Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 24, 2013

Just keep swimming

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, School — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

Last Tuesday night while the School Board was actually being productive (more on that later) on the topic of the Master Facilities Plan, there was some school related drama at the City Council in the form of an agenda item to loan the School District some money to help rehabilitate the two aging pools.   In a nutshell the City wanted the School District to take the loan on their terms, like 4% interest or something like that plus something to secure the loan.   The School District said they wanted slightly better terms because they would be seeking a bond and didn’t want the loan from the City to reduce their bonding capacity (or something like that).

Anyway, in the language of the resolution or staff report, I can’t remember which, it essentially said that the School District had 30 days to make the decision or the City would simply seek its own solution to the pool problem.   Meaning without the School District.  Meaning at Alameda Point.  Meaning that they would stop supporting the current pools.  Meaning that the pools would probably have to shut down if the City no longer helped.

A member of the public who just happened to be on a pool committee of some sort said that the City’s terms seemed like a threat to the School District.  Now, I don’t know if threat is the right word, but yeah, it’s a little “take it or leave it.”   This lead to a quick response by City Manager John Russo on, you guessed it, Twitter.   I think it even happened during the City Council meeting too:

And subsequent response from the community member who spoke:

I mean, had we just left it at that we’d be talking about John Russo’s inappropriate reaction to a community members comments, but apparently the community member sent out a letter to both the City Council AND the School Board complaining about something or other because all of the sudden THIS popped up on Twitter:

And then Tony Daysog doubled down by broadcasting it himself:

The letter is here on Tony Daysog’s website and here:

Screen Shot 2013-09-21 at 6.05.58 PM

I think the general theme of the response to Tony Daysog’s letter is “WTF”?  I mean, geez, if you are going to need to write “Maybe I shouldn’t write this email” that’s a pretty good indicator that you shouldn’t write the email, amirite?   I have a pretty good radar for “drama” and the public speaker, while pretty passionate, wasn’t over the top.  I’ve seen a lot worse and I think he came off more as “passionate” than “asshole.”

In the end the City Council voted to allow the loan to go through at the rate that they want to, so I guess it’s in the hand of the School Board now to see if they want to take those terms.  In all honesty, the City has the School District by the short hairs so unless they want a riot on their hands of angry swimmers and swim families, they will need to take that deal.  Although I don’t know how wise it is to dump another $1.XX million into the pools, but I’m not sure there is a viable alternative.  I still think the best place for a joint City and School District swimming pool that would negate the need for the current pools at the High Schools is the Beltline parcel since it’s as in the middle of the Island as you’re going to get.

Here’s a good blog post about the Joint Agreement and the loan offer and why the City should bifurcate the two issues rather than tying them together.

Speaking of swim related things, the new Aquatech building next to the Mariner Square Athletic Club is coming along quite nicely, they have new signage up.

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24 Comments

  1. Russo is correct, but Daysog should never have sent such a response to a constituent. This model of public discourse is also happening at the national level, as both sides have forgotten what binds us together, and the art of compromise. Save it for the blogs.

    Comment by commonsense — September 24, 2013 @ 6:35 am

  2. 2. Some context: In June 2012, the City Council directed staff to extend the Joint Agreement for one more year only. This was after the City attempted to fix the pool problem on behalf of both City and AUSD through Measure C, but failed to reach the 2/3 threshold to pass the Measure. The Swim Community by and large was VERY helpful in the Measure C campaign. Staff had been meeting with the swimmers and everyone understood that the City was eager to achieve a long term solution re. the pools because the reality is either of the existing HS pools could go out of operation at any time. Council directed staff to use this last year to fashion a long term fix for the pool(s).

    Over the past 15 months, City has been diligent in seeking a solution with AUSD, with no success. Council agreed to staff proposal for a 3 month extension of the Joint Agreement in June 2013 to provide a little more time to try to reach a long term accord. Then another 1 month extension to try to finish a deal to fix the Encinal Pool. During this period it was always agreed that City and AUSD would share the cost of a fix. In early September, AUSD asked the City to loan AUSD the money for their share. City agreed to make the loan at below market interest. In short, the City would provide ALL the upfront cash to fix the AUSD pool.

    Then, AUSD balked at providing security for the loan and declined to call the loan a loan. This is what prompted the City to say, at long last, that either we will work together in a way that makes sense for both AUSD and the City so as to serve the Schools and the Swimming Public, or the City will go its own way. The City cannot “give” the money to AUSD. Frankly, City would strongly prefer that AUSD pay its own way in this partnership and not look to the City for a loan.

