Lawrence Thompson, Livermore
Imagine New York City without Central Park, which is the heart and lungs of the city. In 1851, Mayor Ambrose Kingsland had the foresight to propose creating a park "of sufficient magnitude" that it "would become the favorite resort of all classes" and "a lasting monument to the wisdom of its founders." The 843-acre park eventually cost $15 million, about five times the city's entire 1851 budget, but what a magnificent legacy! It's unfortunate that Livermore's civic leaders don't share Mayor Kingsland's foresight.