letter artEditor:

To city staff with the Santa Monica Recreation and Parks Commission:

Did the Outdoor Fitness Coalition draft your report dated June 20, 2013? Its recommendations give commercial trainers extraordinary use of Palisades Park for their profit-making activities and ignore the needs of Santa Monica residents. It opens the park to trainers from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., weekends and holidays included. That’s 17 hours a day that residents, picnickers, dog walkers and bicyclists will have to navigate around and through the classes. That means that re-seeded areas will never have a chance to regrow grass and our once-beautiful Palisades Park will turn into a field of dirt.

Where exactly in this report do you represent the taxpayers’ and residents’ views — the people who pay your salary? You caved to a start time of 6 a.m. because one trainer said he starts class at 5:30 a.m. That means that local residents will be awakened to shouts of trainers urging on their clients. Where exactly do you protect their rights instead of these commercial trainers who would rather use our public property instead of paying rent for indoor facilities?

You mention that trainers will be required to pay 10 percent of their gross receipts. Who will monitor this? Are you going to have accountants pour over the books of each trainer? Or will the city again be out of pocket because of lax enforcement?

The report’s attached photos are a joke. They show empty stretches of parkland instead of typical Palisades Park scenes of people sprinting, exercise equipment hanging from trees, classes doing aerobics, tires strewn across the grass for “boot” training and heavyweight barbells. Your proposal is a complete sell out to commercial vendors that leaves taxpayers subsidizing profit-making trainers and losing use of a valuable public property.


Harriet P. Epstein

Santa Monica

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