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A more expensive infrastructure decline awaits – Chico Enterprise-Record

Letter: Elect the defenders of democracy in November

According to a biographical footnote to Steve Simpson’s guest editorial, he was “involved with fire and medical services in Butte County for over 45 years.” More to the point, Simpson retired from a union firefighting job after 36 years – presumably with a fine, union-negotiated pension.  Interestingly, in a letter to the E-R (6/17/21), scattered among right-wing road apples (i.e, “Trump won in 2020 …”), we have this: “The teachers unions telling us that students are ‘number one’ is a huge whopper of a lie. The unions are only about money.”

Simpson has more to say about money. In a meandering editorial he makes his case for MORE funding for police and fire personnel, but AGAINST the 1% sales tax on the November ballot.  Revenue from a sales tax will simply go into “elected officials’ pocket[s] to spend however they see fit.”

Thoughts: 1) Chico police and fire are the only “fully funded” city departments – true since the beginning of Mark Orme’s tenure. 2) Like it or not, elected officials are tasked with spending money.  3) While I’m not convinced dumping more money into police and fire services will make us safer, I am aware that our underfunded city has a backlog of over $200 million in failing infrastructure – to include crumbling roads, a neglected sewage treatment plant, an under-maintained storm drain system, aging traffic signaling, etc.  4) There are flaws in any taxation scheme.  Chico can go on dithering, but the consequence will be exponentially more expensive infrastructure decline.

— Patrick Newman, Chico


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