    I write this because– without this context–
    the City is made to look as though we just came up with the 30 day period in a huff or, as one speaker has claimed, as a “threat”. The loan offer is not a “threat”; it is a loan the City is willing to make because the AUSD asked for it and because the City believes that cooperation in order to solve the long term pool problem is worth engaging. I “tweeted” on the issue because others were tweeting and calling the Resolution which offered the loan a “threat” and I just don’t understand, given the context, how that could be considered a fair account of what has taken place. After nearly 2 years of discussion, it is time for AUSD to either work with the City to save one of the pools in the long term….or not. If the answer is “no”, then the City will work assiduously to provide a long term opportunity for a new City pool for use by the Swim Community. Long term solutions to long standing issues are often difficult and the Pool problem is no exception. What is important is to insure that, in the long term, Alameda has a working pool for its people to use. Whether it is with or without AUSD, the City is committed to making this happen.

    Comment by John Russo — September 24, 2013 @ 8:09 am

  3. The City is not a charitable organization. Its officials are accountable to the entire populace, not just special interests. Special interests are not just drug companies and Big Oil. They include birdwatchers, smokers, vegans, gun owners and advocates for the homeless, missing children, and the least tern. I think swimming is great exercise and swim related activities are great for kids. But the fact that these pools exist and need upgrading in order to be used in the best way possible, does not REQUIRE the City to cut a sweetheart deal for AUSD.

    Where are the car washes and bake sales? Sure it’s a lot of money, but if you show heart and committment, people who are in the position of donating money will do so and help you get over the top.

    The City and AUSD have tried and failed to come up with a different plan. Sometimes, somebody has to say “take it or leave it” or people will continue to dither around waiting for a white knight. Well the white knight that is the City of Alameda has some pretty big dragons to slay that impact a greater portion of the populace. They are trying to help but they cannot provide money for everyone’s must haves. Passion and hard work cannot just be reserved for doing what you love. If you want to keep doing it, you have to also apply it to funding the facilities that enable you to do it.

    I have been critical of the City Council in the past, and no doubt will be in the future, but this time, they are right on the money. And I do mean money. Thank you, City Council and Mr. Russo for being fiscally conservative on something that’s so emotionally charged. You are right to assist but AUSD has no right to insist that you do on their terms. It’s like that old coffee mug that reads, “A lack of planning on your part, does not constitute an emergency on mine.”

    Comment by Denise Shelton — September 24, 2013 @ 9:01 am

  4. I appreciate Russo’s efforts for long-term solution to the pool problem. The problem right now is short term: if the City pulls out from supporting AUSD pools in October, what happens to the pools and the folks that use them? AUSD is probably forced to close them, which will destroy several community organizations (some that have been around for decades).

    There needs to be a way to keep these pools open while we work on long-term solution which could be with or without AUSD. Please don’t close the pools.

    Comment by Jack B. — September 24, 2013 @ 9:03 am

  5. The council is doing just what I would expect them to do, handle our money in a fiscally responsible manner.

    Comment by John P. (L) — September 24, 2013 @ 9:05 am

  6. As for Mr. Daysog’s email, I would think that someone with the benefit of a great education, and in the position of representing our community in an official capacity, would not stoop to expressing himself, in writing no less, like a 15-year-old narcissist. “WTF”, “tons and tons and tons”, and “honest to frickin’ god” have their place but I’m pretty sure they don’t belong in a City Council member’s response to a concerned citizen. (God, help me. I’m pretty sure I voted for him, too.)

    Comment by Denise Shelton — September 24, 2013 @ 9:30 am

  7. Our City Manager is correct–the city has extended its assistance to AUSD on the pools a couple of times. But the emotional tone at the meeting last Tuesday sounded very threatening, and I think the offer could have been made using much softer and more conciliatory language–even based on the same loan terms.

    Not once did I hear the City Manager say something like, “I really am sorry that we cannot do better by our community’s swimmers than this.” There was no softness or friendliness offered from the dais. Everything was “offered” with a pretty hard line and in a defensive or “take it or leave it” manner.

    I think a more diplomatic presentation–not that hard to do if you are a bit more careful in crafting your language–would have gone a long way towards making the City sound less belligerent toward and demanding of AUSD. (Neither belligerence nor demands encourage cooperation between jurisdictions or people: Alameda’s response to the EBRPD suit has been similarly belligerent, defensive, and, in the end, not helpful in reaching a negotiated solution–regardless of the other party’s actions.)

