Welcome to the ongoing saga of trying to make an informed decision.
Part One:I talked about why I picked this petition.
Part Two: I went over the petition plea.
Part Three: I took a closer look at the one source that was given, the Huffington Post article and the State Parks website.
And now for Part Four
I got another petition email. Apparently they keep track of who has clicked through and who hasn’t.
It seems crazy to me that I could drive up to my favorite state park this summer, only to see the gates barred.
Parks like Castle Rock State Park , Natural Bridges State Beach , Emerald Bay State Park and Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve could be shuttered soon.
In this economic climate, I was hoping to take advantage of our state parks to get away from it all… without breaking the bank.
But unless we stop Gov. Schwarzenegger from closing 220 state parks and beaches by slashing the state parks and beaches budget to zero, this is what you can expect.
Can you imagine shutting down Castle Rock State Park , with its trails that go among redwoods and over peaks in the Santa Cruz Mountains ?
Take action today to make sure Californians can keep enjoying our priceless state parks:
Not only do these parks provide affordable relaxation, they help our economy through tourism. In fact, for every dollar we invest in our state parks, they bring back $2.35 in tourism.
Of course the state is having some budget issues, and we need to cut back. But to cut the parks budget to zero? We would save nearly $70 million over the next year with massive parks closings. But we could lose more than $300 million in revenue.
Tell Gov. Schwarzenegger to stop Castle Rock State Park, Natural Bridges State Beach, Emerald Bay State Park and Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve from closing — as well as the 216 others that are at risk:
Environment California Legislative Director
P.S. Please forward this message on. The more people who take action, the better our chances are at keeping parks — like Castle Rock State Park , Natural Bridges State Beach , Emerald Bay State Park , and Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve — open this summer.
Here’s the thing… I have been trying to figure out what programs were saved while the parks programs are being shut down/ And no one can tell me which ones.
Here’s there other thing… some, many, of the parks are going to close. The State Parks website is now listing them. Yes, they say this is a “Draft’ and they could always be allowed to stay open, but as far as the website is concerned, the 220 parks are indeed going to close.
Which is sad and frustrating.
But again… what is staying open? Is there anything? Was I being hopelessly naïve by believing that the giving up of our parks was going to in some way be balanced by the getting of something else?
The minutes, by the way, of the meeting that took place last Friday are still being prepared.
There is another meeting scheduled for this Friday… and again the agenda says “Agenda items will include a discussion of the proposed state budget, as well as discussion of possible actions to be taken by the Commission in response to the budget proposals.”
And so… here we are, knowing very little more than we did before.
I am getting pretty frustrated. Another letter to the Governor’s office… another letter to Mike Villines.
And I get this as a response: (from the Press Office of The Governor)
Thank you for writing to me about funding for our state parks system. Your input is important to me during these challenging times.
California’s natural beauty is renowned throughout the world, and I have made it my priority to protect our environment so future generations of Californians can continue to experience and enjoy what we have all come to love. Our state parks provide a fantastic introduction to the California experience and help bring our residents and visitors closer to our landscapes.
Unfortunately, the state cannot continue to bear the costs of supporting every program. Believe me when I say that these cuts have been the hardest decisions of my career as Governor, but we are in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Our revenues for the coming year are at least 27 percent below where they were projected to be just two short years ago. We now face a shortfall that has grown to $24.3 billion, and the people of California have made their voice clear: they want the state to live within its means and solve its problems through spending cuts and not tax increases.
To help manage our budget shortfall, I have proposed eliminating General Fund support for the Department of Parks and Recreation. I understand that these cuts will impact not only the lives of our park employees but the millions of park visitors who visit these national treasurers every year. In spite of these General Fund cuts, though, I will work to keep as many parks open as possible with funding from user fees. It may require raising entry and camping fees, expanding partnerships with local government and non-profit groups, and seeking additional creative ways to support our system in the future.
As I work with my partners in the Legislature to find solutions to these problems, know I will keep your thoughts in mind. Working together, I believe we can weather this storm and start the slow but steady march back toward prosperity.
So, AGAIN, No one can clearly tell me what programs are being saved at the expense of the parks… in fact if you read this letter carefully… it never actually says that other programs ARE being saved, just that because the voters chose to live within their means and not raise taxes, programs (such as the parks) have to be cut.
Well, that puts a slightly different spin on things now doesn’t it.
This would have been the perfect time for the Press Office to say “Well, you don’t get parks but you get to keep your firemen… ” or “Fewer parks mean keeping emergency clinics open” and then I would have been trumpeting them for all the world to hear.
But they didn’t.