California still withholding state parks funds

December 31, 2012

California will not return money directly to nonprofits that provided funding for state parks threatened by budget cuts without knowledge of a $54 million agency surplus. [Sacramento Bee]

AB 1478, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September, reallocated more than $10 million of the $54 million in hidden funds to “dollar for dollar” grants to match nonprofit contributions and other private sector donations to state parks threatened with closure. Yet, state lawyers ruled that matching donations with cash violated the California Constitution because it constituted a “gift of state funds.”

In November, State Parks decided instead to provide private donors with access to state employees and services to assist in operating the parks the donors helped keep open.

One such park, Morro Strand State Beach, received private funding in order to avoid closure. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed closing the park in 2008 as a way to reduce the state parks deficit. At the time, the agency had not reported the $54 million surplus it possessed.

More than $33 million of the $54 million in hidden funds, though, came from the Off Highway Vehicle Fund.

San Luis Obispo County’s off highway park, the Oceano Dunes State Recreation Area remains a major revenue source for the state. California Attorney General Kamala Harris has filed a claim on behalf of state parks against the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District over its contentious dust rule, which threatens the Oceano Dunes with fines of $1,000 per day.

Harris recently asked the court to include on the record “scathing emails” about state parks officials sent by San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill. In the November 16 email, Hill threatened to fence off part of the Oceano Dunes State Recreation Area.

 


5 Comments

  1. obispan says:

    I think state parks is about one-half of one percent of the state budget and something we can all agree on funding. However this fraction of a percent is cut to provide political leverage for massive waste most of us do not support.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  2. The Gimlet Eye says:

    Hiding the money, as usual. What happened to all that “transparency”?

    Nothing good comes from government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  3. Cowman says:

    1. When OHV users register their vehicle and get their “Green Sticker,” the fee goes into a fund used to pay for restoration, safety and education, law enforcement, development, planning, and other efforts to keep public lands accessible, safe, patroled, and open for recreational use.

    2. Would you rather the parks shut down because of no money?

    3.<<<>>

    What a stupid assessment.California is BROKE. Democrats have continuosly made this state more and more hostile to bussinesses. because of that policy people and bussinesses have left this state for more friendlier states and in doing so took with them BILLIONS in taxes. We are the most taxed and most regulated state in the union yet we the taxpayers(only 50% of the residents pay federal tax) recieive the least amount of services. With hundreds of BILLIONS UNFUNDED for our public employee pensions and benefits. So private donors were allowed to step up and use their money to fund a park and you have a problem with that? Those homeowners whom you show disdain for pay MILLIONS each year to our state in property tax. Dont ever forget who is funding California and who is taking from the taxpayers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  4. MaryMalone says:

    A couple of things….

    1. There are several issues mentioned in the article. It seems that they are to be connected to come to some conclusion? If not, why include a bunch of random bits of information about a specific topic? Granted, it is early in the morning for me, but I don’t get how some/most of the info is connected to other info in the article. Part of it may also be that I don’t follow in-depth issues in which I am not very interested.

    I don’t like to assume connections where there are not, so if someone can clarify what this article is trying to impart (except for random bits of information), I would greatly appreciate it.

    Here’s one of the bits of information I don’t quite understand how it fits into the rest of the article. How does the fact that the money comes from the offroad vehicle fund connect to the rest of the information in the article? Is this particular fund one to which the Oceano dunes off-roading participants contribute with access fees, etc.? Is the implication that this money should be sequestered for Oceano dunes use only, or what?

    2. This quote bothers me a lot: “In November, State Parks decided instead to provide private donors with access to state employees and services to assist in operating the parks the donors helped keep open.”

    It sounds to me as if California State is allowing special direct access to the control of how state parks (supported by taxpayers) are operated.

    This kind of special influence by the moneyed elites of California is wrong. It’s the kind of back-door cronyism with which we suffer in SLO County, only it will be on a much larger scale.

    Here is one example that immediately came to mind. In mega-rich Malibu, the communities of homes built directly on the coastline are required to allow the public access to the beach. This has been a contentious issue forever and still, from time to time, the LA Times will report about homeowner/s attempting to block access to the beach.

    And it is not just Malibu, either. In other areas, the coastline-living elites whose homes are on beaches where the beach area is much, much larger than that at Malibu, will actually build and landscape on the beach much past there their property ends. Then we, the taxpayers, have to pay for the legal battles to get these greedy-*astard elites building their vanity crap on OUR beaches.

    So, by allowing nonprofits/private people to buy access to state staff that control the California State Parks, isn’t this basically giving ownership of the parks to the elites who fund it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

    • R.Hodin says:

      MaryMalone: “There are several issues mentioned in the article. It seems that they are to be connected to come to some conclusion? If not, why include a bunch of random bits of information about a specific topic? Granted, it is early in the morning for me, but I don’t get how some/most of the info is connected to other info in the article”

      It’s in the CCN style book: Throw a bunch of sh*t at the wall and see what sticks. You’re a regular, you should know this.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

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