Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Penny Wise, Pound Foolish"

1. Do you want to see more teens roaming the streets without supervision, joining gangs, creating unsafe neighborhoods?
2. Do you care that more children and youth are obese and at high-risk for serious health issues?
3. Do you enjoy swimming laps in the city pools?

Check off “not applicable” if you live on the Westside or other upscale neighborhood. These issues don’t impact your life. Most homes in Beverly Hills or San Marino have pools in the backyard (some have tennis courts, too). Children who live in these neighborhoods have after school and summer activities -- private college prep tutors, gymnastics class and music lessons or lounging on the couch plugged in to an iPhone and laptop.

But childhood obesity, nowhere safe to play or cool off on a hot summer day are crisis problems for thousands of families in Los Angeles because Mayor Villaraigosa has cut jobs and programs in L.A. City parks and recreation centers.

The city has a huge budget deficit. Cutting these critical “safety nets” will cost taxpayers more money as youth with nowhere to recreate join gangs, commit crimes and are confined in over-crowded juvenile detention facilities. Health insurance rates will rise with the increase of juvenile diabetes and ultimately the city will need to hire more police (or pay millions in overtime) to combat neighborhood crime from aimless teenagers.

This is a short quiz but the answers have long-term consequences.

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