries and pensions of more than 1,000 employees thereby shorting the sheriff’s budget.

The county has little concern for saving costs. A recent 6”X11” two-sided multicolor glossy mailer warning about wildfires went to every household, business and post office box holder in the county, probably in excess of 30,000 pieces. Many people received 2 or more copies. The Marysville Post Office was littered in wasted mailers.

Why would people living in Marysville, Plumas Lake, Edgewater, Olivehurst and Wheatland housing tracts be served a notice that they are required by law to create 100 ft. of defensible space around the house to survive a wildfire? Most residential homes are separated by 15-30 feet and have never been threatened by wildfire. Do the hill residents get the flood warnings that valley people receive? That’s crazy. Why this waste?

What business in the private sector would send mailers to people that have no need of the information or product? Would Yuba County pitch bikinis to Eskimos?

Many in government couldn’t care less about saving money. Decision-makers do not seek the best price for the same or better product. There is no accountability or conscience.

In fact, the entire system encourages waste and cronyism. As an administrator if you don’t spend your budget it is reduced the following year. “Good” bureaucrats grow bureaucracies, not become more efficient and shrink the department.

That’s why President Trump’s move to drain the swamp is mocked, despised and hated. It’s even fashionable by some local so-called conservative politicians to praise Trump but do just the opposite. While federal employment is shrinking, county and state government is growing. We have a socialist Kommifornia because Republicans act just like liberals.

Some are saying that last week’s sales tax road show in Wheatland should have been properly noticed as a public meeting according to the Brown Act. There was a quorum of Supervisors present and it was a government organized event. With a county office of attorneys how could that have been missed? It would be tidier if the legislature did away with the open meeting Act. Politicians work around it anyway.

by Lou Binninger

Main stream media and the deep state are involved in a propaganda blitz and legal assault to overthrow the presidency. The perpetrators are using any means necessary including lying, deception, character assassination, and collusion, anything short of violent conflict to achieve their objective.

A recent example is the coordinated contrived media uproar over illegal children supposedly “forcefully separated from their parents at the border.” The entire story is a crock of crap.

The initial border assault by illegal youth was planned and prepared for by the Obama organization, and any so-called separation was created under that same administration. The youth were intended to disappear without proper legal resolution into the US. The “victims” included gang members, and others that had relatives already illegally here with no intention of emerging from the shadows.

Just like American foster parents and group homes, so-called sponsors of illegal children do not hold them with chains. To say the government does not know where children are at all times is a “straw-man” argument. It never does.

Anytime a child runs away from his own parents, a foster or group home he is separated and unaccounted for until he is found. Even American youth are taken and separated into Child Protective Services if their parents are arrested and there are no kin to place them with.

However, the real family separation crisis has been created by illegal alien criminals welcomed here by Obama and the democrats to increase the liberal voting bloc. Here are just a few examples.

Ariel Cuellar Guizar will face thirty-one years in prison for charges relating to his activities as a human trafficker. He was found guilty of trafficking, pimping women out to prostitution, and the rape of a fifteen-year-old girl. Guizar will also be registered as a sex offender for life. (ABC 7, July 20, 2017)

Pasqual Mendez, 24, of Morganton, was given a prison term of 12 to 19 years for felony human trafficking of a child, assault on a female, interfering with emergency communication and statutory rape of a child less than 15 years of age (News Herald, May 23, 2017)

On April 27, 2002, Ronald da Silva was standing with a friend in his driveway when he was shot and killed by an illegal alien who had been previously deported. The illegal alien was sentenced to 21 years in prison but will be released in 2020.

Tessa Tranchant, 16, was killed on March 30, 2007 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Tessa and her friend, Ali Kunhardt, were at a stoplight when Alfredo Ramos, an illegal alien from Mexico, was intoxicated and speeding, rear-ending their car. Ramos had numerous prior convictions, but due to Virginia Beach’s sanctuary policies, he was never detained. He was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 40-years in prison.

Sarah Root, 21, from Omaha, Nebraska was killed on January 31, 2016. Her SUV was rear-ended by Eswin Mejia, an illegal alien from Honduras, who was street racing. Sarah had just graduated from Bellevue University with a 4.0 GPA the day before the incident.

Omaha is in Douglas County, Nebraska which has sanctuary policies that impede local law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with immigration officers. Mejia was charged with motor vehicular homicide but posted bond to get out of jail and was released. He is still on the run.

Igor Zubko, an illegal alien from Russia, killed Shayley Estes on July 24, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. Shayley obtained an order of protection against Zubko just 10-days before her murder, but he entered her home and fatally shot her. Zubko entered the U.S. legally, but overstayed his visa and remained here illegally. He is in custody with first-degree murder charges.

