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Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
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stories along The Way

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Commercialization of City parks examined on SoCal Connected 2nite

As the City struggles with budget problems, the Mayor and City Council are forcing the Department of Recreation and Parks to become a 100% cost recovery operation by stealing from it and strangling it for every dollar they can. But at what price to our youth and our open spaces?

SoCal Connected tonight examines the reactionary ramping up of commercialism in City parks.

Remember that organized parent protest against gratuitous advertising aimed at children dates all the way back to the 1960s with the very effective Action for Children's Television grassroots group.

Perhaps it is time for a parks analogue to take shape.

Karen Foshay, producer at KCET, fills us in on tonight's report on SoCal Connected:

This is a story of where merchandise meets civic identity. The city is now considering plastering the city's parks with so called "sponsorship" signs that look a whole lot like advertisements. The children in the parks are being targeted as a captive demographic. Is this the future of public private partnerships?

There is the appearance of a conflict of interest in this story. Barry Sanders, a political power player in LA, is the chairman of both the LA Parks Foundation and the LA Board of Recreation and Parks - a city agency. This Yogi Bear deal was brokered by his non-profit and as you will see in our story, lobbyists for Latham and Watkins - Sanders' former law firm - had a big hand in making this deal happen. Many are concerned if deals like this go through, it will deal a harsh blow to the city's ban on outdoor signs, making our parks part of LA's billboard jungle. But the city is broke, and now it looks like the parks may open for business.

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Here is a link to the concepts the non-profit LA Parks Foundation is suggesting for LA's parks. This non profit works closely with the city to support parks. Please scroll through the pages and see what the foundation wants to do. notice the marketing pitch on page 11. note the children demos on page 6....