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#87451 - 01/19/08 01:45 PM Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Parks
NiytOwl Offline
member

Registered: 11/06/04
Posts: 501
Loc: California
Ya know, if this actually happens I'll just have to break the law to go hiking. Oh, and vote for the "other" guy in the next election. What the heck does my use fee go toward? I'd rather see my fee triple than to see the places closed. I see the three Bay Area parks that offer camping are on the block - Portola, Henry Coe, and New Brighton. That leaves just Big Basin for camping within 50 miles of where I live. I've already written a terse email to Sacramento copied to each of my representatives telling them this is an election-decider for me. Pass it and I'll pass on you.

State Parks We'll Miss if the Budget Cuts Go Through

Proposed Park Closures

Not sure if this belonged in this category or in the all-in-one. Move it if needed.

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#87452 - 01/19/08 02:16 PM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Parks [Re: NiytOwl]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I'm in CA in SoCal and a number of these parks are near me.

I go to Will Rogers for day hiking and can't believe it's on the list. It is one of the few parks in the city.

Bolsa Chica is one of the few wetlands around and was the subject of a lot of lawsuits over development.

San Onofre is home to Trestles, one of the most famous surf breaks in the country. There is a plan to put a toll freeway through the park and closing it will no doubt aid those in favor of that. The freeway will have a serious adverse effect on the park.

Mt.San Jacinto is at the top of the tram in Palm Springs, if I remember right. I was dayhiking out that way on the Idylwild side a few years ago.

Clear Lake is a great place for fishing-I was there a few times as a kid with my family.

San Simeon is where Hearst's Castle is-a unique landmark.

Any CA members should be upset this is happening. Arnold got into office over supposedly poor management by Gray Davis, and now he and the legislature have run up a huge deficit. This is how they intend to fix it-by closing parks and also cutting education funding and other needed spending.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#87453 - 01/19/08 03:45 PM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Pa [Re: TomD]
NiytOwl Offline
member

Registered: 11/06/04
Posts: 501
Loc: California
Hmm...speaking of San Onofre...you know that Henry Coe proponents have been fighting the proposed high-speed transit corridor through the park? I wonder if this had some bearing on its inclusion?

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#87454 - 01/19/08 04:58 PM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Pa [Re: NiytOwl]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3889
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I just get to boiling when I hear that kind of @#%!

First, I don't even believe that Will Rogers SP will be closed. Way too many snoots play Polo there. That park's only on the list to balance the proposal, to make it look like they're spreading the pain evenly among the rich, poor, and middle class. When the final list is announced Will Rogers SP will not be on it.

CA has some pretty high taxes levied just for the park systems there. If it were me, I'd do more than write and call my State Rep. You're off to a good start, posting a message here but you can do more.

I'd write and print a newsletter and distribute it where hikers go and at stores and gas stations near affected Parks. In it I'd give names and numbers of local politicians and agencies for people to call. I'd create a website or page to inform others and include the URL. I'd also start a petition and gather signatures. I did all of that three years ago here in Taney County, MO when the Missouri Dept of Conservation started closing lake access roads.

In the newsletters I wrote I told people how much money we gave the Missouri Dept of Conservation (over $200,000,000 a year) and some of what they did with all that money. I told them about the answers I'd got from politicians and agencies to the questions I'd asked and urged them to call those same people and agencies themselves and ask their own questions. Over the course of a couple months I wrote about four newsletters. The last couple were printed by a local printer at their cost to help support the cause and several people helped distribute them. Almost every "Mini-Mart", corner store and locally owned business put them on their counters for their customers to take.

I learned that the little newsletters I wrote were an incredibly powerful tool. Much more so than an internet page or letter to the editor. People passed it to friends, copied and distributed themselves, and readers did indeed call the numbers and people I'd urged them to call.

I organized a meeting at the local Junior High School cafeteria and people were hanging out into the parking lot to meet with Reps from the Missouri Dept of Conservation, National Forest, and local and State reps.

Our government was cowardly. They had over twenty armed officers present at that meeting. They kept calling in more officers as more people kept showing up. Apparently a joke I told people about bringing their "Tar and Feathers" with them got back to them and made an impression.

