Jan Sneed attacked me at today’s CARD finance meeting – this woman is out of control, and isn’t suitable for public office

13 May

I tried to attend the CARD finance meeting today, I had an appointment that ran long, and came in just as the meeting was getting over (wow, less than 25 minutes!)

 As I was apologizing and asking Finance Director Scott Dowell how I could get a paper copy of the finance report that he’d given at the meeting, longtime CARD board member Jan Sneed walked by me and whispered at me, “oh, the woman who’s harassing Maria Rock!” or something to that effect. In shock I turned and said, “Excuse me?” And she just launched at me with a verbal attack, her face got red, she raised her voice and she started poking at me with one finger, actually touching me at one point.
I kept telling her to back off, my husband stepped between us and told her to back off – she start pushing and poking him.
I kept telling her, if she wanted to  talk to me, she needed to write a letter to the paper. She kept saying, “I AM talking to YOU!” and kept advancing on me.
I turned to Dowell and frantically asked him again about the report. I was very polite to all staffers. Dowell held me off for a few moments, he said he wanted to hear what Sneed had to say!  I asked him, why are you holding us here to be attacked by that woman?” but he wouldn’t answer.  
She was ranting and raving about my letters, saying I’d accused them (CARD) of “being dishonest.”  I just kept telling her she needed to write a letter to the newspaper.
She also mentioned several times that I am “harassing Maria Rock.”  
We went to the office and she followed us down the hall, despite my husband telling her to stop following us. At this point I was near tears, shaking, and about ready to throw up – I’m sorry, but I work for a living, I’m tired, I make a lot of arrangements to attend these  meetings, and this crew of publicly paid people allow this woman to verbally attack me when I ask for public records. They all just stood there listening to her as though she was speaking for all of them. 
We told desk staff that if she came into the office while we were waiting for Dowell to get the records, we wanted them to call the police. Hearing this she turned and walked the other way down the hall. 
Staff never once apologized. Dowell gave us the report and told us it was the report he’d given at the meeting today.  The desk staffed offered to staple the pages together for us, but we politely declined.  We thanked Dowell and Visconti personally for their politeness, we thanked staff, and left with the report. 
When we attended the last regular board meeting, she made a similar move leaving the meeting – came up close to me and whispered something at me, but I didn’t make the mistake of saying, “Excuse me, ” so I didn’t get attacked. 
This isn’t appropriate behavior for a public official. All I did was tell the public what I’d heard at the last meeting. None of them denied any of the stuff I said in my letters to the papers, it’s all true. They just don’t seem to want people talking about their CalPERS payoff. 

Any advice would be  welcome – but what I’d really like, is some other people to attend the meeting Thursday night. 

I sent this above to county supervisor Larry Wahl, David Little over at the Enterprise Record, and some other folks in my mailbox.  Sneed’s behavior is outrageous. I wondered what happened to former director Mary Cahill – now I get it! 

From the Chico News and Review, Sept 15 2005:

Mary Cahill, who was terminated Sept. 6 as general manager of the Chico Area Recreation District, took issue with CARD board and media characterizations of her parting.

While a press release issued by CARD attorney Jeff Carter stated Cahill was “terminated … without cause,” Cahill said she left by “mutual agreement” after much discussion over a period of time. She was given $100,000 in severance pay as required by her contract.

“I was not fired,” Cahill said. “It was a discussion and it was definitely both-sided. … It makes it look like I did something wrong when I didn’t,” she added.

Jan Sneed is the longest running member of the CARD board, having been there since before any of the other standing board members, and before Steve Visconti was promoted to the rank of General Manager. I wonder how much her personality problems had to do with Mary Cahill’s “mutual agreement” to leave CARD, taking $100,000, just in severance.

I’ve long wondered what’s wrong at CARD, and now I’m figuring it out.

UPDATE:  This morning I came in from a few hours of weed pulling and raking to sit down with a cup of coffee and watch a quick episode of “Leave It To Beaver.” 

It seems Wally’s big friend Lumpy has been picking on Beaver. Beaver asks his dad for advice, and Ward tells him a comical story of a prank he himself had pulled on the neighborhood bully when he was a boy. Beaver pulls a similar stunt to get back at Lumpy, but instead, Lumpy’s dad ends up getting into it, and gets really mad. This creates a sticky situation for Ward – Lumpy’s dad Fred is not only his long time friend but a partner in his business. Of course Ward straightens the whole thing out and the boys apologize, and Fred forgives them, admitting that not only Lumpy but he himself had pulled some stunts too.

