Nakamura alludes to some mysterious consequences in not forgiving Nature Center loan, but won’t elaborate

22 Apr

Well, I sure as hell called that one! Yes, Brian Nakamura recommended the $206,000 (and counting) owed by Chico Creek Nature Center be WRITTEN OFF!

Like Mark Sorensen added sarcastically, “Yeah, what’s another $200,000?”  Sorensen, for the record, said he was against writing the loan off, the committee giving a split recommendation to council. Our boy Randy Stone wants to FORGIVE AND FORGET!

A loan taken in 2008, on which there have been no payments since 2010.  For a daycare center that can’t make money in this town? You have got to be kidding. 

Oh yeah, the Nature Center, they’re just such an asset to the community. Brian Nakamura knows this, he says, because he attended their nature camp! Huh? I thought that was just for kids? And, by the way, camp hasn’t even started sign-ups for this year, so when did he attend camp? 

Something I’ve learned about Brian Nakamura, is when he talks, you need a tape recorder, cause he goes all over the place, saying all kinds of stuff, starting to insinuate dire consequences, but mumbling unfinished sentences into his shirt collar. This morning, he started to say something about some kind of bad legal situation we would be in if we didn’t forgive this loan – I’m just  guessing – it has something to do with auditing books, and stuff not looking quite right. Funds out of balance.  Like, “hey, where did you put that $206,000?” “Me?! I thought YOU had it!” 

I didn’t press him on it, because Mark Sorensen had already yelled at me and cut me off before my three minutes was up because I suggested we wanted to see the financial records for the center. I also suggested that the city get an organization on that city-owned property that was accountable for their finances. Later Sorensen asked the center director if they had an audit firm or if they did their books internally. Wow – that’s what I suspected – Sorensen, who voted a year ago to defer the loan payments, has not only never seen the books, he doesn’t know anything about them. A man who not only owns his own lucrative business but manages another entire town.  What a fucking idiot.  Sorensen is way too quick to hold up his hands and deny any responsibility for this mess.

Director Caitlin Reilly responded that they have a CPA file a form 990, which she says is available to the public. I told her I’d be contacting her for that, and she said it would take her a  couple of days to scan and send it. Oh yeah, she has sooooo much to do down there!  That must be a regular whopper of a file. Full of bigger whoppers, I’m guessing!

This on the heels of Nakamura’s Garbage Tax. That’s another post folks. 

 

7 Responses to “Nakamura alludes to some mysterious consequences in not forgiving Nature Center loan, but won’t elaborate”

  1. dispo2014 April 22, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    First of all why did they need to build a big fancy nature center in our rare old growth Valley Oak forest? Second of all former executive director Tom Haithcock was a lackey of Friends of Bidwell Park and their hate campaign against OTHER people using the Park. Tom wrote a vicious hate mail letter to the editor against Disc Golf AFTER they were approved by Council and WHILE serving as the City’s visitor center chief for Bidwell Park. The Council did nothing (they should have had him fired). Do any of the people associated with Haithcock or “Friends” show up to help stand up to the overpaid public safety unions, and help get the city back on firm fiscal footing. No they do not. They had time to drag me through about 80 meetings in their efforts to shut down trail maintenance, and then they did the same with Disc Golf. They spent a half a million of our dollars on pointless studies (see “rent-seeking” in Wikipedia). Natural supporters of the Nature Center like me or Lon Glazner were repelled by Haithcock. FoBP and Haithcock so contaminated the Nature Center they should just tear it down and return the land to its natural, wild conditions. I think Woody Elliott, John Merz, and Susan Mason should volunteer to do the work.

    Michael Jones

    • Juanita Sumner April 22, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

      I agree – wow, I never heard the phrase “rent-seeking,” it’s easier to talk about that behavior when you have a name for it. I would say the same thing about the forces behind CCFM, and I think this is an excellent reason NOT to do any kind of deal with them either.

      I tried to nicely make the point that you are making this morning, but Sorensen got really testy, raised his voice to cut me off short of the three minutes I was promised when I went along with the speaker card bullshit.

      There’s something funny going on down there, Sorensen got so agitated at me, I can’t believe I’m not on to something. I can smell it, but I can’t get a good look at it, know what I mean? Sorensen is part of the problem.

