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In support of Menlo Swim

From: Adam Kerr <akerr_at_(domain_name_was_removed)>
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2010 10:28:28 -0700

Dear City Council, Ms. Brandell:

I have been a resident of Menlo Park since 1991. I am also an avid swimmer, as is my wife and 3 children. I have had the opportunity and interest to explore many different alternatives offered for Master's swimming, lap swimming, recreational swimming and youth instruction. These include programs at Stanford University, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Redwood City to name just a few. With the perspective gained from observing many of these different programs, I count myself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a member of the Menlo Master's swim team since 1998. As you know, Menlo Master's has been coached by Tim Sheeper, and has been a dynamic and highly successful program since the mid-1990s---even in years when the team was operating at other less desireable locations than the Burgess Center.

It is clear that the reason Menlo Masters has been such a successful program is entirely due to the energy, passion and community-mindedness that Tim Sheeper embodies. I have personally been involved as a coach for over 10 years in the Menlo Park AYSO, Little League baseball, and school basketball teams, and so I have appreciation and not a little awe for Tim's indefatigable energy and inspiration that he brings to his role as coach and leader.

As a community, Menlo Park has benefited tremendously from the application of Tim's talents as director of the Menlo Swim program operating the Burgess Aquatic Center. One need only make a brief comparison of the activity and energy surrounding our center compared to other local city pools to realize how truly fortunate we all have been with Menlo Swim.

As evidence of Tim Sheeper's community-mindedness, consider the annual February Fitness challenge that Tim poses to the Menlo Master's swim team to swim as far as possible in a month---and donate one item of food to a local food bank for each 2,000 yards. Tim also started a program "Building Futures Now" to provide turtoring, mentoring and enrichment for high-potential, under-served children from nearby communities.

I understand that there is quite a bit of local controversy regarding the original selection of Menlo Swim---principally due to the lack of transparency and opportunity for other providers to compete for the position. However, it is certainly arguable that even if the original selection had followed a more diligent process, Menlo Swim would have been a strong if not outright obvious choice to obtain the lease under much the same provisions as was orginally provided.

In response to other emails the city council has received regarding access to other swim clubs such as SOLO, this seems to be satisfied as it is already a requirement in the RFP. However, I am very much opposed against the views of some that suggest that disputes in the past over access should warrant a change in management or count as a knock against Menlo Swim.

In summary, I urge the City Council and Committee reviewing the responses to the Burgess RFP to place tremendous weight on the proven demonstration that Menlo Swim provides fantastic multi-faceted service to our community. If it's not broken, don't fix it!


Adam B. Kerr Received on Fri Oct 15 2010 - 10:28:31 PDT

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