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In their own words: The ‘Club conundrum

Submitted by on 1, November 13, 2009 – 5:45 amNo Comment

buildingIn September, the Boys & Girls Club of Alameda asked the City Council to consider using $2 million of Alameda’s regional park bond money to help the club build a new facility on the city’s West End. An epic battle followed, pitting club and open space advocates against each other.

The fun continues Tuesday night, when the council will consider City Councilwoman Marie Gilmore’s request that the club be placed on the city’s priority list for the funds without a legal opinion from the East Bay Regional Park District, which manages the money, saying it can be used by the club. (Council had been waiting on a letter from the district’s bond counsel to decide, but that won’t be available until early next year.)

In the meantime, two of the club’s board members, Burny Matthews and Gig Codiga, have sent “letters to the editor” to The Island to make their pitch for the money. (And if you’re looking for both sides, I ran pro and con editorials on this back in September.)

From Burny Matthews:

It is about the kids! It is about building a new Alameda Boys & Girls Club! It is about the kids! It is about a need in our community! It is about the kids! It is about out doing the right thing for the right reason!

The need for a new Boys & Girls Club facility in the West End of the Island is an absolute necessity. As a police officer for over thirty-eight years, the last eleven as your police chief I have witnessed many kids who have been either victimized by crime or otherwise involved in criminal activity because they simply did not have the opportunity to be exposed to positive influences in their life. This is not their fault! However, a Boys & Girls Club offers a safe, clean, organized and disciplined environment for which kids can be exactly that . . . . kids.

The empirical data is unquestioned that when a Boys & Girls Club is opened in an area crime decreases appreciably. This is not fantasy . . . . it is a fact. Kids need, no they want to be in an organized, structured and safe environment so they can learn and thrive.

During the last month I have read letters to the various newspapers and blogs regarding opposition to the city council sponsoring partial funding and loan for the construction of the new facility. Sadly, many of these letters are fraught with misinformation and errors which confuse and distort the real issues.

Bottom line is that this community needs a strong and active Boys & Girls Club. We are SO CLOSE to making this dream a reality. I ask everyone who is interested in the children of our community and their welfare to contact members of the city council and urge them to support the request for Measure WW funding and loan so this community asset can become a reality.

This is doing the right thing for the right reason!

From Gig Codiga, Gayle Godfrey Codiga and Kristin Codiga:

As third, fifth and sixth generation Alamedans, my family and I have watched enumerable Alameda citizens giving their time, talent and treasure to the Alameda Boys & Girls Club. The Club in return: changed lives; saved lives; mentored youth to contribute back; supported other organizations; shared facilities all working together making a difference where it counts – in young lives. I urge the support for using Measure WW funds for the Alameda Boys & Girls Club Youth Development Center. These funds will: provide a first class facility in the West End of tow, something the Club has committed to do for years; open up a gymnasium and class rooms for our schools; revitalize Woodstock Park; house non-profit organizations; and, provide numerous recreational programs, supported by joint use agreements. As a facility built in compliance with 2009 state school codes the site will provide a shelter should a disaster occur. The investing of the Measure WW funds into the qualified ABGC | Youth Development Center is for the greater good of the community.

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