08 Aug Thanks for joining our fourth Policy at the River Talk
Thanks to all who attended our fourth Policy at the River to learn about leveraging funds to meet public good!
When it comes to delivering public funding to community needs, it requires the people to “get involved and stay involved” from start to finish. Last week, Friends of the LA River convened an all-star panel featuring advocates, journalists and our state assemblymember to share perspectives on our coordinated efforts to open new parks and maintain existing public spaces around our critical natural resource, the Los Angeles River.
For those who couldn’t make it, Friends of the LA River produced a livestream of the event which is available to stream online.
This Policy Talk comes on the heels of the successful passage of Proposition 68, which voters approved in June 2018 as a $4 billion spending measure to improve existing parks and open new ones, especially in park-poor communities. Given that half of all Angelenos do not live within walking distance of a public park – Prop 68 promises needed funding to underserved communities.
Panelists Assemblymember Laura Friedman (AD43), who has represented a River community throughout her career in public service and now represents Assembly District 43, supported Prop 68 when it was a bill in the statehouse. Assemblymember Friedman acknowledged that many improvements delivered to the community start as a critical need, and policy makers work with the community to determine the most pressing need and best solution. Prop 68 was passed in the statehouse last Fall for it to appear before the voters in 2018. Friedman is hopeful that Prop 68 funds will increase access for residents of Glendale and the east bank of the River to the amenities to the west – including the LA River Greenway, the Zoo and more broadly, Griffith Park.
“Parks access is a civil rights issue,” added Keshia Sexton, LA Neighborhood Land Trust’s Director of Organizing. Her daily work with the LANLT builds support and champions the needs of community in delivering new park lands. “We start with asking the community what it most needs,” Sexton explained, and as a result each of the LANLT’s parks look and function differently from one another since they are tailored to community needs.
Both Sexton and FoLAR’s Executive Director Marissa Christiansen implored the attendees and online audience to “get involved and stay involved” throughout the public process, adding “it helps us have an impact”. Like LANLT, FoLAR relies on public participation to steer its course of effective advocacy. Holding all policymakers accountable – from elected officials to neighborhood councils to nonprofit advocacy organizations – ensures an inclusive and transparent process as we toil over infrastructure, parks, and restoration proposals.
Our final panelist added a fresh perspective of covering policymakers on behalf of the public. Emily Guerin of KPCC/LAist has covered River issues and other environmental issues facing our region with a dogged nature, and notably pressured agencies through her reportage to consolidate and streamline its water quality reporting and public notification. “When everyone’s in charge, no one’s in charge,” Guerin noted. As seasoned River Stewards well know, the myriad of agencies with governance over issues on the River has been a hallmark of the multi-pronged approach advocates for restoration have had to take in order achieve improvements.
To catch up on all the action you can watch the replay of our livestream here.
Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in our Fourth Policy at the River event – especially to the audience members who brought their questions to the discussion and the panelists who shared their knowledge.
For those who couldn’t make it, stay tuned – we are planning two more Policy Talks before the year is out, and welcome your attendance and participation in October and December at our next talks. To everyone, please feel free to share any thoughts/feedback on these events. Your comments will be essential in helping us continue to improve our discussions. You can email or call Stephen Mejia at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 323-223-0585.
FOLAR is a member supported, grassroots organization – take the next step with us and become a financial supporter! With a gift of $60 or above, we will make you a Friend of the Riveras part of our brand-new membership program. Friendswill receive a wide array of benefits, including, River excursions, and invitations to exclusive events. Learn more at https://folar.org/become-a-member.
I would also like to the thank Mountains and Recreation Conservation Authority for hosting the event at the beautiful LA River Center & Garden.
Friends of the Los Angeles River is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission since 1986 has been to ensure a publicly accessible and ecologically sustainable Los Angeles River by inspiring River stewardship through community engagement, education, advocacy, and thought leadership. FOLAR is a leading powerful force guiding policy and connecting communities to the River, nationally respected as a leader in urban river revitalization with a membership of 35,000.