A campaign to ensure that there is adequate funding in the City of Los Angeles budget for parks and parks programming was launched at a press conference in the steps of City Hall on April 30, 2012. A broad coalition of non-profit organizations, citizens groups, labor and civic leaders is behind the campaign headed by Steve Soboroff, Civic Leader and Board Chair of the Friend of Expo Center.
Millions of the city’s residents use city parks and participate in the programs they offer, yet the City’s Recreation and Parks Department budget is only 2 percent of the city’s budget. The campaign is calling attention to the social and economic benefits of park programs and the harm that will result from further cutting these programs. The goal is to build strong support from the community to urge the City of Los Angeles to preserve adequate funding levels for the Department of Recreation and Parks.
LA84 Foundation President Anita L. DeFrantz participated in the press conference. In her remarks she called attention to the importance of the parks in providing sports opportunities for youngsters, particularly in the summer months, when youngsters have few options. She pointed out the success of the Mayor’s Summer Night Lights Program in attracting more than 700,000 visitors to the parks involved and the accompanying reduction in crime. She reminded everyone that good parks also result in an economic benefit to communities from the additional property tax revenue of properties generated from the surrounding properties.
Council members Eric Garcetti and Tom LaBonge have joined the coalition and agreed to explore ways of fully funding city parks. City residents are encouraged to sign a Pledge to Save Los Angeles City Parks.
F. Patrick Escobar