CARD plays fast and loose with the Brown Act

11 Apr

I’ve been trying to follow the Chico Area Recreation Districts’ plans for a new aquatic center for a couple of years now, and yesterday I got an e-mail from CARD employee Robert Hinderer that really pissed me off.  Here’s the conversation, starting with employee Jennifer Marciales reassurances that I was on the notice list for the aquatic center committee and that I would be noticed for any upcoming meetings.

Subject: Aquatic Facility Advisory Committee
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2015 01:07:42 +0000

Hi Juanita,


I just wanted to let you know that based upon your conversation with our General Manager last week, you have already been placed on the notification list for upcoming Aquatic Facility Advisory Committee meetings.  At this time, there are no meetings scheduled.


If you have any questions, please let me know.


Thank you,


Jennifer Marciales
Executive Assistant
(530) 895-4711
Chico Area Recreation and Park District
545 Vallombrosa Avenue
Chico, CA 95926

My response:

Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2015 6:13 AM
To: Jennifer Marciales
Subject: RE: Aquatic Facility Advisory Committee


Thank You,


I didn’t give Mr. Haynes my e-mail, thanks for the follow-up.  I’ve been asking to be on this committee notification list since it was formed, and reports have been given of meetings but I never received notices of those meetings. Now you’re saying, despite designs having been made for this proposed center and talk of an assessment on property owners, there are no more meetings scheduled? I’ll be looking forward to notification of any future meetings, but I’ll be watching the board agenda too.

One question I have right now is, I would like to ask you for an exact figure on the designs presented for the aquatic center by Melton Design Group – the newspaper gave a ballpark figure of “$30,000 to $60,000”, but I’m sure you can give me a more specific figure. 


I had originally called to ask Mr. Haynes about the assessment process, which he refused to discuss with me. Since that call I have found a copy of the engineers report dated fiscal year 2013-14, in which SCI Consultant Group give a detailed report regarding assessment of property owners. If I have any questions about that I’ll be sure to get back to you. 


I’ve cc-d the news editors because I have either spoken to them about this issue or sent letters to the papers about it.


Thanks again for your anticipated cooperation, Juanita Sumner

Response from Marciales:

Subject: RE: Aquatic Facility Advisory Committee
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2015 23:16:13 +0000

Hi Juanita,


Attached are the preliminary cost estimates that were presented to the Board with regard to three designs options for an Aquatic Center.


As I previously mentioned, I have added you to the notification list for upcoming Aquatic Facility Advisory Committee Meetings.  At this time, there are no scheduled meetings for the Committee. 


Would you like me to also add you to our mailing list to receive copies of the Agenda for CARD’s Regular Board Meetings?  If so, please provide me with your mailing address.


Thank you,


Jennifer Marciales
Executive Assistant
(530) 895-4711
Chico Area Recreation and Park District
545 Vallombrosa Avenue
Chico, CA 95926

So, there I have it twice, she says I’m on the list. That’s just recently – I have a string of e-mails from director Steve Visconti, assuring me I am on the list and will be notified for the next aquatic center committee meeting. So, when I looked at this months’ board meeting agenda and saw another report from the committee, I realized I’d been burned again!  But I wrote a nice note to be sure:

Date: April 10, 2015 at 6:28:04 AM PDT
To: Jennifer Marciales <>
Cc: “” <>, “Kirk, Maureen” <>
Subject: RE: Aquatic Facility Advisory Committee



At the last CARD  board meeting and again at the special meeting held last week, there were plans made to schedule an Aquatic Facility Advisory Committee meeting.  I see a report from the committee is on the upcoming agenda. I have been waiting for a notice of the committee meeting, as I was promised below. Jan Sneed also said the public would be noticed.  When and where will that meeting take place? 


Thanks, at your convenience, for your anticipated cooperation – Juanita Sumner
Marciales seems to know they’ve blown it, she won’t respond to me, hands me off to her boss, rec supe Bob Hinderer – her note to Hinderer:

From: Jennifer Marciales
Sent: Friday, April 10, 2015 7:48 AM
To: Robert Hinderer
Subject: Fwd: Aquatic Facility Advisory Committee


See below…call me when you can to discuss. 

