Wednesday, August 03, 2005

New Yorkers Risk Injury and Illness at City Pools

August 1, 2005

New Yorkers Risk Injury and Illness at City Pools

Fifty (50) out of 56 City swimming pools surveyed by my office are operating with health and safety hazards, according to a new report I released last Monday. At the Thomas Jefferson pool in Manhattan, I pointed out a loose ladder and said my investigators had found insufficient chlorine in the water�conditions that are common at public pools in New York City and can lead to injuries and recreational water illnesses (RWIs), including skin, ear, eye, and respiratory infections and diarrhea. My report also cites numerous City pools for serious hazards that could result in drowning or even electrocution.

I am calling on the Bloomberg administration to immediately correct any and all safety and health hazards and to make sure all pools have the emergency and life-saving equipment they need. The next step is for the Parks Department to conduct unannounced visits to pool sites to check for hazardous conditions and evaluate the performance of lifeguards and to re-train and test pool employees responsible for water treatment so they understand how to add chemicals to the pool. There is still plenty of summer left. The administration needs to act now so that New Yorkers can enjoy their pools safely. Anything less would be a major belly flop.

My report was covered by The Daily News, Newsday, Metro, The Staten Island Advance, Hoy, El Diario, and World Journal; New York 1, Channels 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 12, 41, and 41; CBS radio, WWOR, WNYC, and WFUV.

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Gobtaum Backs Council Vote to Eliminate Sunday Parking Regulations

On Sunday, July 24, I joined City Council Members Vincent Gentile, Hiram Monserrate, and others to announce the upcoming Council vote to eliminate parking meters on Sundays. The bill, which I co-sponsored, was passed by the Council the following Wednesday. It is supported by a majority large enough to overturn a possible mayoral veto.

The broad support for this legislation in the Council is a reflection of New Yorkers� attitude toward excessive fines and restrictive parking regulations. Sunday shoppers and worshippers deserve a break. Mayor Bloomberg first instituted Sunday parking meters in 2003 to help balance the City�s budget, but now that there is a substantial budget surplus, the Mayor should allow New Yorkers to enjoy their day of rest without having to worry about feeding the meter.

Gotbaum Questions Klein on Obstacle to Parent Involvement

In a recent letter to Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, I raised questions about the requirement that members of Community Education Councils (CECs) submit financial disclosure forms. The CECs are an important resource for our schoolchildren and parents, and I am concerned that the financial disclosure requirement is an obstacle to parent participation.

Around forty current CEC members are planning not to submit the disclosure forms by the end of this month and will therefore not be able to continue their service. These parents, many of whom contacted my office for assistance, work tirelessly to lead community participation in their school districts and weigh in on decisions that impact the quality of public education. They do not understand why unpaid volunteers should be required by State law to report on their finances, nor do they understand why only incumbents and not new CEC applicants are required to submit the form. I pressed Chancellor Klein for answers to these questions and called on him to extend the submission deadline. I look forward to meeting with CEC members in the coming weeks to discuss potential solutions to this problem. I expect that the financial disclosure requirement and related concerns will be reviewed during the next state legislative session.

Have a great week�

Betsy Gotbaum
New York City Public Advocate

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