Roberto Galo, an unlicensed driver from Honduras who entered the U.S. illegally but earned temporary protective status (TPS), killed Drew Rosenberg, a second-year law student, on November 16, 2010 in San Francisco. Rosenberg was riding his motorcycle when Galo ran over him three times with his car. Galo was convicted of vehicular manslaughter and sentenced to 6 months in jail. US Immigration refused to deport him and he was released after serving only 43 days. Thanks to the Rosenberg family's activism, Galo was finally deported on April 4, 2013.

Apolinar Altamirano, an illegal alien from Mexico, murdered Grant Ronnebeck on January 22, 2015 in Mesa, Arizona. Ronnebeck was shot over a pack of cigarettes while he was working at a convenience store. Altamirano killed Ronneback while out on bond from a previous conviction while ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) determined whether he should be deported.

These egregious crimes would never be committed by illegals if the borders were closed. Yes, it’s true. Thousands have experienced “family separation.”

by Lou Binninger

Just a week has passed since the primary and the political engines are revving-up to bait and switch voters out of more money in November. Water bonds always pass even if the funds get used for bike paths and saving frogs. And usually anything to do with a child will work, a children’s hospital bond or even to preserve the right to end the life of a youngster.

Both Sutter and Yuba County Clerks Donna Johnston and Terry Hansen said they would need more time to count thousands of ballots coming in “last minute.” That is fodder for conspiracy theories and good news to those hoping for a different outcome and for those liking larger numbers of people voting.

Based on initial returns Measure G, the Plumas Lake Elementary School Bond, appears to have failed. It needed two-thirds voter approval but a majority said no.

Many voters were poorly informed by the school district and County Supervisor Gary Bradford as to why the measure was needed. Late-coming information in the local mainstream and social media raised many questions and refuted reasons for giving the government another $250-500 per year per household for 30 years.

Pro-bond arguments suggesting future overcrowding were an intellectual stretch. Bradford was pitching the bond but knew little about the state of schools in his district. Every new slab poured in Plumas Lake (PL) does not transfer to student population growth. There are many empty school seats now.

There is no guarantee of student numbers growing because under the next president and governor both likely to be Democrat, housing sales will slump. Add this to new water use penalties, higher vehicle and road taxes and on and on, more middle income people will be leaving the state. Those left will need subsidized low-income housing. PL is far from that.

Inter and intra-district transfers can be ended to create more space if ever needed. Modular classrooms can offer a buffer for years to come should the “predicted” student attendance boom occur.

Some PL residents were naïve when debating the myriad of taxes, fees and assessments added to their property taxes. One bill showed that the fees on top of property taxes doubled the total amount owed.

Basic tax on one PL home was 1,871.70. However, the total figure owed the county was $3586.86. Whew, that was a sleeping dog now bothered. Some people had simply lost track of what they were paying and for what.

Another huge expense when it comes to living in Yuba County’s PL and Edgewater developments is the Kitec Plumbing system. Thousands of the homes have the flawed plumbing. Once touted as a superior product to copper and much faster to install, the plumbing is prone to premature failure.

It is now off the market and there is a class action suit against the manufacturers. See kitecsettlement.com and bpelaw.com/kitec-plumbing-should-you-be-concerned/ for more information.

The property with the tax bill noted above was built in 2004 and in 2017 its Kitec Plumbing gave way flooding the home. It took thirty thousand dollars and months to remove and replace concrete, siding, sheet rock and carpet to re-plumb and renovate.

The Plumbing Doctor in Yuba City said they were hired to replace a Kitec Plumbing system before a break occurred. The job cost $10,000. However, every fix would be a different cost based on design and size.

Sun City Lincoln Hills Community Association just south of Yuba County notified all their residents once failures began. It’s not if there will be a failure but how soon it will occur.

Edgewater and Plumas Lake developments are attractive and new compared with the rest of Yuba County. However, the taxes and assessments combined with flawed plumbing on many homes make the communities the most expensive in the region.

Regarding Measure G, pollsters tell politicians that primaries are the poorest time to get bonds passed. Most of the primary voters are old angry conservative white guys who know better. However, November is the better election to shear the sheep since the young naïve and more liberal come out.

So, look for up to 20 measures on the November ballot wanting your money and suggesting people will starve, be murdered, die of a heart attack or be molested unless voters say yes.

by Lou Binninger

Yuba County residents are used to getting expensive mailers from the government. Some of the pieces tell folks in the valley how to prepare for high water and buy flood insurance. Then hill dwellers are told how to maintain a green belt around their dwellings to defend against a forest fire.

The notices include contact numbers and social media sites to use in case of an emergency. Since the county is broke due to employee pension costs can’t insurance companies provide this reminder to protect their losses or solicit more business?

Do all these notifications make any difference? No one really knows for sure. During the Oroville Dam spillway debacle and evacuation there were only so many ways out of the valley and then people waited hours in traffic for the water to arrive. People prepared and hurried-up to wait.