    Comment by Jon Spangler — September 24, 2013 @ 10:46 am

  8. Even though these pools are on school district property and students use them, so do many other Alamedans, probably more than the students. That makes them community pools. Can’t the city and the school district keep talking and keep these public pools open under something like the shared arrangement that has worked for so long?

    Having the city play chicken in this heavy-handed way with its long-time partner the school district seems unnecessary, divisive and very discouraging if one thinks this will be the approach the city will take for the much more difficult, complex problems we will be facing with various partners in coming years as we try to figure out Alameda Point.

    Comment by What Kind of Partner Will Alameda Be? — September 24, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

  9. #6: There is a Positive correlation between more education and more creative use of language. [Higher the degree, the more swearing]

    Comment by vigi — September 24, 2013 @ 2:53 pm

  10. The so-called social media has become the abattoir of civil decency.

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 24, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

  11. I will have to agree with the City manager , enough is enough , take it or leave it , solve your own problems .

    Interestingly , I am a swimmer and rather go in the bay and open ocean than sponsor one of these snob association .
    Which I used to belong to , should they open their eyes and open the pools for all on a pay per use service with or without life guard , they would be surprised by how much they actually would generate , I found it insulting to turn away perfectly clean peoples with their Families on a very hot summer day , that is when I left .
    Should all these so call self directed association were a bit more open in a Democratic City LOL …they would have operating fund , it is easier to beg , once again coming from the AUSD this is no longer laughable it is a tragic comedy perpetrated at the expense of the Community , Taxpayer .
    Anyone willing to pay off my mortgage , kid university bill , I accept donation !

    Comment by Joel Rambaud — September 24, 2013 @ 5:38 pm

  12. Jack Social Media seems tame to how some residents, City Auditor, and City Treasure have been treated by City Manager, Mayor and Council at Public Meetings.

    The Bought and Paid for Mouthpieces for the Unions and City Employees defending unsustainable compensation will continue to be big pissing match for anything of any value for Residents and Pools are just small part.

    Comment by Residents Need Raincoat to Stop Ants From Peeing on Them — September 24, 2013 @ 6:25 pm

  13. 11. Joel, it appears you don’t know which pools you are talking about. This is about Emma Hood (at Alameda High School) and Encinal Swim Center. The Alameda Pool Association operates at Lincoln Park pool and Franklin Park pool. The high school swimming and water polo teams… and the Alameda Islanders and Neptunes polo club and Alameda Masters team that all operate at Emma and Encinal are not part of any “associations.” ARPD also has their swim lesson programs and open swims at Emma and Encinal, *not* Lincoln and Franklin.

    Comment by Jack B. — September 24, 2013 @ 9:02 pm

  14. Jack , ever tried to go either one …I have , even paid Membership to one of them.
    As I said . keep them open to the public , charge for it as per use basis and you will see revenue coming in , this for one simple reason , How many safe pool do you know within 10 miles radius …….I may not know which pool I am talking about , I do know the color of money and how to generate revenues , there isn’t much of Alameda Park and recreation involvement anymore , the school want to have it all for themselves but want the entire City to pay for it?
    As I have said I will accept donations to pay off my mortgage as well as the university bill from the kid which kept going up every quarter in the middle of the recession , Oh yes the Regents gave themselves a nice raise while the entire country was struggling ,
    Sorry I still side with the City Manager .

    Comment by Joel Rambaud — September 24, 2013 @ 10:09 pm

  15. Re Tony Daysog E-mail ,
    it illustrate both sides frustration , He simply represent a minor fraction of the language by both side to qualify the other , very regrettable , reminiscent of the last Mayor’s election , in this case however He did not hide behind an anonymous organization , He signed it , kind a suicidal for anyone involved in politic . Everyone said the same thing and worst , like a bunch of preschooler ….

    Comment by Joel Rambaud — September 24, 2013 @ 10:18 pm

  16. Some people are so quick to bash AUSD. #11 #7 etc.

    FACT: The pools are owned by AUSD. They are school district property.
    For many years. AUSD graciously allowed the city ARPD to use the pools and allow the public to use it. Many, many years. In fact, for decades.

    Let that sink it.
    Do you have any property of worth that you have allowed the city to rent/use?

