Los Angeles State Historic Park
Position paper by the Center for Law in the Public Interest, the William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI), Anahuak Youth Soccer Association, and Mujeres de la Tierra.
The new Los Angeles State Historic Park at the Cornfield site should reflect the struggles, hopes, and triumphs of the generations who have entered Los Angeles through El Pueblo and the Cornfield. We believe that the recent proposal by the Annenberg Foundation for short-term use of the Cornfield site does not reflect the dreams of the community, the purpose of the park, and the vision of the Cornfield Advisory Committee.
Our differences with the Annenberg Foundation are based on the principles and values of respect, self-determination, equal justice, democracy and community.
We believe the process through which the Annenbergs gained control over the park site was illegal, unfair, undemocratic, exclusionary, and insensitive to the cultural values at stake. We seek a meaningful dialogue based on full information and full and fair public participation to determine any short term project for the site, and more importantly to determine the long term park there, together with all stakeholders.
Therefore, we oppose the Annenberg Foundation’s proposal for short-term use of the Cornfield park site unless the following terms are met by the Foundation, Lauren Annenberg Bon, and State Parks:
1. The ten acre park in the interim public use plan (IPU) must be developed now to provide places for children to play and green open space for the community. The communities surrounding the park site are park poor and the interim park would provide ten acres of park space now. It must be accessible to the community during any short-term use projects in the other acreage of the park-site.
2. Public art projects at the Cornfield must include telling the story of the people and the place truthfully and completely from 1781 to the present. An agreement between community representatives, State Parks, the Annenberg Foundation, and Lauren Annenberg Bon on telling the story of the people and place at the Los Angeles State Historic Park should be enacted. It should be based on the example of the agreement between the National Park Service (at Crissy Field in San Francisco) and representatives of the Native Americans on telling the story of the Native Americans at the park.
3. The short-term project must include full disclosure of information and full and fair community participation under the terms of the agreement referred to in paragraph (2). The dreams, values, and interests of the community are as important as those of any individual, foundation, or private entity in determining the present and future State Park.
4. Community leaders, State Parks, and the Foundation will agree on a strategic five-year plan to generate financial support to make the vision of the State Park and the surrounding communities come true. An oversight committee of community stakeholders will be established to ensure that the park reflects the needs of the community as defined by the community. The Annenberg Foundation should establish a significant capacity-building fund for community organizations in the Los Angeles River region from Taylor Yard to the Cornfield focused on enabling communities to better participate in the development and oversight of the greening of the Los Angeles River.
5. We will all work together to document the truth from December 2004 to the present and beyond, and eliminate inappropriate and unnecessary rhetoric and tactics.
In the event of the withdrawal of the Annenberg Foundation, we pledge our best efforts to raise the funds to complete the provision of soil and irrigation promised by Annenberg.
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The WCVI, chartered in 1985, is a nonpartisan, non-profit, Latino-oriented research and policy think tank with offices in San Antonio, Texas, Miami, Florida and Los Angeles, California. The purpose of WCVI is to conduct research aimed at improving the level of political and economic participation in Latino and other underrepresented communities. More information regarding Latino voter analysis and the WCVI is available online at www.wcvi.org.