I missed this earlier

Play land's pool, 5 minutes from Byram

Playland’s pool, 5 minutes from Byram

Jim Lash has written in support of his wife’s current pet project, the Byram Pool. I’m disappointed to learn that because, until now, I thought the man was a champion of  careful stewardship of the taxpayer dollar, and hadn’t realized that he’d sell us out for domestic peace.

But here’s what I just noticed, buried in his opinion piece:

[T] he project has been developed and partially funded by the Junior League in an effort co-chaired this year by Sue Rogers and [my wife] Debby Lash…. The league has contributed $40,000 to architectural and engineering design costs and is considering a capital campaign to raise $2.5 million as part of a public-private partnership to fund the project

So there is no Junior League funding for this folly, nor is there a commitment to any; they might try a fund raiser, they might not, and they’re silent on any sort of guarantee that any particular amount will be raised, if any at all. They come up with a do-good idea, we get to pay for it.

If the good ladies of the Junior League think the poor of this town should have a new pool, I suggest they back their compassion with full funding. The project’s estimated cost has already climbed from $7 million to $13 million before anyone’s even settled on a design, let alone broken ground, so it’s an easy prediction that the $13 will double again. From what I understand of the membership of the League, they, or their husbands, like Jim Lash, can easily afford to pay that tab.

And if they aren’t willing to, why should taxpayers be forced to support their good intentions?

62 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

62 responses to “I missed this earlier

  1. Stop the pool !

    I have to agree with you ,Jim Lash should finance the pool project and call it “Lash Pool Club or Debby’s pool club. Leave the taxpayers out of these insane projects! Jim and Debby Lash -give a huge donation to charity of your choice and stop this pool madness! For heaven sakes stop trying to be like Obama!

  2. Anonymous

    This is what you can accomplish in the private sector. The whole construction phase was complete in twelve months.

    Even if the town of Greenwich could afford the cost I doubt they could have got this done with the same budget.

    The Brunswick School Natatorium project included construction of a 22,000 square foot facility with a 50-yard competition pool, installation of an artificial turf field over the partially-underground pool structure, and minor renovations to the adjacent middle school building and waste treatment facility.

    http://www.turnerconstruction.com/experience/project/68FD/brunswick-school-natatorium

    • And remember, the Empire State Building took 18 months to build, from the assembly of the land packages for the site to its topping off, all with the primitive tools of the day. It was not built by a committee, but a private money grubber determined to make a profit. That’s how things work, or in the case of Greenwich, don’t work.

      • Anonymous

        That is a great example. Puts things in perspective.

      • Call It Like I See It

        Don’t forget The Donald when he stepped in to build the skating rink in Central Park. The city made such a mess and he stepped in and did the project at a fraction of the cost.

        • AJ

          And instantly became Ed Koch’s enemy for life.

          The name of the game is fixing stuff that isn’t broken; how dare he fix something that was.

  3. Libertarian Advocate

    I suggest they back their compassion with full funding.

    Or maybe open their own personal pools to the poor? I’m not holding my breath.

  4. AJ

    If it’s a good enough idea to go forward with, it’s a good enough idea to pay for. To those whose wonderful idea it is, put your money where your mouth is or STFU!

  5. AJ

    This is the OPM, other people’s money, corrupt bankster mind-set. The Banksters place bets on bets that are backed by nothing. If they win, they get fat; if they loose, you get to pay for it. Time to grab your pitch forks and rise up: greasy meat smells good cooking on an open fire. You guys pay way too much in property tax.

    • Call It Like I See It

      Disagree on the banker mindset, but I am not going to debate it with you.

      • AJ

        With the passage of the Cromnibus bill the Banksters put you on the hook for —
        “. . . The Citi-drafted legislation will benefit five of the largest banks in the country—Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. These financial institutions control more than 90 percent of the $700 trillion derivatives market. If this measure becomes law, these banks will be able to use FDIC-insured money to bet on nearly anything they want. And if there’s another economic downturn, they can count on a taxpayer bailout of their derivatives trading business. . . .”
        http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/12/spending-bill-992-derivatives-citigroup-lobbyists

        Now while it’s true that FDIC insurance is paid for by the banks and not the taxpayer, there is not even enough money there to cover savings deposits, let alone $700 trillion. And while Dodd-Frank forbids the use of taxpayer money to bail out failed banks, do you think they would really allow the banking system to collapse? Well, of course not, that is, not after first having done a Cyprus style bail-in, and then Too Big To Fail will get taxpayer bailouts. It is now legal for banks to do bail-ins in the US, but even before that came about, once you put your money in a bank it was no longer yours, and not kept in a segregated fund: all you held was an IOU, and you were not first in line to receive in the case of failure. The Sentinel Management Group appeals ruling essentially makes what Jon Corzine did legal.

        As far as the bets not being covered, what do you think TARP and quantitative easing were all about. If they had the funds to cover their bets, then none of that would have been necessary. Heads they win, tails you lose.

        • Call It Like I See It

          I could pick this apart sentence by sentence, but not worth the time. And what exactly is “taxpayer backed money”?

          Also, you are confusing the terms “bank” and “bankers.” They are related, but two different things.

          BTW, the US government made $12 Billion off of Citigroup on the “bailout.”
          http://www.nbcnews.com/id/40542359/ns/business-us_business/t/us-announces-billion-profit-citigroup/#.VPIee3Q5Azs

          We did manage to lose $9 billion supporting the mis-managed auto companies to ensure the democratic vote for Obama.

          http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/12/30/auto-bailout-tarp-gm-chrysler/21061251/

          If you only knew what you were talking about, unfortunately this is because you have blinders on when looking at the big picture.

          The US government had a major role in setting up the framework for the banking crises to happen. The behavior it the banks was only part of the cause, but not the root cause.

          http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB123414310280561945

        • AJ

          Whoa! There is a difference between “the terms bank and bankers”? Thanks for pointing that out: I looked in the dictionary and, by God, you’re right they are not one and the same. Good thing they have computers running the whole mess or someone might be to blame.

          What is taxpayer backed money? I don’t know it’s your term, not mine, and one that I didn’t use in my comment. But “Bloomberg Markets Magazine” puts the Federal Reserve’s bank bailouts at $7.7 trillion in secret loans on top of the $700 billion in TARP funds.

          And I’m glad to see that, according to that MOST RELIABLE of sources, NBC, from a December, 2010 article, we profited 12 billion dollars by selling the remaining government holdings of Citigroup common stock.

          But, according to an April, 2012 article in Forbes:

          “. . .For one thing, there are plenty of folks in Washington included the President and Treasury Department who say the bailouts have actually resulted in a profit for the government. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Romero says that’s because it is. “It is a widely held misconception that TARP will make a profit. The most recent cost estimate for TARP is a loss of $60 billion. Taxpayers are still owed $118.5 billion (including $14 billion written off or otherwise lost),” the report notes.

          The Treasury has actually incurred write-offs of $4.2 billion and realized losses of $9.8 billion as of March 31, 2012, “which taxpayers will never get back, leaving $104.5 billion in TARP funds outstanding.” According to Treasury, the largest losses from TARP are expected to come from housing programs and from assistance to AIG and the automotive industry. . . .”

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/halahtouryalai/2012/04/25/dont-be-fooled-theres-no-profit-in-bank-bailouts-tarp-watchdog/

          “The US government had a major role in setting up the framework for the banking crises to happen”? That’s a good one. And who do you think was responsible in getting the government to set up that framework. Saying the Devil made you do it is so passé: the contemporary excuse is drugs.

        • Call It Like I See It

          AJ,
          “What is taxpayer backed money? I don’t know it’s your term, not mine, and one that I didn’t use in my comment.”

          Really? Go look at the Mother Jones (a reputable news source?) article you posted. Apparently you don’t even read what you post for us to read, which goes to the point of my earlier post. I will repeat that you have blinders on to believe only what you want to, but you should broaden your horizon to understand the big picture.

