Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Changing face of Kirk Community Center

Subject: The changing face of Kirk Community Center
Date: September 22, 2004 11:59:30 PM PDT

Dear Councillor Chirco,

I am concerned about current trends and future plans for Kirk Community Center.
In particular:

1. Kirk office staff re-location/redundancies and ramifications.

2. Plans for the front office to be the office for the Senior Center.

3. Ongoing concerns about the City-wide brochure and how it has undermined community and services. I have questions about:

a) The cost of it,
b) The fiscal ramifications of it,
c) The management staffing costs of it at the expense of services to the community.
d) The impact on the community.

This summer I had the worst experience I have EVER had as a result of enrolling my sons in a Spanish class at Kirk Community Center. Since the departure of Valentine Lewis from Kirk there has been a noticeable deterioration in class quality. Without someone paying attention to the class instructors and keeping an eye on things I predict the situation will deteriorate further.

The Spanish instructor arrived 20-25 minutes late every week. He was unprepared and quite frankly an apology for an instructor. This would never have happened under the watchful eye of Valentine. I don't even suppose he would have been hired. Parents dropped off their children expecting the instructor to be there. The children were unattended on many occasions.

- The City-wide guide took away her job, damaging community services.
- The City-wide guide is anti-community, promotes centralisation and loses the local voice.

The squeeze on money and the vast expense of the City-wide guide has resulted in a lowering of the quality of instructor.

My chief concerns are that the Community Center at Kirk is starting to look like it will become exclusively a Senior Center. I am not impressed by assurances that Camden will service my needs and those of my children. It is not my community.

San Jose has a slogan "Building Strong Communities" My experience of City policy is the opposite in this regard. The demographics of this area are changing - as old people move out of the larger homes into sheltered or residential accommodation, more families with children are moving in. I wonder if the people who have recently moved here with young children realise that the Community Center is being reshaped to exclude them.

I'm sure it is just coincidence that Carole Ferris-Greer Director of YPT is under pressure and her good name and standing are currently threatened. Without Carole the YPT program would be altogether different and probably in a different location perhaps?

When changes are proposed that affect the current quality and level of service to families and the elderly in this community, I propose that a well-advertised Community Meeting is held to discuss the issues.

I am writing to the Mercury News to make them aware of my concerns.

I look forward to hearing from you to discuss the concerns I have.

yours sincerely,

Rosie Marks


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