Op-ed: The League of Women Voters urges a Yes vote on Measure F

The League of Women Voters urges a YES vote on Berkeley’s Measure F, the Parks Tax. Measure F proposes a modest increase of 2.1 cents per square foot in the current parcel tax that funds maintenance and repair of 52 parks as well as trails, medians, and 35,000 street trees.

The current tax and its inflation index are inadequate to meet the needs of the parks and urban forest. The budget of the Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront is running a deficit that, if not corrected, could result in reducing maintenance jobs and closing park facilities for safety reasons.

Repair projects include the now closed trellis at the Rose Garden, where weddings have been cancelled, the James Kenney Community Center, which has significant rot that threatens the building, ball courts at Strawberry Creek Park and other locations, playing fields at Grove Park, the play structures at John Hinkel Park, the plumbing and locker rooms at West Campus and King Pool, and much more.

Our support of Measure F is based on our local and national League policies in support of public open space, infrastructure, and capital facilities and adequate funding of public facilities and services. The City has managed its parks resources well, leveraging taxes with grants and the Marina enterprise zone. The City needs this increase in the tax because the income from the tax has not kept up with the price of repairs, inflation, and employee costs.

Berkeley parks are heavily used by a growing population and require care that can only be assured by the steady income stream supplied by the parks tax. The change in the inflation index in the measure means that the park tax will have the same inflation factor as the libraries.

We strongly support a YES vote on Measure F. Please join us in voting yes on Measure F, the Berkeley Parks measure.

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Nancy Bickel is President and Carol Stone is Action Coordinator of the League of Women Voters of Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville.