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The pools belong to the taxpayers

Jean Johnsen Berkeley
Wednesday October 02, 2002

To the Editor, 

It has come to my attention that the city of Berkeley subsidizes its 1,800 employees not to use the city pools. All city employees are offered a special membership package to the Berkeley YMCA which includes use of the YMCA pools. Under this benefit the city pays 75 percent of the monthly fees, leaving 25 percent to be paid by the employee. City employees, including the city and recreation department leaders, tell us they swim at the YMCA, then complain that the city pools are underused. Discount membership to the YMCA is a great employee perk, but where does this leave the community swimmer? The YMCA has no senior rate, no pool-use-only rate and no noncommunity-member day use rate.  

If King pool becomes the only open year-round, community pool, then the recreation and aquatics departments have an obligation to provide daytime use for the community. If King pool is already heated and then not available for use, it is a big waste. If the school district policy is one of not allowing the community on the school grounds during school hours, even though the pool is not used by the students during the day in the winter, perhaps the policy needs review. Taxpayers should have the right to use what they pay for. 


Jean Johnsen