Bond Issue for Parks, Zoo Put on November Ballot

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday placed on the November ballot a $540-million park bond issue that earmarks $25 million for improvements at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Los Angeles City Council President John Ferraro had threatened to oppose the measure unless money was provided for the zoo. His objections prompted supervisors to drop plans to put the bond issue on the June 2 ballot.

The measure, which would raise tax bills by $12.52 a year on the average single-family home, is similar to a 1990 park bond that received 57% support but lost because it required two-thirds voter approval. The new measure would require only a simple majority for passage.

It would apply to business and residential parcels--2.2 million in all. Sharing in the proceeds of the 20-year bond would be parks and recreation facilities run by the county's 88 cities, as well as county-run beaches and parks, the Hollywood Bowl and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

The vote to place the measure on the ballot was unanimous. The Los Angeles Taxpayers Assn. and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. have opposed the plan. Its backers include local cities, environmental groups and the mountains conservancy.

Supervisors came up with $25 million for the zoo by reducing Los Angeles city's allocation of park maintenance funds and by lopping $10 million off the $50 million earmarked for the conservancy. The board also approved a $5-million increase, to a total of $18 million, in bond proceeds that would be spent on the Griffith Park Observatory.

"We are very happy that everybody else is also happy," said the measure's author, Esther Feldman, director of special projects for the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, an arm of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

Zoo Director Mark Goldstein said that if the measure passes, the zoo will conduct a fund-raising drive to match the $25 million with private contributions.

He said that the money would be used to fund the zoo master plan, which calls for improving the animal health center, revamping the polar bear and penguin exhibits--including installing a wave machine that would make the animals more active by simulating their natural environment--and developing an educational visitor village.

Los Angeles City Council

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