Tag Archives: Ann Willmann Chico CA

CARD plans phone survey for late January to promote new funding measure

20 Dec

The school bond and the lawsuit CUSD pressed against Chico State to hide the e-mail conversation regarding mold in classrooms has kept me distracted from Chico Area Recreation District’s plans to assess homeowners to pay down their pension deficit and eliminate other problems caused by poor management and bad decisions on the part of the board.

An audit report from Matsom and Isom showed that CARD’s pension deficit has actually increased by about $50,000  over the last year, but the board is only now asking employees to pay into their own pensions, and they’re asking less than 4 percent. 

CARD is also under the same pressure all public agencies are under – CalPERS wants more money, more money, more money. They’ve stepped up their demands and are threatening fees on late payments.

And then there are some poor decisions made over the last 10 years that beg examination.  For example, I’ve always wondered, who approved the purchase of Lakeside Pavillion at over a million dollars, a building riddled with rot and out of compliance with 1990’s Americans with Disabilities Act?  Who profited from that sale? Who arranged it?

Here’s a good question – why not sell it?

Here’s a better question – why should the taxpayers have to bail them out?

This is the kind of stuff people need to know and ask about before they vote to give this agency any more money.

CARD has spent almost $100,000 so far on consultants who keep telling them the public does not support a bond and will need a lot of convincing. These consultants, ranging in price from $50,000 to about $3,500, have told the agency one thing over and over again – it’s going to be an enormous amount of work for staff, especially manager Ann Willmann.    The last consultant told the agency they needed to run extensive Public Relations campaigns to make the public think they want a bond or assessment on their homes to fund rainbow promises.  That’s going to take a  really professional propaganda blitz, and Willmann is not up to the task, so she’s just kept hiring one consultant after another in hopes she could get a firm with a price tag acceptable to the board.

It looks like she finally convinced the board they needed to hire an out of town crapslinger –  the bay area firm that hammered the school bond through on us. The board approved  to run a “survey” after Christmas, probably late January.  Consultant Ruth Bernstein said they would try to do 400 “interviews” within about a week.  

These “interviews” will not be indiscriminate.  The consultant will use the voter roles – “we know demographics”  – meaning, they can call people they feel will support the bond.

The purpose?   Bernstein posed the question “How do we build community support for your vision…” and then answered it.

Building community support [for a bond or assessment] is difficult,” Bernstein admitted. A survey would identify “what they want…then you know what to say about yourself…”  

In other words, you simply find out what rainbow dreams the public has (well, 400 of them, anyway…) and then you tell them you need a bond to pay for it! Swwwwweeeeeeet!

No, it’s really not that easy. Bernstein went on to warn the board about opposition.  “We won’t recommend placing a measure on the ballot if we sense too much opposition in the community.” 

How to avoid opposition? Don’t  tell people what you’re doing. Bernstein assured the board the callers would make no mention of the agency, no mention of the bond effort – “We don’t tell them what it’s about. We don’t want to attract people who hate CARD,” she warned. “We have to be careful who we survey…” The callers, working from the Bay Area, will even program a local area code onto their caller ID so the respondent won’t know the agency is from out of town. 

So they will take this effort around the back  door, survey less than half of one percent of the population, and then use the information to make their bond campaign.  That’s what worked for Chico Unified with Measure K.

The board had a few questions. Michael Worley wanted to make sure Chico State students, an admittedly transient population, will be in town for the survey. That’s the kind of thinking that got Worley more votes than any CARD candidate in history.  He not only doubled Jan Sneed’s total for 2014, he got more votes than our new mayor, city council record spender Sean Morgan. As far as I know Worley did so without spending a dime cause he didn’t file any reports with the county.

The consultant answered Worley, “we’re not going to have a big  student turnout in 2018, so why include them in the survey?” She said statistics pointed out that students don’t vote in non-presidential election years. Right in front of us, they were marginalizing people using occupation.  What other demographics will go into how they pick  and choose who they will call? 

Then Tom Lando opined that he would rather hold off on a survey until CARD finishes their 2017 master plan, first draft due in February. Jan Sneed responded tersely, “the master plan isn’t going to change…” Wow, that’s an open mind, somebody toss a cigar butt in there.

