Detroit for all of its problems ranks considerably higher than Los Angeles.
“You can’t have a great city without great parks,” said Mr. Benepe, who, under NY Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, oversaw 1,700 parks and beaches during a period of expansion and major capital investment.
Benepe's statement certainly does not describe Los Angeles' dedication to its parks. City leaders have effectively stolen $151 million in Charter-mandated funding from LA's parks since 2007 to cover holes in other City departments' budgets.
There is the Mayor's 50-parks initiative ... with funding for the acquisition of 50 postage stamp-sized parks, but no funding -- zero -- for maintenance, programming, or security going forward. Hardly a real investment in LA's parks.
Meanwhile it only gets worse for LA's existing parks: although Mayor-elect Garcetti is a signatory on ParksSave's pledge to restore parks funding, Garcetti as councilmember, the Mayor, and City Council unanimously approved taking another $70 million in chargebacks ($64 mil) and hidden indirect charges ($7 mil) from the Department of Recreation and Parks this year alone.
Garcetti as Mayor, of course, does have the opportunity to change this come July 1.
“You can’t have a great city without great parks” is one of those universal ‘knowns’, yet Los Angeles has been actively stealing from its parks, dishonoring the foresight Angelenos had when they tried to protect LA's parks by mandating funding specifically for parks in the City Charter.
Stay tuned for the deflecting, marginalizing, and scapegoating of managers that is sure to follow.
(Kristin Sabo is an advocate for LA’s parks and blogs at GriffithParkWayist.blogspot.com where this column was first posted. She is an occasional contributor to CityWatch.)
Vol 11 Issue 46
Pub: June 7, 2013