Northwest NEWS

May 27, 2002

Editorial

Take away enough tiny pieces and eventually the picture is lost

My husband called my attention to the article in the Seattle Times 5/13/02 in the sports section "Cash crunch in King County puts pools behind the 8-ball."
   I see that the Northshore pool costs $650,000 to maintain and brings in revenue of $250,000, a shortfall of $440,000.
   This is a pool built with Forward Thrust monies that included maintenance till 2008. The article says the measurement for the windows in preparation for the closings have already been made, and that there would be a meeting that night with the task force looking into it.
   I've been around long enough to feel dj vu about a lot of noise being made to let the public feel involved in a process that looks already decided. It's enough to discourage this citizen. However hope springs eternal. I couldn't attend the meetings due to family obligations. Maybe the right word will lead to right action.
   I was at a fund raiser for the Health and Wellness Center in Bothell billed as a place for everyone, but is actually for the Northshore Senior Center and Adult Care Facility.
   It was promoted because fitness is important for us older folks to stay healthy with some quality of life. It does not include a pool. Many seniors including myself swim at the Northshore pool and depend on this exercise for fitness as it is easy on the joints.
   For others, swimming may not be their only way for exercise but certainly a preferred way. The Northshore pool is open to all ages for exercise, recreation, and competition. It gives the most lessons of any pool in the system according to one of the lifeguards.
   In this land of water, this has addressed a big safety issue for a lot of kids since l968. Isn't this to be promoted for the general health? For the young especially it can get them into the habit of fitness for a lifetime.
   We thought we were still covered by the Forward Thrust Bond of 1968. We have to keep paying on stadiums we've torn down to put up ones we didn't vote on. Why can't we keep swimming pools open for the welfare of the community?
   I understand Northshore School District and the City of Bothell are going jointly into one building to replace Northshore's Ricketts Administration Building and Bothell City Hall. Each is raising more than $10 million .
   Seems like Bothell and Northshore could each give a little money toward the pool. It wasn't clear if Northshore already does. It says Seattle Schools uses the pools without fee. Surely if the school district can maintain basketball courts and football fields they can help with swimming pools.
   It would benefit future students, present students and past students.
   I am in the Northshore School District and Northshore Senior Center area. Couldn't the pool be put in this jurisdiction? And maybe King and Snohomish counties could put in some for their residents who use the pool.
   They worked out the King County Library system to include all the Northshore School District children after first excluding those outside of King County and Bothell. This was long enough for my daughter and others in the neighborhood to become the have-nots in a library program announced with great fanfare between Northshore School District and King County that excluded her and others in the unincorporated part of Snohomish County that is in the Northshore School District.
   If the pools close, are private clubs going to pick up the slack? I can't afford the YMCA's family rates. At the Y I could sign my daughter up at an affordable fee. Then I could drive her, making two trips one to drop her off and one to pick her up. At the Northshore pool we can both swim one car trip.
   How about the other children? Even the fees at the Northshore pool now divide the community into the haves and have-nots. Maybe the fee could increase a little so only a few more become have-nots.
   Is anyone looking at the big picture? Teachers can't afford to live where they work and even then are using some of their monies for supplies for their students. The University of Washington is losing teachers.
   We weigh our children down with books that are huge because the bookmakers try to sell glossy stuff that, according to the papers, do not live up to their covers but it makes a profit at the expense of the health of our children's backs.
   We put candy and pop machines everywhere we can even though report after report tells us how our kids are overweight and the incidence of diabetes type 2 is on the rise in children.
   Developers put in as many units as possible arranged in pockets without regard to areas one might "play" in or how to get to the next "pocket," resulting in everybody having to drive for everything.
   We can't as a society protect children from stuff on the Internet as someone may miss their pornography via Internet and its big business. I know this is a capitalist society but is there no place for the common good and a little compassion to pass around? Is the welfare of our children important to us as a society or do profits trump all?
   I am under the expectation that our newspapers report on these issues. I saw no follow up on the reported meetings. How are we supposed to be informed to make decisions. give input or take action?
   If we continue to have everyone take care of themselves and have more private clubs, more private schools, more gated communities, pay less taxes for the common good and have more for ourselves, and have news turn into entertainment or a way of selling advertising, we'll end up with a dangerously unbalanced society. The underdogs have been known to cause problems. History is full of uprisings. With one less amenity, increasing populations and imbalance of wealth to cope with, there is a breaking point.
   I know Northshore pool is only one tiny piece of the whole picture, but take away enough tiny pieces and at some point the picture is lost.
   Articles of public pool closings in the sports section today, reports of bread and circuses tomorrow? Maybe the day after ther will be reports of uprisings on the front page if there are any papers left.
   Please make every effort to save the pools.
   Adelaide W. Loges , Mill Creek