Archive | CARD aquatic center RSS feed for this section

Wake up with Lou!

6 May

Here’s a fun Saturday morning radio show – Live with Lou, at KMYC, Yuba City.

http://www.kmycradio.com/

9 am to noon, every Saturday, Marysville/Yuba City businessman Lou Binninger rants, rambles – says it like it is!  You go to the website at 9am and hit the link to the upper right. 

Right now he’s rolling along on one of his favorite topics – waste and fraud from our public employees.  “If you work for the government it’s like giving everybody in your soccer club a participation trophy…some of those people have just been sucking their assets for their whole career…this whole concept of draining the swamp…”

Yes, Lou is very conservative, he really lays into the Democrats. I’m sorry he doesn’t turn his pokey stick on the Republicans too, but I still enjoy listening to him. Right now he’s haranguing Maxine Waters for being a hypocrite. I have to agree.  Waters is getting out of touch, she really has become everything she told us was wrong when she was a young politician – entrenched power. 

Now he’s talking about the new sales tax that was passed in Marysville a couple of years ago – more money for fire and police. “They said they wouldn’t be able to respond to 9-11 calls anymore if they didn’t get this tax…”  But the money was not dedicated – that would require a two thirds vote of the public. Instead the council opted to go for a General Fund tax, which only requires about 51%. “The first thing they did with the new tax money – 1 percent on all sales in Marysville – was to raise the wages of all the employees of the city…  

Binninger says this is “bait and switchthey use a fear tactic, if you don’t vote for this, all hell is going to break loose in the city…”  And of course, once they get the money, they do whatever they want.

Here we have Chico Area Rec District and their proposed “revenue measure.” We don’t know which tack they will try – a bond on the general ballot or an assessment ballot mailed only to property owners. Most people don’t know the difference – I’ll admit, I’ve struggled with the rules. 

CARD has made many rainbow promises – switching back and forth from the Taj Majal aquatic center to claims that their facilities all over town  are suffering because they don’t have enough money or staff to maintain them. They say they want money to improve the existing skate board park, a longtime hobo jungle that has been closed more than it’s been open, due to vandalism and neighbor complaints.  CARD took it from the city about 10 years ago and one maintenance supervisor after another has thrown up his hands and walked on down the hall.

Remember that – bait and switch. CARD is already having problems deciding which story line to use – they don’t believe either story themselves, and that makes it hard to pitch. 

The real story is the $1.7 million pension deficit that  their Matson and Isom audit team said will grow incrementally as long as their employees continue to pay only 2 – 6 percent out of their own paychecks. Right now it grows by over $57,000 a year, and that will grow  – you know how to do “rabbit math,” don’t you? As their salaries and therefore their benefits packages grow, the deficit will grow. Whenever CalPERS makes demands, they will take money out of their General Fund to pay it down. In 2012, they ignored a consultant’s report regarding repairs at Shapiro Pool, they made a $400,000 “side fund pay-off” to CalPERS, in addition to the roughly $500,000 a year they already pay. 

Excuse me – we pay.

But I’ll say here, Binninger doesn’t get it either. He tells us we should be sitting at home, “bathing your kids and driving them to school,” we should be able to trust our politicians?

Wake up Lou! We should all make more of an effort to watch these people. Everybody should go to at least one public meeting a year, even just one would make a difference. If the public would start attending these public meetings, it would be like shining a flashlight on a rat. 

Furthermore, I have faith in the public – I know they are asleep now, they don’t know what’s going on in these meetings. One meeting folks, listen, really listen. Once you know what’s going on, you can’t forget, you can’t not be disgusted.

The answer is more public scrutiny, not sitting at home trusting your elected officials. Wake up!

CARD to discuss PR campaign for revenue measure at tomorrow’s board meeting

19 Apr

http://www.chicoer.com/general-news/20170418/card-to-discuss-marketing-campaign-budget

The meeting will be at the CARD center on Vallombrosa, starts promptly at 7pm, and may very well be over by 8pm, so don’t be late.

 

Stop the presses! CARD finally posting board meeting minutes on their website!

16 Apr

I sent a note to Chico Area Recreation District manager Ann Willmann because for years now I’ve turned to their website to look at reports of meetings and found them as much as a year behind in posting minutes. 

Hi,

I wonder why there are not minutes posted for a board meeting since Nov 2016? I know the minutes have to be approved by the board, but I’ve been present when minutes have been approved, and they still haven’t been posted on the website.