      • dispo2014 April 22, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

        Yes, it’s a very useful concept (rent-seeking, see Wikipedia), I just wish the word for it were different. I think the Nature Center was political spoils for FoBP after they helped the liberals regain the majority on the Council 11.5 years ago. They won fair and square, but used their power to bring us here to the edge of bankruptcy. Gruendl is at least sorry and trying to bring us back from the brink. But for shame, Laslo, Schwab, FoBP, they appear to have no remorse for their failed experiment at the expense of all the families and people of Chico.

        I wonder why Sorensen was touchy? And yes, the failure of the Nature Center subsidy does make me leery of a Farmers Market long-term lease.

      • Juanita Sumner April 23, 2014 at 4:54 am #

        Scott Gruendl is a wreck. I’m hoping he drops out of the election.

        I remember when my son was a tot, we had a girl same age next door and her mother was always bringing her over to play, then going home on some excuse and leaving me to babysit her kid. I thought I had to be polite, but this little girl was a pincher and a biter who then said, “I’m sorry” with eyes brimming full of tears. After watching my son accept her insincere apology half dozen times, I taught him a new phrase – “sorry doesn’t cut it Stacy, you have to go home.” I don’t believe Scott is sincerely sorry for anybody but himself, and I want him to go home.

        I think Sorensen and Nakamura are both worried about something they don’t want to talk about with us.

  2. Richard G. Coon April 23, 2014 at 6:47 am #

    Hi Juanita – see I told you I read what you write! Dr. Jones, thanks for educating me on the term “rent-seeking”. From the definition on Wikapedia, I agree that it is a common, odious practice in our political system. Where I disagree with you Juanita though is characterizing the “forces behind the CCFM” as rent-seeking. Clearly the producers members of the CCFM are creating wealth – isn’t agriculture one of the primary ways of doing just that? See Dr. Mark’s post on ChicoPolitics on the subject. So the CCFM doesn’t fit the description of “rent-seeking”. Now how about the Friends of the Farmers Market (FFM) folks? Are they “rent-seeking”? I would say probably not, because they aren’t seeking an increased share of “existing wealth” in any way other than political. I mean, what wealth do they stand to gain by sticking up for their position? I’m not trying to offend you, but you and Dr. Jones advocate for your political beliefs too – are you “rent-seekers”? I think not…..

    Speaking of wealth creation, I’m still confused by the mistaken belief that the CCFM was asking the city for money (like the Nature Center). We offered to PAY the city for the sewer stub-up. We offered to PAY the city for parking revenue, even if they didn’t enforce metered parking on Saturdays. The CCFM is able and willing to make these offers because we are “wealth creators”.

    Thanks for what you guys do – you’re “da bomb!”

    Richard

    • Juanita Sumner April 23, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

      We offered to PAY the city for the sewer stub-up.

      I don’t mean to be rude or suspicious of you guys personally, but I don’t want to see the city going into any more deals for the private use of public owned property.

      Where they went wrong with the Nature Center (originally run by Altacal Audubon Group) was when they agreed to let a private group build on public property. They originally rented a building owned by the city – seemed harmless enough – but that turned into where we are now. Years later, most of the people who did the original deal are suddenly out of the picture (although Scott Gruendl, Mary Goloff and Ann Schwab have some questions to answer here), and we’re left with this Taj Majal structure in an isolated location on public land – a location that’s been vandalized in past – and a $181,000 debt that’s accrued over $25,000 in unpaid interest. That’s real money taken out of a fund that was supposed to provide sewer connections, sidewalks, streets, and other services for the developers and homeowners that paid the fees, not to be funneled into some private group’s club house.

      I don’t think the city should do these kind of deals with anybody anymore, there’s no accountability. Everybody just rings their hands and whines that it’s not their fault, they weren’t there!

    • dispo2014 April 23, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

      I got a little riled up. I mainly meant the environmental consultants who make up Friends of Bidwell Park used the political process to maximize the number of studies for their allies to get paid for by the city. But these studies did not lead to an appreciable benefit to the environment or the public. I also use it to describe what the firefighters union political action committee achieves when it convinces the Council grant it monopoly resulting in wages and benefits 4 times the median household income.

      Michael Jones

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