EDITORíS DESK: The centerís not-so-secret future
Last week in this space I deplored the pointless secrecy and lack of clarity in the city policy regarding the Woodmen Valley Chapel proposal for the Westside
Community Center. Some of those chickens came home to roost this week as detractors with bad information emerged at the City Council meeting, and it became
apparent that the rumor mill has been working overtime. In some regards, such misunderstandings are understandable because (thanks again to the city) nobody
working or volunteering at the center has been told anything definitive, even though the Big Changeover is looming in April. But I also don't doubt that some people
with creative minds (perhaps fans of the "Imagine no religion" billboard elsewhere in town) might find it easy to imagine just the opposite: a community center with
jackboot evangelists painting over murals, paving over gardens and forcing all visitors to recite Bible verses from memory or else be locked in a room with an eight-
hour recording of Billy Graham sermons and the Tabernacle Choir singing in the background. Maybe that's why a few of the detractors actually asked council for the
"opportunity" to keep fundraising instead... anything but a bunch of Christians running the center?
Did I mention "city policy" earlier? Well, that's the real kicker in all this. Come to find there really was none. A defining moment occurred during the March 22 City Council meeting when Mayor Rivera actually proposed that council get involved in the contracts for pools and community centers - to which the city attorney said no, council had delegated that power to staff. But, in their quest, apparently all staff had to go on was a heartfelt desire that qualified entities would step forward and help bail the city out of its budget crisis. And lo and behold, to the Westside came Woodmen and its offshoot that will be the Westside Community Center LLC. Can I hear a hallelujah?