CARD needs to do a cost allocation study on their programs, find out the real costs of running private businesses under the bus

2 Oct

Off The Wall Soccer owner Mario Sagastume wrote a letter to the paper last week regarding their complaints about Chico Area Recreation District (CARD).

Regarding the recent article by Laura Urseny, understand the owners/management of Off The Wall Soccer (OTWS) are not Anti-Soccer.

To the contrary, all of us have supported, organized, promoted, played, coached and enjoyed the game.  Furthermore, we continue to encourage youth/adults to play the game, indoor and outdoor.

We have not requested CARD to reduce or eliminate their soccer program.  We simply asked them to honor an agreement made with OTWS in 2006.  OTWS opened in 2000 to provide year round soccer.  At the time CARD ONLY offered 11-aside in the Fall.

We were successful for a few years until CARD began offering 7- aside soccer in the Fall/Spring.  This had an immediate impact on sign-ups.  Any small business would struggle to compete with a government organization receiving about 60% ($4,000,000.00) of their annual funding from property taxes.

In 2005 we approached the CARD Board with our concerns and were directed to coordinate with management.  In 2006 the CARD General Manager agreed to only offer 7-aside in the summer and 11-aside in the Fall/Spring.  This was a fair compromise.

In 2013, after experiencing falling participation, we learned CARD had been offering 7-aside in the Fall/Spring for several years.  When we again met with CARD management they apologized and assured us they would abide by the agreement in the future.

Foolishly, we took them at their word, their commitment lasted less than a year.

Last week we approached the CARD Board and requested they have management honor their commitment.  Other than Tom Lando, THEY DECLINED.

Mario Sagastume

Partner, Off The Wall Soccer

Most members of the CARD board wrote off OTWS complaints as sour apples. They ignored the well-made point that they are using taxpayer money to subsidize their efforts to undercut private businesses all over town.

Here’s my suggestion – have CARD do a cost allocation study on their soccer program. When Chris Constantin did cost allocation for the city, he figured in all the salaries involved, which in this case would include director Ann Willman’s $100,000 plus salary and benefits, and even the air conditioning charges in the room where they discussed the programs. I’m telling you – they don’t price these programs for cost, they price their programs to run private businesses under.

Their costs are enormous. They spend about 90 percent of their more than $6 million budget on salaries and benefits. Only recently were CARD management asked to contribute to their own pensions – yeah, that’s right – none of the previous management, not Steve Visconti nor Ed Seagle nor Jerry Hughes – paid one red cent toward their own pension. Visconti recently retired at a salary of over $120,000/year – he will received 70 percent of that, with cost-of-living-increase, for the rest of his sorry life.

Now Jerry Hughes expects to be elected to the board. Let me tell you a  story I heard Hughes relate to Enterprise Record reporter Laura Urseny at a meeting. He was building his new house in Tahoe – that’s right, Tahoe – when his neighbors informed him that his plans trespassed over the property line onto their property. They were trying to tell them he couldn’t do that, and he was telling Urseny that he had got a lawyer to settle the matter. He was telling her, his trespass was just a silly thing, and he didn’t understand why the neighbors were making such a big deal about it. He had trespassed on them, admittedly, and he was making them get a lawyer to get him off their property.

That’s Jerry Hughes. Let me tell you another story about Jerry. When CARD paid three consultants a month or so ago to give a presentation about how to pass bond measures, Hughes asked them a question Michael Worley had already asked (because he’s either deaf or doesn’t listen).  Worley  wanted to know if the city of Chico could run a bond for them, and the consultant said the city would control the money, which might not work out so well for CARD.  When they repeated the same answer to Hughes, he actually turned his back on the consultant while the man was talking and grumbled his way back to his chair. Hughes is not fit for office.  This is how he treats a consultant who is paid with the taxpayers’ money.

And then we have candidate Dave Donnan.  Read here.

I’m sorry, I don’t mean to make fun of a man’s problems, but this man is an idiot. I would bet you $5, he hasn’t attended a CARD meeting to date, and he’d admit that, but try to excuse himself with his myriad of personal problems. If he has so many personal problems, I would suggest he keep his dick out of  the public mousetrap.

They’re both horrible. Which leaves us with Lando and Worley.  They’re weasels, but (heavy sigh), they’re weasels we know.   They are professional and businesslike. I wouldn’t expect that out of either Donnan or Hughes.

Three CARD board members will be up in 2018 – Sneed, Mulowney and Ellis. These people need to go. We must come up with at least one viable candidate to run for 2018. I would nominate either Dave Stahl or Mario Sagastume, or both. They’ve been in the recreation business all these years, I’d say it’s time to get some people on the rec board that actually know about recreation.

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