The meeting was a blast. People from all over got up and spoke about how they used the roads and what having the access to these public lands meant to them, and they asked the Reps some tough questions too. Answers were vague, many replete with half truths and outright lies, and butts were grilled as a result of those answers.

When all was said and done, the Reps got the message that the locals here wanted their access roads kept open and would remember who was responsible (whatever happened) when they next voted.

Our efforts have not been a total success. They've not closed anymore access roads yet, but I fear that we've only slowed that process down. Still, that's better than letting them take our money and our land and sitting quiet.

Choose your battles and then fight hard,

Bill S.

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#87455 - 01/19/08 05:06 PM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Parks [Re: NiytOwl]
hootyhoo Offline
member

Registered: 12/14/06
Posts: 686
Loc: Cyberspace
Right on. With the new electronic voting machines, they may not care who you vote for - you press candidate A and it registers candidate B. And who would ever know? Its the New World Order.
This is where your tax dollars go - http://www.newamericancentury.org/

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#87456 - 01/19/08 06:17 PM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Pa [Re: hootyhoo]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3889
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Yep. Scary stuff. There are some encouraging signs rumbling below the surface. More people turning away from the two parties and becoming "Independents". Ron Paul has moved things a little. I have a great deal of respect for the boundlessness of the stupidity of voters though and they temper my hopes at least every four years.

I found that the "Parks" issue reaches much deeper than party politics, here locally anyway, and people acted when they were informed.

I'm telling you, that old fashion newsletter was incredibly effective. Here's a link to the first one I wrote:

http://ozarkexplorer.com/openroads/FreePress.pdf

I could not keep up with demand on the first two issues, that's why I went to a local printer. He printed a couple thousand copies for me on the last two issues I wrote. That made it a lot easier to get the heat turned up on the Missouri Dept of Conservation. I'm sure they got at least hundreds of calls. Way more than they are used to getting. It really put them on their heels.

I did get some strong support from local elected officials on this issue too. They got calls as a result of the newsletters too.

First I called local state and federal reps and agencies. I told them I'd have friends call them too.

Then I distributed the newsletters.

Then I called the state and federal reps back and asked for a public meeting. I told them I'd write another newsletter telling voters what their reply was so they all agreed to attend without much resistance.

I'm sure you can squish these closings if you work on it. Play hardball.

Bill S.

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#87457 - 01/19/08 07:24 PM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Pa [Re: hootyhoo]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Well, there are safeguards. All of the electronic systems approved in CA produce a paper trail, which is subject to post election audit. A random count of a percentage of the paper ballots has been mandatory for several years. In the coming election, CA has adopted more elaborate procedures for safeguarding the machines.

I won't claim there is nothing to worry about, but don't think that the issue is not addressed. The best insurance against fraud is a high voter turnout. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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#87458 - 01/19/08 07:35 PM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Pa [Re: billstephenson]
hootyhoo Offline
member

Registered: 12/14/06
Posts: 686
Loc: Cyberspace
Yeah, in my part of the country they want to put a road -the road to nowhere, its called- right though the smokies. It is scary. I am afraid one day they will. It is a shame. Good luck to you and your parks.

http://www.westernncattractions.com/hazelcreek/North_Shore_Road_News.htm

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#87459 - 01/19/08 07:43 PM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Pa [Re: billstephenson]
NiytOwl Offline
member

Registered: 11/06/04
Posts: 501
Loc: California
Bill,

You know, I've got a bunch of sign-making stuff - I'm going to call Parks and Rec on Monday and ask if I can put up a sign with some flyers at each of our local parks. Maybe REI, SkiAnyMountain, Sportsmen's Chalet, Big 5, etc. would be willing to have a sign in their window too. See where it goes from there.

Ya gotta love Arnold's excuse for doing this - He says he's actually against closing parks, and that his proposal was meant to "shake up" the legislature into figuring out alternative funding. So...if the legislature sends this budget right back to him unchanged, is he going to sign it?

