Sign of the times: gross government management Palo Alto Issues, posted by The Real Slim K, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 27, 2011 at 5:04 pm
Sad to say, cause you'd never guess, but I'm talking about about a terrific place--the Rincanada Pool. Yes, the perfectly maintained public pool, even the restrooms!, near the house of our town's hero, Steve J, where kids line up every Halloween for extravagant gift bags and ghoulish surprises in the backyard as if it were a Disneyland ride. The pool is bordered by a 'magic' redwood grove next to deep blue skies that make you wonder 'hey, how did I get to Pope Beach/Tahoe?' It is much better than San Francisco summer fog...it is exceedingly nice.
Well, this year, rather than the 10-ticket stamp books, they decided to go to Raging Waters style computer card system for P.A. residents, and just guessing, I'm no reporter, but they apparently ordered too few of these cards and suffered a cash short-fall as a result. There was likely a tense meeting where a solution was ordained by Tyler (I'm greedy like Texans and wear a) Stetson and (the even more ominously-named) rec and park administrator Mr. (give me more) Cash. you think I'm joking about his sir-name, but I'm not. Anyhoo, the winning brainstorm directive/ solution to their economic budgetary malfeasance was to CHANGE the following sentence from their beginning of summary flyer (and website) announcement, (in verbatim), "swimmers purchase swims in advance at discounted prices (NO MINIMUM)..." to this new snazzy flyer/ rule that oddly applies in retrospect to prior season purchases, "swimmers purchase swims in advance at discounted price (MINIMUM OF 10 SWIMS...)"
Do you understand the significance of this uncouth money-hungry change? Keep in mind that I as a P.A. resident go regularly on a semi-private hike at Foothill Park (or as I like to call it, 'Tilden without people'), and the soda machine there at happiness orchard asks me only for a dollar. Why just a dollar? Cause to us, right?, the $1.50 that Golfland and so forth in Sunnyvale charges is...er unseemly.
Well, I will now provide the actual figures for comparison, and keep in mind that this offense will only become worse as the final 3.75 weeks left in the recreational swimming season goes by... Last year, a family of 5 (okay, a little understanding I ask? the P.A. houses built in mid-town about 1950 are really small I know, but some of us just bunk up and make due anyway... you know.. for the sake of the excellent public schools. who's the wise guy who asked whether my family had one or two Asians in it. I refuse to dignify that question with certain affirmation. Well, for a family of 5, last year, you could purchase a 10-ticket childs book that ANY of your kids could use, and you could purchase a 10-ticket adult book that either one of the 2 spouses could use. Minimum purchase? 30 dollars for the kids book plus 35$ for the adults (for 10 swims total), that means 65$. This year? 3 kids X 30 and 2 adults X 35, equals 160$. and here's an offense catch, in fact, if this specific catch did not exist, I would have little reason for complaint. You trusted this organization's earlier flyer that there was no minimum when you purchased your first arbitrary number of swims (I chose 5). But, you see, with this new rule, even with less and less days of summer left, I MUST buy 10 swims minimum for EVERYONE in the family, even for the spouse who works so hard in the dam internet industry (whose stock options supply downpayments for our homes) until late at night that they can likely go swimming only once or twice all summer. Even she.! You see the advantage to Mr. (give me more) Cash, right? People don't use all their prepaid swims. too bad. They lose their cards (even better) no further swims next year. That's profit baby! The public paying for Their ineptitude in budgetary affairs! Screwed. I asked today, since I could not have known at the date of my earlier summer purchase, about this 10 swim rule--and in fact, was ASSURED by this same organization to the opposite: that there was NO minimum!, could I be allowed to purchase only 5 swims for everyone (since that would still equal this 10 minimum rule), and I was told 'no.' 10 swims minimum is the rule, beginning in late summer! before? too bad, and apparently this will still be the rule even on the final summer day the pool is open in Aug.
So, very oddly, the business model chosen by this P.A. organization is NOT the Hoover Institute, but rather Green Acres Mr. Haney, backing up the truck and trying to 'get as much as he can'.
the P.S. of this story? they didn't even have an ID to give my child not present during my earlier summer buy--the cards were 'on order.'
Please, could someone forward this story to San Jose Mercury News for me? I am not the internet stock option spouse. Thanks very much.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 28, 2011 at 8:18 am
You raise some good points. Unfortunately your post comes across as a rant, it is too long and very confusing. The headline when it was in block capitals appeared immature.
This is what I understand from your post.
1. The new system does not have enough cards for the number of people who want to use them.
2. There is a minimum of 10 swims per person which have to be purchased regardless of how late in the season the cards are purchased and cannot be carried forward into next year.
3. The cards are not transferrable within a family.
If this is the case, I would send email to all the city departments and each of the council members in a simple and concise manner.
I hope you get somewhere because I discovered some years ago that the service at Rinconada Pool was going downhill. Do they have any lockers for valuables yet, or do you still have to hide your keys under your clothes at the side of the pool? That was my gripe the last time I used it, several years ago.
Posted by The Real Slim K, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 28, 2011 at 11:26 am
thanks for response, a Resident. I halfway expected a joke about 'my hair covering up' my good point. But still...
to clarify, my entire beef is that were I told by the pool when I made my original purchase at the beginning of summer that I would need to buy 10 swims per kid and per adult minimum, no problem, I just would have done it and used them all (or most of them at least). Not only was this NOT the case, but I even saved the original flyer that specified there would be "no minimum" and the employee at the time also told me that I could "add on swims later, however many you want." Period.
Even now, the reasonable solution to this about-face policy would seem to me to be, just allow the people such as myself who were directly misinformed both verbally AND in writing by Rincanada Pool, to purchase the remainder of the 10 tickets--for each kid and each adult, that I did not purchase the first time. THEN, with only 4 weeks left, I would have at least a chance of going swimming 5 more times (rather than 10).
A resident: there are still no lockers, which there could be and that would be a reasonable way to make extra funds I would think. Although the Yelp page compliments P.A. residents when it says, 'you know your shoes wont walk off by themselves here,' you are certainly right to worry about other non-shoe items.
and please, Roger: No Jebus' verses. I try to live a non-superstitious life the best I can, even though some people think this makes me immature and ranting.
Posted by It's the Jews, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Jul 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm
These new testament bible verses are about employers and employees, they are not about govt. agencies and tax-paying consumers. There is a difference. Further, the theme of the right that the "generous" employer has to pay the employee whatever he wants, even if one does less work than another and the (low level grunts who worked longer make no more), does not appear to bring any wisdom to this discussion...
Posted by The Real Slim K, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 29, 2011 at 6:27 am
things change. The rule about minimum swims being purchased in advance did not exist in May/June. Now, it does and it is unfairly punitive against those May/June buyers who could not have known, as well as to those who may move out of Palo Alto before next year and so forth. It frankly is no different than being charged a higher price at a supermarket than it was listed in the aisle. It is deceptive, and it is wrong.
Its the Jews: thanks. That was one of my very favorite Seinfelds, about the limo.