Parks may get big money boost

July 24, 2012

 A veritable state parks windfall of $54 million may help keep some facilities from closing after Gov. Jerry Brown met Monday with lawmakers to discuss the matter. (San Francisco Chronicle)

It was learned late last week that the department had squirreled away the money for more than a decade, even as parks began closing and other department functions began slowing because of a lack of funding.

Elizabeth Ashford, a spokeswoman for Brown, told reporters that the governor’s administration “is going to work with legislators to determine how this money can be used to mitigate park closures.”

After disclosure of the unused money, Parks Director Ruth Coleman resigned, and her deputy was fired.

“It is just appalling,” said Ann Briggs of the Coe Park Preservation Fund, which gave the state $279,000 in private money to keep Henry W. Coe State Park in Santa Clara County open this year.

“We don’t know what to think. Our reaction has been one of total surprise, total shock that this has happened. We are not sure what is going to be the next step.”

According to the Chronicle, the state slashed the parks department budget by more than $50 million over the past four years. Additionally, the parks department has deferred $1.3 billion in maintenance.



  1. joetussin says:

    I love the colorful language used by the media, “windfall”, squirreled away”. There is no evidence this money will be a windfall for Parks, nor is there any evidence the money was “squirreled away”. There is a difference between fact and perception.

    (-2) 6 Total Votes - 2 up - 4 down
    • kettle says:

      2: an unexpected, unearned, or sudden gain or advantage

      You were expecting this 54 mil$ ?

      “had failed to report for more than a decade that it had $54 million stowed in special funds”

      squirrel away – save up as for future use cache, hive up, hoard, lay away, stash

      There is a difference between authors with articles and the comment section.

      (-3) 3 Total Votes - 0 up - 3 down
      • joetussin says:

        Unexpected, yes, gain or advantage for Parks? Not a fact as it depends on whether or not the Legislature allows them to benefit from it. So no, being a “windfall” is not a fact. Squirreled away? Still not a fact, just a perception, just like assuming it’s a windfall. I’m glad you’re feeling more educated having used the dictionary, but in this case, a simple definition does not prove fact, it only reiterates the perception. Government finance does not function like private sector. That’s why the news media and public often have the wrong perception.

        (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
        • danika says:

          There are 279 State parks and 8 of those parks are OHV parks. It is those 8 OHV parks that generated this money….. The State will certainly allocate the majority of these underreported funds to those 271 State (non OHV) parks, making it a “windfall” for them.

          It is the OHVers who have been paying their “green sticker” fees in good faith since 1971, and the State who has failed to use those funds in the manner for which they were collected.

          I hope all OHVers in the State make their voices heard. They took our money, failed to use the money to promote, upkeep, and procure OHV riding areas as they were required to do
          and now got caught.

          (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  2. The Gimlet Eye says:

    This appears to be the “mo” of certain people, up and down the line. Here’s something from the other end of the scale:

    The Global Elite Are Hiding 18 Trillion Dollars In Offshore Banks

    (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  3. Jorge Estrada says:

    Does the term Slumlord ring a bell. Obviouly the taxpayers of California can not afford the costs associated with this state agency, how many others cook their books?

    (8) 8 Total Votes - 8 up - 0 down

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