But the best part of every episode is the private chat between Ward and the boys.   Ward explains to Beaver, there will always be people who bully “to get their way, and you can’t always do anything about it. You just have to learn to live with people like that.” 

Hmmmm – how do you “live with” people like Sneed, without being taken advantage of?

Sneed complained loudly that I had insinuated the board was being dishonest. Well, yes, I am. I still have that survey, posted here:


Look that over and show me where they mention their nearly $400,000 CalPERS side fund payoff, or their nearly million dollar budget overrun. Instead they make promises they can’t keep – “In order to construct and maintain a new aquatics facility…” AND  “to construct and maintain a new gymnasium…” These are totally unrealistic goals – during the RDA discussion about building an aquatic center, the figure they produced was EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS. Just for construction. And what does a new gymnasium cost? The survey insinuated that an assessment of $130 would pay for that,  adding  suggestions like  “Well maintained and accessible sports fields for sports programs help keep kids off drugs and out of gangs.” 

Right now the capital projects fund that would pay for all that bling is TAPPED OUT. That fund was cleaned out of over $350,000 to make that side fund payoff. 

Yes Jan, I’m accusing you, point blank, of  being dishonest with the public in asking for a bond or assessment to pay for an aquatic center or new gymnasium. Like I said at the meeting, you can answer me in your letter to the editor. 

6 Responses to “Jan Sneed attacked me at today’s CARD finance meeting – this woman is out of control, and isn’t suitable for public office”

  1. Joe May 15, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    Her poking you with her finger is a battery, penal code section 242. You should file a police report and request charges be filed. Everyone there is a witness and statements should be taken by the police. If the police had responded there you could have placed her under citizens arrest. They would have had to arrest her, as they cannot refuse a citizens arrest. No one, as much as you do annoy public officials, has the right to act that way, and especially lay a hand on you. File the charges. It will be a political nightmare for her and the board.

    • Juanita Sumner May 15, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

      I thought of all this that night, after the incident, I really appreciate your advice and sympathy.

      Problem is, the only other people in that room where the incident happened were CARD board members or employees. I don’t trust them to tell the truth. In fact, Scott Dowell really seemed to be turned on by what she did. They all hate my guts because I’ve dared raise the question of who pays for their benefits and pension. They are rightfully ashamed of themselves, and they don’t want people knowing the truth. They were too chickenshit to go to the public and say, “look, we really want the money to pay our own benefits and pensions…” because they know it’s not right. I really expected them to stoop this low, although, I didn’t expect it to get physical.

      I’ve tried to get help from Chico PD before – before I ever get involved with them again, I will have friendlier witnesses, besides my own husband. They won’t do anything, you practically have to have a dead body, preferably mine, to get them interested in helping me.

      So, I’ve asked that more people attend the meeting tomorrow night. I’m not so interested in causing anybody, including myself, a nightmare, as I am interested in getting CARD to admit the truth about their financial situation, and why they really want this bond/assessment. But, if Sneed makes another move like that, or anybody else, I’ll call 9-1-1 on my own cell phone instead of pleading with Staff for help. Those people are a pile. CARD needs a total shake-up.

      By the way, I don’t set out to annoy anybody. I have been perfectly appropriate and polite in attending these meetings, I’ve asked perfectly appropriate questions and I’ve been as sweet as sugar pie. The only people I could possibly annoy are people who have something to hide.

      • Joe May 15, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

        I’m sorry you feel that way about the PD, but they have to take a report, they have to contact witnesses and if the witnesses lie, then they can be on the hook for that. You have the makings of what is called an APE, accute political emergency.
        People will answer for the conduct. Once the report is forwarded to the DA’s office, they handle the charges. You are the victim, and the victim has so many rights, something has to be done. At the very least I think you are looking at some resignations out of this.

      • Juanita Sumner May 16, 2013 at 5:28 am #

        thanks for the advice – we’ll see what happens tonight

  2. Juanita Sumner October 2, 2013 at 5:20 am #

    When I look back on this, I really wish I would have pressed charges against Sneed AND Dowell, who smiled like a cat when he said he wanted to listen to Sneed. He wanted to see her attack me physically, I don’t think he would have made a move to pull her off.

    If I were to run for CARD board and actually get on it, the first issue I would bring up is Visconti and Dowell’s salaries and the terms of their employment. I think RUSH personnel could run CARD better than Visconti and Dowell.

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