Dolan accuses CARD of Brown Act violation; Aquatics group wants Nance Canyon taken off protection list so they can locate their “mega-center” there

19 Aug

Wow, what a meeting you people missed last night. I hate going out at night, but every now and then I get a little prize for my diligence.

Last night I got to watch Jane Dolan and Bob Mulhullond call Chico Area Recreation District board and staff on the carpet for holding the public out of the aquatic center conversation. She used the words “Brown Act violation” in describing the way their agenda had  been noticed in the “local  media” – meaning, the Enterprise Record.

When I saw Laura Urseny’s blurb in the ER, I had already read the agenda, I knew she was leaving out the part about Nance Canyon. While Dolan turned around and explained she wasn’t blaming the paper, I am. Urseny works for CARD, she always has. She is a butt kisser, she thinks that’s the only way to get friends I guess.

Last night Bill Brouhard, of Guillon Brouhard Commercial Real Estate,  a member/representative of “Every Body Healthy Body,” described the organization as a “501 3C non-profit” started by parents of Aqua Jets, not mentioned by name. He said he and others had got tired of driving their kids “all over” to other towns who got “all this money” that he thought should be coming to Chico. 

As the parent of a kid who participated in travel sports, I thought that was the whole idea – get your kid out there, go places, see other towns.  I also doubt Brouard’s claim that Chico will see “all this money.”  The leagues we visited tried to get us to patronize hotels, usually the pricey places. Visiting parents – not just us – usually opted for the cheap hotels, or just drove  home. Others brought motor homes and stayed in the facility parking lots, bbq-ing meals, even selling tri-tip sandwiches and other such fare as fundraisers. I never saw any report detailing how much, by the dollar, that these tournaments bring into a town, and I’m doubting Brouard’s claims that such a center would be a financial triumph for our town. It’s already looking like they want all kinds of help.

If you want more information on Brouhard I think a quick look here will be of interest:

Of course, while Brouhard said EBHB came up with seven potential sites, the site they pick is right in the middle of a disputed area, a parcel that is being included in the Butte Habitat Conservation Register.  What is this group  thinking, wanting to build a facility like this on a politically and geographically sensitive piece of land, so far out of the city limits? 

Because Bill Brouhard and his partner Doug Guillon are investor/developer/realtors. All they see in Nance Canyon is dollar signs. I don’t even think this has as much to do with Brouhard’s complaints about driving two sets of kids to swim meets, I think it has more to do with the property owner and how much money they all stand to make. 

Brouhard says they’re thinking 50 years in the future! But they need the CARD board to act now, he says, and tell the county to pull Nance Canyon out of the conservation area.

He claims the owner is willing to sell for 14 cents an acre.  Those were his exact words – he’s a realtor, he should  know better, is he trying to mislead the board?  I know Lando should have called him on that figure, our ex-city manager knows exactly what land values are. My husband immediately bumped my elbow to hiss, “he means per square foot…” but I was busy scribbling other details, so failed to call him on it.

He also claimed the property would include rights to a creek – Butte Creek!

In order to make this pipe dream a financial drain on the citizens, Brouhard and EBHB need CARD to write a letter to the county, asking them to take that parcel out of the conservation area and place it in an Urban Permit Area.   He’s also asking CARD to form an ad-hoc committee – which means, staff time with no public oversight – to “coordinate” with EBHB. He specifically asked for an ad hoc,  because ad hoc meetings don’t have to be noticed or reported to the public.  I believe EBHB is trying to pull the wool over the public’s eyes, and they know exactly what they’re doing.

He brought a box of printed materials for the board but when I reached out to take a map from his he turned abruptly on his heel and ignored me. That’s okay, Jane Dolan mopped the floor with his shiny ass.

She got right up  during public comment and got really mad. First she said the article in the Enterprise Record had left out specific information, hadn’t given the public a real idea of what was actually happening at the meeting, adding that the aquatic center had not been “publicly vetted.”

“Public discussion does not begin with a non-Brown act notice of your agenda…” referring to the story in the newspaper. 

Gee, where was Janey when they kept putting me off on my requests to attend aquatic committee meetings? Steve Visconti lied to me around every corner, staffers refused to do their job, and then Ann Willmann fixed it all by telling the aquatics center proponents to form their own non-profit so the public would be completely cut out. 

Dolan warned the board they were dealing with a very sensitive property, and even though she professed support for an aquatic center somewhere else in Chico, she would not support it at this site. “If I were still in the job (her appointment to the Central Valley Flood Protection board) it [Nance Canyon] would already be part of the conservation area.”  

He husband Bob Mulhullond stood up to ask the board where was the staff analysis? He and Dolan both accused the board of getting ready to make a decision without proper procedure. Mulhullond said further they should just “reject this!” 

I was astounded. All this time I’ve been trying to follow this stuff,  I barely  understand half of it, but I’ve smelled a rat. Well, Dolan and Mulhullond, bless their hearts, came down last night to say, “There’s your damned rat, right there! Kill it!”

This whole aquatic center business has been handled illegally, is what I’m guessing, and I’m also guessing at least two of the board know that – Lando and long time board member Jan Sneed.  Chair Bob “the Yo-yo” Malowney made vague statements about “we’ve been intending to take this before the public…” and Lando remarked that he’d “heard” there had been public meetings but he hadn’t attended any of them.

Lando then suggested they go ahead and name a subcommittee to coordinate with EBHB. As they were discussing this, Dolan stood up again to ask them, stuttering mad, “What is it you’re going to do?”   She pointed out, they were trying to go ahead and act without proper  procedure again. She said the whole thing was inappropriate without public vetting. 

Lando then agreed to agendize the subject of the ad hoc committee. This is when I started to wonder if anything they’d done with the so-called “Aquatic Facility” committee was legal.

The discussion was tabled with direction to staff to agendize the matter, and Dolan stepped out into the hall with Bill Brouhard.

It was 7:30, I was butt tired, husband too, but we decided to stay a little longer. There was a lot of important stuff on the agenda I don’t understand, something about creating a district that could issue  bonds. We listened to Ann Willmann’s report, because there’s never any written report, you just have to be there. 

Good thing we stayed. Willman had been meeting with EBHB! Of course! She’d also been involved with a contractor(s?) who is/are evaluating buildings and other facilities for CARD, telling them how far they’ve allowed things to slide, and how much it is going to cost to get all their facilities back in code compliance, including ADA.  Then there’s the total replacement of the playground at DeGarmo  Park.  The surface they laid down proved to be a total disaster, and has to be replaced. Problem is – why would they want to put that old playground equipment on that new surface? So CARD approved the replacement of the entire playground.

Where will they get all the money for this malfeasance? Willmann announced an “informational” meeting on  September 8 (TBA) at which the board and the public will hear from representatives of different organizations about bonds and other “funding options”. 

Mark your calendar, I’ll get back to you  

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