Comment: When Tom met Shirley in support of pools

Robert Collier, co-chair of the Berkeley Pools Campaign, writes about this week’s press conference for Measure C, which is on the ballot in next Tuesday’s election.

At a press conference late Tuesday, Mayor Tom Bates and former Mayor Shirley Dean temporarily set aside their longtime rivalry to join forces in denouncing the anti-Measure C campaign.

“We’ve seen a sort of scurrilous campaign being run against Measure C, things that are just outright lies, deceptions and outright lies,” said Bates.

For example, in a mailer sent to thousands of city residents last week, the opposition claimed that the UC Berkeley campus has a Warm Pool that could substitute for the city’s own Warm Pool. They claimed that Willard Pool is a competition-size pool. Elsewhere, they have claimed that Measure C would raise pool maintenance spending to$3.5 million annually. Other accusations have included suggestions that the city’s debt is “skyrocketing,” and a wide variety of claims of budget malfeasance by city officials. All are provably false.


The press conference was held at the Warm Pool, the decrepit facility on the Berkeley High School campus that is scheduled for demolition next year to create much-needed space for students.

Surrounded by Warm Pool users in wheelchairs, Dean said that if Measure C fails to receive the necessary two-thirds voter approval and the Warm Pool closes, the result will be human suffering. “The people that will be hurt[(if C is defeated] are … people who are infants, people who are disabled, just everyone in the whole community,” she said. “And we need to step up to the plate and make sure those people are served and that this warm water pool survives.”

More details are available on the Measure C campaign’s FAQ list on its website,www.berkeleypools.org.