CARD approves hiring of consultant to vet aquatic center to public

28 Mar

Last week I attended CARD’s monthly board meeting to hear the agendized report regarding the aquatic center committee. I have been trying to get into the committee meetings, have been told I’d be noticed for any meetings scheduled, but they keep telling me there haven’t been any meetings. So, how do they come up with these reports on every agenda? That’s the beauty of “ad hoc” Folks – that’s Latin,  for “hide what you’re doing with public money from the public…”

The board received a report from Chico Aquajets manager Brad Geiss – “on behalf of [former CARD general manager] Jerry Hughes…”  It was more of a demand, really, that the board hire a consultant to sell the aquatic center to the public. This was supposed to be Aquajets’ job, but Geiss was very adamant – they want the board to spend $26,000 of the taxpayers’ money on a consultant to shove a tax assessment down the taxpayers’ throats.  The board voted unanimously to do so, even though Tom Lando tried his best to act disinterested.

At a previous meeting, the board said Aquajets would take care of selling this idea to the public. Have you heard a peep out of Aquajets? Laura Urseny won’t even use their name in connection to this bad dog, referring to them as a “local swim group.” There are no other local “swim groups.”   They’ve discussed the connotation at previous meetings, one Aquajets grandparent complaining that the public feels they will be paying for the privileges of others. Well, that’s the truth, isn’t it Grandpa? Aquajets doesn’t even have as many members as the Bocce Ball club, but they expect the taxpayers to lay out $10 million PLUS for a private swim center. 

I also found out they’ve been taking proposals, which haven’t been made public. I asked CARD employee Jennifer Marciales for various documents presented to the board, all of which are supposed to be available to the public at the meetings. It was like pulling teeth – they aren’t forthcoming, you have to go over everything with a fine-toothed comb to see what else they’ve been withholding, and ask for that too. When I asked her for too many documents she turned me over to Robert Hinderer, who sent me documents that can’t be cut-and-paste.

What he sent me are proposals for this job of coming up with a design and then telling the public how bad they want it. Here you go:

3-9-15 Jerry Hughes Document

The other documents he sent won’t post, I’ll work on it.  Or, you should write to Robert Hinderer at rhinderer@chicorec.com and ask for the information, which is supposed to be available to the public. These people are making plans for millions in taxpayer dollars, and they aren’t even being up front about it. 

They still won’t talk in front of the public about the assessment they are planning to pursue, not since that meeting I attended over a year ago at which Jerry Hughes told everybody they should wait until the legislature lowered the voting threshold for a tax assessment from 2/3’s to 51 percent. I think that’s insidious.

From “Future Community Aquatic Center Comments” – When we have a preliminary plan and cost estimates ( which is what you see above) we can start planning how we will promote the project to the community…The survey [which came back negative according to the consultant] suggested two methods to fund the project; Special Tax and Benefit Assessment. We will review those two methods at the meeting [this was when Hughes told the audience about the voting threshold being changed].”

This old man is sly like a fox. He is worming something past the taxpayers, and he knows it.  I just can’t figure out what his interest is – I’m sorry, I don’t think he really cares about children when he sits in on discussions about cutting kids’ programs to make pension payments. He gets a sweet pension out of CARD.

None of this has been discussed in public meetings, only at the privately noticed Aquatic Center Committee meetings – Brad and Jerry being the “ad hoc” committee. Brad Geiss also gets a salary, as Aquajets manager, and I’m guessing he dreams of being the manager of the new center. He sure drives a pricey little sports car! All off of a children’s swim team – this is the kind of person we are dealing with here, a man who looks out for his own interests. 

They have also changed their meetings from the CARD center right in mid-town to the Cal Park Lakeside Pavillion, which sits on the eastern boundary of their district. This might not be a Brown Act violation – meetings are to be held in the district – but they are certainly pushing it. The Pavillion is not what I’d call “available to the public,” located in a snooty subdivision with “No Trespassing” and “Residents Only” signs all over the place.

When I asked Marciales why the switch, she simply replied “the Board has requested that the Regular Board Meetings be held at Lakeside Pavilion.  However, there will still be times when Board Meetings will need to be held at the CARD Center.  The location of the meetings will be specified on the Agendas when they are posted.”  No reason, just the board wanted it. 

