A diverse and growing alliance is calling for the fair distribution of Quimby funds to improve parks and recreation in every neighborhood.
City Controller Laura Chick took a giant step forward to provide a blueprint for creating healthy parks, schools, and communities for all when she published the audit of the Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) almost two years ago. Since then, however, there have been several steps backwards, as reported in the Los Angeles Times and the Downtown News.
Los Angeles is park poor, and there are unfair park, school, and health disparities throughout the City. The distribution of Quimby funds perpetuates the inequities, as reported recently in the Los Angeles Times. Thus, for example, City Council District 11 on the west side, which has the greatest total acres of parks and is disproportionately white and wealthy, has $11.9 million in Quimby funds for park improvements. District 8 in South Los Angeles, which is park-poor and disproportionately populated by people of color and low income people, has only $58,000.
Our public comments recommend the following principles for the investment of Quimby funds.
Quimby funds should be invested fairly and equitably to ensure that everyone – especially people of color and low income communities who suffer most from park, school field, and health disparities – benefits from the creation of parks and park improvements. The process for deciding how those funds are invested, and the outcomes of those decisions, should be open, fair and beneficial to all. The investment of Quimby funds should be guided by a city and region wide vision to improve parks, recreation, and health in every neighborhood. Quimby park investments should be planned with other infrastructure investments such as school construction and modernization funds for the shared use of parks and schools. Quimby funds should provide for the diverse needs of diverse users, including balanced parks with active recreation to promote human health. Employment benefits from Quimby investments should be distributed fairly through, for example, green jobs for local workers. Quimby funds should be targeted to alleviate or mitigate the continuing history and pattern of unfair park, school, and health disparities. The City should affirmatively comply with civil rights, environmental, and other laws in allocating Quimby funds. Quimby fees should be invested according to standards for measuring progress and equity.
Download the public comments here and write to Councilmembers Tom LaBonge, Jan Perry, and Janice Hahn. Fair Quimby Park Funds