Confusing the future (park innovation) with the past (park stagnation) the Sacramento Bee editorial today misreads the good that occurred this week when Gibson Ranch Park was allowed to reopen after a lease was approved with a forprofit organization led by a long-time public servant strongly supported by the adjacent community of long-time park users.
“The deal is done.
“County supervisors have turned over a public park to a private developer.
“For a mere $1, Doug Ose will get to run Gibson Ranch for 10 years.
“For weeks, it was clear there was little way of stopping supervisors from pursuing "this laboratory of experimentation." Ose is tight with several of the supervisors, and has helped fund some of their campaigns.
“Ose also had the backing of a group of equestrians who – while they genuinely care for Gibson Ranch and are rightly angered by the county's neglect and mismanagement of this park – have a narrow self-interest in the outcome. They want to maintain a cheap place to board their horses.
“Since Ose was willing to deliver this promise, they are willing to overlook his plans for transforming much of Gibson Ranch into profit-making ventures.
“We had hoped that open space advocates who value the tradition of publicly owned parks, open to all, would press supervisors to consider other options.
“Sadly, not enough did. Many are busy tending to parks in their neighborhoods, which is understandable. But when the lifeguards are missing, the sharks move in, as the cartoon on this page illustrates.
“Although there is no turning back now, there is still a need for parks advocates to pay attention to Ose's ongoing plans.”