          And BTW was Clinton that got rid of Glass-Seagull, but you probably don’t even know what this law did. Also, I guess you are hinting that the politicians are not responsible for anything, with the contemporary excuse is that they are on drugs and the banks made them do it? At least you could say something sensible like blaming Monica for Bill’s folly.

        • Call It Like I See It

          The TARP article you posted is stale, as it was published in 2012. If you are going to report numbers, at least find an article with current ones. You can’t declare the winner of the Superbowl based on a halftime score.

        • AJ

          You are right the term taxpayer-backed money is used in the article that I linked to, but was not used in my comment. From the context, I would guess the meaning is that it’s safe to assume that ultimately, it is the taxpayer who will cover the banksters uncovered bets. Just as the term taxpayer-backed investments used by the Wall Street Journal in the “Latest TARP Taxpayer Screw-Job is Revealed” excerpt below means exactly the same thing. But for further clarification you can contact the WSJ or Mother Jones as they are their words not mine.

          As far as not knowing what Glass-Seagull is, you are right: I’ve never heard of it. I am, however, familiar with Glass-Steagall. And what difference does it make that it was under Clinton, not Bush that Glass-Steagall or that Brooksley Born’s attempt to regulate derivatives was ended: Rubin, Greenspan, Summers and Levitt were the ones behind it – the Banksters were the driving force. And yes, the 2012 Forbes article is hardly new, or stale if you prefer, but not as stale as your 2010 article that I was responding to.

          But as far as TARP being profitable and to the benefit of taxpayers let’s take a further not so stale look:

          ‘Occupied by Wall Street – The Latest TARP Taxpayer Screw-Job is Revealed’
          Jan 28, 2015

          From the Wall Street Journal:

          “WASHINGTON—A government program to rid itself of TARP investments in small banks has proved a boon to hedge funds, private-equity and other private investors, according to a new watchdog report.

          As the Treasury Department looks to exit from its taxpayer-backed investments in these lenders, private investors like hedge funds and others have stepped in and scooped up about 70% of the shares auctioned by the U.S. government. Other buyers included banks, institutional investors and brokers buying shares on behalf of other entities.

          The Treasury-created market has benefited a few savvy investors, while saddling taxpayers with a loss. Three private funds, which the report didn’t name, have won almost half the shares available at auction, often netting either a profit on paper or on the resale, according to the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The Treasury, which has held 185 auctions to date, said it has raised about $3 billion on TARP investments that were originally valued at $3.8 billion, for a loss of $800 million at the auctions.”

          http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2015/01/28/occupied-by-wall-street-the-latest-tarp-taxpayer-screw-job-is-revealed/

          And yes, the following is from twenty twelve, but that doesn’t change the fact the money used to pay back TARP was other government funds:

          ‘Banks Repaid Fed Bailout With Other Fed Money: Government Report’
          03/09/2012

          “Though lots of people grumble about the government bailing out banks in the financial crisis, we have at least taken some comfort in the idea that the government has turned a profit on that bailout.

          Only problem is, that profit comes from taxpayer money — money that was meant to spur banks to develop communities and help small businesses. Instead they’ve used it to develop and help themselves.

          All told, including dividend, interest and other payments, U.S. banks have repaid the government $211.5 billion under the Capital Purchase Program (CPP), the first phase of the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), according to a report Thursday by the Government Accountability Office, a congressional watchdog. That’s more than the $204.9 billion the banks initially got under TARP.

          $211.5 billion minus $204.9 billion equals profit, right?

          But 48 percent of the banks that have repaid the CPP used money they’d gotten from other federal programs, according to the GAO report. Those programs include . . .”

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/09/bank-tarp_n_1335006.html

          And here from the WSJ on June 19, 2014, we have Banksters telling us they don’t have to pay back the loans so why don’t you just go f*ck yourself:

          “Maryland Financial Bank, one of six banks included in the government’s auction this week of stakes it received as part of its crisis-era bailout program, enjoys an unusual luxury: It doesn’t have to make good on the money it still owes taxpayers.

