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Re: “Dog Park Divides Lake Merritt

I say why wait? The proposed park should be expanded for the service dogs.

I'm glad Ignorance is so concerned about this. Finally, some empathy for the other side!

Posted by sharedspace on 03/16/2011 at 9:20 PM

Re: “Dog Park Divides Lake Merritt

My point, wayloopy, is that when people don't have very good arguments but do a strong desire to maintain a status quo that benefits them -- they fall back, often, on "this is not the right time."

That's pretty safe because it's never going to be the right time, is it? For women to vote, for women in combat, for gays in the military, whatever. That's just a way to sound civic-minded while being kind of close-minded.

If the economy is really humming, then whatever little scrap there might be for a dog park will just be too valuable. If the economy is poor, then this isn't the time to be taking a small piece of seasonal marshland (albeit the best the city had to offer) out of the occasional use of someone who might choose to walk across it sometime and now might have to walk around if there were a fenced dog enclosure.

The truth is that, in these hard times, when people don't have the gas money or perhaps the spirits to trudge miles into the hills or north to Cesar Chavez or Point Isabel -- that's exactly the right time to at least let the joy of their romping dogs lift their hearts. That's really not too much to ask. If all horse owners were forbidden to let their horses go above a walk you'd probably "get" instantly that that's cruel. Same with dogs -- whether they're big or little. And a Jack Russell probably needs a lot more exercise than a Great Dane.

AND there's enough room for everyone to get their needs met here.

Btw, I'm kind of amused at all the people on this board who say "as a dog owner" and then go on to speak out against the park in not-very-convincing ways. When you do too much of that it begins to sound overly coached. Time for new talking points?

Posted by sharedspace on 03/16/2011 at 7:23 PM

Re: “Dog Park Divides Lake Merritt

Wayloopy's comment reminds me of so many others, over time. This is not the time to be giving slaves their freedom. This is not the time for gay marriage. Times are hard, there are other issues, this is divisive, this is unnecessary (to me... never mind that other people want it very badly). Maybe some other time and some other place.

The point is that Oakland doesn't have good off-leash space and that people want and need some. (Most Oakland parks don't allow dogs even on-leash, by the way.) There will still be plenty of options for other people -- great options, in fact. No one is taking away a tot lot to give it to dogs or anything.

Posted by sharedspace on 03/16/2011 at 3:18 PM

Re: “Dog Park Divides Lake Merritt

When I was looking to buy a house a couple of years ago, the one place I would not consider was Oakland -- because it has pretty much zero in terms of off-leash space.

For the estimated 40 percent or so of households with dogs, that's a big deal. Dogs need exercise every single day. (So do their people, for that matter.) Not every Oakland resident can live up in the hills near Redwood or has the time to drive every day to the nearest off-leash areas.

Dog parks are a community asset, not a liability. They're not an eyesore, either. There are people without dogs who go down to Point Isabel just because they're charmed by all the canines having a good time. There's no other East Bay Regional Park that gets that density of use. Point Isabel gets more than 500,000 dog visits a year -- and it looks really good.

Dog parks serve a big portion of the population -- and they shouldn't always be tucked under some freeway underpass in the dark. (That seems to be kind of implicit in the arguments of people who oppose the Lake Merrit Park. Why should an area that's ATTRACTIVE be available to dog-walkers??) Off-leash areas are as valid a recreational option as the tot lots, sports fields, bike paths and jogging trails that abound. Way too many city parks are high-cost and single-use. A generous area that allows off-leash dogs tends to be low-cost and multi-use -- which is also a good community builder.

Not to harp on Point Isabel, but it's a good example of that. It's used by dog-walkers, dog-free walkers, windsails, photographers, joggers, picnickers, nature-watchers, etc. It's the most popular park in the East Bay Regional Park District, it's a big draw for potential home-buyers in Albany, El Cerrito, and Richmond, and the per-user cost is literally pennies (about 17 cents per user visit, versus up to two dollars or more at other EBRPD parks).

Posted by sharedspace on 03/16/2011 at 11:45 AM

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