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Effect of Cutbacks on Children, Parks

February 14, 1993

Due to budget shortfalls, the city of Rancho Palos Verdes is again discussing the elimination of classes for children and the abandonment of parks. Such a move would also eliminate most of the incentives for living in this city.

Mommy and Me classes are vital to preschoolers not just as preparation for elementary school, but because they promote social interaction and a sense of community during the stage when the child is developing his/her perceptions of the world.

Other cities have learned the hard way that abandoned parks are magnets to gangs and indigents. Increased local criminal activity would decrease living conditions, make the citizens feel unsafe in their own homes, and necessitate hiring additional sheriff's deputies and cars at a tremendous expense.

The problem, as I see it, is one of the tail wagging the dog. Park abandonment and class elimination affect children. A great number of the young on the peninsula are now immigrants who are not permitted to vote in local elections. Most American residents, like myself, have children who are grown and are no longer affected by such issues. Thus, the voters repeatedly and selfishly vote down every bond issue and minor tax increase, while those most directly affected have no voice.

I propose simple fairness and majority rule, which is the American way. If people own property here and are expected to share the tax burden, they should be allowed to vote in local elections, U.S. citizens or not. If taxation without representation is tyranny, robbing children without representation is criminal.

VIRGINIA L. SOET

Rancho Palos Verdes

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