Jan 10 2012

Opinion: Former Swim Club Treasurer Sets the Record Straight

PCA received the following letter from Piedmont resident Martha Gilbertson –
Josh Bernstein’s claim in his December 21 letter to The Piedmont Post that the City “was willing to bend over backwards to continue leasing the pool to the swim club” is simply not true.  The swim club offered to continue to pay for the total operation of the pool, all major maintenance, and all capital improvements, and to continue to subsidize the use of the Piedmont Swim Team and the schools, so the pool would not cost the City a penny.All the club asked in return was to retain the lease conditions in place for most of the prior 46 years.  Instead, a few weeks before the Council vote, the new city attorney added four new conditions that greatly increased the club’s financial risk. The most onerous was the City’s demand for the right to force the club make any improvements the City demanded, while denying the club the use of its own capital improvement funds. We could not support these conditions.

Agendas show the Council spent less than six hours in deliberations about whether to take over operation of the pool, and there was no public discussion about whether it could afford to do so or whether the community wanted to incur this expense. Council member Chiang was the only member who took the time to sit down with the club and understand its financial projections, and the only one who supported the lease.

I’m supporting deliberative processes, including financial analysis and a public discussion, before the City takes on any major new expense.

Martha Gilbertson, Former Treasurer, Piedmont Swim Club

Editors Note:  The opinion expressed represents that of the author and not necessarily that of PCA.

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