Sent from my iPhone

Then I got this note from Hinderer:

Subject: RE: Aquatic Facility Advisory Committee
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2015 18:42:13 +0000

Ms. Sumner,


Happy Friday. Jennifer Marciales forwarded your email. I want to first and foremost apologize for the error of the utilization of an older AFAC email list. The meeting was last night (04/09/15). You have been placed on the newer AFAC email list. Attach are the documents that were presented at the meeting.

Secondly, I invite you to a sit down meeting to discuss the AFAC actions. If you are open to the idea, please let me know days, times, and locations which best meet your schedule. I will invite Steve Visconti to attend.


Thank you, and again I apologize for the utilization of an older AFAC email list. I will ensure to the utilization of the newer AFAC email list for future correspondence.


Thank you,


–          Rob


Robert Hinderer, CPRE

Superintendent of Recreation & Community Services

CARD | Chico Area Recreation and Park District

545 Vallombrosa Ave. Chico, CA 95926

(P) 530 895­­ 4711    (F) 530 895 4721

Happy Friday? To say the least I was stunned by this note. I answered back:

I just don’t know how  to respond to your apology Mr. Hinderer. My husband and I both put our names and e-mails on a list that was passed around at a meeting hosted by Jerry Hughes at the CARD office over a year ago. I’m confused what you mean about an “older” list. Since that early committee meeting,  I’ve made repeated requests to be notified of subsequent meetings, and been told I’d be notified, but meetings have come and gone, reports have been made of committee actions, and again and again I’ve gotten apologies and assurances that I would be on the notice list in future. I just don’t know what to think.  

Did you happen to notify the public? I may have missed the public notice.  Jan Sneed made several remarks to Jerry Hughes and staff about the public  being notified, and there was agreement among the board members and staff that the public needed to be notified. 
Again, I would like to be noticed of any future meetings of the AFAC.  I included my county supervisor and the news editors because I thought they might be interested in this issue.
Juanita Sumner
As I said there, I’d included my county supervisor Maureen Kirk and both news editors in much of this  conversation. I have yet to get any response out of Maureen Kirk or David Little, but here’s what Melissa Daugherty had to say:

Hi Juanita,

You should do a FOIA for that “older AFAC email list” and evidence of them actually alerting the folks on it.


I have been trying to get Daugherty to send a reporter to these meetings, but she keeps crying poormouth. I will remind her and everybody – I don’t get paid for this crap. She gets a salary to sit on her ass at a desk and she can’t cover a fucking CARD meeting? Sorry if I was a little testy with her suggestion, but I really wanted to tell her to fold it into an oregami chicken and shove it up her ass:
Why should I go to the trouble to do that? I have a string of e-mails over the past couple of years, asking them to put me on that list, answered with their assurances that  I am on the list and will be noticed, and now this.  Are you saying, you don’t believe me? You don’t have to take my word for it Melissa, go to or send a reporter to those meetings. 
I have to know, and be honest – what do you think I do all day?  
The Snooze and Review and the Wretched are what passes for journalism in this town, Lord have mercy.
Well, here’s the news folks – you are a bunch of cash cows, waiting to be squeezed! Nobody is going to stick up for you, you have to stick up for yourself. Moooo-OOOOO!

10 Responses to “CARD plays fast and loose with the Brown Act”

  1. Michael Jones April 11, 2015 at 6:30 am #

    Wow. I don’t really think that type of ‘oversight’ is really an oversight. How could they have two email lists, one for supporters and one for ‘enemies’?

    It reminds me of when I was doing an inspection with Chris Boza (Urban Forester) and I pointed out that what staff was proposing directly conflicted with Park Commission policy, and he snickered and proceeded to direct that policy be violated. My jaw dropped open. What is the point of the public meetings if staff just makes things up and ignores policy direction from the representatives of the people? It is our power, we let them borrow it to implement our goals.

    • Juanita Sumner April 12, 2015 at 5:48 am #

      Your comment reminds me, this stuff has been going on a long time, I feel like Don Quixote, taking another run at a windmill. Lately my face has been in a permanent state of “jaw-drop.”

      Which is what happened to Jan Sneed’s face when the LWV rep walked into the room wearing her id banner. Sneed acted startled, made a few weird remarks, acting as though she was shocked to see a member of the public at a board meeting. That’s about the reaction my husband and I got when we attended our first meeting – it’s a small room, the same dozen people show up every time, meeting after meeting, and then strangers start showing up.

