Restoration of the Lemon Grove Recreation Department, eliminated after the 2010 election, appears to be a goal of candidates in the 2012 City Council election, according to a 4,100-word report in East County Magazine.
Councilman George Gastil, the only incumbent running for re-election, was quoted as saying the cut was much too drastic.
“We still have recreation programs, but we lost the department and the director, so we lost that perspective and set of skills. The way I looked at it, we had already cut recreation programs, but not so drastically. Some people said public safety and streets should be the top priority, but I don’t think people realized we were losing an entire department.”
Council candidate Lou Melendez told the online publication that he agreed the council made a mistake, saying: “This was not a good idea in terms of the result: denying services to the youth of the community. There were other opportunities for saving money, but the City Council decided to prioritize in favor of the white-collar bureaucracy at City Hall.”
Council candidate Mark Gracyk was quoted as saying: “As a parent of two children, I know how important it is to provide low-cost recreation alternatives for our city’s families. I would work hard to make sure our children have as many recreational opportunities as possible.”
And candidate Matt Mendoza was quoted as saying: “I not only support restoring the department, it is one of my passions.”
Racquel Vasquez, labeled the only Democrat besides Gastil in the race, told East County Magazine: “I’ve met with many residents throughout my campaign who have voiced their displeasure in the elimination of the recreation department. … We benefit greatly from those services. I hope that we will revisit bringing back those services sometime in the future, because it is really great for our city.”