WITHOUT POLITICAL POWER, KIDS GET LOSE OUT
A little girl named Lucinda stood before the San Leandro City Council without trepidation. Wearing a tiny light green hoodie, she stood wrapped around the leg of her father who was stating the case to keep Farrelly pool open. The little girl alternately faced the council members and mugged for the unusually large audience Tuesday night.
In her hands she clutched her speech scribbled in large blocky red letters. The small piece of paper was worn and crinkled, but showed little sign of revision. When her father finished, she stepped to the microphone, spoke upwardly and said:
“Don’t close Farrelly pool. My brother is two. Can you leave it open? The teachers are great. I’ve been going there six years and my brother loves it.” Short and sweet. Another young girl even smaller than Lucinda also spoke confidently about keeping the pool open while all but Councilman Bill Stephens looked quizzically at the girl. Vice Mayor Joyce Starosciak oddly cocked her head to one side as if she were thinking, “what a strange little human.”
Aside from both girls urging to keep the pool open, there was one telling link between what they both said rooted in a child’s inherent quality of selflessness. Their pleas to the council were not for their self-interests as much as they both worried about their younger siblings ability to frolic in the water on some future steamy summers day.
City Manager Stephen Hollister acknowledged the pool costs the city $115,000 a year to operate against an estimated $45,000 to maintain it if services were indefinitely suspended. Mayor Tony Santos wondered whether the difference could be made up by raising already low fees to use the pool. Normally, raising fees on basic city services is inadvisable as a matter of precedent, yet the difference here is minuscule in the grand scheme of the city’s budget problems. These two young girl’s selfless acts should be an example to the “big kids” in our city government–start looking out for those younger than you.