Tag Archives: Richard Ober Chico Ca

$taff closes park, Park Commissioner Richard Ober wants sales tax increase

10 Jul

I have been so mad about the park closures, I have not been able to blog it.  But last night I ran into Erika (sp?), and now I know I’m not even hardly pissed off  compared to some people. Erika is ready to march on city hall, and I hope she will do it. 

Her husband, as though he was herding a small child, kept reprimanding her. “Erika, calm down!” My husband does that. He gets kind of freaked out when my face turns grey and I start vibrating, but, I had my vet give me a check-up, and he says the old ticker is in good shape!

So, I’m ready for  trouble, with a capital ‘T’. I’m done with $taff, they’ve pushed it too far now. This is MUTINY people, and I say, they walk the plank.

We must ask our boy, Mark Sorensen, why we are paying new city manager Brian Nakamura $217,000 a year to close our parks. That’s msorensen@ci.chico.ca.us. Sorensen keeps telling us what a great job Nakamura is doing, but I’m not listening, I’m watching Nakamura. The first thing he did was demand a $50,000 increase in pay over old city manager Dave Burkland’s salary. His first act as city manager was to make a $50,000 “supplemental budget allocation” to cover his own salary. Then he “reorganized” the city departments, firing the hell out of the worker bees and then giving $30,000 salary raises to the remaining department heads – two of whom were friends he’d hired in the interim – new ass city mangler Mark Orme and financial trouble-shooter Chris “I really want to pay my own share but they won’t let me” Constantin. 

Watching these three “fix” our city problems is like watching Red Adair put out  a flaming oil well – bring in the dynamite! Oh, we’re sorry, did we blow up your little town? 

What they’re up to, is exactly what I’ve already seen play out in Stockton and Vallejo.  In Stockton, they hired a new city manager about three years ago. He proceeded to “reorganize,” hiring new administrators, at higher salaries. He gutted the police and fire departments in a town that has been a crime problem since the turn of the century.  Now, he’s screaming “crime problem!” and telling the city council they need to put a tax increase measure on the ballot to fund crime prevention. If you don’t think that’s funny, you need to take another shot of Wild Turkey.

So now we have Brian Nakamura  cut- cut-cutting the hell out of our town. Every day the Enterprise Record runs another propaganda piece about the “increase in crime.” The story this morning, about the cop who had to deal with the drunk Downtown, is absolutely comical.  Our police department is a joke, except, they’re not funny. They’re bankrupting our town with their insane pensions, and all they can do is stand there and refuse to serve us unless we give them more money. Ha ha – they have  a “no strike” clause in their contracts, but that doesn’t mean, they can’t just drag their feet and do a shitty job. 

I predict Nakamura will use the same time line as the manager in Stockton – he’s going to ask for a tax increase measure to be placed on the 2016 ballot. Research tells them that tax measures do better in a gubernatorial election, cause more people come out. I don’t know if that’s true, but I know this – they’ll lie through their teeth to get us to pay. They’ll threaten and twist our arms with NO SERVICE. 

Whose ready to take it right back up their ass? Let me know, I got some ideas. 

In the meantime, you can tell Brian Nakamura what you think at bnakamura@ci.chico.ca.us.  You can reach the council at dpresson@ci.chico.ca.us. 

While you’re at it, write to park commissioner Richard Ober at richard.h.ober@gmail.com to let him know what you think of his constant pushing for a sales tax increase. Read the story below.

Volunteers ramp up to save Caper Acres

By ASHLEY GEBB-Staff Writer

Posted:   07/06/2013 12:09:06 AM PDT

Click photo to enlarge

The front gate at Caper Acres is seen in this file photo taken Wednesday in Chico. Caper Acres is…

CHICO — Without the ability to guarantee services in the wake of staffing reductions, the city was left with no option but to implement closures in Bidwell Park, Public Works Director Ruben Martinez said Friday.As the divisions adjust to reduced staffing, the city will start by providing services it knows it can guarantee and look for opportunities to restore other services as possible, Martinez said.

The crews want to keep Caper Acres, park bathrooms and gates open but it’s not feasible at this moment.

“Everybody wants to try it but we can’t be there sometimes,” he said. “We have to have that internal capacity to make sure we are there on days we say we are going to be there, rain or shine.”

City staff will now focus on preparing the park and its facilities for peak usage days of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Reductions in services start Monday.

Caper Acres, which has been closed on Mondays, will now be closed Monday through Thursday. If there is an opportunity to reopen the children’s fantasy playground to its old schedule, it will be the highest priority, Martinez said.

Residents are rallying to protest the closures and offering up the idea of volunteers to keep services afloat.

Abigail Lopez created a Facebook page called “Caper Acres Volunteers” in hopes residents would come together to save the fantasy children’s park.

“If the city is really concerned with the budget — and we have a $4.8 million deficit — I think they’d be willing

to provide the training to the volunteers to do what needs to be done,” she said. “I don’t see that in a community like Chico, why that wouldn’t be possible.”She is willing to step up and clean bathrooms, pick up trash, open gates — whatever it takes. It’s well worth the value to her 5-year-old son, Chase, who has autism.

“It’s really helpful for him to be exposed to the regular kids as well as the special-needs kids,” she said. “He loves to run around and be outside.”

