High fees and a “country club” atmosphere effectively exclude minorities from the new $6.5-million Rose Bowl Aquatic Center, the head of the Pasadena NAACP charged Wednesday.
“We are not faced with the blatant racism of old,” said John Kennedy of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People. “The means of exclusion have changed but the end result is the same: exclusivity.”
Critics said only one of the three pools at the center is shallow, allowing for recreation by nonswimmers, and the cost of lessons--$45 for three weeks--is too high for many poor residents of Northwest Pasadena.
The aquatic center, which opened in June, is run by the nonprofit Amateur Athletic Foundation. Board member Bill Bogaard disputed the allegations of exclusivity, saying that more than 13,000 youngsters, many of them minorities, used the pools this summer.