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Huckleberries Online

SR Letter of the Day — Are Parks Essential

Why is it whenever the city is faced with budget problems, it always seems to come down to only two options: cut fire and police protection or increase taxes? I know that fire and police account for the two largest city expenditures, but I and many others consider these essential services.

If I remember correctly, the third largest slice of the city expenditure pie is the Parks and Recreation Department. Is this a sacred cow? Sure we have a wonderful (and expensive) parks system that is the envy of many other municipalities, but let's face it, there is no way to rationalize it as an essential service.

I'm starting to believe that the powers that be simply want to scare us into approving tax hikes so they won't have to make any tough decisions, or properly prioritize our needs. A city government's responsibility to its citizenry begins with providing safety and security. Providing parks is simply gravy.

Maybe we should hire a few less people to drive golf carts up and down Rockwood and Grand boulevards turning on sprinklers all day long.

David W. Hayes

DFO: Are parks essential? Absolutely. One of the greatest achievements by the city of Coeur d'Alene and Parks Director Doug Eastwood was the dramatic expansion of Lake City's park system over the last 15 years. It's a quality of life thing that Mr. Hayes doesn't seem to understand.

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Huckleberries Online

D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.