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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Parks in Perpetuity
City of Long Beach
16,421 / 74.4% Yes votes ...... 5,648 / 25.6% No votes
Index of all Measures
|Information shown below: Summary | Impartial Analysis | Arguments ||
Shall Proposition E, which amends the Long Beach Charter to require that certain City park and recreation areas shall not be sold or otherwise transferred without either a majority vote of the people, or the replacement of such property by the City at a ratio of at least two to one (2:1) subject to certain additional requirements, be adopted?
The Way It Is Now: There is no language in the City Charter which would limit the ability of the City to sell or transfer property designated for parks and recreation. The 2002 update to the General Plan (Open Space Element) provided for replacement of any displaced publicly owned recreation open space on an acre per acre basis, in kind, within areas of the City most underserved by recreation open space.
What this Measure Would Do: Prop E amends the Long Beach City Charter to provide that Parks or recreation areas cannot be sold or otherwise disposed of unless:
Presently, the Long Beach City Charter contains no limitations on the ability of the City to sell or otherwise transfer property presently designated for public parks or recreation. The proposed amendment would require that the City follow certain procedures before it may sell or transfer any property presently designated for public parks or recreation. Prior to such sale or transfer, the City must place the issue before the voters at an election and receive majority approval, unless the City Council makes all of the following findings: that the property will be replaced on a ratio of at least two to one; that the replacement property will have comparable amenities; that the replacement property will be located in the same park service area as the transferred property; and that the replacement property will be located in a park service area needing parkland as determined by the Parks and Recreation Commission.
|Arguments For Proposition E||Arguments Against Proposition E|
|Creation and preservation of open space and parks are primary strategies for making cities more livable and safer. Even a small park enhances quality of life in a neighborhood, particularly in densely populated areas. Organizations from the National Crime Prevention Council to the U.S. Conference of Mayors have included creation and preservation of parks as primary strategies for improving neighborhoods and reducing crime.
In its current Open Space Element of its General Plan, Long Beach has set a goal of 8 acres of open space and parks per 1,000 people living here. Using the most generous estimates, the current ratio is 6 acres per 1,000 -- and the population is growing.
This proposition would protect all current parks and future land developed as parkland from indiscriminant development for uses other than open space and recreation. Should a truly overriding consideration arise, use for anything other than parks requires a vote of the people or doubling the parkland taken away. Even that option requires rigorous public oversight.
Long Beach needs to protect the parks it has. Long Beach needs to create more parks. This proposition will help do both.
But as for Prop. E. itself, it actually offers mere promises, scant actual protection. The city council will still be able to do in future what it has done in both far and recent past: sell off or degrade the natural or other recreational value of existing or potential parkland. Yes, Prop. E does require an approval from the politician-appointed Parks and Recreation Commission. Beyond that approval, all Council need do is 'determine' that certain agreeable-sounding conditions (two-for-one replacement of park land, etc.) will someday be true - at some indefinite future time.
Demand genuine protection, not empty `promises in perpetuity'. Vote No on Prop. E.
|Beware Prop. E! Its proposed charter addition is labeled 'Parks in Perpetuity', like an earlier citizens' initiative petition. That initiative allowed a disposal (sale or alienation) of designated parkland only by approval of BOTH the City Council AND the voters.
Prop. E, however, would allow Council to dispose WITHOUT voter approval. Council need merely 'determine that' the parkland acreage 'will be replaced' by twice the acreage - half nearby and half in an area deemed to need parkland.
The double-acreage provision sounds good, but the language does not explicitly require the Council's determination to be anything more than a promise. It apparently need not identify the specific replacement parcels nor when they will be ready as park. So Prop. E actually guarantees only promises and NOT actual protection from disposal by vote of Council alone.
Nor does Prop. E. require genuine timely replacement: new park ready for use by the time that the original park is unavailable, not years later (as happened with Davenport Park's replacement of lost Scherer Park acreage). Timeliness is crucial. Years lost by park users - whether children, seniors or families - can never be made up.
Prop. E also omits other badly needed protection within parkland. Notably (as at the Willow-Spring Gulch site) it fails to protect locally unique natural features. It instead allows their destruction by constructions for other recreational purposes.
True 'parks in perpetuity' would not so readily allow disposal of parkland, or its conversion from rare nature. Such actions should require approval not by Council alone but also by a large majority (say 2/3) of the voters. Demand genuine protection, not `promises in perpetuity'. Vote No on Prop. E.