Arny promised to go to Sacramento, "open the books" and "trim the fat". He went to Sacramento, then forgot to do the other two things. It just seems like the "fat" is never trimmed - it's always the lean. I say cut the legislature's pay and benefits by 40%. Personally I don't think they should make more than the median wage in the state.

After I made my previous comment about breaking the law to go hiking I read an article saying that park closures would mostly impact casual use, like picnics and jogging. Anyone backpacking would probably be unaffected because once you pull out the rangers, the local police aren't going to go hiking around the park to enforce the closure. Just park down the road or have someone drop you off. In fact, it might be a good thing for those who dislike...ahem...tou...er...crowds. Also might be your chance to camp in those forbidden spots.

Enough rambling, it's time to do something about it.

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#87460 - 01/19/08 07:45 PM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Pa [Re: NiytOwl]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Just look at those monumental "savings" - absolute chickenfeed in the total state budget. Will our "leaders" take any kind of a pay cut or reduction in allowances? Or how about the second state primary this June, kept only so the pols wouldn't have such a long campaign? The cost for a statewide election runs about 30 million or so, at least, IIRC.

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#87461 - 01/19/08 07:48 PM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Pa [Re: NiytOwl]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
The projected savings are so paltry that I suspect some staff members will remain on duty to ensure that the parks are closed. What a message...."Welcome to your state park. Now leave!"

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#87462 - 01/19/08 08:28 PM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Pa [Re: hootyhoo]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3889
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Well, I'll tell you, I'm not for cutting in new roads where they're not needed or will damage what little wilderness is left. That seems just a shame. And there are roads that I'd agree should be closed permanently.

We have a pretty good balance here in the Ozarks between access roads and large roadless tracks of forest, including wilderness areas. There are places where, if access roads were closed, it would limit the ability for people to ever get there and enjoy and experience the area. You just don't head out into the middle of the Ozark Forests for a two week long wilderness experience during hiking season and you never do it during off season. The ice storms here could get you stuck longer than you could survive during hiking season and the snakes, chiggers, and ticks would force you out during the off season. So access roads are important and we already have them where we need them here. When they close them off, they eliminate access entirely. People just can't go there anymore.

The situation you point out is a sticky one. We have very similar situations here, but I can tell you this... If there are family that were forced off their land, where they had kin buried, and now they have no access to visit the graves of their ancestors, and they were promised a road to access their family land, I'd probably side with them. It wouldn't have to be much of a road, a jeep trail would do, but I think they deserve to get what they were promised when the government took their land.

I personally have benefited from the federal government taking land to build a dam. I own property that borders Army Corps land. I know the family they took it from. I could easily say "Close all the access roads" to the land that borders mine. Then I'd have it almost all to myself because there'd be no other way to access it except from the lake. But the roads were there when people here shared access and it's still a way of life here. I'll fight to protect that.

Some dork cut some of my cedar trees down to sell the other day. He used a road I own. I won't put a gate up though. My neighbors and their kids use that road to hunt and hike my land and access the public land below it. They used it before I moved here from California and I won't be the one that puts up the "No Trespassing" sign on that old road. (I will call the Sheriff if I can catch that cedar thieving varmint though.)

Bill S.

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#87463 - 01/19/08 08:33 PM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Pa [Re: billstephenson]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
This makes my point already made in my response to Mugs in the other thread. Without a significant constituency to support the parks, this is what happens.

I'm all for organizing against this. Feel free to PM or email me if interested.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#87464 - 01/19/08 11:15 PM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Pa [Re: NiytOwl]
Xelif Offline
member

Registered: 07/04/07
Posts: 241
Loc: Bay Area, California, USA
First, these are some gorgeous parks, and it's a shame that they are in danger of closing.

Second, if you DO talk to your representatives, or make a fuss, PLEASE emphasis you are willing to pay more via fees to keep the parks open. The problem is that there is no money! Everyone screams and moans, but nobody offers revenue ideas!

Third, don't get too mad at Arnold over this. He's gone to Sac to 'cut the fat', he's tried, and guess what, the Legislature won't cooperate. Read more about it and what exactly the Legislature is doing and wasting their time on. Honestly.

