On Hoboken411 they reported that the Boys and Girls club pool was delayed in their opening. During that report, they had a quote from Tim Occupinti and "Hoboken parent Kylia Colon", which read more like a another way to make City Hall look bad rather than a news story. I like some of the things that Hoboken411 does, but think when it sounds like MSNBC attacking the Republicans or Fox News attacking the Democrats, that I roll my eyes - just report the news! Plus my comment on the thread caused 411 to now "moderate" all my future comments for approval before he posts on his site. Who does that? A 14 year old or a 41 year old? It isn't the first time that Hoboken411 has done this to me, and often I have to email him "asking" why my comments are moderated and he gives me some kind of bullshit answer.
Rather than seeking out quotes from people who clearly don't like the current administration, I wondered why wouldn't someone simply do 20 minutes of research to get the answers about how the pool is operated.
You can read it here: http://hoboken411.com/archives/45890
A few of the commenter's took exception to the article reading like another way to slam City Hall from a website that clearly loves to slam City Hall. Like many of the other people who asked - why not just make a phone call and ask why it is delayed.
Before doing that I did a quick bit of research on the web. Look what I found:
In 2009 the pool was opened because of fundraising work by trustees of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hudson County, and even then Mayoral candidate Cammarano used $1,000 of his own money (or was it from the $25,000 bribe money?) to open the pool. The pool was opened by the end of July.
In 2008, the pool was delayed which Director of Health and Human Services John Pope blamed on Hoboken's budget problems, and noted that in previous years the pool has opened July 1st.
So, is there a delay? I did some further research by first calling the Boys and Girls Club in Hoboken. I spoke to a very nice person at the other end of the phone who informed me that the pool is owned and operated by the City of Hoboken Recreation Division. They told me that they had other people trying to find out what the delay was all about - and thought it was due to the budget.
I called The Recreation Division and spoke to the person who first picked up the phone. They assured me it would be open by July 19th. I asked why it was delayed, and who was responsible for that. They told me it was the responsibility of Ed Miller. I asked to speak to Ed. Ed was on a call, but would call me back and I left my phone #.
Ten minutes later I was able speak to Ed (Eddie) Miller. Here's what he told me:
1. The pool is delayed because the summer fun program has six different programs: Gymnastics, Tennis, Baseball, Basketball, Soccer and the Pool. By pushing the pool opening towards the end of the month it gave his department more time to focus on four of the six programs (gymnastics, tennis, baseball and basketball) which open at the beginning of the month.
2. There's only $10,000 budgeted towards the pool. This gives the city the ability to keep the pool open for 6 weeks due to administrative costs. By opening at July 19th, it gives the City the ability to keep the pool open for 1/2 of July and four weeks in August.
3. They have three lifeguards and pool aide (to help kids walk to the bathroom, for example) and a pool operator (who comes in the morning to check the pool & and the end of the day to clean the pool). That's the where the majority of those funds are allocated - the cost to have people operate the pool in a safe manner.
It comes down to money & budget. Our city is in a fiscal crisis, and even funding $10,000 towards the pool may not sound like a lot - it still gives those kids six solid weeks to use the pool. With the current heat wave, it certainly drew more attention to the pool and why in the past it was open by July 1st, yet this year is July 19th. My guess is that in years past the $10,000 that was funded could keep the pool open longer. Costs go up and the $10,000 we have allocated in 2010 only lasts six weeks, according to Ed Miller.
If the taxpayers out there want the pool opened earlier, we have to fund more money to the pool, because the money we have only allows the city to operate the pool for six weeks. If they did open the pool by July 1st, then they would have to close the pool six weeks later...by around August 16th, because they are budgeted for $10,000.
All of this information was given to me by Ed Miller, who I think was very forthcoming and very professional. Anyone, including Hoboken411, could easily call him through the phone number available on city of Hoboken's website.