          The Towson, Md., bank, which received $1.7 million in the Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2009, is a beneficiary of a quirk that placed stricter rules on some recipients of financial aid than on others.

          Specifically, some of the banks that received TARP money aren’t obligated to make good on dividend payments they have missed. That leaves the banks with a dilemma of either fulfilling their obligations to taxpayers at the expense of their own balance sheets, or keeping the money for themselves.
          . . .
          the bank’s Chief Executive Officer Robert Chafey said it made little sense for the bank to keep making the payments. Overall, the bank has missed seven payments totaling $161,138.

          “We don’t have a gun to our head to pay this dividend, so why would we pay?” Mr. Chafey said in a February interview.”

          http://www.wsj.com/articles/bailout-lets-a-few-lucky-banks-off-the-hook-1403220883

          And from Washington’s Blog just a few days ago–
          February 20, 2015

          “. . . The big banks are manipulating every market. They’re also taking over important aspects of the physical economy, including uranium mining, petroleum products, aluminum, ownership and operation of airports, toll roads, ports, and electricity. And they are using these physical assets to massively manipulate commodities prices … scalping consumers of many billions of dollars each year (more here and more).

          The evidence demonstrates that the big banks have essentially become huge criminal enterprises … waging warfare against the people of the world.

          Apart from the above-described manipulation, virtually all of the big banks’ profits come from taxpayer bailouts and subsidies (see this, this and this). Why don’t they need deposits? Because the taxpayers are showering them with money.

          And they don’t need deposits because – as is now admitted by the mainstream – banks create money out of thin air. In other words, banks don’t need deposits in order to make loans.

          http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/02/big-fails-stopped-banks.html

          And – ‘David Stockman Debunks TARP Profit Claims: The Fed Runs A ‘No Banker Left Behind’ Program’
          December 28, 2014

          “. . . But the heart of the matter is this. The Fed and other central banks of the world have created trillions of fiat credit that is drastically mispriced and would not even exist in a free market based on honest savings from current production and legitimate requirements for capital investment.

          “TARP wasn’t ‘repaid’ with a profit. It was simply perpetuated and morphed into a new form of destructive state subvention and mal-investment. . . .”

          http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/david-stockman-debunks-tarp-profit-claims-the-fed-runs-a-no-banker-left-behind-program/

          And what about the 7.7 trillion in secret loans to the Banksters from The Fed? What is the status on that? We don’t know and have no way of finding out. But if it was secret and remains hidden, odds are it would not be a pretty sight. Maybe if the GAO were to audit The Fed . . .

          But these articles touting profitability carry about as much weight as those that “scientifically” prove the veracity of Global Warming, and are as common as goose poop in Bruce Park, perhaps even more plentiful than that.

  6. Walt

    Dude –

    Who is this Jim Lash guy? He has a “50 Shades of Grey” name. I will give him that. Lucky BASTARD!! Why couldn’t I be named Walt Longwhip? Or Frank Ballgag? Even Johnny Nippletwist would work.

    Anyhows, Mr. Lashyourass says, AND I QUOTE!!

    “It will add enormously to the quality of life in our town and can only enhance our image and the overall value of our community”.

    How? HOW!! My quality of life goes up because we built a pool for Port Chester wetbacks to use? Kindly explain that to me. It will add NOTHING to the vast majority of the towns quality of life. We already have Tod’s, and the YMCA and YWCA. And a gazzilion private pools. ENOUGH ALREADY.

    Enhance our image? ENHANCE OUR IMAGE AS WHAT? Our “image” is a community of stuck up WASP’S who think their farts smell like roses. That will never change, because that is who we are, so just embrace it. Public pools are for “those people”. Muffy and Biff reject this proposal out of WHITE GLOVED HAND!!

    And how would it enhance the value of our community? How? HOW!! A large part of the Greenwich appeal is low taxes, and we are PISSING THAT AWAY!! Now you want me to pay for non-residents to PISS IN MY POOL!!
    This is the dumbest idea ever.