 Thanks for your response, at your convenience, Juanita Sumner 

I’ve asked before, and been ignored, I was surprised by Willmann’s response:

Hi Juanita, the website has been updated. Thank you for your email. I have established a new process to ensure our minutes are posted in a more timely manner after approval. Ann

I couldn’t resist telling her it was about time.  At least three consultants have been paid so far – make that six, including the informational meeting she presented for the board – to tell Willmann and her staff to get the public engaged in CARD’s business. Instead she seems to make every effort to keep people from knowing what’s happening – another question I’ve had to ask is, why so many “special” meetings – which only have to be noticed 24 hours ahead with a piece of paper on the front door of the CARD center. 

Next time I see an 8-and-a-half by 11 piece of paper flapping on that door I’ll have to make a screeching turn into the parking lot and vault up there to see what’s happening!

CARD has already started a campaign to subtly make us believe we want to tax ourselves to pay down their $1.75 million pension deficit. Pay attention Folks, there’s pick-pockets about!

Time to stand up – contact CARD and ask for a copy of the survey

21 Mar

I have been too busy in my personal life to keep up much chatter here, but I’m hoping to post more about the CARD survey next week.

I am also hoping that people will call the CARD office (895-4711) or e-mail director Ann Willmann and ask for a copy of the survey presented to the board on March 16.  The public is entitled to a copy of anything given to the board, so don’t pay for it. 

Once you’ve read it over, be sure to call back and ask questions. I was relieved to see the League of Women Voter’s observer at the meeting last week, she asked pertinent questions  about the survey. One thing she got out of  the consultant was that respondents were chosen on the basis of where they lived.  

Random eh?

We need more people like Margaret Bomberg in our community. Stand up people, or be had.

CARD survey heavily led, questions close ended – when did 28 percent become “overwhelming support”?

17 Mar

I was surprised to find the CARD board meeting well-attended last night, but I think more people, including city staffers and commission members, were there to hear the discussion  about CARD taking park impact fees from developers. I went to hear the consultant’s report regarding the assessment survey.

Survey? 400 people in a town of over 80,000? I know – but let’s look  at it anyway.

The consultant also spoke of significantly leading respondents, even asking them to choose between pitches at one point.

DSC00215

Can you believe that? The callers actually read these to the respondents and asked them, which one of these pitches would make you want to tax yourself and your neighbors?

Of course, respondents were chosen by demographics – they called people who lived close to various parks, for example, and found those people would certainly support a tax!   

They also reported a very real confusion between CARD parks (ball  fields, playgrounds and neighborhood parks) and Bidwell Park, owned and maintained by the city of Chico.  I think they will try to play that confusion to their advantage. 

I will post more of the survey later.

CARD meeting next week chock full o nuts

12 Mar

Chico Area Recreation District board will hear from their consultant Thursday. EMC ran a phone survey last month regarding a bond or assessment for CARD.  I would like to ask them for a copy of the results, we’ll see what they say.

CARD board will also be discussing taking over the city’s park impact fees on development. 

That’s Thursday March 16, 7pm, at the CARD center on Vallombrosa. 

CARD to run phone survey in late January, early February, trying to convince us to tax ourselves for their pension deficit

21 Jan

Run in the Enterprise Record, 1/22/17

At their November 16, 2016 meeting, Chico Area Recreation  District Board authorized  $28,000 for  EMC Research of Oakland to conduct a community engagement survey.  Consultant Ruth Bernstein said a phone survey would be conducted in late January or early February. Callers will not mention CARD, nor that CARD is seeking an assessment or bond on property owners.  Bernstein told the board the survey will “build community support for your vision,”  identifying  “what they want…then you know what to say about yourself…”  

CARD has spent nearly $100,000 on revenue measure consultants since a 2012 survey came back negative. Consultants have told CARD repeatedly, they need to build their image in the community to get the public to tax themselves more for this agency. This survey is part of a campaign to convince residents CARD could give them whatever their hearts desire if only they’d agree to tax themselves more. 

CARD already gets about $3.8 million – roughly half their budget – from property taxes. They spend almost $800,000 on retirement and health benefits for less than 30 employees. Management, protected by “PERS PEPRA”, only pay 2 – 6.25 percent of their benefits. According to their auditor their pension deficit increased by $54,480 this year, now $1,758,200.  At the current rate of employee contribution the auditor reported the pension deficit “will never go away.”  

If you receive a call from this consultant, be sure to ask a few questions of your own.

Juanita Sumner, Chico