The Honorable Robert M. HertzbergChair, Senate Natural Resources and Water CommitteeState Capitol Room 5046Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: SB 5, California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access For All Act of 2018 (de León) – SUPPORT
Dear Senator Hertzberg,
We, the members of the #OurParks LA Coalition, believe that safe, quality parks and open spaces play an essential role in the social, health, environmental, and economic vitality of our communities in Los Angeles County.
We envision a regionally integrated and interconnected system of parks and open spaces that are climate resilient and use green infrastructure techniques so that all Angelenos, regardless of zip code, age, race, ethnicity, or income level, can access a safe and well-maintained neighborhood, community, or regional park or open space. These green spaces can and should integrate multiple objectives, including enhancing water conservation and quality, minimizing flood hazards, improving air quality, reducing and sequestering greenhouse gases, curtailing heat island effects, protecting habitat and biodiversity, and, where appropriate and permitted by local zoning, providing fresh, locally-grown produce.
Achieving this bold vision requires long-term investment. Our communities need dedicated and robust funding streams to acquire, build, operate, maintain, and steward parks and open space. This is why we advocated so strongly for Measure A in Los Angeles County, a parcel tax that passed resoundingly with a 75 percent yes vote. While this success was critical for the region, a recent Los Angeles County parks needs assessment identified over $21 billion in park needs for that county. That same study found that the majority of County residents do not live within a half-mile of a park and are considered to be in high or very high need of park and open space access. With this enormous need in mind, we urge that the funding made available for the AB 31 Statewide Park Program be increased to a minimum of $900 million (Chapter 2, Section 80050(a)), equal to the amount made available for this program in the Assembly park bond, AB 18 (Garcia).
Our communities critically need (and demand, as Measure A’s pass rate attests) resources for these public spaces that are so vital to quality of life. We will not fill this gap through Measure A alone. We strongly support further park and open space funding through Senate Bill 5 (De León), the California Drought, Water Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018 so that our children and our communities can enjoy our parks for generations to come.