    What do you think Dude?
    Your Pal,
    Walt

  7. HuNhu?

    I wonder how many Greenwich residents will financially benefit from the attendant corruption inherent in this pool project. Could it be in single digits? Or do most of the spoils land in the pockets of corrupt non-citizens?

  8. Anonymous

    We don’t need this friggin pool. Why can’t we kill this? So we need to start a petition?

    • AJ

      Don’t need a hundred million dollar music hall either. C’mon man, it’s freakin’ high school; the sooner you get out of there, the sooner it’s forgotten.

  9. Anonymous

    Chris- I’ll start the ball rolling by offering $5,000 toward any expenses a petition etc. would require.

    • AJ

      $5,000 for a petition to stop the pool? What a waste! That’s enough to run the pool for, why, almost a month once it’s been built for . . . $13 million? Do I hear $26 million? Going once, going twice . . . $35 million. 36? 36? $37 million! . . .

  10. Anon

    The BET deserves 50 lashes for this boondoggle. But I guest just two will do the trick.

    • RTC member, current

      The problem is not within the full BET….
      The problem begins with budget committee members Marc Johnson and Leslie Tarkington. I lobbied many RTC members to not re nominate Tarkington. And I did so because she rarely takes a full stance on anything and only votes in lock step with all others. I can’t remember one single time she dissented. This is why I will once again come this election year try and convince people to vote against her and others. I hope the RTC fields many candidates in the next couple of months. I actually hope Jim Lash consider running.

  11. Anonymous

    Has anyone ever seen the amazing scarsdale pools…yes pools. How do they do it? Also, I agree that there should be a 10 large donors and get the ball rolling cost effectively.

    • Anonymous

      Along with the amazing Scarsdale property tax bill?

    • Accolay

      Surprised that people in Scarsdale actually use public pools. Would think it would all be private.

      • Hey there, my grandmother Elizabeth Caldwell Fountain, first female school board president, circa 1910, has a new wing of their middle school named after her – watch what you say.

        • Accolay

          Love Scarsdale, but would think most wealthy homeowners – essentially everyone in Scarsdale – would want their own pool. Can’t exactly picture some Heathcote mogul swimming in a public pool.

          • My family owned no.s 8 and 10 Heathcote -in fact, my grandfather GerardFountain designed and built them.They’re magnificent homes, but neither had a pool. Not in 1910, in any case.

        • Accolay

          Just looked them up – gorgeous homes! 8 Heathcote recently sold and pictures show it now has a pool, accompanying one of the most beautiful properties, I’m sure, in lower Westchester.

    • Parts of Scarsdale= White Plains

  12. Anonymous

    AJ- I agree it could be a $30mil pool, but at least I am trying to help solve the problem with my offer. Bitching doesn’t get the job done.

    • AJ

      I was just kidding. Go for it: someone has to stop these people. They get the big ideas, you get the bill. Enough is enough.

    • AJ

      Seeing as how the town can’t print its own money, it might be a good idea to transfer all of its commonwealth assets such as parks to a private trust for which annual memberships could be sold for a nominal fee so that when the town goes bankrupt it doesn’t have to sell off these assets to developers. This might also solve the Beach use problem with regard to out-of-towners.

  13. Playland pool is close to Byram (15 minutes) but it’s not cheap to get in. That’s how we keep the riff raff from Connecticut out.

    • If the town were to buy a bulk pass for its residents, at some sort of discount, Westchester County could come closer to breaking even on the place and, regardless what we paid, we’d still save millions otherwise spent on building our own.

      By the way, although Byram is indeed 15 minutes from Playland, not 5, I figure most of our proposed pool’s users would already be residents of Port Chester, and thus much closer.

      • I’m sure Westchester would do some sort of deal for you. They have group events at Playland all the time. I’m really touched that Greenwich would include Port Chester residents in the deal. You’re not the evil capitalists that everyone thinks you are after all.

