Pool Measure Fails, Willard Pool to Close

Measure Required Two-thirds Majority. Election Results: 100 Percent Reporting; 60.38 Percent Support, 39.62 Percent Oppose.

Photo: Dylan Collier (foreground), son of Measure C campaign co-chair Robert Collier (not pictured), sleeps while campaign co-chair JoAnn Cook (left) and Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington wait on election results.
Skyler Reid/Staff
Dylan Collier (foreground), son of Measure C campaign co-chair Robert Collier (not pictured), sleeps while campaign co-chair JoAnn Cook (left) and Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington wait on election results.

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Photo: Supporters of Measure C, an initiative to fund renovation of Berkeley's public pools, gather to follow the election results on Tuesday night.   

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Measure C, a city initiative that would have imposed a special tax to fund renovations to the city's four public pools, was defeated as the Alameda County Registrar of Voters finished collecting election results early Wednesday morning.

Since the measure - which required a two-thirds majority - did not pass, the pool at Willard Middle School will close on July 1, followed by the warm water pool at Berkeley High School - which is maintained at 92 degrees Fahrenheit and is home to various exercise, therapeutic and youth programs - when the high school remodels next year, according to Scott Ferris, recreation and youth services manager for the city.

The measure would have incurred $22.5 million in bonds to pay for pool maintenance and aquatics programs and created a special tax to repay the bonds.

Bond funds would have been used to replace the indoor warm water pool, renovate pools at Willard and West Campus Junior High School and construct an all-purpose pool at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School.

Berkeley pool campaigners who gathered Tuesday night hoped to see the measure pass even as preliminary results showed a small lead.

"We'll be in the 60s. That's guaranteed," said Robert Collier, co-chair for the campaign. "But where in the 60s is the question."

Though the initial results did not show a strong lead for measure supporters, Shelley Hayden, co-chair for the Berkeley Pools Campaign, said she was still positive the measure would pass.

"We expected the absentee ballots to be more conservative," Hayden said at the campaign's headquarters Tuesday night. "I know people in our community have the right values."

She added that she saw several "Yes on Measure C" window signs this morning that she had not seen before.

"I was blown away," she said. "I've never seen anything like this in my life for a local measure."

Councilmember Kriss Worthington, who joined campaigners Tuesday night, said the preliminary absentee voter results were not in favor of the measure passing.

"It doesn't look very promising, but it certainly shows that a significant majority of the people of Berkeley think that the warm water pool and the other city pools are extremely important," he said. "The undemocratic nature of the system where you need two-thirds votes ... (is) going to stop the majority point of view from prevailing."


Stephanie Baer is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected]

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