Out of fear of perpetuating the Peninsula's image as a “playground” for Los Angeles County, Rancho Palos Verdes City Council voted to order city staff to stop advertising some Recreation and Parks events on the city’s Facebook page.
The move comes after the council at their May 1 meeting voted in favor of ordinances to curb meet-up groups and ban alcohol in public places as a way to keep non-residents — and the traffic and parking problems that come with them — out.
As the largest city on the Peninsula and the one with nearly all of the parks — except two in Rolling Hills Estates — RPV is particularly popular with visitors.
The motion specified that city staff should not promote events at Ladera Linda and Del Cerro parks on Facebook and came with an increase of funding allocated to the quarterly Recreation and Parks newsletter. The usually mundane agenda item that is passed in bulk spurred residents to speak out about the city's use of social media.
“It should be no surprise to anybody that we are becoming the playground of the area," said resident Herb Stark. "And the blame is always put on social media, and they always say we can’t do anything about it. It turns out that the city is publishing all their events on social media."
He pointed out that the quarterly newsletter and the city's email list-server are sufficient to tell residents about events in their city.
Resident Donald Bell, who spoke on behalf of the Ladera Linda Homeowners Association, said that the city posting about events like Meet the Goats and Kids to Parks days “can overwhelm our residents ability to fully enjoy those events.”
But the city's use of social media is likely not what's causing the problem, City Manager Doug Willmore said. And, city staff already didn't post about Del Cerro Park and the city also doesn't have that many events at Ladera Linda Park.
“Social media ends up being a catch all for lots of different things on the internet," Willmore said in the meeting. "If you do a Google search for ‘best hikes in LA County,’ what pops up is hikes in our preserve. It has nothing to do with the city, it has nothing to do with the city promoting anything, its websites hosted by all sorts of different hiking clubs and travel clubs and that sort of thing.”
He said he doesn't think refraining from posting events on social media will prevent people from coming to the city's beautiful preserves and parks. He noted the biggest factors impacting traffic are the dozen or so AYSO soccer games held at Ladera Linda on the weekends and the people coming to hike in the preserve. In addition to the sheer volume of people coming to Ladera Linda, the park has only one entrance and exit, often leading to backups and more traffic.
Andrea Vona, Executive Director of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, noted at the meeting that the conservancy only really sponsors and promotes hikes through the preserve about once a month and even then it's at most 40 hikers in the group.
Without another solution immediately available, the council passed the motion.
“When is starts preventing our people from really enjoying what they pay taxes for, I think it’s time we do scale it back significantly,” said councilman Ken Dyda.