First off, let’s not fool ourselves. We have a homeless problem. Providing a public pool at $0 will result in this proposed “public pool” becoming a “public bathhouse” for the homeless. This effect is known as the Tragedy of the Commons, and it’s an economic inevitability. We already experienced the problems associated with the bus painted to look like a trolley as it shipped our homeless population around the peninsula with air conditioning– for free. Previously, we had a few homeless people at Newport Pier. Now, not only have their numbers wildly increased, but we now have a new and full-on homeless camp operating at Balboa Pier, thanks to Mayor Diane Dixon’s Trolley idea acting as a beacon for outside homeless populations– just as we had warned it would, due to the same effect, above. Of note: With the amount of money we have spent on the trolley disaster so far, we could have set up free places to stay at market rates for 26 homeless people every year.
A “free pool” will do precisely the same.
So if we can’t make the pool free, what will it cost to run?
City staff estimates that the pool will cost about $900,000 per year to operate. If every single person in Newport visited 11 times per year and paid just $1, we could cover this cost (900000/86000=10.47) But does anyone really think that every single one of our 86,000 population in Newport is going to use this facility 11 times per year? If they do– this has got to be one big pool.
So let’s take a look at other cost breakdowns and how often they would need to visit to hit ROI on $900,000 per year:
|Total Maint Cost||Total Visitors||Price Per Visit||
Needed Annual Visits Per Person to Cover Costs
But there’s another problem that quickly arises: We already have a public pool available for $2.50, right here in our own backyard: https://www.newportbeachca.gov/government/departments/recreation-senior-services/aquatics
So why are we building another one? The city says that the pool at the above-link is over-used. However, there are plenty of other membership-based pools in the area. The YMCA does entire family memberships for $90/month for those who want to swim more often, and there are even less expensive options if anyone cares to shop around– both inside and outside of Newport.
If people don’t think a pool is worth spending a few bucks per month on, then is it really worth a buildout that will inevitably cost millions, plus $900,000 per year to operate? I suppose some don’t think cost matters when it comes to spending money that belongs to other people, but there are also those who legitimately can’t afford those rates. If the former is you, we will not get along. If the latter is you, shoot me an email and I am sure we can get you situated.
We don’t even know how much the construction cost on this this is going to cost yet, but the city staff has identified the required four open acres at Lower Castaways Park as what they call an “ideal” location for a 25-yard, eight- to 10-lane pool. “Friends of Oasis”– located in CdM, not at Dover and PCH– has indicated that they may be able to raise half the construction cost. However, nobody knows what that construction cost may be, so covering half of an unknown cost is a pretty tall promise.
Did I mention that we are on the hook for billions in debt and only make about $250m/year and we spend every dime of it (and then some)?
As Mayor Pro Tem Will O’Neill told the Pilot: “We have a queue right now waiting for projects. Just a handful of them: Lido fire station, Newport Beach Junior Guards building, lecture hall, however much money we end up needing to spend to address homelessness in our community.”
Financially, we simply cannot continue on this path.
Who voted to continue looking into this project? Every council person except Kevin Muldoon, who was absent for that vote.
The council people who voted to proceed with even exploring this option are:
|Diane Dixon – Mayor, District firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Brad Avery – Councilmember, District email@example.com|
|Duffy Duffield – Councilmember, District firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Jeff Herdman – Councilmember, District email@example.com|
|Joy Brenner, Councilmember, District firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Will O’Neill – Mayor Pro Tem, District email@example.com|