October 22, 2006
For more information contact Heyward Robinson at Heyward@VoteForHeyward.org
MENLO PARK, CA — Heyward Robinson, candidate for Menlo Park City Council, reiterated today his support for Menlo Park’s aquatics programs at Burgess and Belle Haven pools.
“I am committed to giving Menlo Park’s residents a first-class program for our first-class facilities,” said Robinson. “In particular, I support Tim Sheeper and the program he is running at Burgess Pool. I believe that if Tim is successful, the entire community will benefit.”
As a resident and Menlo Park homeowner, Robinson supported Measure T. Measure T was passed by voters in 2002 to provide up to $38 million in capital improvements to the city’s recreational facilities. The new aquatics complex at Burgess Pool was paid for using $6.8 million from Measure T. Menlo Park property owners pay off the bond at a rate of hundreds of dollars per year, depending on their property valuations.
As a member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission, Robinson and other commissioners were specifically tasked by the City Council to oversee and monitor the city’s aquatics programs. Tim Sheeper, Director of Menlo Swim and Sport and operator of the Burgess Pool, has appeared before the Parks and Recreation Commission three times in the past eight months, most recently in September of this year. At the March 15 meeting, Robinson joined five other commissioners voting in support of the preliminary program presented by Sheeper. Robinson and other commissioners were impressed by the broad scope of the program and the enthusiasm and energy that Mr. Sheeper brought to running the Burgess pool. Robinson and the other commissioners are committed to helping Menlo Swim and Sport be successful, particularly in interfacing with the city’s public works and Community Services staff.
Robinson has been critical of the process by which Menlo Swim and Sport was granted the right to operate the Burgess pools.
Robinson stated: “I believe that the process for privatizing the pool was rushed, without sufficient public notice or input. Menlo Swim and Sport received a five-year, rent-free contract without having to submit a competitive bid. I will require competitive bids on any future initiatives to privatize city programs.”
Statements in letters to the editor and emails have claimed that Robinson and fellow council candidates Rich Cline and Vince Bressler would terminate Menlo Swim and Sport’s contract if they are elected to the City Council.
Cline, Bressler, and Robinson have said that they support Sheeper and his program and have no intention of terminating his contract. That contract can be terminated only for breach of terms. No council member can arbitrarily and prematurely terminate a binding contract.
Sheeper has stated that he feels no threat to his contract, regardless of the election outcome.