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Baldwin Hills. Photo by Craig Collins
Baldwin Hills. Photo by Craig Collins

Save The Baldwin Hills Conservancy

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California Performance Review (CPR) has proposed eliminating the Baldwin Hills Conservancy in the historic African American heart of Los Angeles to save $262,000 per year. The CPR recommends abolishing the Baldwin Hills Conservancy by terminating state funding and removing state-level majority participation on the governing board of the Conservancy. The Conservancy is implementing the Master Plan for the Baldwin Hills Park, a two-square mile area that will be the nation’s biggest natural urban park in over 100 years. The Park will provide the diverse and park-poor region with green space for recreation, conservation, education, and economic benefits.

At the same time the CPR recommends abolishing the Baldwin Hills Conservancy, the Governor has signed legislation to create a new conservancy for the Sierra Nevada that could cost the state as much as $10 million per year. The Governor’s own press release says the new Conservancy will promote resource conservation and economic benefits in the counties within the Sierra Nevada region. California Resources Agency Secretary Mike Chrisman says people living within the borders of the new Conservancy will be able to protect the environment in which they live while influencing the prosperity of their communities. State officials cannot justifiably provide these benefits to some communities, while taking them away from the diverse Baldwin Hills communities. All communities are entitled to a fair share of the benefits of conservancies and natural lands. The solution is not to pit one conservancy against another, but to distribute the benefits fairly for all. “I think people sometimes think they can do things like this, believing that this community won’t have people to speak up for them, but they’re wrong,” Executive Director Robert García told the Los Angeles Times on October 22, 2004. “This is a human rights issue and fundamentally an issue of equal justice.” The City Project has submitted public comments to the CPR on behalf of a diverse alliance of social justice organizations, conservationists, and other community groups to preserve the Baldwin Hills for all the people of California.

The City Project’s work has also been highlighted in front page articles in the Los Angeles Sentinel and the Los Angeles Wave. The City Project’s Assistant Director Erica S. Flores has appeared on National Public Radio, and was featured on the November 14 edition of Channel 5 KTLA’s Pacesetter program.