Director Ann Willmann, who only recently agreed to pay less than 4 percent of her own pension premiums, having paid nothing up to now, was anxious to add that the “survey should define ‘quality of life’…”

Willmann is the stinking head of this fish, because she knows she ain’t going to get no pension if CalPERS doesn’t get their money.  She’s smart – yeah, get people to tell you their wishes and dreams, then dress that up on a platter for 2018. 

The board passed a motion to hire EMC, with Lando dissenting. I  think he supports the measure but worries about the timing.

They promised to fix the skate park when they took it over from the city. They’ve led a group of citizens along by  the nose, allowing them to raise funds, and now backing down. Why would we expect them to behave any differently with promises they make to pass this measure? 




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.

Enterprise Record running interference for Chico Area Rec District

14 Sep

I sent a letter to the editor of the Chico Enterprise Record Sunday, detailing the breach of promise described by Off The Wall Soccer in their dealings with CARD. My letters usually run within three days of sending. Instead, today, the ER published the following announcement about this week’s CARD board meeting.

CARD agenda filled with master plan, soccer, ideas

Staff Reports

CHICO >> An update on the projects on the table, as well as possibly competing with a local soccer business, and getting involved with a community- based recreation entity will be on the agenda for the Chico Area Recreation and Park District board.

The next board of directors meeting for the Chico Area Recreation and Park District will be 7 p.m. Thursday at the Chico Community Center, 545 Vallombrosa Ave.

General Manager Ann Willmann will be providing an update on the various projects that are in development or exist, as well as what’s happening with the CARD master plan. The board asked that the master plan be updated, and a $ 19,500 contract was awarded to Melton Design Group of Chico to provide those services.

At the last meeting, the board directed Willmann to meet with Off the Wall Soccer and others about the soccer program. Representatives from the indoor soccer business said in August that an old agreement with CARD not to compete over some soccer programs has been overlooked. The board asked to talk about that issue in September. The business maintains that competition from CARD is jeopardizing its financial stability.

At the August meeting, the board also heard from private organization Everybody Healthy Body representative Bill Brouhard who asked that a CARD representative participate in its meetings. The community group is evaluating local recreation assets and has been looking at developing a recreation complex or campus in Chico. CARD is interested in the concept because it has been talking about a proposed aquatic center.

Yeah, you see the Melon Head is going to get yet another very posh contract from CARD – $19,500 to update their General Plan? Why do they need Ann Willmann? 

Then that weak paragraph about OTWS.   She’s taking CARD’s perspective – she was there when OTWS presented the documentation of years of agreements, acknowledgements of agreements broken, and promises to keep their word in future. Over and over again. She heard the whole story, and this is what she prints. I say “she” because I know Urseny wrote the story, or at least provided the outline, but she’s embarrassed to put her name on it. I would be too.

And then they act as though “Every Body  Good Body” just rolled into town – surprise! They want to build an aquatic center too! Urseny doesn’t say anything about the inappropriate nature of their relationship with CARD or Chico Aquajets – Brad Geise, president of Aqua Jets and member of the old “aquatic facility advisory committee” is a board member of EBGB. Ann Willmann gave them cut rate pricing for their meeting(s?) at Cal Park Pavilion. Let’s stop being coy here folks, this is not being reported properly to the public, and the newspaper is going along with it.

We need this newspaper like a moose needs a hat rack.   Reporter Laura Urseny is in bed with CARD, they need to send somebody new into those meetings. But who? All of their reporters are horrible.  

What to read some journalism?  Here’s the letter I sent Sunday that hasn’t been run yet. 

I attended the August 18 CARD board meeting at which owners of Off The Wall Soccer reported CARD management has not honored a good faith agreement made with them in 2006 and is undermining their business with predatory pricing.   


OTWS opened in 2000, offering 7-a-side  soccer programs that were not offered through CARD.  In 2005, OTWS experienced dramatic decline in membership and found CARD had begun offering 7-a-side programs, at less than half the price.  OTWS owners felt it was inappropriate for a public agency subsidized with taxpayer money to undercut legitimate private businesses.  They approached CARD’s board, which instructed management to resolve the conflict. CARD management agreed to offer 7-a-side soccer only in the summer months 


OTWS owners report CARD has reneged on their agreement several times since 2006, and they’ve had to go back to management and the board repeatedly to get them to honor their word. 


