Next Tuesday, Newport Beach City Council is planning to hear considerations spending taxpayer dollars to build a public pool for the community to use– sounds good, right? Except for one little problem: These already exist.
In fact, there is a pool at the YMCA on the back bay, 24 Hour Fitness and Equinox both have pools, and one can also buy a membership to Marriot Spa or the Newport Beach Tennis Club to use their pools too– and that’s just the easy to find ones. In addition to these pre-existing locations, Newport Beach is both known for– and named after– our beach. Or our harbor. Both are free to swim in.
The argument, of course, is that people want a pool which is beautiful and heated and “free”– but the thing is, our government has no money. We are currently well over one billion dollars in debt and we spend every penny of taxpayer money every year we get it– so that debt will never be repaid. What is being proposed is that an insolvent government spend money to build a pool for people who don’t even value a pool enough to think it’s worth the membership cost at the local YMCA.
I wish I were kidding.
Worse, much like we warned of the Tragedy of the Commons that would become associated with a “free” “trolley” (now colloquially known as the “homeless bus”)– the air-conditioned public transit that runs down here in the summertime– we are warning of the same thing here: If we give the public free and unobstructed access to a public area with abundant, clean water– guess what will become of it?
If someone wants to go to a pool, then there are pools to be visited by simply paying for a YMCA membership fee. If you don’t think a pool is worth the cost of a YMCA membership fee, then you surely think a pool is worth very much at all. And if a pool is not worth much at all– then why on earth would our council consider spending taxpayer money from an insolvent city in order to build a new pool from scratch when current pools already exist elsewhere for very nominal fees.
We already have more homeless people than we can help– especially thanks to Diane Dixon’s “trolley” which enticed many of them to take up residence here recently. We don’t need to provide more attractions for the homeless. We need to help fix the existing problem that we have created, instead– or it’s only going to get worse, for everybody.