Council Roundup: City to replace, reopen Dr. Powers Park pool
by Michael Langley
May 23, 2014 | 7510 views | 9 9 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Joe Wilson Pool in Dr. Powers Park is fenced off Wednesday afternoon. The City Council may rebuild the pool as a Community Improvement Project in the next budget.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Joe Wilson Pool in Dr. Powers Park is fenced off Wednesday afternoon. The City Council may rebuild the pool as a Community Improvement Project in the next budget. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
The staff building and showers at Joe Wilson Pool in Dr. Powers Park, as seen Wednesday afternoon. The building would have to be renovated to current code standards if the pool complex were to be rebuilt as the City Council is considering.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
The staff building and showers at Joe Wilson Pool in Dr. Powers Park, as seen Wednesday afternoon. The building would have to be renovated to current code standards if the pool complex were to be rebuilt as the City Council is considering. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
The city is moving forward to refurbish and reopen Joe Wilson Pool in Dr. Powers Park regardless of what happens in negotiations for an aquatics park.

The City Council directed the staff Tuesday night to draft a Capital Improvement Project to fix the pool in the next fiscal year. Joe Wilson Pool is the only element of a proposed citywide aquatics solution that is wholly controlled by the city.

The city is negotiating with Wild Rivers LLC, a Southern California company, to build a water theme park, potentially at the Ellis development in west Tracy, and it must negotiate with Tracy Unified School District if it wants to change the layout and availability of Pinkie Phillips Pool at West High School.

Tuesday, the council separated Joe Wilson Pool from the rest of the aquatics plan for Tracy — following two hours of discussion and public comment.

“Regardless of what we decide with the larger pool direction,” Mayor Brent Ives said, “it seems as though the majority of our thoughts is to do something at Dr. Powers.”

Several people questioned whether the city should be in the business of providing public swimming. Others suggested that an aquatics solution should be put to voters, which would also gauge public support.

Several swim use groups and members of the Tracy Tomorrow & Beyond aquatics facility subcommittee, formed by the council in 2005 to survey the community’s needs, said the community had already spoken and recommended that the city return to earlier plans for a publicly run aquatics center at the Ellis site.

Acting City Manager Maria Hurtado said her staff would prepare a CIP that would describe the scope of and funding for fixing the pool and add it to the 2014-15 budget to be approved by the council June 3.

Mayoral terms discussed

The City Council engaged in a discussion of changing the term of office for future mayors from two to four years.

Ives, who is the first mayor to have his tenure ended by term limits, first suggested the change during the May 6 regular meeting.

“I’m looking at the overall guidance and governance for the city of Tracy in the future,” Ives said. “I just believe that, in terms of what the city is going to be going through in the foreseeable future, a certain amount of consistency, with the ability every four years for the electorate to be able to speak, is an important benefit for the city.”

Councilman Robert Rickman provided a counterpoint to the mayor’s argument to put the issue on a ballot for the citizens of Tracy to decide.

“We currently serve two terms here on council for a total of eight years and two terms as mayor for four years for a total of 12 years. With this proposed amendment, we would increase that total from 12 to 16 years. This is in direct opposition to of what the voters wanted and approved,” Rickman said, referring to the passage of Measure T term limits in the November 2008 election.

The councilman added that there was no concrete case to prove the supposition that the city would be troubled by a lack of long-term consistency in the mayor’s office.

“The term limits ordinance has yet to term out anyone. As Mr. Ives said, he will be the first one,” Rickman said. “There have been no facts or evidence to support the claim that lack of experience would impair the city in doing its business.”

Several members of the public spoke on both sides of the issue, some in support of allowing voters to decide the matter. At the end of the 41-minute public hearing and council discussion, the issue was not moved forward.

The mayor said he did not want the city of Tracy to lose influence or opportunities because of rapid changes in leadership but conceded that without an advocate in the public to lead the campaign, the issue was dead for now.

“If I’m the only ringer of the bell here, it’s not likely to be something that would really work,” Ives said. “I think we’ll find out as a city just how it works soon enough. Maybe after that happens a few times, maybe we’ll see that it does merit change.”

City, PG&E to replace street lights

Hurtado announced during her report to the council Tuesday that the city and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. would replace 682 streetlights across the city with LED bulbs.

Crews will install lights along five major roadways: Grant Line Road, Tracy Boulevard, Schulte Road, West 11th Street and MacArthur Drive.

Hurtado said the retrofit would save the city 50 percent of its electric and maintenance costs for those lights.

• Contact Michael Langley at or 830-4231.