      • GreenITCH

        CF when are u going to get off the PC using our town resources and schools horse .. you have been dead quiet about the school issue since that was completely proofed false by the town. ( and never even applauded the town for dealing with the ” supposed” issue . As long as the town provides cheap access to the ferries and under priced day beach passes , we will be sharing our town beaches . As well not sure last time you went to the Byram beach .. unfortunately families ( likely from further away then PC ) show up in droves to use the town park , beach and pool because it is WAY underpriced ..Charge $15 pp and $25 for parking and yes residents should need to buy an additional town pool pass – similar to NC and if that doesn’t cover the cost .. charge $1000 + for a non resident family

        • I actually don’t have problem with the town charging a moderate admission fee for use of our beaches, but that’s just me; we have to pick and choose our fights.

  14. Anonymous

    Nobody has mentioned that the town owns Island Beach as well, a pretty nice place to go in the summer.

  15. Greenwich Taxpayer

    Here’s the link to the counter argument against the pool that also ran in the GT (even after they wrote their editorial supporting the pool). GT is good for nothing but at least this got in…
    http://www.greenwichtime.com/opinion/article/4-reasons-to-nix-pool-plan-6099351.php

  16. Anonymous

    Obama wants Reverend Al to speak to as many politicians as possible. I guess it is not the case for Netanyahu.

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/28/politics/netanyahu-israel-obama-congress-visit/index.html

  17. Walt

    Dude –

    This is off topic, but I struggle with this. So help me out to understand it. The liberal credo is we are all the same. No difference between men and women, race, or belief. We are all cut from the same cookie cutter. OK. So if you buy that, why do we do this?

    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-adv-asian-race-tutoring-20150222-story.html#page=1

    The Asians, and I assume that means all of them – the Japs, the slope heads, the slanty eyes, the little LBFM’s who we both love so much, are all penalized 50 points on the SAT’s. While the Negro’s, the blacks, the home boys get a 230 point BONUS!! The Hispanics, the wet backs, the taco eaters, get a 185 point free taco.

    HOW IS THIS FAIR? WHO IS DECIDING THIS STUFF? We are oppressing our little yellow love muffins and IT SHOULD NOT STAND!!
    America will be exceptional again when we let talent succeed. And not try and drive it by liberal social re-engineering. Let talent win, regardless of color, or gender.

    And does anyone feel good because they got where they are because of political correctness as opposed to ability?
    ARE YOU LISTENING BARRY?

    Your Pal,
    Walt

  18. Anonymous

    But i think they give the asians the handicap score back for driving tests. Perfect SAT math score, easy. Paralell parking, impossible.

  19. Anonymous

    I am proud, very proud I voted for Jim Lash twice. His support for a pool in Byram is a good one. I can give a rats ass if his wife is affiliated with this project or not. The fact that Debbie Lash contributes both time and money when clearly she does not have to speaks volumes. Jim Lash clearly illustrates how to responsibly finance this project. The BET budget committee specifically it’s chair Marc Johnson has demonstrated time and time again his inability to comprehend economics on a level worthy of such board. It’s nothing personal. It’s just that Marc Johnson’s simple approach combined with limited financial experience puts Greenwich taxpayers at risk. See for yourself and talk to the guy. It’s scary!

    • Republican

      Good for Mike Mason. At last weeks BET meeting he tried educating Marc Johnson on many occasions. It’s not hard given Johnson’s IQ but I credit Mason for trying. I also just read GT Op Ed by Jim Lash and I too agree with his well thought out financial model and plan for building a pool. I suggest Marc Johnson speak to Mason and Lash for some quick financial advice.

  20. Anonymous

    Some members of the Junior League promoted the pool as a moral necessity in a town with so many private pools, and it became a liberal hot topic. After 2008, the project seemed unrealistic to privately fund given the new economic climate and the conversation quieted down. I believe Debby Lash is new on board the long term project. Not sure when the dollar scope of the pool went obscene, but I believe it shouldn’t be shepherded by unelected volunteers with no/little construction background.