The old-school AM radio broadcast could have coordinated all travelers but it wasn’t part of the communication mix. Sad, since it is less problematic compared to battery-powered cell phones trying to reach websites and social media while on the road. Plus, one station relaying the truth dispels many social media myths and trash talkers. Incorporating a radio station would not have cost any tax dollars.

In Yuba City and Sutter County after spending millions each year waiting for a disaster, leaders could not even get their evacuation message to match-up. Chaos and frustration ensued. Exactly what is gained by having special emergency officials when fire and police do this work every day and actually have a plan to address emergencies? Short on money and not wanting to reduce pensions then maybe cut here.

Could we survive without the counties using radio and print to caution people to wear a hat and drink water during a heat wave? And, don’t forget sunscreen. How about reminding us to wear a coat when chilly out? Short on money, cut here.

Do taxpayers really have to pay for male and female condoms, dental dams and the like so some people can have them free? Sexually transmitted diseases are increasing even after condom bombing both counties. Maybe this has less to do with the item and more to do with lack of intelligence.

Can’t people fund their own sex so we can fund pensions? Or maybe businesses or nonprofits could provide the products as a promo? Liquor stores could offer a bunch of condoms for a certain priced purchase or attach them to a pack of cigarettes or maybe we could permit their purchase with an EBT card. That makes sense because some liberals argue that abortion cuts down on the number of future criminals. If that’s true, then EBT-purchased condoms could slow generational welfare. There is a method to this madness.

Paying for the health costs of keeping smokers alive is a fortune, but why does the government have to provide anti-smoking education and cessation classes versus the medical community? Health organizations like Sutter North are already contacting their patients offering all kinds of incentives for check-ups, tune-ups and good behavior. Giving tobacco taxes to the medical community to offer services would be far less expensive than hiring government employees.

Government rehabilitation efforts have the lowest recovery rates for addicts and alcoholics. Why are we using tax dollars for this when private and more specifically spiritually-based rehabs are having the success? Of course, God forbid that taxpayers’ money go to effective religious nonprofits. Why doesn’t government just stop doing what doesn’t work?

Government is the disease for which it pretends to be the cure. A socialist welfare system lean on love and no accountability costs a fortune and sucks the self-worth and pride from recipients. The system ruins people. Meth eventually ruins users as well but at least makes them feel wonderful while on the way.

The entitlement mentality crippling generations of Americans was created and is maintained and defended by government. Recipients have a disdain for people in a place of superiority that do not demand a fair exchange for goods provided.

God created people to work and serve others. Robbing people of this mission is evil and destructive. Giving hand-outs without accountability and reciprocity says people are not worthy to provide a service for the help.

Welfare has done far more to harm society than drugs and alcohol could ever do. Now government wants more and more money to do more damage. That’s just crazy.

by Lou Binninger

Life is a miracle. While speaking with 20 juvenile delinquents of all flavors I reminded them that they were a miracle among their generation since 2 of every 10 never survived the womb. For blacks it was tougher go, nearly 3 of 10 were too costly to keep around in the wealthiest nation ever.

The other miracle was that they survived the birthing process and all could still mad dog, trash talk, run from cops and throw a punch. They were fit.

The other blessing was that they were incarcerated in the best country on earth where they received food, snacks, hygiene items, medicine, doctor’s care and lotion. They also enjoyed school classes, recreation, counseling and air conditioning. As Ukrainian-born American comedian Yakov Smirnoff loved to say, “What a country!”

America is unique. The wealthier we get, the poorer we become, and the more we like to kill our young. While we are learning from the Chinese about marketing fetal body parts, Americans are slower to add them to their diet.

On June 1, liberals, black race hustlers and La Raza revolutionaries suffered horrible news. Although the stock market was predicted to crash after the election of President Trump the Dow closed at the nose-bleed level of 24,635.21. Unemployment figures were the lowest in history for blacks at 5.9% and nearly the lowest for the rest, Hispanics 4.9% and whites 3.5%.

More tears fell as 2-million people dropped their food stamps in Trump’s first year. USDA (United States Dept. of Agriculture) credited an improved economy and people actually getting a job. Others added that many illegal aliens ditched food stamps to avoid being detected and deported.

In 2017, Americans paid the food bill for 42.2 million of their neighbors via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is an 11 percent decrease from 2013, when a record number of people used “food stamps.”

Not only do the richest people on earth increasingly dislike children they don’t want to pay to feed them either. WIC or the Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children was created in 1974 during the “War on Poverty.” In 2017, 7.3 billion people needed neighbors to pop for their nutrition. Formula and nutritional food companies love it because they just have to lobby and pay-off some crooked politicians and they make the one sale of a lifetime every year.

Last week, Ruby Larson in the Appeal Democrat told how today local parents don’t feed their kids like they used to. When schools close for a break then the kids go without.

Parents have become Food Nazis. “No food for you!” Have you seen the urchins lying under a bush, bulging stomachs and flies about the face? So, the schools are providing “free” breakfast and lunch each day and maybe dinners.

