Reforming State Parks 2014
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Currently the California State Parks system is being re-envisioned. The Parks Forward Initiative's mission is to "address the financial, operational, and cultural challenges facing California's State Parks to ensure the system's long-term viability." Now is an opportune time for Latinos to push their involvement in the restructuring of this system. Please feel free to visit their website at parksforward.com
As you may know, the California State Parks system has had problems for several years. Sadly, one of the nation's paramount park systems has been plagued by funding shortages, which combined with past mismanagement make reforms key and crucial to regaining public trust and support.
Notably, California voters rejected (by a large margin) a 2010 ballot measure (Prop 21) that would have provided long term financial security to the parks system.
Underlying the tensions over the State Parks system is the perception that it has been controlled and favored by Northern California interests. If the new California State Parks system is to be sustainable into the future it must be supported by tomorrow's Latino majority (who are disproportionately concentrated in Southern California).
Therefore, there is an opportunity before the Latino community to be active and involved in the long term future of our California State Parks system.
WCVI staff attended all four Southern California Parks Forward's initial hearings and reported less than a handful of Latinos. The San Diego meeting was packed with over 50 environmental organization's representatives along with local and state government staff. In Ontario, the meeting was painfully small with only 10 in attendance (3 Latinos.) Similarly, in Garden Grove the meeting had 10 in attendance (2 Latinos.) In Los Angeles our staff estimates 35 in attendance (5 Latinos) as of 5pm. Conversely, the simultaneous LA River/Army Corps of Engineers Revitalization Plan meeting had a packed room of at least 200 attendees (with an estimated 35 Latinos.)
Another Los Angeles hearing is scheduled for
February 12, 2014 from 9:30AM - 12:30pm
Radisson Los Angeles Airport
6225 W. Century Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90045.
The Latino Community is interested! From November 2013 through February 2014 WCVI is conducting phone conferences and community meetings to gain the input of Latino leaders in various Southern California communities. Following are some results.
Local Community Meetings Reports Summary:
San Bernardino: The community expressed interest on issues surrounding Seccombe Lake Park (a city park) and saw the importance of State Parks being more recreation friendly.
Boyle Heights: Group participants recognized the need for soccer and cultural events in urban State Parks along with the need for more attention to Southern California State parks.
San Gabriel Valley/Baldwin Park: Attendees proposed several measures in an effort to reform State Parks: a vendor Diversity Policy was proposed which will help local vendors with contracts, as opposed to out of state vendors. Another proposal will aim to provide better accessibility for biking, making it easier to connect between urban areas and parks like Florence Flanner Park in the city of Baldwin Park that is a key part of what is called the Emerald Necklace joining several urban open areas in the San Gabriel Valley.
Santa Ana/Anaheim: Recommendations were made to make Orange County a priority for State Park development, as well as to make State Park access pass easier to obtain for families.
Long Beach: Long Beach would like to see more parks and green space that accommodate the community.
Pomona: Community leaders and elected officials were especially interested in how the parks reform could generate resources for the Pomona Valley.
So far the following organizations have expressed interest in developing Latino-focused comments:
- Anahuak Youth Sports Association
- APX Management
- Armando Muniz, Rubidoux Community Service District Board Member
- Artos Consulting
- Azul Project
- Barbara Chavez, Fontana Unified School District Board Member
- Benito Barrios, City of Riverside Councilmember
- Catalina's List
- Chamber Alliance
- Chicano/Latino Caucus
- City Project
- Community Union
- Conscious Community Coalition
- Delhi Center
- Drug Policy Alliance
- Empire Sports Nutrition
- Fontana Democratic Club
- Greater Riverside Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation
- Grow Fontana
- Hector Perez Pacheco Consulting
- Hermandad Mexicana LatinoAmericana
- Jesse Sandoval, Fontana City Council Member
- Jessica Valenzuela
- Joe Baca, US Congressman (Ret.)
- Kathryn Kirui
- Latin American Community Center in Long Beach
- Latino Round table
- Latino School Board Association
- Laura Santos, Mount San Antonio Community College Board of Trustees
- Latino Business Association of Inland Empire
- LEAD, California State San Bernardino
- Long Beach Latinos en Accion
- Los Amigos de Orange County
- Metro Real Estate
- Mia Lehrer & Associates
- Miguel Luna
- Montebello Affordable Housing Coalition
- Onda Verde
- One Million NIU
- Orange County LULAC
- Orange County Registrar of Voters
- Palacio De Long Beach
- Parents & Teachers for Quality Education
WCVI is developing comment letters based on this input and will respond to State Parks new regulations once they are issue in March 2014.