CARD moves meetings to Cal Park, moves ahead hiring consultant for proposed aquatic center

22 Mar

Thursday night I attended the regular Chico Area Recreation District Board meeting to see what I could find out about plans to build an aquatic center. What I saw and heard made me feel even more strongly that there’s a back room effort to get this project past the voters. The board voted unanimously to hire a consultant to come up with a proposal to sell to the taxpayers.

Jerry Haynes is out as CARD general manager and Steve Visconti has stepped back in to fill the interim while the board has (you guessed it!) hired a consultant to get a new director. They have had one director after another, Visconti “retiring’ last year only to be tapped to fill in again. One woman left citing “differences with the board” and the paper insinuated there was hostility. Now Haynes has left, citing same.  I don’t frankly know how anybody can get along with Board member Jan Sneed, who attacked me verbally and physically one night after a meeting. She’s hostile, I’ll tell you what, and I’m guessing you either do what she wants or you’re out of a job. CARD has an interesting staff history.

The General Manager of Chico swim team Aquajets was asked for a progress report on that committee that hasn’t been having any meetings. He said he was speaking on behalf of longtime CARD manager and board member Jerry Hughes, who has been the spokesperson for this effort from the beginning. I realize, they’ve taken everything into an “ad hoc” committee of Hughes and Brad, and therefore do not have to notice the meetings or include me in any way. But, Brad had a proposal for the board, they said they’d all received it. Despite Brown Act rules saying any document presented to the board must be available to the public, there were no copies. 

Brad told the board they needed to hire a consultant to design the new center, and the board voted to do so. End of conversation! 

I had to leave at that point, so I emailed the next morning asking for that proposal. CARD staffer Jennifer Marciales sent me a version that won’t cut and paste, but here’s the link:

3-9-15 Jerry Hughes Document

I noticed a little strain between the board and Brad. When he was done making his demand, Brad left with my husband and I, got into a very expensive little sports car, and zipped out. I really get a kick out of these people who come with their hand out for public money – same for the Cannons and their Bocce Ball request – they never come to these meetings, they don’t know ANYTHING about the CARD budget or the other programs, but they come in and demand money for something that serves less  than one percent of the city population.   But never any talk about how they will pay for it when they’re laying off workers to avoid paying Obamacare.

I noticed in this report that there have been three design proposals already submitted, but the only one I’ve seen is from local consultant Greg Melton, I posted that on this blog previously. So, I asked Marciales to send me the other two proposals,  but I haven’t heard back from her yet. 

Since I sat in on the Brown Act workshop with League of Women Voters, I’ve realized how little respect these  agencies have for the public.

I also asked Marciales why the meeting location was suddenly moved from the central CARD center on Vallombrosa to the very distant and removed Lakeside Pavillion. She answered, “the Board has requested that the Regular Board Meetings be held at Lakeside Pavilion”  That’s it, no explanation, just “let them eat cake…”

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2 Responses to “CARD moves meetings to Cal Park, moves ahead hiring consultant for proposed aquatic center”

  1. bob March 22, 2015 at 8:43 am #

    The board voted unanimously to hire a consultant to come up with a proposal to sell to the taxpayers.

    This is insane. The city can’t even afford to maintain the pools and parks it has now. It is facing a huge unfunded liabilities problem with the city pensions. The roads and rest of the infrastructure is falling apart. How on earth can the city afford a new acquatics center now?

    And just think how bad the city’s finances will be when the economy collapses again.

    Why aren’t the Enterprise Wretched and Snooze and Review covering this insanity?

    • Juanita Sumner March 22, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

      I tried to tell Melissa Daugherty about it, she seemed interested. Laura Urseny covers the meetings for the ER, she’s there every meeting I’ve been to, but she never says anything much in her stories. The meeting was Thursday, have you seen anything in the ER?

      CARD is in even worse shape than the city. Their big mistake was buying the Lakeside Pavilion from the Cal Park homeowners’ association, paid way too much for the building, over a million dollars, still $9 million something to pay on it. The interest alone is more than most of our house payments.

      I’ll try to write another letter to the paper. Sheesh, there’s just so much to write letters about, you start writing too Bob!

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