Thursday, March 10, 2011

Reader Response Regarding Parks Foundation Survey

One of our readers, Chris, sent us his analysis on the Seattle Parks Founation survey, included in our post yesterday. Chris said the fuller analysis is located on the Seattle Community Council Federation blog.

Chris wrote to us:

Many of us have seen a message from the Seattle Parks Foundation with a “survey” on parks financing that unfortunately is written to encourage premature endorsement of a number of “solutions” that would do real harm to our parks by removing them from the public’s control through unaccountable new entities. The survey refers to a seriously flawed report

While there are good things in the report (especially its analysis of the financial needs of our parks and how the Mayor and City Council have increasingly starved them of funds), its rosy picture of the parks under future special districts and privatization is a dangerous distraction from getting our Mayor and City Council to better protect parks in their budget decisions.

I suggest that the survey be avoided until the options are better analyzed in a revised report and more fairly described in a future survey. The report’s most serious flaw is its advocacy for a Seattle “Metropolitan Park District,” a state chartered entity that (like the ill-fated Monorail Authority) wouldn’t be bound by the Seattle City Charter, ordinances, regulations, City boards (including the Park Board), or any of the other protections for our parks that Seattle has built up over more than a century.

I’ve put together an analysis of the report for Parks and Open Spaces Advocates. If you have trouble locating my analysis, would like it e-mailed directly to you, or have questions or suggestions, please contact me at

Let’s all work toward a future for our parks that is financially secure but also does not undermine the public’s ability to access and protect them!

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