Ruby said that some 11,820 out of 45,952 Yuba-Sutter children are “food insecure” according to Feeding America, a hunger relief organization. Just hold on while I pick my laptop off the floor. Is there any record of children dying in America from starvation etc., even in “tweaker” houses, or even during gnarly colonial times? Mr. Teacher, do we still have any of those history books in storage?

How did our kids go from obese to “food insecure?” What is “food insecure” anyway? Weren’t we the fattest people on the planet just a few months ago? In October 2017, 13.9% of those 2-5, 18.4% of those 6-11 and 20.6% of those 12-19 years old were considered extra “food secure” or over-inflated. The older they become the wider they get.

What’s worse is that overall 25.8% of Hispanic kids and 22% of black youngsters are obese. Ruby’s article didn’t say if the school feeding would discriminate based upon ideal weight vs. height. Maybe our county health doctors should step-in to stop the government gorging since they say obesity is the root cause of so many of our diseases.

There was also talk on the news of Child Protective Service messing with some parents of super pudgy kids. How about schools serving burgers to those with ribs showing and celery for those with the Michelin Man figure?

Parents now seem unnecessary when it comes to schooling, transporting children there or feeding kids. And, since adults can’t afford to pay their own housing and utility bills, why don’t we just keep the kids on campus in dorms? It would provide more jobs for union workers.

Schools taking-over feeding kids will also be less embarrassing for the future graduates to embrace EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards and commodities. What a Country!

by Carol Withington

As African Americans began to build new lives in Yuba and Sutter counties as well as surrounding areas, they became anxious to obtain their own land. However, under the California Homestead laws passed in 1851 and later in 1860, they were not allowed homestead rights.

According to Delilah Beasley in her publication--The Negro Trail Blazers of California, the wording of the Homestead law designated that "a colored man could not acquire a homestead plot of land". Ironically, an African American could purchase a home; but if a white person should claim the land, the home owner could not go into Court and testify in his own behalf. But this was about to change, thanks to a test case involving an area African American.

BENJAMIN BERRY

A native of Kentucky, Benjamin Berry, a slave, was brought to California from Missouri by John Holloway in the summer of 1850. During the next few years, Berry was able to perform services in the equivalent of $3,000 in order to purchase his freedom. On December 27, 1853, a document was filed and recorded in Sutter County which pertained to Berry's emancipation.

He had now been granted freedom for the remainder of his life "in consideration of the faithful services and good conduct rendered. . ."

Berry settled in Yuba County on public land in the West Bear River Township, according to Thompson and West's History of Yuba County. While on this land, he was able to make improvements and around 1860, he married. However, as Berry entered his late 60s, his life would take a drastic turn.

On May 30, 1863 the Pacific Appeal, a San Francisco newspaper, printed copies of a transcript which contained correspondence between A.J. Snyder, Register of the Land Office at Marysville and Joseph S. Wilson, Acting Commissioner of the General Land Office at Washington D.C. regarding rights of public domain for African Americans. Since Snyder had several similar cases in Yuba County, in his estimation, "these ought to be allowed".

According to Snyder's letter, dated February 3, 1863, "certain parties, taking advantage of (Berry's) legal disabilities have attempted to acquire title to the land claimed by him through the State as a portion of the five hundred acre grant". Berry feared that he would be ejected by an action in the State Courts.

The letter further related that "Berry, who has settled and improved this public land in good faith, may be protected in his improvements and occupancy".

By March 12, 1863, Snyder received an answer from the General Land Office in Washington D.C.. The letter reads in part that "covering an affidavit of Edward E. Thurman and in relation to the Case of Benjamin Berry, a free man of color, . . .I have to state that the Attorney General of the United States in an elaborate opinion published the 29th of November, 1862, upon the subject of rights of free persons of color to citizenship under the Constitution of the United States, declares":

The free man of color, if born in the United States,

is a citizen of the United States.

The letter continued that the "administration of the business of this department will conform to the above opinion. . ."

"'The man Berry, upon making proper proof of his being a free man and born in the United States, will be entitled to the benefit of the Preemption Laws as also of the Homestead Laws. . ."

The editor of the Pacific Appeal newspaper also noted that "under this straightforward and just ruling, Berry will be able to secure his rights and maintain possession of the land he has improved and occupied for so many years". It is important to remember that before the ruling on this test case, African Americans were forcibly expelled from portions of the public domain despite the improvements made or taxes paid. Also, the swift action of this ruling is also significant as it occurred during the Civil War. But most of all, it was a major triumph for Benjamin Berry and so many other African Americans who had settled in California.

The July edition will conclude this mini series with histories of the churches and the Lodge.

by Lou Binninger

This week, Yuba County residents received a “survey” asking 7 questions about their priorities for public safety. The survey is disingenuous and a bit of a scam. It is set-up by the county to sell an upcoming sales tax increase.

