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'Elitism' Seen in Park Policy

January 28, 1988

After reading Mary Barber's article, "San Marino OKs Plan for Saturday Park Use" (Times, Jan. 17), I am disturbed by the stated plans for the weekend opening of Lacy Park. I was certainly not alone in my dismay over the park's closure on weekends in the 1970s. But while San Marino officials decried lack of money for maintenance, many of us felt that the park's closure was to prohibit entry to "the wrong kind of people," whomever they may be. Their new plan seems to confirm this elitist attitude. By levying a $3 entry fee, they can certainly keep out the homeless. Yet they have proposed even more "restrictions" for that "cautious re-opening." And what will those be? No mariachi or ethnic music played within the park's confines?

While I'm sure the City Council of San Marino would vehemently deny any hint of racism in its actions, the implications suggest otherwise. If the intent of tax money is to maintain public parks, who has anointed the San Marino City Council land barons or royalty and given it the power to determine which part of the public should and shouldn't use public land? It does not bode well for the citizens of San Marino if they let these city officials get away with this flagrant misuse of public trust.

Americans generally pride themselves on being citizens of a country that is not bound by class restrictions. This is an ideal, to be sure, yet theoretically every citizen has the potential for upward mobility and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. Except in San Marino. They have adopted India's caste system and are protecting themselves from the "untouchables."

BRUCE HOLTHAUS

South Pasadena

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