Last week the City Council voted to charge personal trainers who use public parks to get their clients in shape (“Trainers say new fitness fees too high,” Oct. 10). Trainers say their clients are mainly Santa Monica residents who have a right to use the public parks, which they pay tax money to maintain. However, others argue City Hall has the right to recoup costs associated with providing that space and need to regulate trainers so that everyone can enjoy the limited room.
So, this week The Q-Line asks:
Where do you stand? Do you think trainers should pay? If so, do you agree with the fees established by the City Council?
Here are your responses:
“These trainers should not be allowed to use the parks. They have a gold mine by not having to pay for a building or worker’s compensation insurance or any other insurance or any fees that are associated with gyms. They should not be able to use the parks at all — they’re in the way, they impede the progress of people walking in the park and they interfere with other people’s enjoyment of the park.”
“No, trainers should not have to pay because they should not be allowed to use city property for their annoying businesses. They are equivalent of the food trucks that undermine the profits of restaurants. Let them all get together and lease a building and pay their taxes, which I’m sure they are cheating on now by running a cash-only business.”
“The trainers should pay. It is unfair that gyms have to pay rent, but these people do not. And their equipment should be limited to what they can carry on one trip. If some trainer can’t carry all his equipment, maybe he isn’t much of a trainer. But if they were kicked out of the parks, then the bums would just take over, like they do in the rest of the city.”
“I don’t think trainers should be allowed to use our parks, whether or not they pay. Santa Monica has never had adequate open space. This park is iconic as a respite from the city; look at the location — at the end of the metropolis with a view of the wide open Pacific. Listening to gym activities in this lovely space is not appropriate, and I think those who designed this park would be horrified. Why is it so hard to give the community a quiet space? It sure isn’t Tongva Park, where the quiet section is freeway adjacent; not very inviting. Oh, the trainers will probably usurp that for exercise, too!”
“We all pay for the parks for all to use and, of course, with the usual park regulations and restrictions. No one should be allowed to pay for a specific spot at a specific time and thereby limit overall accessibility.”
“Of course they should be charged. Is this not supposed to be why we have fitness clubs? What’s going on now? Everybody wants to make extra money and impose on citizens who want to go to the park and enjoy the scenery, the landscape and to just relax. Who wants to see these people doing their business when it should be private? It shouldn’t be out there for everybody to see, especially when they are there playing music. What has become of doing things in private?”
“Our city park usage policy should borrow from the well established and successful usage policy at the public library: Private companies may use the meeting spaces only so long as their events are free and open to the public. Exercise classes held in the public parks should be held to the same standard. Then we’ll see just how many of these trainers and groups are ready to provide real benefits to the public.”
“Our greedy City Council sees the trainer class fees as yet another way to fill their coffers. If they truly cared about the residents, they would shut them down as opposed to charging them.”
“I can’t get past the irony of this City Council even discussing physical fitness. The majority is overweight and out of shape.”
“I think the fees established by the City Council are way too high, prohibitive and unfair to the serious and professional one-on-one personal trainers who are very respectful of the park. Also, trainers already pay business taxes and are permitted. I am a Santa Monica resident and I live within a few blocks of Palisades Park. I have been able to walk to the park at 6 a.m. to train one-on-one with my personal trainer, and this has been ideal for me to be able to get my workout done before I have to go to work. It’s a shame that now I may no longer be able to train at my favorite park that is so convenient and close to home, just because of the new outrageous fees.”