Next Monday night, September 14th at 7 p.m., the City Council is hosting a work session on capitol improvement projects. The location is the Helen Lawrence South Offices Conference Room near the police department office.
Among the topics will be a review of the recommendations by the ad hoc Measure WW committee comprised of council members Joyce Starosciak, Michael Gregory and Diana Souza. They recommended that, of the $3.7 million San Leandro will receive under Measure WW, $2.4 million be used to help build a competitive pool at San Leandro 's Family Aquatic Center on Zelma Street in Washington Manor. The committee also recommeded that another $988,000 should go for picnic area renovations at Marina Park at the San Leandro Marina, and the remaining $250,000 be used for improving park pathways throughout San Leandro
Measure WW was a bond passed last November. Each city in Alameda County gets a slice of the money which can go for parks and recreational facilities. All San Leandrans are paying through their local property taxes the cost of WW projects.
The ad hoc committee of Starosciak, Gregory and Souza met behind closed doors with no input from the public. The city parks and recreation commission was not asked to offer its recommendations on the use of these funds.
Now is the time for the community to voice its views on how San Leandro's Measure WW funds should be spent.
My view is that if the city council decides to invest Measure WW funds in swimming pools in San Leandro, instead of building a new pool, the city should partner with the San Leandro Unified School District and jointly operate the competitive swimming pool at San Leandro High School.
The high school pool is in need of renovation. Money from Measure WW could be used and the cost would be substantially less than building a new pool. This would allow the city to stretch the dollars from Measure WW wider and undertake needed renovation work at many city parks.
Furthermore, the city has $4 to $6 million annual deficits for the next six years and is depleting all of its reserves. Our schools are facing another year of brutal cutbacks from the state. Earlier this year, the city council eliminated funding for school crossing guards and two of the three police officers assigned for the safety of our schools.
Now is not the time for the city to authorize new construction projects that will result in increased operating costs for the city. Any and all means the city and schools can partner together to reduce operating expenditures each would bare if they acted alone should be undertaken.