At the August 18 meeting, long time board member Jan Sneed acknowledged “we agreed to this,” promising to “make it right”.  Nonetheless, staff again told OTWS they have scheduled competing programs that began this Fall. 


With six-figure salaries and nearly $2 million in pension deficit, the CARD price of $319 per team does not even begin to reflect overhead at CARD. Are they offering these programs below cost in an attempt to steal business?   They are using taxpayer dollars to compete unfairly with businesses all over town.  


Is this really an appropriate mission for a recreation district? 
Juanita Sumner

Stay Awake – there are a lot of issues to watch these next few months

8 Jan

What a week. I’ve been busy trying to stay on top of 2016.

People are still angry about the shooting in Paradise, judging from the searches I’m seeing, they want criminal charges for Feaster.  We’ll see where that goes, but it looks like the DA is just going to fall on the ball and lay there.

There are also a lot of searches and hits on information about city contracts, pension deals, etc. People finally seem to be paying attention to the CalPERS disaster, we’ll see if they come to the polls in June and November to do something about it.  If there’s one thing I’d like to see out of 2016 it would be four new faces on city council – four new faces that are not beholden to public employees. I’d like to see Sorensen, Coolidge and Fillmer sitting on that dais with their thumbs up their asses, getting voted down on everything, that’s what I’d like to see.

Did you read David Little’s editorial this morning? Sorry, I still read the Enterprise Record compulsively, it’s like the back of the cereal box, it’s just there.  This morning I was treated to a huge surprise – Editor Little taking on his old buddy Mark Sorensen over the hike in room fees at city hall. Ooooo, do I sense a little rub between the conservative factions? Little seems to be sticking up for League of Women Voters – which is weird, they’ve always been a little to the left, and I had thought Little was such a staunch conservative. Is his wife a member of the League? He acted the same way about Country Day School when his kids were students there – one word against Country Day and Little would go ape.  The guy has no objectivity if he’s got a dog in the fight.

I got a notice from CARD director Ann Willman about an upcoming Aquatic Facility Committee meeting, next Thursday, Jan. 14, 6pm, at Lakeside Pavilion. She also informed me they’d posted the consultant’s presentations for the previous two meetings on the website. Of course she didn’t give me a link I had to search the website.

I have to wonder why these meetings aren’t noticed on the usual page with the Board and Finance Committee meetings, but Willmann won’t answer me  on that. She’s determined to run this AFAC thing under the table. You won’t find any information about who attended or any remarks made by attendees. But, the consultant’s report is pretty damning – over 60 percent of the cost of this boondoggle will be salaries and benefits, and they will never come close to recovering costs through fees. This monstrosity will have to be almost entirely taxpayer supported, by people who will never even drive by the facility. You can see both of the consultant’s presentations here, but these aren’t “reports.”  


I’ve probably missed some important stuff here, things are busy, busy, busy.   Other issues I’ve tried to keep track of are the school district’s plans to put a bond on the ballot, the city’s airport management discussion,  the city garbage deal, and the changes at the county dump, but that will take more nose to the grindstone, I’ll keep you posted. 



Council, CARD board up to no good – Lie Cheat and Steal!

14 Dec

Tomorrow night Chico city council will discuss applying for “Intervenor” status in the Cal Water rate increase application filed last July (CPUC rate case A.15-07-015). I’ve already let them know how I feel, time for you all to do same. 

You can reach them via the clerk, debbie.presson@chicoca.gov

You probably read, the city is under fire in a few directions. According to a study, our employees are among the highest paid in the state. Our desk clerk’s salary compares with cop salaries in the Bay Area, which is an item of concern to more people than just me. If I were a cop in Oakland, and I knew some ditzy bitch who sat on her ass in an office all day was making more in salary than I got paid in total compensation, that would piss me off.

Not to say, cops don’t get paid plenty nice. This whole salary thing is completely WHACKED.