Fourth - this IS just a temporary closure - or may not even happen. I for one am somewhat fascinated by what some of these parks would look like with no human use for a few years. I'd really like to USE them though, on the other hand <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
- John

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#87465 - 01/20/08 12:54 AM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Pa [Re: Xelif]
NiytOwl Offline
member

Registered: 11/06/04
Posts: 501
Loc: California
I'm all for paying an emergency fee to keep my stomping grounds open, and I said as much in my letters. But if I have to pay it, I want to tie it to a budget cap. Can't spend any additional money until the emergency fee is repealed. Why? Seems like we went through this kind of thing way back in the 70's when the state was going through a drought. The idea was to increase the cost of water so that people would conserve. Well, that worked too well, and the state was making scads of money, which they immediately spent. When water became plentiful again, the price of water didn't drop. The beauracracy had expanded to the current level of funding.

I'm concerned that a temporary fee will turn into a permanent fee. Either because of expansion or because funds normally going to parks will start going somewhere else. Isn't that why the state parks are in their current condition? Who remembers when there were attendants in those abandoned entrance kiosks at many of our parks? The money for them went to other places in bad times and never came back.

I think in the end they may close a handful of the historic sites but none of the parks. Why? Because people like us are screamin' at them. Because if they close some of these parks, the economy of the nearby community is going to tank. Because people are quick to forget the good things but remember the bad on election day. And here's a thought - if you lay off all that personnel, how much is it going to cost in severence pay, buying out vacation days and then paying for unemployment? That makes the savings even more dubious.

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#87466 - 01/20/08 07:27 AM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Pa [Re: Xelif]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3889
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
PLEASE emphasis you are willing to pay more via fees to keep the parks open.


As I recall, Californians are the second most generous givers to their Parks and Conservation departments in the U.S. (We Missourians are first in giving to the Conservation Dept.) so I would recommend you research their budget before offering them more money.

That's what I did here and I found millions that are spent on unnecessary and unrelated expenses. In fact, here in Missouri, the Conservation Dept. has a "Special Budget" that allows them to spend over 30 million a year without any oversight or accountability. We do not know, nor can we find out, what they spend that money on.

Every year, each agency in the State and Federal governments make sure they spend every cent they are allocated. Then they ask for more money for the next year. They NEVER spend less than all their budget. The reasoning is that they won't be able to ask for more if they don't spend every cent they get.

Many of my neighbors offered to pay special access fees to keep our roads and trails open. After researching what we already paid to the State and Feds I could not recommend that as a solution for our situation. I doubt it will solve yours either.

My biggest threat to the Missouri Department of Conservation was that I would lower their "Public Approval Rating" (PAR) by several percentage points with my newsletters if they refused to agree to keep our access roads and trails open. They spend tens of millions each year promoting their image, so a few points off their PAR costs them a lot of money. They knew, in no uncertain terms, that I had accomplished that goal when they left our public meeting. Politicians are not immune to this type of action and when you express that this will be your goal if they do not help you, you'll get results. Believe me, that's a big stick.

Bill S.

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#87467 - 01/20/08 09:21 AM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Parks [Re: NiytOwl]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
California is lucky. In Colorado they threaten to reduce our police and fire protection to encourage a big tax increase.

No Park Service staff will be eliminated. They might close the car camping grounds and restrooms, restrict vehicle access and stop trash collection. But the cost of those services was covered by the fees charged.

Use of the Forest Service campgounds and City Parks will increase. Cost shifting rather than cost savings.

Empty threats to encourage you to support the tax increase.

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#87468 - 01/20/08 09:55 AM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Pa [Re: billstephenson]
NiytOwl Offline
member

Registered: 11/06/04
Posts: 501
Loc: California
Quote:
Every year, each agency in the State and Federal governments make sure they spend every cent they are allocated. Then they ask for more money for the next year. They NEVER spend less than all their budget. The reasoning is that they won't be able to ask for more if they don't spend every cent they get.


I hate to admit it, but while I was in the navy I did that very thing. I implemented a few measures that ended up saving the department a big chunk of money, then as the end of the fiscal year approached I was told to spend every last penny that had been saved. "If you don't spend it all we won't get it next year." Crazy thing is that I got a Navy Achievement medal for those cost saving measures and I actually saved the taxpayers nothing.

