|PARKS - OPEN SPACE - BALLONA WETLANDS
The City Council is changing. Term limits is creating a lot of new faces and we have the opportunity for a positive change. Los Angeles has been extraordinarily negligent in its legal requirements for providing open space and parks to its residents. The National Recreation and Parks Association recommends ten acres per 1,000 residents and Los Angeles has approximately 1 acre per 1,000 residents. The Santa Monica Mountains and Griffith Park provide a tremendous amount of open space for hiking and relaxation, however, they are not easily accessible to everyone.
Every neighborhood should have a park that families can play in, people can sit and read, and get away from work. All humans need an escape into nature for mental health. Every major city in the United States (including New York) has more per capita open space than Los Angeles. What can we do about it?
Proposition 12 created millions of dollars for open space acquisition. Millions were set aside for purchasing of the Ballona Wetlands. That money needs to be put into parks right away. More money needs to be set aside. The City Council is currently voting to give investment bankers $168.6 million in taxpayer subsidies to build Playa Vista which will include luxury housing, a marina for 750 boats and a 1,050 room hotel. All this will be the largest in-fill project in U.S. history. Playa Vista paid $789,000 in lobbyist fees in order to speed up the approval process for this project.
When elected, I will:
Fight to save all of Ballona. No more corporate welfare will be granted to Playa Vista. I will work with the State to ensure that Parcel C is a functioning low-intensity use park. The area which is now being developed which sits atop large methane deposits should not be developed on. I will do everything in my power to make sure all of Ballona is used as a park for children to learn about egrets, blue herons, wildflowers and a functioning natural wetland. The sewage runoff sump which is being called a renewed wetland will be halted in favor of a truly restored wetland. The gates which are currently preventing water from making the wetland wet will be lifted and Ballona will once again function as it was historically meant to be.
Request that each neighborhood council identify any open space that is available for acquisition and appropriate for parkland.
Meet with state, federal and county legislators, along with the Department of Parks and Recreation and create the largest realistic plan for park acquisition.
Meet with the School Board and go over their new plan for school acquisition. In many cases there will be land available that can be used for both schools and parks. Inter-agency alliances and partnerships will be formed, and grants requested so that money can be pooled from various sources.
Target private funds from non-profit foundations that can assist in filling the gap that exists between tax money available and money needed.
Continue the process of re-greening the Los Angeles River. Friends of the LA River already have done a lot of work that is necessary to make this a reality. They will become important players in my administration.