The questions ask if you prefer adequate law enforcement, curbing child and elder abuse, maintaining roads and veteran’s services, having professional fire protection, supervising high risk offenders and finally do you care how fast police and fire show-up?

Of course, this survey is designed to scare the hell out of people unless they cough-up more cash while ignoring other options to reform government.

If this fake survey addressed health and quality of life issues it would ask whether you would like to remain cancer-free, check 1 for least important and 7 for very important. Next, would you prefer tap water without arsenic? Answer 1 for whatever and 7 for a little arsenic is ok. How about eating each day? Mark 1 if kind of important and 7 means I really love to eat. Finally, check 1 if hitting your finger with a hammer is no big deal or 7 if you like all your fingers.

Did Yuba County tax payers pay for this survey? No wonder we’re broke.

According to Transparentcalifornia.com, in 2016 Yuba County had 1013 part and fulltime employees to serve fewer than 75,000 residents. Four “public servants” earned over $250,000 each. Eleven earned more than $200,000. Forty-four made in excess of $150,000 and 81 received over $125,000. Finally, 197 earned over $100,000. (Median Yuba Co household income is $48,739 (2016) which includes all working family members.)

Once county employees retire they get pensions funded not by their investments alone but backed by the citizens’ taxes in the general fund. With Cal PERS (retirement fund) failing, that means current taxes will pay for past supervisor promises to retirees. Thus, the county wants more local taxes to continue living beyond its means.

Former LA County Sheriff Lee Baca was found guilty of lying to the FBI to hide abusing inmates in his jail. He now gets a $342,000 annual Cal PERS retirement. Public employees convicted of felonies keep their retirements.

The Yuba Co survey is like sending your son to the store with $50 to get groceries to feed the family. He spends half the money on unauthorized items then you get a text. If lettuce is really important, check 7. If it can wait, check 1. How about potatoes – 7 or 1? Mike, eggs, and so on. The kid never suggests what may have happened with the missing funds.

Since the Constitutional mandate of a county is to provide emergency services why wouldn’t county leaders assume that people want these services and then ask what services they don’t want at all or want to cut back on?

How about asking should we reduce all budgets a certain percentage and transfer those funds to emergency services? What about asking should we cut supervisors pay (currently $80,000) by 75% and end their retirement benefits? Could we ask about cancelling all junkets? Let’s ask about stopping crony capitalism? All the savings would go to public safety.

Crony capitalism in Sacramento County got the county sued. Two gravel companies were hurt financially due to the county’s unethical dealings. The court awarded $100 million in damages to the effected companies.

There is waste and corruption throughout government. Auditors found legislators spending more than $3 million on mail to constituents, much of which was sent immediately before elections. Politicians were scamming tax dollars for their political campaigns.

Five officials from the Panoche Water District were arrested and charged for the misuse of taxpayer dollars on personal expenses such as home remodels, housing, and concert tickets. The Attorney General’s office estimated that the officials spent as much as $100,000 of the public’s money.

How about those expense and per diem accounts? The new gas taxes apply to everyone but politicians. State legislators used taxpayer-funded credit cards to pay for their gas. From January 1, 2016 to April 2017, legislators charged more than $137,000 in gas to the taxpayers. That occurs locally as well.

Building a home in Yuba County is nearly impossible due to egregious fees and regulations. And, buying in the newer subdivisions creates financial bondage. An existing 3 bdrm/2 bath, 1360 sq ft Edgewater house will cost $3803 in taxes and fees annually. A 4 bdm/3 bath, 3151 sq ft Plumas Lake home has annual taxes and fees of $5233.

Government today is like going into your favorite restaurant and your $14 dollar salad is now $35. Government is way too costly for the average Yuba County resident. In real life the restaurant goes out of business. With government, there is a tax increase to maintain the poor service you used to get for half the cost.

“Come for the Information! Stay for the Inspiration! Embrace the Fun!”

By: Megan Anderson

Lifelong residents of Yuba County, and high school sweethearts, Leonard Johnson and Emma Hirshkorn are putting together and hosting Marysville’s first annual Juneteenth event on Saturday, June 16 at Yuba Square Park in Marysville. Although, technically this is not the first time Marysville has had a Juneteenth event, it is the first in many years.

Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom! On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, the Civil War was announced over by Union Soldiers sailing into Galveston, Texas; this declaration in return freed a quarter-million slaves still residing in Texas. From that day forward June 19 has been called Juneteenth, and it is recognized as a holiday in 45 states; Texas being the first to observe this milestone day in African-American history. Not only is it an important day in history it is the oldest and only African-American holiday observance in the United States.

Growing up in the Yuba area Leonard remembers Juneteenths of his youth and realized that this new generation has yet to experience what fond memories he has. Wanting to give their grandchildren the same memories and experience of this jubilant celebration Leonard and Emma put their heads together and decided now was the time. “We want bring back a feeling of community and unity to our little town, we love Marysville.” Emma says. “We just want to be involved in our community and give the children a sense of pride and to be actively involved in their community to make a difference.”

