Jul 9, 2008

Request to support swimming pools in Seattle

Dear Friends:
Five minutes of your time could literally make the difference for pools in Seattle! I hope you'll read my plea and then take action with a brief email - this is one of those battles we can win if we work together right now and blitz Council with emails in support of pools.

The Council's Levy Committee has submitted its final proposal for what's in and what's out of a potential new Parks Levy. View it at http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/council/attachments/levy/2008_2_final.pdf . As it stands now, the levy would NOT include aquatics. (Two new wading pools do not count.) However, one controversial item is an $11M allocation to the Seattle Asian Art Museum for facility upgrades. This allocation does not cleary fit the agreed upon project criteria and is becoming increasingly more difficult to justify as more and more parks activists are speaking out against it. When that money gets reallocated - let's make sure that at least some of it goes to funding a city-wide public pool task force - the mandatory step one in this long process. People can't fundraise for pools until City government legitimizes the cause.

This past Monday I asked Council to "do for pools what you did for skate parks." I also spoke about how pools mitigate a public health issue. See my testimony. Quoting Paula Bock's June 15th Seattle Times article The Power of the Pool, "Consider these startling numbers: Nearly 60 percent of African-American children between the ages of 6 and 16 can't swim, and they drown at three times the overall rate, according to a recent study by the University of Memphis. In Washington state, Asian-American children and adolescents have the highest rate of drowning — 18 percent of the deaths even though they are 7 percent of the state population. (Nationally, African Americans have the highest drowning rate.) See full article http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/pacificnw/2004468944_pacificpswim15.html

Please contact 4 Councilmembers by July 17th (by email or phone.) In your own words, tell them:

  • To allocate funds toward a city-wide pool study
  • You are aware of my testimony on July 7th and support the request to fund Aquatics
  • You support the work of Elizabeth Nelson and the Project Seattle Pools Team (www.seattlepools.org)
  • You want to vote for another Parks Levy, but not one that ignores Aquatics - we live in a water town!

richard.conlin@seattle.gov; tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov; tim.burgess@seattle.gov; jan.drago@seattle.gov (members of the Parks Committee)

If you possibly can, make a personal statement at either of the remaining Parks Committee Public Hearings - Council Chambers, City Hall

Thursday, July 10 5:30 p.m., Thursday, July 17 5:30 p.m

For guidelines on how to effectively email Council and for address/phone info - please go to http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/council/councilcontact.htm


Christine Larsen 206-522-2522 christine.larsen@comcast.net

1 comment:

Dotty said...

I'm opposed to a Parks levy at this time. On the other hand, Seattle really does need more swimming pools. While the last Parks levy did provide free lessons for 3rd graders throughout the City, experience watching Parks classes at Medgar Evers for the past three years makes it very clear that there is not enough pool space for lessons, much less lap swimming.

I would much rather see the City Council address the pool and lesson issues separately and I would vote for a bond issue to add pools, renovate the ones we have, and continue to support free swim classes.