At the Coalition of Neighborhood Associations’ September meeting, former Olympia councilwoman Karen Rogers and Rochester School Board member Glen Morgan presented a much superior alternative to Olympia’s Metro Parks District ballot proposal (Proposition 1).
Instead of repeating past mistakes, let’s do something that’s been proven to work. Let’s create an independently elected parks district (run by five independently elected parks commissioners).
The example Rogers and Morgan used was national award-winning Metro Parks Tacoma. They’ve won awards for their outstanding parks, playgrounds, zoo, sports complexes, ball fields, programs, events, wildlife-watching, open spaces, neighborhood parks, environmental sustainability, botanical conservatory, historic preservation, etc. Even their gift shop is award-winning!
Why does Metro Parks Tacoma work? As Rogers and Morgan pointed out, they’re run by an independently elected parks commission, making them an independent organization that specializes in just one thing: parks. The Tacoma voters consistently approve Tacoma parks bonds because they know that the money will actually go to parks, and not be “redirected” to police, fire, public works, more homeless shelters, or anything else.
I’m voting against Proposition 1. Then I’m going to help Rogers collect the signatures to put a better proposal on the May 2016 ballot: one to create an independently elected parks district.