Why is CARD being so secretive about the aquatics center?

29 Jan

Today I called CARD, and simply asked, what is the process for putting an assessment on property taxes. The woman who answered the phone handed me over to new CARD director Jerry Haynes. Haynes replaces Steve Visconti.

Haynes immediately asked me where I’d heard about an assessment. Well, I’d been going to meetings the last couple of years, I told him, and they’d been talking about it in the Enterprise Record. 

Haynes doesn’t waste time – he got right in my face, telling me there was no such mention in any newspaper article. This guy is very aggressive.

So, I asked him about a consultant that had been discussed – he said the consultant was to help them update their general plan (see in the ER story below, he says the consultant will tell them how to proceed with financing the aquatic  center). 

Then I told him, I’d seen an item on last week’s agenda about appointing board members to the various committees – the first listed was the Aquatic Center Advisory Ad-hoc Committee. First he denied the existence of this committee, then he denied that they had been having or planned to have any meetings in future. I repeated my questions about the agenda item to him at least three times before he interrupted me, blurting out “Bob Malowney!” 

This is why I don’t make phone calls, but I get nowhere with CARD via e-mail. Steve Visconti told me again and again he’d put me on the notifications list, but later he also denied there were any meetings, even when there were reports of such meetings listed in the agendas. This whole thing is surreal.

Haynes got really agitated at this point. I told him I was also frustrated, it is so hard to get information about this aquatic center, but whenever I write letters to the paper about it I am accused of passing misinformation, even lying.  I told him, “but you see here how hard it is for me to get the right information…”  He started raising his voice, he said, “Please listen to me!” but his tone didn’t say “please,” it said, “look you little so-and-so!”. I responded that I’d e-mail him.  As I was saying Thank You, he flat hung up. 

If you don’t believe me, call CARD yourself and ask about the Aquatic Center Advisory Ad-hoc Committee. Be nice! Record your conversation, I wish I had. 

UPDATE:  Here’s an excerpt from a story the ER ran in December, full story here – look at the headline in the link. When I quoted this story to Jerry Haynes he denied everything in it:

https://chicotaxpayers.com/2014/12/22/card-finally-announces-plans-to-pursue-a-tax-measure-to-pay-for-aqua-jets-swim-center/

A proposed aquatic center is part of CARD’s master plan and has been discussed for more than a year. For this meeting, several plans with different attributes were going to be discussed, with costs ranging from $10.8 million to $18 million.

A CARD subcommittee of board members and the public hoped to trigger large contributions from the community, but it looks like CARD will have to take the issue to the voters for a tax measure to pay for the facility.

The board happily accepted an offer from members of the subcommittee, including a swim association, to pay for a feasibility study on the center.

General Manager Jerry Haynes suggested and the board agreed to bring in consultants to talk to the board about ways to proceed financially with a center’s development. As far as mounting a successful public education campaign, that should be up to the swim group and its supporters, the board agreed.

In a phone call yesterday, CARD director Jerry Haynes denied everything in that article. Maybe Laura Urseny needs to check her notes. 

One Response to “Why is CARD being so secretive about the aquatics center?”

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