Grimace still a suspect
If a McDonald’s burns down and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

An exterior wall of the McDonald’s on East Avenue was slightly scorched Sunday night when somebody ignited “combustible materials” near the restaurant’s back door. That same night, someone spray-painted the word “Liberation” on the restaurant’s wall.

Investigators can’t be sure if the act was carried out by the same people who left an inflammable device at the McDonald’s on Mangrove Avenue last week, but, said Butte County Sheriff’s Sgt. Anthony Borgman, “They appear to have been motivated by the same feelings.”

The FBI, which is investigating last week’s case, was notified.

The fire apparently burned itself out in Sunday night’s rain, as firefighters were never called to the scene. The incident was reported shortly after 7 a.m. by restaurant workers, who had the mess cleaned up by about noon.

Franchise owner Mark Burington, who was on the scene surveying the damage Monday, refused to comment publicly about the vandalism. But he seemed pretty pissed off.

Told ya so: Audit criticizes CMS
Seemingly vindicating what many faculty, staff and students have been saying all along, a state audit released March 11 found that the California State University system’s new software system lacks oversight and is over budget and rife with conflicts of interest.

The Common Management System, or CMS, has been years in the making and is supposed to manage information ranging from payroll records to the yet-to-be-implemented student module. CSU Chancellor Charles Reed ordered all 23 campuses to implement CMS, even though it means a huge chunk out of their incredibly shrinking budget—$2 million a year for Chico State University in the implementation stage.

The Associated Students has been told to foot part of the bill, a mandate student leaders have threatened to fight in court. “We just don’t feel like it’s going to benefit the students or the A.S. at all,” said A.S. Executive Vice President Michael Dailey. “It’s just going to be a waste of money.”

The audit found that the CSU underestimated by up to $312 million what it would cost to implement and maintain the system. It also highlighted the questionable relationship between a CSU administrator and PeopleSoft, the vendor contracted to do the job.

The Chancellor’s Office was putting a positive spin on the audit, stating in a press release it contained valuable recommendations that will make a great system even better. The office contends that auditors should not have included ongoing costs in the projects, and thus the project is only a few million over budget.

The audit, which cost $185,000, was ordered by legislators last spring at the behest of CMS critics, who were not only worried about the cost but by indications that the system just plain might not work as promised. It’s also two years late.

Lawsuit threatened over disc golf range
Chico could be sued in connection with the establishment of a disc golf course in Bidwell Park. No, it’s not the Hasbro Company objecting to the unauthorized use of the word “Frisbee,” but rather local folks who want the city to update and adopt a Master Management Plan for the park. The last one was put into place more than a dozen years ago, and since then the park has added some 1,300 acres. It has also seen the development of an observatory, the layout of the disc golf course and the extended public debate over the proposed Annie Bidwell Trail.

Local biologist and park enthusiast Josephine Guardino hired Fair Oaks attorney J. William Yeates to look into whether the city had bypassed state law with the disc golf course. Yeates’ letter to the city says indeed it has. Guardino and other park users have made no secret of the fact they do not approve of dentist and trail enthusiast Michael Jones’ plans to build a trail on the south side of Big Chico Creek. They want the updated management plan before anything else goes into the park.

“I’m in general agreement that an updated master management plan is a good idea,” said city Parks Director Dennis Beardsley. “How to do it and how to pay for it is the challenge.”