Albert Einstein said that insanity was “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” With that thought in mind, can anyone take seriously the announcement by the Parks and Recreation Commission (PRC) that they are going to reconsider finding a location for a dog park in Lake Forest. Just about a year ago the City Council tasked them with coming up with plans for a dog park, and in the months that followed, the PRC studied, discussed, studied, discussed, and studied again, and at the end of the day came up with nothing, reminding us of Shakespeare’s line “It is a tale told by an idiot, filled with sound and fury and signifying nothing.” After all the sound and fury, they came up with nothing.
The sad tale of their missteps and miscalculations has been chronicled too many times on these pages to bear repeating once again. New readers can click here or here to read about what they did, or didn’t do. Suffice it to say these are good people, who spend time trying to make our City a better place to live, and occasionally do a good job, but recently, and more often, they do a poor job if you are interested in results rather than effort. Witness the fiasco with the Village Pond Park if you need another example of how poorly they achieve some things. Once more, new readers can click here or here if they can stand to read about more missteps and failures to achieve meaningful results in a timely manner.
But what seems like a pretty good demonstration of inability to perform is not interpreted by the PRC as such. Some of their members never tire of saying “In Lake Forest we do it right!” as if there was a long list of things we do right that every other City manages to do without patting itself on the back. On the other hand, there is a long list of things we don’t do at all, and this is rarely discussed by the “we do it right” advocates. For example, while almost every other City around us has the following amenities, we don’t have a senior center, a civic center, a local animal shelter, a nonprofit foundation that supports local groups and efforts, a trap-neuter-release program even though we have several feral cat colonies, the aforementioned dog park, etc.
Between patting themselves on the back because they “do it right” and spending nearly a year with no success in finding a location for a dog park, can there be any sense at all in having them take up the cause again? Given the poor job they’ve done trying to get a plan to clean up the Village Pond Park, can they really afford to divide their limited resources and take on the dog park again? And with the imminent opening of the Sports Park, shouldn’t they focus on this vital new amenity for the City instead of being distracted by something they already failed to achieve?
Does that mean the 9,000+ residents of Lake Forest who have dogs have to give up the idea of a local dog park and continue to go to Irvine, Laguna Woods, Laguna Beach, Rancho Santa Margarita, or Laguna Niguel? No. If the PRC will appoint a “dog park committee” I’m confident that in less time than it took them to come up with nothing, a dedicated small group of people unencumbered by the City structures, will go out there and find us a place where we can take our dogs.
Of course, involving more citizens in the City has not been a popular choice lately. The Planning Commission refuses to set up a traffic committee, which they could do despite their protestations that it's not possible. The Council refuses to set up a Traffic/Parking Commission despite the promises of Council members to do so, and they also refuse to activate the Lake Forest Community Foundation. In a similar vein, they refuse to appoint a group to look into how the City could spend more of our $35,000,000 annual budget on people and businesses in Lake Forest, since we currently spend a paltry < 2% on our own. From that point of view, the chances are slim that the PRC will create a "dog park committee" and thus, as Einstein portended, we are faced with doing the same thing over and over again, and as Shakespeare said "filled with sound and fury, signifying nothing"