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December 22, 2008

Subject: Response: outdoor ice rinks alerts
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2008 11:55:48 -0500
From: Jutta Mason <[email protected]>
To: Brenda Patterson <[email protected]>
CC: [email protected], Paul Ronan <[email protected]>

Dear Ms.Patterson,

There are a number of important points in your Thursday letter, which I will address through the Zanetti Reports as the outdoor rink season continues. For now, I want to respond to only three points:

1. Your division's rink maintenance staff and vehicle allocation may be based in part on the designation of "minor" and "major" rinks. That designation was radically altered within the last few years, as you can see when you compare the excel document sent to me by Brenda Librecz in 2005 with the current designations on the city website:

The City's current outdoor rinks list misidentifies 11 South District outdoor ice rinks as "minor" (defined as "pleasure-skating only," i.e. no boards) when in fact they are all proper hockey rinks, i,.e. "major," and many are heavily used. This re-classification has consequences when linked to staff assignment. The consequences are experienced by rink users on many days when South District rinks lag far behind West and North in their ice maintenance.

Your letter says there is a total of 80 maintenance staff assigned to outdoor rinks, of which 36 work at South District rinks. This does not match exactly with our calculations based on the rink visits, and it would help us to know the breakdown for the other three rink districts, so we could move from relying on educated guesses ( to analyzing actual numbers. Please send us those other three numbers.

2. I am writing to you as a CELOS ( researcher, not as "any interested resident" as you letter suggests. We run the website, which has increased in use from when we began it during last year's budget crisis, to about 10,000 visitors this month so far.

3. Your hope that I "find the opportunity to acknowledge...the successes of the program, along with the efforts of staff" -- is already realized. The "rink diaries" on the website have many stories that illustrate why we treasure the rinks. Your suggestion that I only have negative comments (if I took your meaning correctly) prompted me to ask one of our CELOS researchers to cut and paste some of the many happy excerpts from this and other years of "rink diaries" here:

I hope that reading some of these stories will cheer you during the holiday season.

Jutta Mason

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