Pool Table Controversy at Senior Center takes on Racial Overtones

Here are some highlights from yesterday’s picket protest over the pool table controversy raging at the Florence Douglas Senior Center. Comments from several of the pool players and the man at the center of the controversy, Executive Director Peter Wilson. Dubbed Pool Tablegate, the controversial and sudden sale of the center’s pool table by Wilson has caused a lot of hurt feelings and outrage. It will undoubtedly take quite some time, if ever, to build bridges between Wilson, the senior center board and the group of seniors who have taken offense.

'Pool Table Controversy at Senior Center takes on Racial Overtones' have 11 comments

  1. February 3, 2015 @ 5:48 pm decentamerican

    Peter Wilson….. please get that sold pool table back at any cost to you;
    Restore it in the senior center;
    Be a man and apologize to the protesting members that you made a mistake in poor judgement;
    and PLAY A GAME OF POOL WITH ALL OF THEM over soup and salad on you.

    Peace & END OF STORY.


    • February 4, 2015 @ 12:48 pm Sage

      Great idea. Then, when peace has been restored, Peter Wilson needs to educate himself about 501s so that he can become a more competent manager.


  2. February 5, 2015 @ 8:38 am Billy Goat

    How fascinating that Peter Wilson was pushed out of managing the Humane Society because he was incompetent for the job — after which he quickly landed a job as Director at the Senior Center — and now has revealed his incompetence, again.

    I think the Senior Center ought to consider finding a new Director. Even if they want to keep their search to Vallejo, there are many people here who are competent enough to manage staff, programs AND community relations.


    • Firebug

      February 5, 2015 @ 11:12 am Firebug

      1) replace Wilson with a competent Director
      2) Charge 75 cents a game to keep the table hogs, and freeloaders away from the center.


  3. February 5, 2015 @ 2:09 pm Publicus

    There is more than one story here. Maybe the elderly women trying to get by a big group of black guys whooping it up around the pool table feel a bit intimidated especially when the R word is being used. Wasn’t pool the subject of a song in the Music Man? “Oh yes we got trouble…right here in River City… and that starts with T which rhymes with P and that stands for POOL” That’s the dialogue that should start rather than the jerk knee use of the R word. The real issue is the crime rate and the fact that the perps are overwhelmingly AA which leads to a real and understandable fear in those that are soft targets and a bit breakable. Maybe those guys playing pool could mentor some at risk kids by setting up a shop to fix old cars or something. The room where the pool table was is really a hallway into the building for everyone, not a clubhouse for a few.


    • February 5, 2015 @ 3:45 pm decentamerican

      MAY BE …. may be not,

      either ways, IT IS NO REASON TO SELL A COLLECTIBLE GIFT WORTH TENS OF THOUSANDS to an underground friend/contact for a song (100 or so) at the expense of unjustly hurting African American members of the Senior Center.

      We need to consider replacing this person and have the members VOTE a new leader/director ?!

      Wrongful action must be righted and the senior members must voice their opinion and choose a new leader….


  4. February 5, 2015 @ 6:16 pm soft target

    @publicus, i’m an elderly woman that you patronizingly refer to as a “soft target and a bit breakable” and i resent you using me as an excuse to justify your racism. i’d probably be more intimidated by the ignorance you display with your “jerk knee” suggestion that the pool players (who may or may not have mechanical skills) “set up a shop to fix cars or something”. they want to play pool. and how do you know they don’t already mentor at risk kids?


  5. February 5, 2015 @ 10:27 pm Publicus

    Me too. But I am probably in the category of frail elderly, not just elderly. All the surgeries I have gone through recently make me very conscious of how very breakable I am and I try to avoid situations that might be dangerous. Just getting knocked over accidentally would have grave implications for me. Have you attended any of the exercise classes at the senior center? I have. But I stopped going. Racism is judging people by the color of their skin. In Vallejo, racism is the default accusation when behavior is the actual concern. I agree that the Director has a lot of explaining to do when a valuable asset owned by the people of Vallejo disappears. That is another issue. That is not racism, it is theft.


  6. February 6, 2015 @ 10:09 am ImtalkinHere

    Fact: It seems odd that the only group of people that have ever been exiled from the senior center is the pool players.
    Fact: Whom most of which happen to be African-American.
    The issue on whether there was some racial bias involved cannot be simply dismissed by those who were not part of the decision making process or those who influenced the actions to remove the table. Considering the era that many of these seniors grew up in, people who grew up without a lot of diversity in there lives, there is always the chance of unconscious racism driven by fear. I have heard stories for years of the cliques that existed inside the center. Groups of people that did not make it a welcoming atmosphere to newcomers or people that didn’t look like them. I am still hearing them. Now it has exploded into the public eye and we are seeing that there is in fact a problem in the center. The issues we have heard about the pool table could have been easily resolved by common sense and a bit of management skills.

    Beyond the issue of race which is troublesome, is the issue of the direction that this Senior Center is headed. Apparently the Board of Directors and the Director are feeling very comfortable with making changes in the center’s policies and bypassing the membership’s vote. Selling off the center’s property, changing the membership age and establishing a “jr” membership for anyone age 18 to 49, vague financial reports that conceal true revenues and expenses, closed door board meetings, and transferring the decision making power from the membership to the director are all violations of the bylaws. None of these decisions were brought before the membership for consideration prior to enactment which is in direct violation of the bylaws. Apparently the Board and many of the members are blinded by the fact that Peter Wilson has fund raising abilities.
    Changing the membership age from 50 could possibly bring the center in violation of their lease with the City. Violations of the bylaws could possibly jeopardize the center’s non profit status. People need to start paying closer attention to the direction that Peter Wilson is taking the senior center in. He clearly has demonstrated that he doesn’t have the ability to lead or run any organization. Other than fund raising, what qualifications does he have that qualified him for these jobs? (Humane Society and Florence Douglas) It seems that people in power have been aiding him in landing jobs that he’s not qualified in. His partner was on City Council when he was given the director job at the Humane Society which he ran into the ground. Now his partner works for Erin Hannigan – County Board of Supervisor, and he lands the job as director of the senior center. People need to pay attention.


  7. February 6, 2015 @ 10:32 am Anonymous

    Peter Wilson’s only qualification is his ability to suck up to power and money. He and his partner are both parasites that live off the lives and money of others.


  8. February 6, 2015 @ 12:02 pm Sage

    IMTALKINHERE’s last paragraph is “RIGHT ON THE MONEY”. The real issue here is even deeper than racism. At stake is the very existence of the center.


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