    So we have around 50 year cooperational foundation. Which is the joint agreement we currently have between the school and the city.
    Mr Russo and the city council are making a big mistake to end this.

    So you have a big nerve to bash AUSD and say “Adios AUSD, close the pools”
    Dont you see AUSD has helped Alameda Park and Rec, and benefited the public?
    Is that how you treat your friends as well who have helped you?

    AUSD and the city should work together and compromise and keep the pools open.

    The local swim teams are not snobby associations. They are non-profit orgs that provide a real good to the community. Teams encourage kids to be active healthy and work hard. Teams run by volunteers. What have you volunteered for recently?

    These kids do more in one hour of swimming that you typing away there..lurking on Lauren’s blog.

    Comment by NotTonyDaysogWhoLikesDroppingFBombs — September 24, 2013 @ 10:41 pm

  17. 9. Obscenity and well-worn phrases can be crafted into something creative, a la Charles Bukowski, but Tony is no Charles Bukowski. As for higher education leading to more cussin’, I know a few high school drop-outs who could give Tony a run for his money. (Besides, it’s not the education that inspires profanity. It’s the price tag of the education that does!)

    Comment by Denise Shelton — September 25, 2013 @ 7:04 am

  18. From last night’s BOE meeting: In a report out from Closed Session, the Board of Education has directed to Superintendent and outside counsel who specializes in Facilities to complete the work that has been done through staff work between AUSD and the city.

    Sorry for the obtuse language but in order to respect the ability of both entities to do the necessary detailed work without being a public spectacle, suffice it to say that AUSD and the City have agreed upon common ground and will be working on the final details to present to its governing boards.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — September 25, 2013 @ 8:10 am

  19. Joel raises an interesting point. There has been a lot of hue and cry about the “alameda public” needing access to pools at the schools, and yet two of our public parks have swimming pools that are not very accessible to the public. As Tony would say “WTF?”(what are the facts?)

    Comment by notadave — September 25, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

  20. 19. “not very accessible”. well they aren’t free true, but when we moved here twenty something years ago with little kids it’s seemed pretty sweet deal have a family membership for $100 a year plus doing a couple stints at gate duty. Beats a completely private club. We realized we were fortunate to have the fee, but if liking that deal and taking advantage of it makes us snobs then, WTF? Maybe somebody who knows details can fill in the history? I think pools were built by a local contractor or something as gift to park and rec. I guess the issue would be that they are on park and rec property, yet not free to all. They are also in relatively “nice” neighborhoods.

    16. your comments are persuasive to a point, but I think from a fiscal point of view lines simply need to be drawn and the City has drawn them. AUSD will probably always be lagging City when it comes to solvency. They also wanted deal from AMP on electrical rates and have gotten them. I’m a big school booster and favor helping AUSD but many folks aren’t and like to bark about schools always asking for more money. Just sayin’.

    As to many many decades, the schools used to be part of City until they were separated and run by elected BOE with separate budget. How many, many years are you going back?

    Comment by M.I. — September 25, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

  21. I got caught taking a pee in the local swimming pool today. The lifeguard shouted at me so loud, I nearly fell in.

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 25, 2013 @ 5:50 pm

  22. When you neglect the Pools for 15 years in Favor of Raises for the Adults Year after Year and Strip all monies Going to the Kids Directly for any Extra Curricular Activity and Technology…. It makes the Students School Experience as Dismal as the Test Results no surprise.

    Flush Hard It’s a long way to the Pool.

    Comment by Who Needs Pools We Need Raises — September 25, 2013 @ 6:41 pm

  23. Re #19, #20– here is the history from the Alameda Swimming Pool Association Web site:
    “The swimming pools at Lincoln Park and at Franklin Park were built in the mid 1950’s. The land in the parks was leased from the city, but no city money or taxes were used for construction of the pools and their programs. The cost of building the pools was provided by Mr. Weeden and Mr. Stolte of Stolte Inc. The city has been the beneficiary of the volunteer, non-profit organization managing the pools since the original construction of the pools.”

    Frank Weeden and his associates believed that children living on an island should know how to swim, and so provided the free Kindergarten swimming program, through the pool association pools. The family memberships in the coop are still only $380/year with 2-3 volunteer days per year per family.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — September 25, 2013 @ 7:09 pm

  24. This article may explain why the swim community and swimmers from the youngest age are so quick to mobilize around pool issues: http://swimswam.com/20-habits-elite-swimmers/

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — September 26, 2013 @ 9:32 pm


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