The rapid urbanization of Los Angeles is putting the squeeze on city recreational and cultural facilities. Some are tired and worn. Others are inadequate to serve the city's burgeoning population. In good economic times, maintaining nice parks and community centers takes a good chunk of cash. Now, as the city faces a huge deficit, the Los Angeles City Council has asked the voters to raise the extra money to pay the rising costs. That request is in the form of Proposition 1 on the June 4 city ballot.
The proposition would authorize $298.8 million in general obligation bonds. The money would be used for senior-citizen centers, parks, recreational and cultural facilities and land for open space. The bond would cost Los Angeles city home owners an average $13.20 annually in property taxes for 20 years. To pass, the bond requires a two-thirds majority vote.
The trouble with Proposition 1 is that the City Council, in order to secure the widest backing, packed it with projects located in all 15 council districts. But many of them are no more than proposals, while others (such as the purchase of the Eagle Rock landmark from a private developer) raise serious questions of whether the council used any discretion at all in loading up this proposition like a Christmas tree. It would have been better to prioritize and concentrate on the city's acute recreational needs, especially when there's no guarantee that the bond issue will be adequate to finance all the proposed projects.