Tag Archives: Brad Geiss Chico Aquajets

CARD approves hiring of consultant to vet aquatic center to public

28 Mar

Last week I attended CARD’s monthly board meeting to hear the agendized report regarding the aquatic center committee. I have been trying to get into the committee meetings, have been told I’d be noticed for any meetings scheduled, but they keep telling me there haven’t been any meetings. So, how do they come up with these reports on every agenda? That’s the beauty of “ad hoc” Folks – that’s Latin,  for “hide what you’re doing with public money from the public…”

The board received a report from Chico Aquajets manager Brad Geiss – “on behalf of [former CARD general manager] Jerry Hughes…”  It was more of a demand, really, that the board hire a consultant to sell the aquatic center to the public. This was supposed to be Aquajets’ job, but Geiss was very adamant – they want the board to spend $26,000 of the taxpayers’ money on a consultant to shove a tax assessment down the taxpayers’ throats.  The board voted unanimously to do so, even though Tom Lando tried his best to act disinterested.

At a previous meeting, the board said Aquajets would take care of selling this idea to the public. Have you heard a peep out of Aquajets? Laura Urseny won’t even use their name in connection to this bad dog, referring to them as a “local swim group.” There are no other local “swim groups.”   They’ve discussed the connotation at previous meetings, one Aquajets grandparent complaining that the public feels they will be paying for the privileges of others. Well, that’s the truth, isn’t it Grandpa? Aquajets doesn’t even have as many members as the Bocce Ball club, but they expect the taxpayers to lay out $10 million PLUS for a private swim center. 

I also found out they’ve been taking proposals, which haven’t been made public. I asked CARD employee Jennifer Marciales for various documents presented to the board, all of which are supposed to be available to the public at the meetings. It was like pulling teeth – they aren’t forthcoming, you have to go over everything with a fine-toothed comb to see what else they’ve been withholding, and ask for that too. When I asked her for too many documents she turned me over to Robert Hinderer, who sent me documents that can’t be cut-and-paste.

What he sent me are proposals for this job of coming up with a design and then telling the public how bad they want it. Here you go:

3-9-15 Jerry Hughes Document

The other documents he sent won’t post, I’ll work on it.  Or, you should write to Robert Hinderer at rhinderer@chicorec.com and ask for the information, which is supposed to be available to the public. These people are making plans for millions in taxpayer dollars, and they aren’t even being up front about it. 

They still won’t talk in front of the public about the assessment they are planning to pursue, not since that meeting I attended over a year ago at which Jerry Hughes told everybody they should wait until the legislature lowered the voting threshold for a tax assessment from 2/3’s to 51 percent. I think that’s insidious.

From “Future Community Aquatic Center Comments” – When we have a preliminary plan and cost estimates ( which is what you see above) we can start planning how we will promote the project to the community…The survey [which came back negative according to the consultant] suggested two methods to fund the project; Special Tax and Benefit Assessment. We will review those two methods at the meeting [this was when Hughes told the audience about the voting threshold being changed].”

This old man is sly like a fox. He is worming something past the taxpayers, and he knows it.  I just can’t figure out what his interest is – I’m sorry, I don’t think he really cares about children when he sits in on discussions about cutting kids’ programs to make pension payments. He gets a sweet pension out of CARD.

None of this has been discussed in public meetings, only at the privately noticed Aquatic Center Committee meetings – Brad and Jerry being the “ad hoc” committee. Brad Geiss also gets a salary, as Aquajets manager, and I’m guessing he dreams of being the manager of the new center. He sure drives a pricey little sports car! All off of a children’s swim team – this is the kind of person we are dealing with here, a man who looks out for his own interests. 

They have also changed their meetings from the CARD center right in mid-town to the Cal Park Lakeside Pavillion, which sits on the eastern boundary of their district. This might not be a Brown Act violation – meetings are to be held in the district – but they are certainly pushing it. The Pavillion is not what I’d call “available to the public,” located in a snooty subdivision with “No Trespassing” and “Residents Only” signs all over the place.

When I asked Marciales why the switch, she simply replied “the Board has requested that the Regular Board Meetings be held at Lakeside Pavilion.  However, there will still be times when Board Meetings will need to be held at the CARD Center.  The location of the meetings will be specified on the Agendas when they are posted.”  No reason, just the board wanted it.