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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Los Angeles County, CA May 1, 2007 Election
Proposition E
Parks in Perpetuity
City of Long Beach

Charter Amendment

16,421 / 74.4% Yes votes ...... 5,648 / 25.6% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Summary | Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall Proposition E, which amends the Long Beach Charter to require that certain City park and recreation areas shall not be sold or otherwise transferred without either a majority vote of the people, or the replacement of such property by the City at a ratio of at least two to one (2:1) subject to certain additional requirements, be adopted?

Summary Prepared by LWV Long Beach Area
Education Fund:

The Way It Is Now: There is no language in the City Charter which would limit the ability of the City to sell or transfer property designated for parks and recreation. The 2002 update to the General Plan (Open Space Element) provided for replacement of any displaced publicly owned recreation open space on an acre per acre basis, in kind, within areas of the City most underserved by recreation open space.

What this Measure Would Do: Prop E amends the Long Beach City Charter to provide that Parks or recreation areas cannot be sold or otherwise disposed of unless:

  • The disposal is authorized or ratified by a majority of the voters, or
  • The City Council determines, after a public hearing, and a Parks and Recreation Commission  approval, that an area to be sold will be replaced by other dedicated park areas on a two for one basis, one part in the area where land was sold and the second part in a park service area in need of parkland.

Proponents Say:
  • Open spaces and parks make cities more livable and safer.
  • The protection of parkland is a high priority for this community, especially with the growing population. 
  • Proposition E will protect current and future parks from development for uses other than parks and recreation.
  • Proposition E will help Long Beach protect the parks it has and create more parks.

Opponents Say:
  • Proposition E guarantees only promises, not actual protection from disposal of parklands by City Council vote alone.
  • Proposition E allows the Council to dispose of parkland acreage without voter approval
  • Proposition E fails to protect locally unique natural features
  • Timely replacement is not required, yet timeliness is crucial.

Impartial Analysis from City Attorney
Robert E. Shannon
Voter approval of Proposition E would add Section 905 to the Long Beach City Charter, relating to the use of City public park and recreation areas.

Presently, the Long Beach City Charter contains no limitations on the ability of the City to sell or otherwise transfer property presently designated for public parks or recreation. The proposed amendment would require that the City follow certain procedures before it may sell or transfer any property presently designated for public parks or recreation. Prior to such sale or transfer, the City must place the issue before the voters at an election and receive majority approval, unless the City Council makes all of the following findings: that the property will be replaced on a ratio of at least two to one; that the replacement property will have comparable amenities; that the replacement property will be located in the same park service area as the transferred property; and that the replacement property will be located in a park service area needing parkland as determined by the Parks and Recreation Commission.

  Official Information

City of Long Beach
Local Facts

City Profile
LWV Long Beach Presents Live 'Pros & Cons' on the Ballot Measures

date: Saturday, April 21
time: 10 am - 12 noon
place: Los Altos Library, 5614 Britton Dr
plus: short presentation on the city Budget for fiscal 2008 by David Wodynski, Bureau Manager, Budget and Performance Management Bureau
more info: LWV Long Beach Area
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Arguments For Proposition E Arguments Against Proposition E
Creation and preservation of open space and parks are primary strategies for making cities more livable and safer. Even a small park enhances quality of life in a neighborhood, particularly in densely populated areas. Organizations from the National Crime Prevention Council to the U.S. Conference of Mayors have included creation and preservation of parks as primary strategies for improving neighborhoods and reducing crime.

In its current Open Space Element of its General Plan, Long Beach has set a goal of 8 acres of open space and parks per 1,000 people living here. Using the most generous estimates, the current ratio is 6 acres per 1,000 -- and the population is growing.

This proposition would protect all current parks and future land developed as parkland from indiscriminant development for uses other than open space and recreation. Should a truly overriding consideration arise, use for anything other than parks requires a vote of the people or doubling the parkland taken away. Even that option requires rigorous public oversight.

Long Beach needs to protect the parks it has. Long Beach needs to create more parks. This proposition will help do both.

Harry Saltzgaver
President, Parks and Recreation Commission

Beatrice Antenore
Past President, Parks and Recreation Commission

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Proponents' main contentions are that parks are great and that various organizations and city planning documents agree. No disagreement there!

But as for Prop. E. itself, it actually offers mere promises, scant actual protection. The city council will still be able to do in future what it has done in both far and recent past: sell off or degrade the natural or other recreational value of existing or potential parkland. Yes, Prop. E does require an approval from the politician-appointed Parks and Recreation Commission. Beyond that approval, all Council need do is 'determine' that certain agreeable-sounding conditions (two-for-one replacement of park land, etc.) will someday be true - at some indefinite future time.

Demand genuine protection, not empty `promises in perpetuity'. Vote No on Prop. E.

Mathematical and Statistical Analyst

Beware Prop. E! Its proposed charter addition is labeled 'Parks in Perpetuity', like an earlier citizens' initiative petition. That initiative allowed a disposal (sale or alienation) of designated parkland only by approval of BOTH the City Council AND the voters.

Prop. E, however, would allow Council to dispose WITHOUT voter approval. Council need merely 'determine that' the parkland acreage 'will be replaced' by twice the acreage - half nearby and half in an area deemed to need parkland.

The double-acreage provision sounds good, but the language does not explicitly require the Council's determination to be anything more than a promise. It apparently need not identify the specific replacement parcels nor when they will be ready as park. So Prop. E actually guarantees only promises and NOT actual protection from disposal by vote of Council alone.

Nor does Prop. E. require genuine timely replacement: new park ready for use by the time that the original park is unavailable, not years later (as happened with Davenport Park's replacement of lost Scherer Park acreage). Timeliness is crucial. Years lost by park users - whether children, seniors or families - can never be made up.

Prop. E also omits other badly needed protection within parkland. Notably (as at the Willow-Spring Gulch site) it fails to protect locally unique natural features. It instead allows their destruction by constructions for other recreational purposes.

True 'parks in perpetuity' would not so readily allow disposal of parkland, or its conversion from rare nature. Such actions should require approval not by Council alone but also by a large majority (say 2/3) of the voters. Demand genuine protection, not `promises in perpetuity'. Vote No on Prop. E.


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Created: July 30, 2007 17:52 PDT
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