Caper Acres Update: Abigail Lopez reports on latest volunteer meeting

1 Oct


I asked Caper Acres Volunteers leader Abigail Lopez for a report of their meeting held last week, see below.

I wish this group would be more questioning of staff expenses instead of going along with the money raising scheme. Those repairs certainly need to be made, or those fixtures removed – this maintenance should be part of a regular schedule, budgeted in, but all the money goes into Dan Efseaf’s salary, benefits, and pension, as well as those of his slightly lesser paid staff.

Another point – I remember when volunteers paid for and installed those fixtures, and I’m wondering why those groups aren’t being asked to come back in and make the repairs. This is something we all need to think about the next time some group of well-meaning volunteers want to install something on public property.  Like the memorial benches – a month or so ago, I encountered one of those which hadn’t been installed more than a year ago, and the middle board was already unattached. This stuff costs staff time to repair, and I don’t think that’s covered by the fee they charge to install the benches. Our park has been badly mismanaged for some time now, and raising money for bandaid cures does not address the core issue – salaries, benefits and pension. 

I hate to be rude to a well-meaning person like Lopez, but she’s playing Romeo to my Mercutio. I hate that! 

From Abigail Lopez of Caper Acres Volunteers:

As you may know, the sheriff’s department has come up with a plan to 
use people on SWAP, house arrest, community service workers, etc. to go 
into the park and do work to alleviate the strain on staff so that they 
can go in and do what needs to be done in Caper Acres and the rest of 
the park. ServPro has extended their contract to November 1st to allow 
this program to be implemented, but we need to show up to the City 
Council meeting on Tuesday and show our support of it. This would 
alleviate the need for us to find and organize volunteers. Of course we 
still can go and volunteer through Bidwell Park’s volunteer program and 
I and others intend to do so. This just takes the pressure off of us to 
try and rally enough volunteers to keep the park open on a day-to-day 
basis.

By alleviating that pressure, it gives Caper Acres Volunteers the 
chance to focus on other needs in Caper Acres, namely repairing and 
replacing play structures that are rotting and falling apart, posing a 
huge safety issue. It’s been in the work plan to update and replace the 
Crooked House, the Tunnel, and the Castle, but with the budget cuts 
those things have been placed on the back burner. At our meeting last 
Friday, we discussed possible fundraising projects to fix these issues. 
We’re in the process of partnering with the Chico Breakfast Lion’s Club, 
who are a wonderful resource and have lots of fundraising and volunteer 
experience to kind of be our “big brother” and help with managing the 
finances and donations raised for this. We also have been approached by 
Dr. Shane Smith of The Specific Chiropractic Center to do a fundraiser 
where he is donating 1-hour massage coupons for us to raise donations 
with. Each coupon represents a suggested $30 donation and 100% of the 
proceeds will go towards Caper Acres. One of the events we are working 
on is a Fall Festival which we intend to hold in mid-November, we’re 
working on the details of that so I’ll let you know as we get the 
details ironed out.

The Bidwell Park and Playground Commission is exploring a partnership 
between Caper Acres Volunteers and the City to allow us to help with the 
park and see what Caper Acres Volunteers role is and how we can best be 
of service. Comissioner Rich Ober, who is acting as a liason between CAV 
and the BPPC, was at the meeting Friday and gave some good insight and 
direction on what we could do. I’ll be making a statement to the BPPC 
meeting on Monday about our goals and what we would like to do for the 
park.

2 Responses to “Caper Acres Update: Abigail Lopez reports on latest volunteer meeting”

  1. Alicia October 2, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    I read about the plan to bring in “triple-nons” to do Caper Acres and other park maintenance in the Synthesis interview of Randall Stone last week. He mentioned that ServPro couldn’t do it, because of the risk of contracting HepB from used needles and whatnot. I hope any contract the city enters into protects the city from any liability of a claim from one of these house-arrestees if one of them gets cooties from cleaning up needles, because otherwise, that freebie solution could wind up to be a very expensive proposition!

    • Juanita Sumner October 2, 2013 at 11:19 am #

      Wow – I hadn’t read that. My biggest problem with this issue is that these used to be good, decent salaried, secure jobs for our community. CARD also used to provide some good solid jobs. Now these jobs have been eaten by the higher level salaries, benefits, pensions. These jail workers are not professionals, they’re not trained, they aren’t willing particularly, and I don’t expect professionalism out of them. That’s so depressing. This whole thing is so depressing.

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