Tag Archives: Laura Urseny Chico CA

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

Enterprise Record trying to push a new aquatic center on us? Get some real reporters down there, will ya Dave?

8 Dec

I wrote a note to Chico Area Rec District Director Ann Willmann complaining she doesn’t notice the “public” meetings far enough ahead – wow, lookee see – here’s the notice for a December 16 public meeting:

Second comment meeting over proposed aquatic center planned

Enterprise Record, Staff Reports

CHICO >> A second public meeting about a proposed aquatic center will be hosted by the Chico Area Recreation and Park District.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Chico Community Center, 545 Vallombrosa Ave.

Members of the public who would like to speak about an aquatic center in Chico are invited.

The first meeting was conducted in October by the consultants hired by CARD. Comments were made about the physical layout, possible programs and uses, as well as other CARD programs.

T he t wo me e t i n g s are part of the feasibility study process for the proposed aquatic center. CARD has hired Aquatics Design Group of Carlsbad to perform the feasibility study for about $50,000.

After this second meeting, the consultant will make a presentation to the CARD board about the feasibility of the project, although the issues of cost or how the district will pay for the facility have not been broached.

CARD’s master plan has included the suggestion of an aquatic center for years. Last year, the recreation district determined it would close its swim program at Shapiro Pool, next to Chico Junior High School, because of the poor shape of the pool, which is owned by Chico Unified School District but operated by CARD. CARD owns the other public pool, Pleasant Valley by Bidwell Junior High.

In September, CARD decided to explore how much it would cost to continue operating Shapiro, and hired a pool expert to examine the property. Basically the expert told CARD that the way the facility stands now, it would be a very expensive repair or remodeling project.

Comments regarding the aquatic idea can also be made to CARD General Manager Ann Willmann at annw@chicorec. com or dropped off at the CARD office, 545 Vallombrosa Ave. in Chico

Here’s the problem:

  1. the issue of cost and the issue of how the district will pay for the facility have so been broached. Tom Lando has come right out and mentioned a sales tax increase, and a past consultant raised the issue of placing a bond on district homeowners. Lando ran a survey regarding the sales tax increase and claims people support it, but the survey CARD ran regarding an aquatic center tax came back negative.
  2. the reporter opines that “ that the way the facility stands now, it would be a very expensive repair or remodeling project.” That’s not journalism, and that’s not what the consultant said – he put a price tag of less than $600,000 on the Shapiro remodel. How would you compare that to $10 – 28 million for an aquatic center?  

Who wrote this crap story? I think Laura Urseny wrote it, I’ve been in the ladies room after her, and I know what her crap smells like.  Urseny can’t take criticism, cause she knows it’s true. I’ve criticized her efforts at foisting this pool on the taxpayers, and she can’t take it, so she won’t sign her name to another crap story. As far as I’m concerned, Urseny has become entirely too friendly with agencies like CARD, city of Chico, Chico Chamber – she is so bedded down with these people, she has no objectivity anymore, and has no business calling herself a news reporter.

This is the kind of “campaign” CARD puts up for their aquatic center – nobody really wants to get behind this puppy, cause they know it’s all a bunch of lies. They don’t really intend to build anything folks – they can’t even afford to do the rot work on the Cal Park Pavilion. They need this money to pay the CalPERS deficit, and they need it now. Jerry Hughes isn’t going anywhere, and he still gets a check. Ann Willmann will need a big check to cover her bottom line – $120,000/year in salary, her package costs about $25,000/year, toward which she pays nothing. None of these people have paid anything toward their own pensions, but expect to collect 70 percent of their highest year’s salary, regardless of the shape the economy is in.

I hope you will send your comments to Willmann, and furthermore – ask her how you can view comments made by other members of the public – this is public information and she is supposed to show it to anybody who asks. 

Please write letters to the papers as well. This conversation has been held from the public too long, we need to get it out into the light so people can see what a booger CARD is trying to smear us with. 

Willmann has still not got back to me with the notes from the last public meeting. That is also public information, but see how she drags her feet like a 10 year old when she doesn’t want to do something. 

 

 

Enterprise Record running the tax increase campaign? I thought newspapers were supposed to be objective

23 Nov

It seems  the Enterprise Record is running the campaign for a local tax increase – read Laura Urseny’s “Biz Bits” column for Sunday:

“Former Chico airport commissioner Karl Ory certainly brought a surprise to last week’s City Council meeting. During the public comment period over the AvPORTS proposal to manage the Chico airport, Ory suggested that airport improvements might warrant a bond measure.”

I know Ory has been beating this horse, can’t figure out what his interest is. Maybe somebody out there can fill me in. 

“AvPORTS — and others — have suggested that the terminal at the Chico airport is too small, given airline industry trends toward larger planes to carry more people. Sky-West used to fly in with a 30- seater, but nowadays the planes that might come to Chico — if commercial service ever returns — could be in the 100- seat size. AvPORTS suggested a larger terminal with a larger area for the Transportation Security Administration processing is needed.”

Chico couldn’t even fill the 30-seater, is the reason Sky-West is gone. Why in the hell would they send in a bigger plane? 

“One criticism was that Chico has no way to pay for the improvements. A counter was that no airline was going to come to Chico without those improvements.  Ory suggested Chico could turn to a bond for a public vote to pay for capital projects at the airport. Ory is a retired Chico airport commissioner and retired city councilman.”

Here she forgets to mention, the airline wants a subsidy to cover their losses when they can’t fill the planes – like $200,000/year!

Then she seems to be playing the Devil’s Advocate. “But this is one of those suggestions that raised eyebrows. We wonder if the community would vote to tax themselves for airport improvements, when a smaller group wouldn’t even fly out of Chico to help support commercial air service here.”

But here she comes again with that bond stuff.

“Since then, I’ve heard from another airport advocate who didn’t automatically dismiss the idea of a bond.”

She’s talking about Tom Lando, I’d bet my last $5.  Maybe Lando is finally getting a thin-skin about being tagged with this tax increase.

“Why such a thing might warrant community support, he explained, was because the airport benefits many in Chico. Benefits include the transportation for residents and businesses, as well as jobs. The advocate pointed out that large companies in considering a new location would consider getting in and out of Chico via commercial service important.”

Lando is also a member of the CARD board, as well as member of the Aquatic Facility committee. He listened to the consultant say that not having an airport was a bad indicator for the success of the Olympic style swim center CARD is pushing.  If we can’t support an airport, how could we support this aquatic facility? Lando and friends are even proposing a sports stadium for Chico, all to be built with a bond.

What neither Urseny nor Lando is talking about is how big of trouble every public entity around here is in over their unpaid CalPERS liability. You just read here, the city has assigned $6 million in pension debt to the Private Development Fund – that’s only the tip of the iceberg.  That’s what a bond would really be about, and then, in a couple of years, like Chico Unified, they’d be telling us they need yet another bond to actually improve the airport. Same old story. I hope you kids are paying attention.

Recently I’ve noticed our local media has fallen to yellow journalism. We don’t really have a newspaper in this town. I know, I’m just a blogger – internet gossip monger? But these people are supposed to uphold some sort of journalistic integrity. They are supposed to work for the public at large, not the government, or the corporations. 

Aside from the rather loose rules set before me by Word Press (for one, you have to publish, something, somewhat regularly, or they will take your blog away!) , I am free of corporate and government influences. I will continue to work in 2016 to inform you and be a tack on the chair of the Overlords. 

POST SCRIPT: And today (11/25/15) Dave Little has foisted an editorial – he’s actually mad because Chico isn’t “stepping up” to “save the airport”

Mr. Little, you need to step aside, and let a real journalist save the newspaper