Council is denying Jessica Allen’s claims that they violated the Brown Act, which I think stems mostly from behind doors contract talks. Allen complains the agendas aren’t clear, and she’s right. I get so tired of asking these self-satisfying $taffers to explain stuff – the explanation is usually even more confusing. Like the time Chris Constantin came to one of my Sunday CTA meetings at the library, brought the wife and everything. I thought it was cute the way they got into their rag bag trying to dress down for the common folks. Constantin was very uncomfortable. He was trying to tell me that they needed to wave the two-week sunshine period for the new police contract, saying they needed to get that signed asap to start saving all this money! It was a total load of bullshit, the police budget is bigger than ever now. Of course you might not be able to check on that, because they don’t save the old budgets or contracts on the website. Good luck finding those anywhere. 

We are dealing with liars and cheats,  who steal. Reminds me of the great days of WWE!  I miss Eddie Gurerrero.


Lie Cheat and Steal! Like CPOA!

Tomorrow they will be putting the screw to landlords and tenants when they pass two ordinances that throw out landlord rights and curtail renters’ rights. They will be tweaking the Disorderly Events and Noise ordinances to cut the notice time for property owners. Meaning, by the time you get your mailed notice – and that’s if the county has your correct mailing address on their tax rolls – your tenants could have had a second “event” and you will be summarily charged with any “costs” the police and fire departments decide to rack up in trashing your house. 

You don’t think that happens to good landlords and tenants? How about the time my tenant had less than a dozen friends over to watch a sporting event on tv. When they went back to their cars out on the street at about 11 pm, talking and joshing I’d imagine, the neighbors called the police. Chico PD came over and broke it up, then told the neighbors it was a “gang bang.” Yeah, my tenant was Mexican, and I imagine so were some of his friends. The cops told him his friends couldn’t mill around on the street like that. Well, okay, they’d said. And the following weekend he invited them back over to watch  tv again – you should have seen this tv, it was HUGE. When you put out the bucks for a tv like that, you want to be able to invite your friends.

My asshole neighbor, Pat Brown, who had better have his left on the ready if he ever shows his face to me again, called the cops a second  time. At this time, a week later, neither Mr. Asshole Brown, who had our phone number, nor the cops had bothered to notify us of the first incident. The party was broken up again – again, a bunch of guys yakking at their cars on a public street at 10:30 or 11 pm. This time we got an angry phone call at 7am that next day, from Asshole Brown. He was so loud at the other end of the phone I could hear him in the next room. Then he backed down, he actually apologized, cause you know, he’s the kind of neighbor who acts in anger, because he’s an asshole,  and then wakes up the next day grovelling for forgiveness. 

Maybe he realized, if we went asshole on him, he would be at the asshole end of a lawsuit. So would Chico PD, they already have enough claims of racism against them. 

My husband tells me, don’t worry about this ordinance, we have so restricted our tenants’  in our leases – in fact, today I’m writing up a new addendum. According to this new party ordinance, a “gathering” is 20 or more people. I will have to add a legal addendum restricting my tenants from having gatherings of more than 15 people. Hey, if the cops can do it, I  can do it and will.

Right now I got an Avon Lady. Wow, you know those Avon parties can get swinging out of control.


This is an attack on renters’ rights, but I’m with my husband – let the renters come out and fight it for a change. Old Juanita has other irons on the fire right now. 

Wednesday (Dec 16 7pm) brings another public meeting at the CARD center to discuss plans for the aquatic center. CARD director Ann Willmann tells me they will not be including any discussion of Shapiro Pool or the cost estimates to fix it, which are not posted anywhere on their website either. I’ve had it with Willmann, she needs to goooooo. 

Aquatic center proponent Jan Sneed was re-elected to the CARD board with 9,000 votes.  If every one of those voters wrote a check for $1,000, we’d have almost enough money to build the least expensive design that’s been discussed so far. Those estimates go up to $28 million, but wow, wouldn’t $9 million be a start? 

 Willmann has a son on Aquajets, maybe she should open her purse. She could easily spare some money out of her $120,000/year salary, especially since she pays nothing toward her benefits or pension. CARD currently sits under a pension deficit of more than $1.2 million. None of their management pay anything toward their pensions, but expect to receive 70 percent of their salary in retirement. 

And they bitch about the street people with their hands out! 

Hold your purse strings tight, there are scum bags on every corner here.