No volunteers, no donations – say it like Amy Winehouse – “NO, NO, NOOOOOO!”

13 Jul

I hate to be a naysayer, but you know me – when you’re good at something, you should run with it.

I’ve been trying to follow the discussion regarding the closure of Caper Acres. Facebook is a turn-off. I don’t have a Facebook account, and I don’t want one, capisce? Word Press is free and easy, anybody can get to it, anybody can contact me via the site, and if their comment is pertinent and non-offensive, I’ll print it. Hell, I’ll probably print it anyway.

Facebook is a way of excluding people, that’s hardly the way to get a community movement going.

That said, I was glad to see a new announcement today, apparently made by the monitor of the site:

The petition letter & “overview” received a face-lift today. Check it out. It doesn’t talk about ways to raise funds. It doesn’t talk about volunteers. It politely addresses the issue that a HUGE decision was made without taking into consideration the feelings or opinions or needs of the local constituents.

Well, I’m so happy to hear that. I don’t want to hear any more SHIT about volunteering or donating money.  Anybody who’s read the city budget should be marching Downtown to demand a fucking refund! 

We need to get a “take no prisoners” attitude here people. No more mamby-pamby, feel-good crap about helping out the poor city workers. Brian Nakamura is not doing a good thing, he’s trying to sweat us for more taxes.

And the Enterprise Record seems to be going right along with this little campaign – all the sudden, all these stories about crime and cops. As if, crime never happened here before?  No, it’s just never gotten the kind of coverage it’s getting these days from the Enterprise Record.

And don’t you love the way they’ve reported several assaults lately, but nothing about their proximity to some pretty well-established transient camps along Lindo Channel? Including yesterday’s attack at Verbena Fields, which has become a de-facto DUMP and homeless camp eversince it was installed as a dog-shitting area.   I think that’s odd.

Yes, camping on public  property is illegal. A lady who works at the county told me there’s been complaints about these camps, but the city says it’s the county’s jurisdiction, and the county comes right back at ’em with the same. There’s apparently been  some “rousting out” of these camps, but they just move a few hundred yards and wait for the cops to come back, maybe weeks later, after they’ve argued over whose job it is.

Right now there’s a pile of trash  behind S&S market, left by a camp that was plainly visible from the road, right there, big as life. They left due to some sort of harassment, but there sits the trash they managed to accumulate over the week or two they were there.  As far as I know, it’s sitting on city property, but I don’t have a map.  

“Volunteerism Could Work” says Little Pollyanna Daugherty over at the Chico News and Review.  Not given our city budget, it can’t.  Not given those salaries, benefits and pensions, it can’t. 

Brian Nakamura is inviting people who contact him about the park closures to the Bidwell Park Birthday Bash on July 20. This is an all-day fete, at locations around town. I plan to be at One Mile over the course of the day, handing out some information about the budget, the salaries, and the benefits and pensions. Please come on by, or get ahold of me and I’ll send you some information you can hand out yourself.  I’ll be posting it here too. 

Volunteerism could work

Plenty of people want to help keep the gates of Caper Acres open
This article was published by Chico News and Review on 07.11.13.
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Using volunteers to do cleanup at Caper Acres may not be the way to keep Bidwell Park’s fairytale playground open, but employing their help elsewhere to free up city staff to do that work has the potential to keep the gates open.

As reported in Newslines this week (see “Sacred acres,” by Tom Gascoyne), there is an effort afoot to organize a volunteer group. Bringing that effort from idea stage to execution will take some creativity over at City Hall, and also a dedicated pool of volunteers.

But it can be done.

Chicoans love Bidwell Park. Indeed, it’s one of the community’s biggest bragging points when touting the best things about living here. And parents of little kids are especially fond of Caper Acres, which is a one-of-a-kind play place.

Now is the time for everyone who enjoys the park to step up.

Volunteerism doesn’t address the layoffs of seven much-needed workers in the Street Trees and Parks divisions. That’s a separate issue altogether. The bottom line is that these workers are needed to keep the park operating smoothly, but their positions will remain unfilled until the city is financially solvent.

Using volunteers is certainly not a long-term solution. They shouldn’t be responsible indefinitely for helping sustain park services. But as a stopgap measure—until the city gets control of the budget—this could be the way to keep Caper Acres open more than just three days a week.

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