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BLD and the PR Spin
Last comment by KarenPearsall 6 years ago.

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"It cost Big League Dreams $21,925 last year to partner with the City of Manteca to open up the sports complex for the community’s annual Fourth of July celebration.

That figure - which includes sacrificing all of the gate reciepts, lost revenue from use of the fields, employee costs, and operating expenses that run the gamut from electricity to clean-up - is something that BLD Chief Operating Officer Jeff Odekirk has no problem donating.

Odekirk on Monday said if the city wants to continue staging its Fourth of July celebration at the complex he has no problem working with them. And if they want to go somewhere else, he also has no problem with that as well.

“We have a terrific city partnership” Odekirk said.

City Manager Karen McLaughlin Monday indicated she was preparing a report for the Feb. 7 council meeting on the Fourth of July-BLD partnership and what exactly the city receives out of the deal. McLaughlin said she is planning to recommend that the city continue using the BLD complex for the Fourth of July celebration.

“It works well for what we do plus it is right on top of where we shoot off the aerial fireworks,” McLaughlin said.

A controversy erupted during the last council meeting when several council members questioned whether BLD was contributing to the event or simply profiting from it. Also the possibility of shifting the celebration to another location was brought up if BLD wouldn’t help offset the costs.

McLaughlin said part of the misunderstanding was attributed to incorrect information passed on by staff regarding the gate receipts for the day. The city keeps 100 percent of the Fourth of July admission gate. Last year that came to $5,524. Council was erroneously it was a 50-50 split.

Odekirk said in reality BLD is probably the biggest single contributor to the celebration. BLD waives a $12,800 fee that they charge when they turn the entire facility over to an outside organization for an event. At the same time they are incurring full cost for their staff plus other related expenses. And since they have to juggle tournaments around the celebration, their revenue drops as well.

Odekirk also said it wasn’t true as one council member stated that the Fourth of July was their most profitable day of the year for BLD

“We could make a lot more money if we just scheduled regular play,” Odekirk said.

Odekirk said his biggest concern was not about getting proper credit for BLD’s contribution to the Fourth of July event but comments that under-age drinking is allowed.

“That is not the case,” Odekirk said.

He noted that “whether someone is 21 or 81” they are issued a wristband they have to wear if they are to consume alcohol from one of the two BLD restaurants.

Odekirk said that in 14 years none of the 11 sports complexes that BLD operates has ever been cited by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board for a violation involving under-age drinking.

The City Council last month earmarked $40,000 from the recreation fund to help cover the cost of the Fourth of July celebration. Of that, $16,800 is paying for the aerial fireworks display.

McLaughlin noted the city has $11,870 leftover from last year’s receipts after staging the event. They also can augment that with around $5,600 in proceeds from the city’s fireworks’ booth that operates the week leading up to the Fourth of July at Union Road and Yosemite Avenue as well as vendor booth rentals and the sale of items such as Glo-sticks that brought in $363.61 last year.

That is in addition to donations including a number of businesses that do business with the city such as the legal firm that handles bond underwriting. Those donations typically range from $500 to $1,000 apiece." This was copied and pasted (I finally learned how!) from a front page Bulletin article (1-31-12) by Dennis Wyatt headlined, "BLD's 4th of July contribution in 2011 was $22K".

I am offering it here as an opportunity for non-subscribers to have an on-line discussion of this prime example or classic case of Public Relations manipulation. This article is in response to a previous Bulletin article that questioned whether BLD donated anything to help offset the city's 4th of July costs, or merely profited from having the event staged at BLD (where outside food is not allowed and BLD management controls most of the concession stands). After reading this latest article, here are some things that I noted: In the original agreement with BLD, didn't the city arrange to have a limited amount of city -controlled time (for events and local youth games and use) for the city OWNED and city PAID FOR facility? If so, then BLD can not count the lost gate take as part of their contribution. BLD factors in the cost of employees as a contribution but fails to note that BLD reaps the majority of profits from the food sales at this events. In fact, although we see the supposed "contributions" of BLD, the profit figures BLD gains from this day are conspicuously absent. But my favorite part was the assertion by BLD Chief Operating Officer Jeff Oderick that "BLD was probably the biggest single contributor to the celebration", noting that "BLD waives a $12,800 fee that they charge when they turn the entire facility over to an outside organization for an event". Fantastic! The city of Manteca, which OWNS the BLD facility, is apparently considered by BLD management to be "an outside organization". I can't speak for anyone else, but I am personally quite dizzy from the incredible spin that is going on here. Anyone else care to share their thoughts on this subject? Sincerely, Karen

Latest Activity: Feb 19, 2012 at 10:18 AM

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TheSovereign commented on Tuesday, Jan 31, 2012 at 16:20 PM

You have highlighted a con*flict that comes out of having the private sector manage services for the public sector.

The public sector provides services for the citizens, and their goal shouldn't be profitability, but rather efficiency. The efficiency to provide service that the community wants or needs at a reasonable cost. Profitability in the public sector typically means that too much has been budgeted for a department, which is leaving money on the table and could have done with less in the budget.

The private sector focuses on profitability, and that is not always conducive to customer service, which is what the citizens should expect for their tax dollars. This isn't wrong, this is how the private sector works. The problem lies in their need to profit, which can leave the tax payer to not receive the full amount of services for the amount of money being paid. The amount that is profit for the private company that is being paid by the tax payer, is money that is not going to the good of the tax payer. In essence, the profit taken by the private sector would be seen as waste if the work was done by public sector workers, since it is dollars that are not being efficiently utilized solely on the tax payer.

