The budget cuts proposed under Governor Schwarzenegger's latest plan would include some hefty cuts to the state parks department. This would result in 48 parks across California being closed down!
The International Mountain Bicycling Association has some information on their website , including a link to email legislators and the Governor that you disapprove of this. There isn't any word on what would happen to the parks onces they're closed, but you got to figure if the state needs money, chances are they'll be sold off to private developers. Not cool.
It sounds like he is on a rampage: Surfline.com talks about how he followed up this news by "urging the California Coastal Commision to approve the 241-toll road extension, which, if completed, would run through San Onofre State Park".
After a long, long day of discussion and deliberation, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) voted against the proposed toll road through San Onofre State park.. There was an unprecedented turnout of over 2,000 people at the CCC hearing yesterday. with a strong showing of supporters from both sides. The meeting began around 9am and a decision was finally rendered around 11:30pm! It was a long, arduous process for everyone involved, but at the end of the day, it proved to be an important, precendent setting decision. Although this gives opponents of the proposed toll road a stronger foothold, the battle is far from over. The TCA will likely appeal the decision to the federal government and the battle will continue.
No matter where you stand on the issue, one can't help but take pride in participating in the democratic process. It was an incredible experience that I won't soon forget.
I just received an email from Gov. Schwarzenegger himself:
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about funding for our State Parks system in the 2008-09 Fiscal Year. I appreciate hearing from fellow Californians during this difficult budget year.
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 for each of these generations to the California experience and help to bring our residents and visitors closer to our landscapes.
I heard your concerns when I submitted my first budget proposal in January, and I'm happy to write you today to inform you that the May Revision of my budget restores funding for the California Department of Parks and Recreation - keeping all of our 278 State Parks open and our State Beaches fully staffed with seasonal lifeguards. My revised budget proposal will provide $11.8 million from the General Fund and $1.5 million from increased State Park fees to keep our parks open. The fee increases will range from $1 to $2 at selected parks.
It goes on to say that there are still significant budget problems, he's working to change that, and you can help by buying California Lottery tickets. But this sounds like good news so far, right?
This kind of thing reminds me how important it is to vote for candidates who respect the environment and acknowledge the need for open public spaces. This is especially true for federal land, where protection starts from the top down.