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May 27, 2014
The move to LED bulbs is probably a good idea. LED bulbs last 30 to 40 times longer than incandescents, 4 to 6 times longer than florescent bulbs, while using 1/6 to 1/10 the power of incandescents and about 1/2 the power of a florescent bulb.

This should save a fair amount of money for the city over the next 10 years even factoring in the cost of replacement.

Take a look at the bulb section of your hardware store next time you shop there. LEDs have overtaken the alternatives for a reason. The average person in the street has figured this out, why not the city too?

btw, going "streetlight-less" in Tracy is not such a hot idea. Thieves love darkness.
May 26, 2014
As a local teacher I am alarmed at how many students do not know how to swim! Besides the need to get kids off the video games, learning to swim is an important safety issue! Great idea to get that pool repaired!
May 24, 2014
Spending money on streetlights, LED or not, is ridiculous. We should follow the lead of Palm Springs. There are no street lights there yet somehow folks manage to survive just fine. It no doubt saves them a few hundred thousand per year in electricity costs. I am not a greenie but to the extent that such things are real concerns eliminating street lights is also clearly better for the environment than having LED lights.
May 24, 2014
The waste of having street lights everywhere is still bugging me, even after my shower, so I am going to continue from my thoughts above.

Street lighting is a horribly inefficient system that is not user friendly. Consider what happened with phones recently. We went from a system where each phone was associated with a place to one where each phone was associated with a person. Sure, the land lines were in places frequented by people but the phones still sat there uselessly until a person came along. That is, until we started putting them where they were needed; with the user.

The situation with street lighting is almost identical. The primary difference being that at least the land line phones were not running constantly when nobody was there. We place lights in locations rather than where the user needs them at any given moment. But how, oh how, you ask could we develop the technology to enable the users to have lighting travel with them?

Oddly, the solution to that has existed far longer than the solution to the phone "problem". There used to be these things called flash lights, I think they still exist somewhere, that people could carry to provide light where needed.
May 27, 2014
Boy, some thinking can be constricted and conventional. Let's not fool ourselves about environmental concerns (this topic is so ambiguous, it seems meaningless). Western culture is anti-environmental--period! (whatever this means, because, again, we are so confused about what it means to be environmentally conscious).

I can think of a lot more things and practices we could eliminate, other than street lights, which would be better for the environment. Think about all the energy used during night hours in this country. Yes, I know, we are creating a better world for people. The Tracy Press would like to use more energy (and humans are energy units), because, ultimately, it would mean it is being consumed more. We talk about caring for the environment, but this talk is really about finding a different way to harness energy so we may continue feeding the cows to the dogs. I am going to conserve energy by turning my computer off for the rest of the day.
May 23, 2014
1. Thank you Sam Matthews for getting the City to refurbish Joe Wilson pool. I never understood why an investment in refurbishing this pool wasn't better than the "pie in the sky" aquatics center. Too bad it couldn't have been voted on in January, so the kids would have it for this summer!

2. The citizens voiced their opinion in 2008 with Measure T, so unless you want to put this on ballot again, it's done.

3. Are the lights on those streets broken? If not, leave them alone until they need to be replaced. I doubt PG&E is going to put something in that loses them money. They may use less electricity, but then PG&E will raise the rate.
May 23, 2014
A useless attempt by a termed out Mayor to prolong the ongoing influence of the "Good Ole Boy" network.

The idea of term limits is to stop this prolonged influence by the "GOB" network from reeking havoc on the city for years and years, as has been the case since Ives has been in office.

If you want to change the system put it on the ballot, otherwise, stop wasting time on an issue that has already been decided. That's 41 minutes lost to a fruitless idea.
May 23, 2014
"Hurtado said the retrofit would save the city 50 percent of its electric and maintenance costs for those lights."

Macpup, your reasoning doesn't make sense.
May 24, 2014
I agree about replacing lights that are in perfect working condition. It doesn't make economical sense to replace a working bulb that has been paid for with a newly purchased LED fixture. Wait till the bulbs have gone out. That's like replacing a Plasma tv that works with a LED LCD Tv to save money. Sure the plasma tv uses more electricity, but how much does it cost to replace it with a LED LCD Tv and the long time payback which just isn't there. This is another abuse of money buy the "good old Boys club. The city can't turn on the water, rarely mow the lawns or trim bushes and trees throughout the city, but they got a ton of money to buy lights even though we already have working lights that are payed for. My thought, maybe they want to make the city streets brighter, so the people walking there dogs or riding their bicycles can see better and don't trip over the bushes that are over grown onto the side walks, thus avoiding lawsuits. Seriously folks, call the public works department and complain as this city is going down the drain. Look around and look at all of the cities landscaping that is dying. It is everywhere. The Public Works Department is a complete joke!

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