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Citizens for Off-Leash Areas (COLA)

1999 Seattle City Council Candidate Survey

Question 3: How would you balance the competing desires for dedicated public spaces such as ballfields, off-leash areas, boat launches, etc.?

(Judy Nicastro) I would work with community members and organizations such as COLA to discuss how this is best achieved. Our parks are for everyone and I believe there can be a balance.

(Thomas Whittemore) In trying to satisfy the competing desires, I would avoid the sacrifice of one stakeholder groupís dedicated public space to satisfy another. Rather I would hope to create new public spaces to satisfy new demand.

(Curt Firestone) The needs of pet owners should be given equal consideration when determining the use of public spaces. All forms of recreation (including the exercise of your dog) are important ingredients to a successful parks program.

(Bob Hegamin) I can appreciate the competition for dedicated public spaces involving baseball fields, soccer fields and off-leash areas, but not boat launches. I don't believe there should be any competition between ballfields and off-leash areas since they are all legitimate needs of a community. It just takes a great deal of conscientious planning with all needs being considered.

(Peter Steinbrueck) Balancing competing interests for use of public recreational open spaces is challenging. Public demand has never been higher for scheduled and unscheduled use of athletic fields and open spaces in the city. It is clear we need more fields on line, and need to increase open space acquisition. Fair and balanced scheduling of different recreational activities at different times of day and throughout the week is a way to accommodate a greater number of people and activities.

(Lenora Jones) I think it would work well if there was a designated time for the off leash animals. Why would the dogs be at a boat launch without their owners.

(Alec Fisken) As an individual whose family uses both ballfields and off-leash areas, I know that we need both in the city. We also need, of course to increase the total amount of open space available for those and other purposes, and in the meantime we need to balance competing demands to ensure that each activitiy has a reasonable opportunity to use existing park space. I am familiar with one area that is uesd both as a ballfield and informally, during morning and evening hours, as an off-leash area. I donít know whether the possibility of joint use has been explored. It seems to me to offer some potential in the right locations.

(Margaret Pageler) It's always difficult to balance competing demands for space in a growing city. Some factors I consider are how many people would need or use the space, how specialized are the use requirements, and what other alternatives are available. I support off-leash areas because they are needed and used by thousands of our citizens.

(Heidi Wills) I believe we must see to the needs of all citizens, from sports enthusiasts to boat recreationists to pet owners and their dogs. I would work to balance the needs of all competing interests so all citizens needs are served to the best extent possible.

(Dawn Mason) First, the city has to demonstrate there is an ongoing commitment to providing for the development and maintenance of public spaces, such as ball fields, off-leash areas, boat launches, etc. We have enough land to accommodate these seeming competing interests. As your city council member I would bring all parties to the table to develop creative strategies that would meet the needs of each interest.

(Cheryl Chow) I would review the inventory of activities and spaces that are currently available throughout the city. I would move to ensure that there is a balance of areas dedicated to the many activities that citizen's desire for city living.

(Charlie Chong) I would rate people walking with or without dogs as among the highest values. Certainly higher than ballfields which now serve only restricted number enrolled in leagues, or boat launching which serves that smaller percentage of people who own boats Ė as compared to the larger percentage who have dogs. Besides, while sports and boating are entirely recreational, dog ownership is in many cases a necessity for protection and health.


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