Friday, 22 July 2011 00:00
Here it is another beautiful weekend in Manhasset: lawns are mowed, kids go out and play, and the whole family can go to the pool...if you’re rich. I posted much the same editorial last summer, yet the problem persists: the high price of public pools run by North Hempstead. Much like New York City itself, our public parks are the crossroads of a community. Blacks eat alongside whites, Jews swim in the same water as Moslems, the rich, the poor, all are equal in their portion of fun. If America is truly a melting pot, then the public park is the actual crucible where the mixing occurs. But not here in Manhasset, thanks to Supervisor Jon Kaiman.
At Whitney Pond Park, the cost for a family with kids has risen close to 400 percent under the reign of Kaiman ($35 compared to $7.50). And this is the discounted rate for a resident! But wait- didn’t I already pay for this facility, as a taxpayer? Perhaps the proceeds are going to Kaiman’s “Buy a Country Club” fund. And he wonders why the citizens are in such an uproar over that. Our town government has a problem with simple arithmetic: mid-afternoon on Saturday, there were exactly 12 people at the pool. In years past it teemed with community. Even if the entry fees were halved, the revenue to the town would be far greater, with no change in costs (the pool is clearly overstaffed now).
The most embarrassing part is that out of the 12 people swimming, none of them were black. How is it that possible, when the public pool is literally across the street from two apartment complexes whose residents are largely black? Maybe Kaiman thinks blacks have given up swimming. Maybe he thinks they are saving for one of those Country Club passes he spoke of at the town meeting. But here in reality, it’s simply they are just better at math than he is.
This travesty must end. “Public” pool means it serves the public, it enables the public to enjoy; all the public, not just the privileged. The town should not look at a public pool as a profit center or a revenue source—it is one of the benefits of the taxes we pay.