Funeral for Berkeley's Warm Pool

Funeral for Berkeley's Warm Pool Berkeley, December 14, 2011

Funeral for Berkeley's Warm Pool Berkeley
December 14, 2011

ALSO See: Big Lies against Berkeley's Measure C: Dirty Pool
PRESS Release JUNE 1, 2010

The users of Berkeley's Warm Pool, a 92-degree, therapeutic facility at Berkeley High School, held a funeral at the pool to mourn its closing after nearly three decades of service to the community. A "coffin" with candles was carried to the pool's edge and set afloat, accompanied by the ringing of Buddhist bells, while a crowd of disabled, elderly and other supporters watched in silent protest.

The Warm Pool has been a lifeline for Berkeley's disabled and elderly as well as for parents with small children and other residents who need warm water. The facility is closing December 15th to allow for much-needed improvements to the school, but the city has failed to plan for an alternate warm pool elsewhere. This is a major setback for Berkeley's proud reputation as a national leader in supporting the disabled and their special needs.

Funeral for Berkeley's Warm Pool
Berkeley, December 14, 2011
Message from the BERKELEY POOLS CAMPAIGN December 14, 2011
The Warm Pool filled for the last time Wednesday night, as more than 100 pool users and supporters gathered to bid the pool adieu.

A mock coffin was carried into the pool, as participants in the water and on the decks held candles and mourned the loss of the Warm Pool. Wednesday, Dec. 14, was the pool's last day open to the general public; a regularly scheduled Berkeley City College class for the handicapped will be held the following day. Then the pool will be mothballed for several months, with demolition scheduled for June.

Rabbi Sara Shendelman played Tibetan bells and read an interfaith series of prayers, invoking the world's great spiritual traditions. To close the event, longtime Warm Pool swimmer Judi Berzon read a statement from the Berkeley Pools Campaign, of which she is a Steering Committee member:

Welcome to the Warm Pool funeral.

On the eve of the Warm Pool’s scheduled final closure, we are gathering together with great sadness to mourn many losses:

We mourn the Warm Pool, which has served the disabled, elderly, parents, infants and many others since the mid 1980s.

We mourn the weakening of Berkeley’s leadership on disability rights. By allowing the Warm Pool to close without any real effort to provide or plan for a replacement facility, the City of Berkeley is undermining its longtime status as pioneer of the nationwide movement for the rights of the disabled.

And we mourn for ourselves. The Warm Pool is the only available and affordable form of exercise and therapy for many of us who are disabled. For some, the pool’s loss may be the chronicle of a death foretold. Its disappearance will certainly lead to diminished health for many, and for some it will inevitably lead to premature death. To say this is not melodrama or exaggeration. It is reality.

We urge the City Council to respond quickly to provide Warm Pool alternatives for the short and medium terms. At the same time, we urge the City to begin as soon as possible the planning and research process for a pools bond measure for the November 2012 ballot. Such an initiative would unite the able-bodied and disabled, the young and old, to create a long-lasting legacy in which Berkeley can be justifiably proud.

Save Berkeley Pools Campaign...Tuesday June 01, 2010 (See video above)

What: Condemning the Big Lies against Measure C: Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates,former Mayor Shirley Dean, and other City Council and School Board members will hold a press conference denouncing the Karl Rove-style disinformation tactics of the opponents of Measure C in Berkeley's June 8 election. 

Why: Using a strategy right out of the Karl Rove play book, the anti-everything crowd (NO on schools, libraries, fire protection) now is attacking our pools Measure C with wildly false claims to create doubt and confusion. Their many whoppers include these: 

LIE #1: The warm pool can be repaired in its current location -- False. They know the pool is scheduled for demolition by the School District. 
LIE #2: Measure C will cost $3.5 million annually for maintenance, plus an annual inflation adjustment. False. They have created this totally out of thin air. 
LIE #3: Willard is already a competition-size pool. False. 
LIE #4: UC Berkeley campus has a Warm Pool. False. 

We relish a good debate, but dishonest, right-wing tactics cannot be allowed to stand anywhere, any time. Measure C is about our kids, our seniors, our future. Measure C is a $22.5 million bond measure and parcel tax in Berkeley's June 8 election to rebuild and repair the city's four municipal pools. 

Who: Mayor Tom Bates, former Mayor Shirley Dean, and other Council and School Board members. Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent Bill Huyett is invited. Measure C supporters (disabled in wheelchairs, and Barracudas youth team members in goggles) will attend alongside the speakers. 

When: 4:30 pm, Tuesday, June 1. 

Where: Berkeley Warm Pool, 2246 Milvia Street & Durant (inside gate). The press conference will be held indoors on the deck of the Warm Pool, the decrepit and controversial facility that is scheduled for demolition next year -- and that Measure C will rebuild at a separate site.

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