Chicago is a good example of turning a segment of their services over to a private business, and then having doubts. The City of Chicago has contracted out the managing of their parking meters to a private firm. The firm paid the City roughly $1 billion over the next decade or two for the right to manage the meters. In hindsight the $1 billion is short of what the city could have generated, but there are other issues.

Since this firm is now in control, and profits are their main goal, parking rates have greatly spiked, and the cost to park in the city is far more expensive now, then when the city was managing the meters. Another issue that has arisen is when a neighborhood would like to have a street festival. In the past, an alderman would let the city know that they will be closing down a part of the street in a neighborhood, and the city would absorb the loss of parking meter revenue as a community service. Now, the city has to arrange with the firm that manages the meters, take into account how many will be out of service during the event, and pay the firm the amount that the meters would have generated to this firm. The firm is not concerned with neighborhood good will, or community building, they expect to generate as much revenue as they can to generate as large of a profit as they can.

In our case, we may own BLD, but we gave away the right to utilize the building as we see fit, excluding any agreements that are in the contract with BLD. Since we do not have the privilege to view the contract, we can only speculate what is allowable and what we need to pay for. The MB always provides numbers that are favorable to their argument, so you can't rely on those to get a clearer picture.

rozemist commented on Tuesday, Jan 31, 2012 at 16:46 PM

Thanks Karen for showing us this.
Talk about "spinning a yarn",this is exactly what I'm getting from the statements that come from Jeff Oderick,
"“We could make a lot more money if we just scheduled regular play"
I don't know about anyone else but that's a hard one to figure.
And I'm very disappointed in what I'm hearing from City Manager Karen McLaughlin.
I have to say this has completely turned around from the previous article that was put out when the questioning of this openly started.
And I don't think just the article got everyone to wondering about this ,I believe from the people I've talked to it has been of concern for awhile.
If people are suppose to buy into what Oderick is saying,then WOW BLD is making the grandest sacrifice that can be made,and supposedly losing money,getting nothing from this.
Your right Karen to point out that since Manteca OWNS the facility,how is it possible that it is considered a outside organization that a "fee was waived" for.That completely baffles me.
Too many unanswered questions here,and a bunch of trying to smooth everything over to make it seem as tho the original questions stemmed from a simple "misunderstanding".
I would suggest the people go to that meeting on the 7th to hear more about this.
I'm certainly happy Karen that you got the copy/paste down so well :)

KarenPearsall commented on Thursday, Feb 02, 2012 at 19:29 PM

To whomever rhymetater is, You have posted two comments, according to my blog record, but I have not been allowed to see what your comments were. I don't know if you are banned from this on-line forum for some reason, or your comments somehow violated Bulletin standards. In any case, they are not getting through. Perhaps it is just a glitch. Sincerely, Karen

rozemist commented on Thursday, Feb 02, 2012 at 21:38 PM

Hi Karen
You just solved something that had puzzled me today,and that was how was your blog at the top of the blogs when their were no recent comments to put it there.
Of course you would know if someone had commented on it ,for it would show up as a message for you ,and then when you check the message it shows the name of a person who either comments on your blogs,or sends you a personal message.
Interesting. ;)

justsmile commented on Saturday, Feb 04, 2012 at 17:11 PM

HI Karen,

As a mother of two small children, I do not care if BLD is making money, getting free publicity, or just breaking even on the 4th of July celebration.

When I was a child communities got together for the 4th of July. Neighbors sat and talked, ate apple pie and watched fireworks together.

Today nothing can take place without someone complaining about taxpayer money, or private business. We as a nation have lost the ability to actually get a long, have fun, and care about others. We worry about who is paying, why they are paying, and why didn't someone else get the money?

The city can not have a 4th of July celebration on their own.

So for the sake of our children and a prayer that they turn out better than the ones before them. Can we not just have a simple slice of apple pie in peace?

KarenPearsall commented on Saturday, Feb 04, 2012 at 19:16 PM

Hello justsmile, Thank you for your perspective. I did not write this blog out of outrage that taxpayer money is being spent on a July 4th celebration. I don't have a problem with the fact that the city DOES use general fund money (as well as fundraisers and donations) to finance the fireworks and other aspects of the celebration. What I object to is a private business that is greatly benefiting from city contributions ($30 million to build BLD) pretending to be "the biggest single contributor" of this celebration, when it has only told the partial story and exaggerated figures to make itself appear generous. What I much prefer, as you have touched upon, is a simple neighborhood celebration to honor our county, count our blessings, and share food and fellowship. In this spirit, I suggest you attend the pancake breakfast with your family (low cost), as well as the 4th of July parade, which is free, to recapture some of the fond memories of your childhood. I love apple pie, but would rather have a slice made by and shared with my neighbors, than being charged an excessive price at a venue that does not even allow citizens to bring their own food for their families. Again, thanks for the input. Sincerely, Karen

KarenPearsall commented on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 13:18 PM

Will the "phantom poster" (rhymetater) who keeps leaving comments that are never shown either to me or the general public, please refrain from posting on this blog unless your commentary can be viewed by us all? It is frustrating and does not seem right to have this blog bumped to the front pages when it has already run its course. There are more current blogs of interest by other contributors that deserve front page status and active comments. Sincerely, Karen

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