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I’ve been meaning to write for awhile, but today’s well-written article by David Mark Simpson gave me the final inspiration to actually do so (“Fitness ordinance keeps Palisades Park quiet,” march 20).

I’ve been a Los Angeles resident for many years, but only moved to Santa Monica a year ago. One of the best discoveries after becoming a resident and going out every morning to exercise was that many people had the same idea, and many had enlisted the services of trainers to train them in the beautiful surroundings of Palisades Park. Although I’ve never joined one of the exercise groups, just being able to walk past them and see how hard they worked actually helped me with my own exercise routines. It also lent a safe and healthy feeling to the park which, honestly, without the trainers, can feel pretty spooky at times.

So, when I heard of the new fees and restrictions being levied on trainers, I was irritated. Perhaps I don’t know the whole story, but from my experience, I just couldn’t imagine what harm the groups of exercisers could be doing (aside from wear and tear on the grass), contrasted with how much good they were doing — helping people get healthier, helping the park feel safer, inspiring casual observers like me to pursue my goals.

I think the idea of registering the trainers and having them buy reasonably priced permits is good, but not imposing fees so high that most can’t afford to hold classes in the park. At a time when people should be embracing all efforts to make our population healthier, I think Santa Monica went the opposite direction in this case. I’m glad to learn it’s a trial period, and I truly hope the people who make these kinds of decisions will realize the error of their ways and make the park more friendly to trainers again. (And no, I don’t own a training business, or have any vested interests in one). Thank you.


Robert Wait

Santa Monica

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