EDITOR’S DESK: Another blow for City Parks

       More disquieting news from City Parks. As we'd noted in last week's column, the department lost two of its top people in 2010, and now Sarah Bryarly, the interim manager of the TOPS program is leaving to “be a mom” for her infant child. That's an admirable desire, and I don't doubt her sincerity, but it seems to be another sign that City Council's budget gouges of 2009-10 wounded the department profoundly. Still, with no sign of that changing anytime soon, maybe it's time the city took a deep breath and considered what the new reality means. As shown by the formulaic style of its consultant group, Tapis Associates, in handling the public process to integrate a master plan for the new, larger Red Rock Canyon Open Space (which is now on hold), Parks leadership sees itself retaining the same kind of full control as it did in developing the first master plan after the initial Red Rock purchase eight years ago. Except that then Parks had the staff and funding to pull that off. Now it absolutely depends on volunteers - giving them more and more to do yet often keeping them in the dark on what the city has in mind. It would seem that in the lean times the department now faces, its administrators ought to seek out ways to truly "partner" with the volunteers they're so lucky to have - people who have shown for years how much they care by giving up their free time to help out, asking nothing in return. In short, maybe Parks officials should use their "Relationship Building Process" (the name they recently announced for another consultant-led effort - this one to restore public trust) as a chance to look in a mirror. Maybe then they'd see that if there is indeed a trust gap, part of it is their own doing...
       In the remaining space here, I'd like to offer best wishes to the new Happy Cats Haven nonprofit rescue and adoption center (news article on Page 6). With increasing numbers of homeless and sometimes feral cats (leading to thousands being euthanized annually) it is gratifying to see trained and experienced "cat people" willing to volunteer their efforts to help stem that tide.

- K.J.