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Proposed San Diego ballot measure would allow child care facilities at recreation centers in city parks

San Diego could give city voters the opportunity to step up local childcare options this November by backing a vote that would legitimize childcare in 42 city recreation centers.

The proposed vote comes as San Diego officials have struggled in recent years to address the lack of local childcare options for city workers and many residents, some of whom are unable to work due to a lack of childcare.

A comprehensive survey of 1,100 urban facilities this winter found that only 72 are viable candidates for childcare services and that 42 of them are recreation centers in city parks where childcare is not a legal activity.

The city’s charter states that any land dedicated to “park, recreation or cemetery purposes will not be used for purposes other than park, recreation or cemetery purposes” unless the city’s voters approve such an exception with support. at least two thirds.

The ballot paper measure, which was unanimously approved by the City Council Rules Committee last month, would ask voters to approve such an exception.

After city prosecutor Mara Elliott’s staff writes the proposed language for the measure, the full City Council will be asked to put it on the ballot this summer. The deadline for approving the measures on the November ballot is August 12th.

A report released last week by researchers at the University of San Diego says San Diego County has only enough licensed child care facilities to accommodate half of all young children in working-class families.

The report also found that childcare is not affordable for many families, even when they can find a job, and that more than three-quarters of childcare providers face financial difficulties.

Council member Chris Kate, who is leading the ballot box, said the reversal of the park ban is the “next logical step” for the city in tackling childcare shortages.

Council member Joe La Cava said he supported the measure, but stressed that it should be written carefully enough to ensure that the change would not allow the construction of private buildings in city parks.

LaCava wants the change to be limited to allowing childcare services to enter the leisure city in a way that is quite restricted so that the space of the leisure center is not monopolized by them.

Blake Hofstadt, who represents a group called Parent Voices, told the Rules Committee last month that the proposed vote would make a big difference.

“We know that one of the biggest obstacles to providing childcare is that it is often very difficult to find space,” he said. “This is a great step the city can take to continue utilizing its existing properties to serve such a much needed purpose.”

YMCA County Courtney Baltiyskyy said the ballot box measure will be an opportunity for significant progress in addressing local childcare shortages.

A YMCA survey last year found that about 12 percent of county child care providers closed during the pandemic, and that nearly 190,000 children under the age of 12 have no parent living at home and no child care.

The search for the city’s facilities came in response to such findings. He tried to determine how many facilities in the city have at least 5,000 square feet of ground floor and outdoor space that could be converted into a playground.

The city last year set up a Child and Youth Success Office to promote equality by coordinating services and activities available to young people, including childcare. Andrea O’Hara, a longtime local school employee, was appointed to head the office last month.



Proposed San Diego ballot measure would allow child care facilities at recreation centers in city parks Source link Proposed San Diego ballot measure would allow child care facilities at recreation centers in city parks

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