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L.A. Times: Mayor takes steps to cool off pool dispute

From Times Staff and Wire Reports
August 4, 2007

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took the plunge Friday, jumping into a swimming pool dispute that has pitted residents of a low-income neighborhood against school and parks officials.

Starting today, the mayor’s office will provide vans to take youngsters from 3rd Street’s Miguel Contreras Learning Center, where a closed pool is at the center of the dispute, to pools at Griffith and Glassell parks. Vehicles will leave at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. from the Bixel Avenue side of the campus, a mayor’s spokesman said.

On Tuesday, officials responded to a protest over the closure of a new pool at the learning center to neighborhood children by explaining that the campus pool lacked lifeguards and was not designed for the general public’s use.

“The mayor is a hero,” said Robert Garcia, an activist involved in the pool protest. Children under 7 must be accompanied by an adult for the transportation, which will be provided through Sept. 3, officials said.