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About last night …

Submitted by on 1, September 17, 2009 – 6:00 amOne Comment

buildingThe saga over the Boys & Girls Club’s request for $2 million in park bond money they say they need to get started on a new facility continued apace Tuesday night, with proponents and opponents not-so-merrily hijacking what was already going to be a very long City Council meeting.

The night’s unfestivities included presentations from folks at the East Bay Regional Park District and Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant about whether the project is eligible for the funds and viable (pretty much yes to both), a sometimes testy back and forth between a club representative and the council, a parade of open space advocates and other opponents of the proposal who were so passionate about their views that many got up to speak twice, and a bunch of people in white bunny suits and face paint pretending to be victims of our health care system (whoops, that was Pete Stark’s town hall).

In a nutshell: If you don’t think that was three hours of must-see TV …

Not a lot of new stuff to report (and you can get the story thus far here and here, and here), but here are a few quotes to give you the flavor of how things went.

P.S.: Sounds like council will get a recommendation from city staff on this on October 6.

George Phillips, Boys and Girls Club executive director: “The kids who come to the Boys and Girls Club are the public. I don’t want anybody to forget that.”

Mayor Beverly Johnson: “What if you start construction and you don’t have the $2 million?”

Rick Sherratt, Boys and Girls Club: “Well, I guess we’d have a problem, wouldn’t we?”

Vice Mayor Doug deHaan: “At the last meeting, there was a discussion about closing Mastick Senior Center. Could you picture what we’d be doing without that? That’s what we’re up against, okay?”

Rick Sherratt: “But that’s not a permissible use of WW (park bond) funds.”

deHaan: If we take certain projects out of this funding, we would definitely have to have a different set of circumstances for us to fund those other projects that we, the council, and the park and rec commission deemed necessary. We would be putting the burden back on our shoulders.”

Sherratt: We did look at the list that you’ve got … As an example, we did take a look at the resurfacing of the Washington tennis courts. For $350,000 for six courts – Harbor Bay just did their courts for between $17,000 and $20,000. So to me, they’re kind of bogus numbers.”

Rec and Park Commissioner Jo Kahuanui: “We found out about the Boys Club wanting to take the park money secondhand. So when we had our commission meeting Thursday, a dozen-plus people came to speak against it. I had absolutely nobody come from the Boys Club to speak on (their) behalf. And I thought, ‘Wow, how arrogant of them.’ But maybe they know something I don’t know. Maybe it’s already in the bag.”

The Hon. Robert McGuinness: The debate has been respectful to this point. It’s a partnership, not really about private (organizations). Because nobody’s making money off this deal. This is not about getting a deed to property.”

Debra Arbuckle: “What if we wanted to have a lesbian basketball league?”

Councilman Frank Matarrese: “Do we want to stretch the ballot measure? Should we? If something on the list taken off, that project is not going to get done. Does the Littlejohn recreation center not get built? We may not like it, but it’s going to be a discussion of this or this, a city asset or an asset that belongs to somebody else. As venerated as the Boys and Girls Club is, was that the intent of the use of that money?”

Mayor Johnson: “In defense of the gym at the base (which was on the original priority list) – a lot of people use that gym. It’s not just used by tenants of base. It would really be a loss if the city neglected – well, it’s already neglected

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