      Remember what Arlo Guthrie said? One guy is crazy, two guys are (politically incorrect), but three guys, THAT’S a MOVEMENT!

  2. bob April 11, 2015 at 6:52 am #

    You are right. We are nothing but tax livestock to our local overlords (our local politiicans and bureaucrats and those who pull their strings).

    The media in this town is a joke. All the Wretched and local talking heads on TV and radio do is regurgitate everything the politicians and bureaucrats tell them. And with the exception of the fire and cop pensions the Snooze does mostly the same and of course they have their own agenda which includes Agenda 21 type control over us and ever higher taxes and more government spending (except for cop and fire pensions).

    CARD openly violates the Brown Act as well as City Hall and no one cares. And Kirk does nothing. She is complicit, she is an accessory to this and should be prosecuted.

    Corruption has been institutionalized in this town and is so common that it hardly gets any notice anymore. It is everywhere. Toby was right to leave the town and the state. It is a cesspool of corruption, fiscal irresponsibility, high taxes and other tyranny.

    And you haven’t even commented yet on the “conservatives” plus Schwabby giving away the store to the cops last week.

    • Juanita Sumner April 11, 2015 at 5:21 pm #

      “tax livestock” – I should scratch that on a shirt! Maybe a collar with a tag.

      “The media in this town is a joke… regurgitate everything the politicians and bureaucrats tell them. “ You got it. Urseny is embedded, the N&R is lazy, and the tv news is inconsistent – one minute they seem to be trying to do some type of investigative piece, like Cecile Juliette poking the Cal Fire guys over that viral video, and the next minute they’re running propaganda for CARD and other entities. I never know what to expect. When Butte County Vector and Mosquito control was going for that assessment, the N&R actually did a propaganda piece, so did the local news, warning everybody they were going to get West Nile virus if they didn’t vote yes to assess themselves for $100,000 plus salaries and employees who pay three percent toward their own pensions.

      “CARD openly violates the Brown Act as well as City Hall and no one cares.” The good news is, there was an observer from the Women’s League of Voters at the special meeting.

    • Juanita Sumner April 12, 2015 at 5:58 am #

      I didn’t get to finish replying, I was so busy yesterday.

      I wanted to say, the League Of Women Voters observes various public entities on a rotating and random basis, to make sure they are complying with the Brown Act and other rules. CARD is now on their radar, in fact, I believe they’ve been sending a rep for a while now, just not to every meeting.

      You said it, our town is sinking into the worst abyss I can remember. The liberals were in charge for so long we forgot how bad the conservatives could be. They both favor the cops, if they want to stay in their seat, they don’t last too long if they don’t.

      And you haven’t even commented yet on the “conservatives” plus Schwabby giving away the store to the cops last week.” I did all my commenting ahead of time – see my letter in today’s paper:

      I hope Sorensen, Fillmer and Coolidge (what an idiot – fire works?) all have a lovely morning.

      • bob April 12, 2015 at 8:24 am #

        Audit: California departments padding budgets

        “The audit noted that the departments faced no penalties or consequences for their actions.”

        Just like Chico city government!

        And people wonder why taxes are high in Colliefornia (as Ahnode calls it).

        Will people ever wake up and realize government is the biggest rip-off of all?

        Instead the sheeple will vote for more tax increases and elect those who will tax them more.

      • Juanita Sumner April 13, 2015 at 4:48 am #

        Thanks for reminding me – I wanted to read this article yesterday, but I had a really bad day – over did a little bit, and ended up with heat exhaustion. Worked all morning, ate too fast, fell asleep in the sun! Barfed my lunch, slept through dinner, and cradled my guts all night. Sheesh, it’s tough being me.

        Nothing in this article surprises me, except I thought it was about the usual supply hoarding – spend your budget this year or they cut you next year. Ryan Schor’s wife works for a public entity, she says that’s a huge problem too. But yeah, our city uses employees this way – I think that’s what they just did to the fire department, but Constantin put so much spin on that “reorganization” it made me barf.

      • bob April 12, 2015 at 8:27 am #

        That is a great letter.

      • Juanita Sumner April 13, 2015 at 4:41 am #

        Donkershin Bon Ami!

  3. bob April 11, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

    I put this on a t-shirt and wore the shirt in public once. Boy did I get some looks.

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