With the help of friends and family and local businesses and vendors Leonard and Emma’s vision is coming to reality. This free open to the public event will be MC’d by Quantum Entertainment a local entertainment company. With an array of food vendors, informational booths, and games set up for children and adults, this is promising to be a fun filled family day. Guest speakers from the community will speak throughout the day along with a skit, music, and much, much more!

Mark your calendars and come celebrate an important day in history for all Americans, and maybe we all can be inspired to be the change we want to see!

If you are interested in being a vendor or have more questions please contact Emma Hirshkorn via Marysville Juneteenth 2018 Facebook page or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

by Lou Binninger

Valedictorian Sam Blackledge was ready to deliver his speech at West Prairie High School in Illinois on May 19. Then, school administrators informed the 18-year-old minutes before going on stage that he needed to remove any mention of God and Jesus.

Attorney Jeremy Dys of the non-profit legal firm First Liberty Institute told reporters that the school didn’t really want Blackledge to speak at all. However, they eventually allowed him to give a “very generic” address purged of the Almighty.

President Trump caused a hissy-fit among liberals when he criticized players and NFL owners for their weekly show of disrespect when the National Anthem was played. The NFL lost hundreds of millions of dollars and the loyalty of much of its fan base.

Many Americans assumed that athletes were patriotic and shared their appreciation and gratefulness for the nation. The adoring fans were wrong, way wrong. Even the flyovers and honor guards to kick-off big games rather than being about patriotism were actually the armed forces paying to advertise for recruits.

Now, the NFL and its billionaire owners are forcing adult millionaire players like spoiled children to stand for the National Anthem or remain in the locker room till after the ceremony concludes. Do any patriots respect this or care at this point?

The rich athletes may be thankful they have a job and for the peacetime that allows them to play a game for a fortune, but they are not grateful for the values, the military, law enforcement and those who have died to allow this all to be.

At the end of the Great Depression and with war about to break-out President Franklin Delano Roosevelt quoted Abraham Lincoln when addressing the nation in January 1939. He said, “Once I prophesied that this generation of Americans had a rendezvous with destiny...... To us much is given; much is expected. This generation will nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope of earth....The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just----a way which if followed the world will forever applaud and God must forever bless.”

Roosevelt’s remarks were indeed prophetic as all hell immediately erupted into WW II. By the D-Day invasion of Europe on June 6, 1944, 12 million were in uniform and more than 16 million Americans would eventually fight. More than 6.5 million women entered the work force war effort and over 400,000 young Americans died.

What enabled this generation to endure a grueling depression, wage a barbaric fight for freedom and then rebuild postwar American society? A clue may be in what drove Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Mitchell Paige.

At the Battle of Guadalcanal, as all his fellow Marines were killed or wounded, Paige managed four machine guns to stop an entire Japanese regiment. A loss of the airfield Paige defended may have altered the war’s outcome.

Of course, Paige was often asked about the motivation for his extraordinary actions. He then would refer to the three room country school where the children were so steeped in the traditions of America that they believed themselves having a role in that heritage and legacy.

Paige said the teacher would start the day with a Bible verse and the Pledge of Allegiance. They memorized all the great documents that were foundational to America’s success, like the Gettysburg address.

“My undying love of country, and my strong loyalty to the Marines fighting by my side, gave me no choice but to fight on unswervingly throughout my battles, utilizing my God-given ability to make use of what I have been taught and learned,” said Paige.

When Paige left for the nearest Marine recruiting station in 1936 his mother packed him a lunch with a note: “Trust in the Lord son, and He will guide you always.” Paige said those words remained with him particularly when overtaken with fear.

After the noted all-night firefight at Guadalcanal, Paige was alone, bloody, burned, and surrounded by hundreds of dead bodies. He opened his pack looking for something to stop his bleeding from a bayonet wound.

Out fell a pocket Bible and providentially opened to Proverbs 3 and the verse reflecting his mother’s words: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and He will direct your path.”

Today, America may have lost its moral compass but any good and benefit that America still represents to the world is due to Mitchell Paige and millions just like him.

by Lou Binninger

Sutter County District Attorney Amanda Hopper in an Appeal-Democrat article accused her opponent Chris Carlos and her former Chief Investigator Jason Parker of conspiring together and making a You Tube video of her cousin Michael Bartschi. Bartschi says on the video that Hopper repeatedly molested him when they were children.

However, Bartschi never had contact with Carlos or Parker. He did initiate an ongoing interaction with a community member for 4-5 weeks before the video surfaced. The citizen says the emails from Bartschi were provided to writer Jake Abbott at the Appeal-Democrat showing the information and how it came to the community. Facebook messages, voicemails and emails to Abbott, Rachel Rosenbaum and the newspaper editor were never acknowledged.