When Lopez heard about the park closures, she knew she had to take action.

“That’s a part of the Chico experience. Having it not available so many days a week, it’s just not fair,” she said. “My mom has always told me if you think someone should do something, maybe that someone should be you.”

Other impacts include closure Monday through Thursday of the permanent restrooms on the north side of Sycamore Pool, at Cedar Grove and at Five-Mile Recreation Area. Portable restrooms will be added to Cedar Grove and Five-Mile, and the restroom on the south side of Sycamore Pool will remain open seven days a week.

Reservations will not be available for major group picnic areas in the park Monday through Thursday, and nearly all park gates will also be closed those days, except for the main entrance gate to upper Bidwell Park and the Fourth Street entrance to lower park.

Parks Commissioner Rich Ober wrote in an email that he is “sickened and saddened by what is being done to Chico in the name of short-term fiscal ‘responsibility.'”

If not addressed, the problems from such draconian cuts — declining trees, unrepaired park infrastructure and unpatrolled greenways — will have impacts for years to come, he said.

Ober is encouraged by the community support to step forward as volunteers, but it won’t be enough to prevent inevitable degradation of the park. He sees another totally feasible solution by way of a tax increase to support the park.

“This community is willing to step up in support of our parks and infrastructure,” he wrote. “If our community leaders will have the courage to ask, we’re willing to do the right thing.”

A Facebook page called Save Caper Acres has garnered more than 4,700 “likes” since the closures were announced Tuesday and an online petition had collected more than 2,000 signatures.

Reach Ashley Gebb at 896-7768, agebb@chicoer.com, or on Twitter @AshleyGebb.

Park Commissioner Ober takes up sales tax pitch

9 Jun

I have had my ear to the railroad tracks, listening for the rumblings of a sales tax increase campaign, and I think the first train has come in – Park Commissioner Richard Ober wrote the opinion piece below for the Chico News and Review.

It’s a threat – pay an increased sales tax or we close Bidwell Park road, stop cleaning bathrooms, stop pruning trees, etc, etc. Funny thing is, a lot of his threats have already happened. The park is already dirty and disheveled, trash all over the place, invasive non-native plants covering the ground, choking out native species and leaving native animals without proper habitat.   Caper Acres is a trash pit, never know who will be hanging around there, when the gate’s open, that is. 

And he’s so out of touch with most people’s every day reality – a dollar for a cup of coffee? He’s trying to make it sound like we only pay sales tax on things we don’t need, like we’re all just dripping with discretionary cash. This reminds me of the time somebody asked George Senior, how much is a gallon of milk? Ober forgets all the household items we use everyday – soap, toilet paper, all those non-food items we buy at the grocery store are TAXED. 

Ober needs a reality check – but you apparently need to be a city insider to have his public e-mail.  The contact mechanism on the BPPC page doesn’t work.  You will have to contact him through $taffer Lise Smith-Peters, LSPeters@ci.chico.ca.us   Notice how she set up her e-mail with the first three letters capitalized, and leaves out the “Smith” in her hyphenated last name. These addresses are supposed to be set up so you can just use the first initial and last name, but it’s funny how many $taffers use these tricks to keep their publicly-paid e-mail address a secret from the public. Let Smith-Peters know too – she will just have to manage to drive that brand new city pickup truck around the park all day doing nothing on her current $56,000/year salary. 

If you don’t want to write to the papers, send your letters here, keep them factual and in somewhat good taste, and I’ll run them here. 

This article was published on 06.06.13.

The author is a longtime resident of Chico who has served on the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission for eight years.
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Ask anyone here what makes Chico special and the answers at the top of the list will always include “Bidwell Park.” The park is more than one of the largest municipal parks in the country hosting nearly 2 million visits every year. It is at the core of who we are. It is the heart and lungs of a landscape that is unique in its combination of urban charm and thrilling wildness.

Ask yourself: Whatever the reason you and your family came to Chico, is the park part of the reason you stayed? And then ask yourself: What is that worth?

We know that the city is under budgetary siege. Are we ready to endure the pain of draconian cuts? Or are we willing to step in and pay for that which defines us as a community?

Picture this: Upper Park Road is closed. The trails to Monkey Face are washed out. A fire has denuded all sides of Ten Mile House Road. There are no lifeguards at Sycamore Pool. Restrooms go uncleaned. And the trees are un-pruned and declining. Valley-oak seedlings choke under tangles of invasive blackberry vines. A chain locks the gate at Caper Acres.

Are we willing to accept this?

How much is Bidwell Park worth to us? We take pride in saying, “We’re from Chico, the town with Bidwell Park.” As the stewards of this place for a short while, it is our duty to do better.

How much is your park worth? When you spend a dollar at the coffee shop, is the park worth a penny? When you lounge in your back yard and know that you live in a town with a park like Bidwell (and your house is worth more because of it), is it worth a few dollars?

Let’s tell the leadership of our city that it is worth our pennies and dollars, and that we’ll do what we need to preserve it. Because we’re willing to add a few dollars in taxes in order to pass along to our grandchildren that which makes us who we are.

If you’re new to Chico, Bidwell Park might seem like just another place behind a gate, and so, why not leave the gate closed? But Bidwell Park is more than that. It’s who we are and we need to do the right things to keep that gate open.