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4 Responses to “CARD approves hiring of consultant to vet aquatic center to public”

  1. bob March 28, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

    So they hired a propagandist to sell the voters on sticking a tax increase to taxpayers?

    And who pays for this propagandist? The taxpayers!

    And here we are…March is almost over…and the great conservatives on the council have done nothing to get rid of the bag ban. I believe it is now past the year limit where they can get rid of it with a simple majority without having to by-pass the rule that didn’t let them do this. (And they could have by-passed it if they wanted so they could have got rid of the ban in January but they did not.)

    I don’t see this ban going away, ever. The so-called conservatives won’t get rid of it. And the voters of the state won’t repeal Brown’s state ban as they are brainwashed, puppet slaves who will do exactly what their gangster, criminal politicians tell them and that is to vote the ban repeal down. So the ban will go into effect state wide after the 2016 election.

    And the stores are making out like bandits. They try to sell you all sorts of bags besides paper bags. It’s become a new profit center for them. Mark my words, you’ll never see a free grocery bag in your life…unless you move out of state.

    And to change topics for a second…so now Mellisa Daughtery expects us to give her money so she can do investigative reporting? Shouldn’t the Snooze and Review have been doing that for the last 40 years?

    And sure, she’s good on the insane pensions for the cops and firefighters but what about the waste and cronyism for things like the STF? You think she would investigate anything that doesn’t fit her political agenda? Sorry Melissa, no money from me. Besides what is left after taxes and the incredible expenses for living in one of the poorest counties in a state with one of the most expensive cost of living and highest taxes in the country?

    • Juanita Sumner March 29, 2015 at 5:26 am #

      Yes – a propagandist. Just like the guy the art commission hired to tell Mark Sorensen that “the arts” bring some $17 million into town every year!

      I’m disgusted with the whole “crowd funding” thing – have you ever seen this – a bunch of people with their hand out for charity, some deserving maybe, but most just want money:

      http://nvcf.org/funds/

      Looks like you can just extend your palm and money will fall into it! I wonder what the requirements are – the News and Review is not a non-profit, but there they are:

      http://nvcf.org/?s=chico+news+and+review

      so now she’s a “foundation.” Well!

      I don’t like this kind of scam – they are putting their virtual penis’ in a mousetrap of rules and regulations. I can see the whole thing snapping and penises going everywhere.

      thanks for reminding me – the bag ban ban will be on the 2016 ballot, something to vote for! There’s been times lately when I’ve thought about going down to O-ville and telling Candy to take my name off the rolls, but now I got something to look forward to. I think if this turnover passes it will be easier to pressure council to overturn the local ban.

      Frankly, I expect them to drag their feet – the “conservatives” on our council are RINOs. Look at this week’s agenda – they’re approving 4 houses in Grandma’s back yard, new urban bullshit just like the liberals. Mark Sorensen wants traffic circles to replace stop lights, just like the liberals. They like the bag ban, they think it makes our town look modern and civilized.

      Excuse me Bob, I must drag my knuckles into the kitchen for a cuppa java.

      • bob March 31, 2015 at 6:29 am #

        Speak of the Devil…here he is…

        http://www.chicoer.com/general-news/20150330/economic-impact-study-reports-arts-employ-451-people-in-chico

        “Arts is not just food for the soul but putting food on the table for 451 households,” Cohen said, later noting 1,394 people are employed countywide.

        Is that full-time? I would like to see numbers proving it. It sounds like BS to me. It must be time to put another hook into the taxpayers.

        And there is Ashley Gebb regurgitating the propaganda she is told…no critical analysis whatsoever….just believe the numbers the shysters spout.

      • Juanita Sumner March 31, 2015 at 6:58 am #

        thanks so much for paying attention Bob – ever watch “The Music Man”? This guy is a regular Professor Harold Hill!

        I’ll post the conversation I had with Cohen when I get a minute this morning. He’s a spin doctor. What I want to know, and he wouldn’t answer, is he compensated, and by whom?

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