|Sent:||Tuesday, July 30, 2013 5:03 PM|
PatKight.docx (291 KB) ; CitizenComplaintsREU.pdf (258 KB)
My opinion and Food for thought…
Big League Dreams has been a disaster for the citizens of the city of Redding and Shasta County. Our community has paid a super-premium price for a private corporation to severely limit community & family-based activities to only those more affluent citizens. If you are young, if you are unemployed, if you have a family, if you are supporting your parents or other unemployed family members, you simply cannot afford to play ball at BLD. In the words of the Redding BLD General Manager personally to me, “Then I guess BLD is not the place for them.”
There are many documented specific incidents of insults and abusive behavior by BLD management towards the citizens and customers of Redding BLD. BLD provides hard liquor to players before they play. BLD allows alcohol consumption by players during the games if they stand just inches outside the dugouts. There are numerous incidents of physical violence and threats of physical violence due to these policies. And, our City Council gave this private corporation, that is Big League Dreams, a 35 year contract.
Attached to this email are two Citizens’ Complaints I have personally filed with the Fair Political Practices Committee, the Shasta County Grand Jury, and other governmental and regulatory agencies. The second attachment is a Testimonial by a former Redding City Council Member who immediately upon completion of the Redding BLD project went to work for BLD likely against California’s Revolving Door Statutes. Mr. Kight’s Testimonial at this time is still available on BLD’s website at: http://www.bigleaguedreams.com/testimonials/government-officials
Public participation at our Redding BLD has plummeted to well under 40% of capacity for many reasons. BLD refuses to allow review of the Redding BLD financial statements on proprietary grounds. The only reason you hide things is that you have things to hide.
Because the City of Redding gave BLD a softball monopoly, we cannot rent or play softball on any other Redding City park. Opportunities for community family-based activities have decreased and, correspondingly, our crime rate has increased. In my opinion, it is shameful what BLD Corporation and our local city government has done to the citizens of Shasta County. For young men and women to play ball as I did for some 35 years, would cost them roughly $3,000 per year.
A Public Survey of over 100 softball players was undertaken during the Spring & Summer of 2013. The public survey was entitled “WE JUST WANNA PLAY BALL!”. Ballplayers were asked to respond to this comment, “I no longer play ball at Big League Dreams OR I play less than I normally would, for the following reason:”. Then, there were boxes the respondent could check. Here’s the results:
93% checked Cost as a reason
27% checked Disrespect by BLD Management as a reason
20% checked Alcohol Abuse as a reason
18% checked Violence or the Threat of Violence as a reason
62% checked Lack of Tourney/League Opportunities as a reason (mainly due to BLD’s policies discriminating against senior softball). BLD quote, “Seniors don’t drink enough alcohol”.
24% checked Poor, Slow, or Disrespectful Umpires as a reason
47% checked Dangerous Field Conditions as a reason (BLD fields have deteriorated quickly). Virtually no maintenance has been performed other than shag/indoor outdoor carpet patches with big ridges causing unsafe playing conditions.
While it was not a listed box, it was surprising how many ballplayers added a comment regarding profanity at the BLD facility.
This is our plea and recommendation: Please consider doing as Sparks, Nevada or Medford, Oregon. Price the cost of building 300′ astro-turf fields yourself. Sometimes, it just appears too easy to spend other people’s money. Don’t simply take what appears to be the easy way. As one Sparks, Nevada attorney who reviewed BLD’s offer commented during their decision making process, “Don’t give away the farm to BLD”. Contract out to build the fields yourself and maybe a small restaurant or contract with Subway or Taco Bell, etc. Keep the fees low to allow for maximum community access. And, keep the revenues for your County, not a private Corporation.
It makes absolutely no sense for a community to pay the cost of these fields, yet, BLD Corporation will get 94% of gross revenue. BLD has very little skin in the game. If your project fails, as it has in Redding, BLD will have very little to lose. BLD will simply ask to be subsidized with other government funds as they have here in Redding or, if you’re really lucky, BLD will walk away. If you contract with BLD, you will pay a premium price and your community will be at the mercy, or lack thereof, of BLD management for the next 30 years.
As a retired CPA, fraud auditor, and lifetime softball player, please don’t allow BLD to do to your community what, in the opinions of many of the citizens of Shasta County, California, it has done to ours.
The Vice Mayor of Redding said his City now takes from the General Fund to support that city’s Big League Dreams (BLD) ballpark. In Oxnard, the Mayor there said Chino Hills-based BLD “bamboozled and hoodwinked” commissioners into a deal that sounded better than it was.
“Soon into the process they got both politicians and staff on board. It was like a kangaroo court. Before people knew it, a couple of million dollars was put out,” Oxnard Mayor, Tim Flynn, said on AM 1600 the Beach Friday.
This is an older story, but it gives some good angles on fees and impacts on a park in an area with a smaller population base. The mayor of Redding when this was pushed through, (Pat Kight,) went on to hold several CEO positions in Big League Dreams.