It’s not parks vs. flood control
Re “Tension below the surface,” Column, June 26
In his column about state funding for revitalization efforts along the L.A. River, George Skelton pits one critical need (flood control) against another (park space). Skelton may be a seasoned Capitol watcher, but he misses a key point about his own backyard.
Smart policymakers realize that it’s not an either-or situation along the river. In the face of climate change and ongoing water scarcity, it is irresponsible to invest limited public funds to meet only one goal. Our parks have the capacity to easily accommodate multibenefit infrastructure that serves many needs, including replenishing aquifers, buffering against floods and reducing the heatisland effect.
The union of parks, open space and water management isn’t wishful thinking; it’s happening right now. At South Los Angeles Wetlands Park, a former brownfield now cleanses storm water while providing open space to a park-poor community. Flood-prone Elmer Avenue in the San Fernando Valley has been transformed, using nature to soak up rainwater before it inundates the streets.
Parks aren’t pork. They’re essential to a smarter, more sustainable region. James Alamillo
Santa Monica The writer is urban programs manager for Heal the Bay.