Minority Complaints : City Park Funds Allotted Equitably, Report Claims

Times Staff Writer

The San Diego Park and Recreation Department has rejected claims by a Logan Heights activist group that the city shortchanges minority neighborhoods in its allocation of park maintenance funds and personnel.

In a report released this week, Park and Recreation Director George Loveland said "the four parks (Chicano, Grant Hill, Memorial and Sherman Mini-Park) singled out by the Harborview Community Council, as compared to similar parks in other areas of the city, indicate budgeted resources are equal to or greater than department standards."

The study was ordered by the city Park and Recreation Board after Al Ducheny, chairman of the Harborview group, showed the board members slides of the dilapidated conditions at the four parks. A second study, to be presented at the board's August meeting, will judge the "adequacy" of maintenance at city parks, including the four targeted by Harborview. In ordering the study, a number of board members commented on the "deplorable" maintenance at parks citywide.

On Wednesday, Ducheny harshly criticized Loveland's report, calling it "unacceptable to the Chicano and black community. The report is a thinly disguised cover-up for the inequitable distribution of resources in the City Park and Recreation Department," Ducheny said.

Ducheny called for residents to voice "neighborhood objections" at a meeting of the Harborview council meeting this afternoon at Casa Del Prado in Balboa Park. At that meeting, Ducheny said, the Harborview group will draft a resolution demanding that the Park and Recreation Board "request that the (City Council) immediately begin allocating funds to eliminate discrepancies existing between parks in the predominantly white areas and those in areas where mostly Chicano and black residents live."

Ducheny was angered that Loveland pointed out in the report that additional maintenance personnel were assigned to Chicano Park because of its "history of high use and vandalism."

"We also take issue with the report's discriminatory allusion . . . ," Ducheny said. "We see this as an attempt to get the city off the hook by blaming the neglected condition of our parks on the victims of such neglect. Chicanos and blacks are being penalized for using our parks, while residents of the predominantly white areas are rewarded for not using theirs."

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