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Op-Ed: Why local parks are important

In our “Yes for Parks!” series, we share articles submitted by local community members in support of Measure A, an upcoming measure on the November ballot that asks voters to continue funding all Los Angeles County parks through a special tax of 1.5 cents per improved property. To learn more about Measure A, visit: http://www.apiopa.org/measurea/

I have always pictured myself as an outside person really, not the type to stay indoors all day online or watching TV. It wasn’t until recently, when thinking about Measure A and the future of parks in our neighborhood, did I start to realize how much I enjoyed being out and about at a park with the sun’s joyful beams. It’s something I took for granted, and I'm so grateful that I’ve grown up with a park like Garvey Ranch Park, just a few blocks away from my house.

The reason for my passion of the outdoors comes from running. I’m an avid runner on the Mark Keppel High School cross country and track teams. Some of my friends run to win medals, and others run to stay in shape. I run so I can appreciate the beauty of the outdoors. This is most apparent when I’m running at a park and suddenly find myself in an environment where I can relax, calm down and reflect on my day. 

I believe that parks have a huge effect on our neighborhoods. As a kid who was raised by my local park, I feel that it gives us a different perspective in life; understanding how mother nature works with us, helps us better understand what’s going on in the world. Given the loud, fast-paced everyday parts of my life, knowing I have access to such beautiful parks brings an overwhelming happiness to me, as I’m sure it also does for my family and friends. Yes, things are busy and yes homework is waiting, but sometimes it’s important for us to take a moment for ourselves. Parks give me the chance to do this. 

Given all this, I’d like to ask for your support by voting Yes on Measure A. A Yes vote on Measure A ensures that kids like me, who have gained so much from my local park, continue to have places to relax and enjoy nature. A Yes vote on Measure A will help keep funding for tomorrow’s fresh air, and will make sure we have clean, safe parks for years to come. 

Janelle Zamora is a senior at Mark Keppel High School, where she also serves on the board of Promoting Youth Advocacy.

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2 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Why local parks are important”

  1. Fiscal Displinarian

    I am going to vote No on Measure A as a matter of principle. I do think parks, as well as public safety, sidewalk maintenance, services to seniors and disabled, etc etc are important. I would leave it to the government to prioritize; it is the government’s job. I may be wrong but now I have a feeling that our “general” tax dollars are used to fund the “unimportant” things and we are forced to decide whether to approve a special tax or bond to fund the “important” things. If we do not pass these special tax or bond measures, then the blame seems to be on us for not getting these “important” things done. This is wrong. The responsibility should lie on the public officials, who are supposed to prioritize various uses of tax dollars and allocate the tax revenue. These special tax/bond measures simply shift the responsibility from the public officials to the ordinary voters/taxpayers. I refuse to do the government’s job.

  2. The author argued that parks are important, which few would disagree anyway, but failed to argue that the special tax should be the way to fund the parks. “Parks are important” and “Vote Yes on Measure A” are different things though related. I wish the schools had done a better job in educating the kids on critical thinking, and the kids themselves spent more time on studying on logical reasoning and issues such as public financing — why should parks, schools, public safety, etc need to rely on special tax or bond to fund them every few years, for example.