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Groups join forces to help financially troubled L.A. city parks

April 30, 2012 |  7:31 am

A coalition of community groups, labor unions and conservationists have joined forces to try to protect funding for Los Angeles parks, which have been badly hit by budget cuts in recent years and face further reductions.

Over the last three years, the Recreation and Parks Department has had to pay tens of millions more than it used to for utilities and for employee retirement and healthcare costs.

That has led to shorter park hours and fewer rangers, as well as the closure of aquatic facilities and senior nutrition programs.

At a 9:30 a.m. rally at City Hall, park advocates will ask lawmakers to sign a pledge that asks them to protect park programs. Councilman Eric Garcetti is slated to speak.

The coalition, called Parks Save, includes the Sierra Club, the Trust for Public Land, Jewish Vocational Services of Los Angeles, the Weingart Foundation and two city employee unions.

The City Council's Budget and Finance Committee is in the midst of a series of hearings on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's proposed budget, which will eventually be sent to the full council for approval.

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-- Kate Linthicum at Los Angeles City Hall

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