INC NEWS - Durham YMCA CALL TO ACTION
charlyrandy at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 30 06:58:46 EDT 2007
It is with great disappointment that I must tell you that the months-long
effort by the Committee to Save the Lakewood YMCA to facilitate open dialog
between the Triangle YMCA and the Durham Community has come to an impasse
over the direction of the Lakewood YMCA specifically and of the Durham YMCAs
in general. This is no longer about just the Lakewood YMCA, it is about all
Durham location YMCAs, present and future. Please take the time to read
Below is a list of very troubling issues with:
1. the recommendations being made to the Durham YMCA Advisory Board
(DAB) Task Force (
2. insight into the process by which they have arrived at these
3. their plans for executing these recommendations.
Following the list of our concerns are a number of ways you can help our
community. With the Durham Advisory Board's vote on this recommendation
just a little over a week away (scheduled for November 8th), this is an URGENT
CALL TO ACTION for all those in Durham who want to see kids and families
served by an open YMCA with policies that are visible to its members rather
than hidden and secret. Please take action today!
As a personal aside, while I plan to attend the DAB meeting, they have told
me the meeting will start with a prayer, then I will get 10 minutes to
speak, and then they will kick me out of the meeting so that I cannot be a
part of the discussion and help represent the interests of the community
while they deliberate this very important decision for Durham. I just don't
understand how this meeting can, in good conscience, start with a prayer to
a higher power and then immediately launch into an act of overt
disenfranchisement. This is outrageous!
Disappointments in Current YMCA Recommendation
1. Lack of outreach to the Durham YMCA members and no organizational
- Durham YMCA Advisory Board (DAB) meetings are closed -- even
to YMCA members.
- DAB meeting dates, times, and locations are not made publicly
- The list of members of the DAB membership is kept secret by
the Triangle YMCA -- even from YMCA members.
- The members of the DAB are not elected by the YMCA members in
stark contrast to other YMCAs around the country.
- Current DAB Task Force recommendations for all Durham YMCAs
have only been posted in the lobby of the Lakewood YMCA but have not been
mailed to all Durham YMCA members leaving most members in the
dark about the
current plans for the Durham YMCAs.
- No public hearing has been held by the DAB to get feedback on
the Task Force recommendation from YMCA members.
- Regrettably, there are two public officials (Mike Ruffin,
Durham County Manager and Larry McDonald, Athletics Director for Durham
Public Schools) and one candidate for City Council (Farad Ali) serving on
the DAB who have not publicly denounced this lack of transparency.
- This lack of transparency is contrasted with the Chapel
Hill-Carrboro YMCA where the board meetings are open, members elect the
board, members are encouraged to join the board, a public list
of the board
members is available on the internet as is a link to email the board
directly (http://www.chcymca.org/about/board.php), and an email
address is provided publicly for the community to contact the board.
2. DAB Task Force is recommending the Triangle YMCA sell the
Lakewood YMCA facility and only lease a small amount of space from the new
- This recommendation does not identify how the proceeds from the sale
will be used, however, the document suggests that the money will
Lakewood community. This is effectively a transfer of the value of that
property to some other interest of the YMCA without the approval or even
consultation of the Lakewood membership or surrounding
- Contrary to the recommendations by the Committee to Save the
Lakewood YMCA ( http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dd83nhq8_150ffn8sz),
this plan to lease part of the space could allow the YMCA to exit the
Lakewood facility in the near future. Furthermore, it provides no
indication of protective covenants to be added to the deed to protect the
use of this property by the new buyer. And what buyer of this large
property so close to downtown would not expect to redevelop it and reap a
return on their investment?
3. There are significant and disturbing inconsistencies between the
current Task Force recommendation posted at the Lakewood YMCA and what the
Task Force actually recommended to the Durham Advisory Board:
- The letter posted at the Lakewood YMCA does not even mention
recommendations to: close the pool, close youth locker rooms,
close the gymnastics room and programs, close off the top portion of the
YMCA and move youth programs to an undisclosed place. This
failure to disclose the full recommendations to Lakewood members is
astonishing. It appears to be a purposeful manipulation of the facts by
omitting the information that would be most disturbing to the community.
- The recommendation made by the Task Force recommends very
specific detailed improvements at the Downtown YMCA but makes no
any such detailed plans to improve the Lakewood facilities to facilitate
attracting new members indicating the YMCA has no plans to grow
YMCA presence but rather maintain the current membership only and at a
reduced cost. It is the opinion of the Committee to Save the
that the YMCA management cannot revive membership and vitality of the
Lakewood facility through cost cutting alone. They must spend
some money to
make it a facility that will attract and retain members -- just
as they have
done at the Downtown and American Tobacco YMCAs.
4. The recommendation includes a proposal to pursue the closing
of Seminary Street near Durham Central park and convert that into additional
surface parking for the Downtown YMCA. Again, this recommendation has had
no public hearing and is being recommended before getting any feedback from
the Durham Community about the effect of such expansion on the surrounding
streets and businesses downtown.
The Committee to Save the Lakewood YMCA believes for there to be real
integrity in this process, the Durham Advisory Board must suspend its vote
on this issue until (1) it has held a public hearing at which a quorum of
the DAB's members are present and (2) it has reformed its policies on
openness and transparency.
How can you help?
The three most important three things you can do are:
- Write or call the Farad Ali Campaign and tell them your vote on
November 6 depends on Mr. Ali's public denouncement of these practices of
the Durham Advisory Board and request that Mr. Ali work to reform the
openness of the Durham Advisory Board.
Farad Ali For City Council
P.O. Box 2271
Durham N.C. 27702
Email: info at faradali.com
- Write or call the Durham County Commissioners and tell them you
think it is inappropriate for our County Manager, Mike Ruffin, to sit on a
secretive and exclusionary board and request that Mr. Ruffin work to reform
the openness of the Durham Advisory Board.
You can find their phone numbers and email at:
- Write or call the Durham School Board and tell them you think it is
inappropriate for the Director of Athletics for Durham Public Schools, Larry
McDonald, to sit on a secretive and exclusionary board and request that Mr.
McDonald work to reform the openness of the Durham Advisory Board.
You can find their phone numbers and email at:
Additionally, if you still have time and energy to help out:
- Contact one of the Durham Advisory Board members today.
I have been able to piece together a listing of 17of the 19 members at this
I apologize for the incompleteness of the contact information but its the
best I could do given this organization's policy of secrecy.
- Write a letter to the editor for your local paper using the issues
in this email as talking points.
To write a letter to the editor of the Herald-Sun:
To write a letter to the editor of the News & Observer:
Thank you for any help you can provide,
Chairman, Committee to Save the Lakewood YMCA
Useful Save the Lakewood YMCA Links:
Visit our group site:
Sign our petition:
Post a message: save-the-lakewood-ymca at yahoogroups.com
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