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#87469 - 01/20/08 03:09 PM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Pa [Re: NiytOwl]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
My dad ran into the same thing in the Air Force-if you didn't spend all of your budget, it would be taken away the next year, when it actually might be needed, so there was no incentive to cut spending.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#87470 - 01/20/08 03:32 PM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Parks [Re: NiytOwl]
coyotemaster Offline
member

Registered: 03/07/06
Posts: 294
Loc: Arizona
No parks will be closed.
It's like threatening to close a fire station or lay off the night shift police officers.

After a government boob makes such a threat the sheople clamor, "Please, oh please raise my taxes!"

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#87471 - 01/21/08 06:34 AM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Parks [Re: NiytOwl]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
With government we have to overcome the thought that the economy is a “zero sum” game. A developer can create wealth if they purchased 160 acres and donated 40 acres to some combination of schools, hospitals, parks and churches then the remaining 120 acres might well be more valuable than the original 160. Community infrastructure can create value.

As the state has changed over the years it could be that 20% of the state parks no longer create value. Failure to make the hard decisions over decades might cause that to occur. But it is likely that the other government branches like higher education, museums, etc. would have also have been neglected and an across the board 20% cut might be appropriate..

It could be that some of the parks need to be turned over to the federal and local governments and special recreation districts or even consider contract administration. Closing the parks temporarily is counter productive.

If the Govinators budget office does not understand these concepts then the first cut should be elimination of the budget office.

I'm just saying

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#87472 - 01/21/08 11:28 AM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Parks [Re: ringtail]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
What concerns me is that these closings will be used as a pretext to sell off the land to developers. The land where Will Rogers SHP is located is above Sunset Blvd. and worth a fortune. I am sure developers would love to get their hands on it and turn it into another Bel Air.

No doubt, once the park is closed, that will be the next step unless there is something in the dedication documents that prevent it from happening. The park land was given to the state by Rogers' family, which may prevent such an event, if they had enough foresight to include a no sale provision, but I don't know that.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#87473 - 01/21/08 12:41 PM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Parks [Re: TomD]
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
Quote:
I am sure developers would love to get their hands on it and turn it into another Bel Air.
No doubt, once the park is closed, that will be the next step unless there is something in the dedication documents that prevent it from happening.


That's exactly what the Rogers family did Tom. According to an article in the L.A. Times last week, Will Rogers' widow stipulated that the property be maintained as a memorial when she donated it. If the state doesn't keep its end of the bargain, the property goes back to the family.

Personally, I don't believe that one park will close. I think this whole issue is political sabre rattling to justify tax and fee increases.

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#87474 - 01/21/08 01:13 PM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Pa [Re: Trailrunner]
NiytOwl Offline
member

Registered: 11/06/04
Posts: 501
Loc: California
Quote:
Will Rogers' widow stipulated that the property be maintained as a park when she donated it. If the state doesn't keep its end of the bargain, the property goes back to the family.


That just means Christmas could come early for Will Roger's heirs. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

After reading more articles on this budget, I'm coming to the same conclusion as Trailrunner and food - won't happen (political suicide) but done to show what's going to happen if we don't pass some emergency funding measure (aka tax/fee increase).

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#87475 - 01/21/08 02:15 PM Re: Governator Plans to Close 1 in 5 California Parks [Re: Trailrunner]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Thanks TR. I don't read the Times regularly and missed that article.

WRSHP, as the locals know, is one of the few places close to West LA for easy day hiking when you just want to get away for an hour or so without doing a lot of driving.

I go there fairly regularly and must confess, I am one of those "walk-ins" who uses the park for free, but I also pay taxes, so I like to think I pay something towards it.

The idea that parks must be self-sustaining or close seems to me not a very good choice. Not all parks can generate enough money to be self-supporting unless the fees go way up.

I don't know what the answer is, but I bet if we look, there are plenty of tax breaks for special interests that could be eliminated to cover the cost of the parks.


Edited by TomD (01/21/08 03:36 PM)
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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