The Appeal then published the story where Hopper falsely accused Carlos and Parker of creating the dust-up regarding Bartschi’s molestation accusation. The paper not only ran the story but did not include the information sent to them contradicting Hopper’s claim.

Does anyone recall US United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice lying on 5 Sunday talk shows saying the assault on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya was due to a video trailer mocking Muslims? Hillary Clinton, President Obama and the media also were complicit in that tale.

Whether Bartschi’s accusations have any merit or not, a District Attorney concocting a story and the daily newspaper going along with it is not good news for the community however the election turns-out.

Farmer and water profits reformer Charlie Mathews won a seat on the Yuba County Water Agency (YCWA) in 2016 by saying to Yuba County citizens “Your Water, Your Money.” His initiative to let the county voters decide how Bullards Bar Dam water and power sales profits would be divided more fairly among cities, agencies, districts and community members was illegally blocked by YCWA directors. The citizens were deprived of their constitutional right to vote on the profits but elected Charlie anyway.

Now, the Yuba County 5th District Supervisor race pitting incumbent and YCWA director Randy Fletcher against Territorial Dispatch owner John Mistler and Alton Wright has the water and power profits issue front and center again.

Mistler, also a former Supervisor and YCWA director, has been arguing that all citizens should benefit economically with the cities, agencies and water districts along with the farmer/pumpers. Right now, only the pumpers and YCWA are making millions each year.

In the last election, the pumpers contributed $150,000 to defeat the people’s right to vote on the initiative and Charlie’s bid to join the YCWA board. The easiest way to stop an initiative is to keep it off the ballot. Bingo.

However, Charlie survived the hit-mail and robo-call blitz and now farmers are boycotting his rice drying business. Someone said somewhere that the love of money is the root of all evil. So far, Charlie’s former opponent Tib Belza, the YCWA directors and the pumpers believe the only evil one here is Charlie questioning the water and power cartel.

Supervisor Fletcher likes YCWA’s status quo, a tight-fisted keep-people-in-the-dark control over water / power profits where county supervisors double-dip financially as YCWA directors. YCWA chairman Brent Hastey likes the fact that when supervisors run short of money they can switch hats and smoothly vote to transfer funds from the water agency. Hastey likes the 7-0 vote harmony. Others don’t think the arrangement passes the ethics smell test.

This is a David versus Goliath political race pitting Mistler’s self-run campaign against the YCWA’s half million development dollars being sown into the 5th District, the pumpers’ influence money, their public relations firm and Fletcher taking credit for YCWA cash coming to his district.

Finally, for all you parents of K-12 students, Tuesday May 22 is the day government schools celebrate Harvey Milk Day. Harvey is noted for having sex with underage teen boys and flaunted his advocacy of enjoying multiple partners.

Your child’s teacher may be instructing about Harvey this week and may even show the film “Milk.” The Hollywood film did not tell the truth about Harvey, but the legislature became so euphoric and celebratory with their sentiments about man-boy sex that they shared their exuberance with the entire state. It’s Harvey Milk Day!

By Lou Binninger

Arne Duncan and Peter Cunningham who served in President Obama’s Department of Education think a mass boycott where parents remove their kids from schools would provoke Congress to make more laws restricting the purchase and use of guns. Their comments came after the latest school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.

“This is brilliant and tragically necessary,” said former Secretary of Education Duncan about the boycott idea. “What if no children went to school until gun laws changed to keep them safe? My family is all in if we can do this at scale. Parents, will you please join us?”

Mr. Cunningham, former Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach and now the executive director of Education Post, wrote an article suggesting parents keep their kids out of school starting September 4 until Congress passes “background checks for all gun purchases, a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and funding for gun research.”

"Maybe it's time for America's 50 million school parents to simply pull their kids out of school until we have better gun laws," Cunningham tweeted.

Duncan’s 7-year tenure as Education Secretary was noted for lousy student scores and forbidding charter schools to poor families and minorities stuck in glorified childcare.

Neither Duncan nor Cunningham provided any logic or substance as to how their new restrictions would insure student safety. In fact, many political leaders and department heads at state and federal levels are protected by armed security 24-hours a day. Furthermore, anywhere other than schools in the nation where safety and security are required, armed officials are standing by.

Why there is a liberal blind spot and double standard regarding safety and guns makes one question whether students really are the concern versus dead children being used as an excuse to remove guns from law abiding citizens. Campus violence is being used to leverage an agenda to undermine the Second Amendment.

Campus shootings could be ended immediately if states would allow local school districts to hire armed guards (private or government) and enable willing and able teachers to carry concealed weapons. Again, the same approach has been used wherever high security is necessary.

As international travel began to boom in the 1970’s an epidemic of airline hijackings occurred. Travelers suddenly were petrified of flying. However, hijackings quickly ended by increasing airport and airline security. Today, most people could not recall when hijackings started and stopped. Hijackings are history.

