Letter to the Editor: Destroying bench won't fix problems in park

Letter to the Editor: Destroying bench won't fix problems in park

Letters to the Editor

The author of this letter forwarded a copy of it and granted The Alamedan permission to run it.

Dear Recreation and Park Commission Members,

I cannot attend tonight's meeting on the future of Isabelle's Bench in Jackson Park. I would like, however, that my comments, in the form of this letter, be added to the official minutes of the meeting and considered by the Commission.

I walk my dog through Jackson Park nearly every day. I have seen much of the "bad behavior" that takes place in the park. Unfortunately, this behavior is not confined to Isabelle's Bench. It takes place throughout the park, mainly on the open benches and picnic tables near the band stand at the park's center.

Isabelle's Bench represents a unique and important part of the history of the Jackson Park and Alameda in general. The proposal to demolish it is akin to "throwing the baby out with the bathwater." Why should we let a few teenagers exhibiting "bad behavior" condemn an irreplaceable piece of Alameda history?

I have the utmost respect for our fine police force, but the argument that Isabelle's Bench provides "concealment for bad behaviors" just doesn't hold up to the facts. Many, if not most of the inappropriate and illegal activities in the park - public drinking, smoking, marijuana and drug use - take place on the open benches and picnic tables with very little concealment taking place.

My solution to the bad behavior is simple: Increase police presence in the park, especially between the hours of 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., when many teenagers concentrate in the park. Perhaps old-fashioned beat cops strolling through the park now and then would also help. It's ironic that Jackson Park is designated a "Smoke-Free Park," complete with signage to that affect. Yet I witness day in and day out dozens of smokers, many in groups, throughout the park and no one issuing warnings or citations.

Let's simply enforce the laws that exist instead of throwing away an iconic piece of Alameda's history.

Jeffrey Heyman

Comments

Submitted by Suzanne (not verified) on Thu, Mar 13, 2014

Great letter. Save the bench ( easy fix) APD beat cop!