School assaults could join hijackings as a sad era but one that is in the past. The people standing in the way of a resolution are selfish politicians bowing to special interests. A school massacre is a great opportunity for the “swampers” to gain some media facetime and get re-elected.

President Trump has accomplished one task after another that politicians of all flavors have sworn, pledged and promised to do, but done nothing. If it were Trump’s call, schools would be made safe just as simply as the US embassy in Israel moved to Jerusalem after legislators authorized it in 1995.

Trump took office in January 2017. It took 16 months to do a simple task that had been bungled for 23 years with Clinton, Bush, and Obama at the helm and nearly 1,000 “swampers” getting wealthy.

Students could be made safe if politicians gave schools the same protection they enjoy.

by Lou Binninger

Yuba County Supervisors voted to affirm the Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe’s (Enterprise Rancheria) agreement with Olivehurst Public Utility District for Olivehurst Fire (OFD) to provide fire and medical services to the Tribe’s Class II gaming facility off Forty Mile Road between Olivehurst and Wheatland. Supervisors Gary Bradford, Doug Lofton and Mike Leahy voted for the agreement. Andy Vasquez opposed while Randy Fletcher was absent.

The agreement may appear legit and straight-forward but the Yuba County Supervisors and the Rancheria wrangling continues to be complicated. The move to shoehorn the Butte County Tribe into a Yuba County “reservation” took both groups deceiving voters and using money and legal maneuvers to skirt laws against reservation shopping.

In fact, Yuba County voters are still confused as to how they voted three times to reject the casino and reservation shopping and still got a sovereign Tribal Nation residing in South Yuba County. The current 5 Supervisors had nothing to do with bringing the Tribe here but former Supervisor Mary Jane Griego who is now an Olivehurst Public Utility District (OPUD) Director has been a key proponent for the Tribe.

The 2002 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Tribe and the County specified that the Tribe make an agreement for fire and emergency medical services with Plumas-Brophy Fire (now called Wheatland Fire Authority WFA), choose another fire department in the county or make private fire protection arrangements.

Since 2002, the Tribe has been conversing with and reviewing proposals from WFA. The Tribe’s 40 acres are in WFA’s jurisdiction or service area and the property is currently served by that agency.

Written communications between the Tribe and WFA acknowledged this fact until about 9-months ago when Tribal communications ceased with WFA. Supervisors say WFA did not have the equipment necessary to serve the casino.

Now, OPUD says they have been in discussions with the Tribe for years about serving the casino. County Supervisors contend their board has no say as to whom the Tribe chooses to serve them.

What’s going on? Maybe the Tribe is fire service shopping for the best price since it doesn’t have to follow the same rules as the Toyota Amphitheater next door. Is there anything wrong with that? Not according to the MOU or when the consumer is a sovereign nation.

Will OPUD be able to nullify Public Utility Commission (PUC) codes and LAFCo (Local Agency Formation Commission) principles that outline public service areas? Following standard procedures would point to WFA as the serving agency but again this is a sovereign nation and Supervisors Mary Jane Griego, Bill Simmons and Al Amaro voted in 2002 to approve an MOU giving the Tribe a wide berth to do their business as they wish in Yuba County.

(In 1963, due to post WW II explosive and often chaotic growth, the legislature created LAFCos in every county to prevent the misuse of resources, overlapping of jurisdictions, urban sprawl, preserve ag land and open spaces and ensure the orderly formation of government agencies.)

If OFD serves the Fire Mountain Casino they would have to leave their Olivehurst station 3.6 – 4.9 miles away depending on the route taken and travel into the WFA jurisdiction. WFA would continue to respond to everything surrounding the casino, including the Toyota Amphitheatre next door.

Supervisors say if the Tribe’s fire and emergency medical funding were split evenly between Linda Fire Department (LFD), OFD and WFD then all would benefit since all will experience impacts from the casino traffic and the operation itself.

OPUD / OFD say they have been in discussions with LFD to merge the two fire agencies. If that occurred then the closest fire crew to the casino would be LFD’s Plumas Lake Station. The subject of a regional fire agency merging more departments has also surfaced again.

Sutter County has Yuba City Fire and then a Sutter County Fire Department with 7 stations that cover most of the remainder of the county. In 2001, the Walton Fire Department merger with Yuba City Fire was politically nasty, but it eventually worked out. Yuba County has many separate fire agencies with one or two stations each, all with their own boards and chiefs.

With the Tribe wanting to start construction next month this should get interesting. Will it be OFD, WFD, a regional approach or a private entity serving the casino? Knowing government, creating a Yuba County regional fire agency would take years.

Will the Tribe’s action get the fire agencies into court against one another? Lawyers are already exchanging letters. With existing casinos costing communities $3 for every $1 of income a good court fight will put taxpayers in the red before the first bingo game is called.