Governor recommends closing parks to save money

Posted by on Fri, May 29, 2009

The governor is proposing to cut state funding to the state park system.  The California State Parks Foundation says that this could close more than 80% of the state’s 279 parks. There are 17 state parks in San Mateo County, including Half Moon Bay and Montara State Beaches, reports the Daily Journal. Furthermore, the closure of parks on the Southcoast could have a significant effect on the economy of Half Moon Bay.

But State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, cautions that no decisions have been made yet on park closures by the Legislature.

"Just because it’s tough times doesn’t mean you have to use bad judgment," said Yee, who indicated he would continue to fight for resources for San Mateo County. ...

The park system receives about $150 million from the state’s general fund and the public could be barred from 223 of the state’s 279 parks, according to park officials. ...

County Supervisor Rich Gordon represents coastal communities where many of the state parks are slated to be closed.

"It’s unclear whether the state will stop providing staff for the parks or just padlock them," he said.

The CSPF says "state parks receive less than 1/10 of one percent of the entire state budget". The Legislature’s Budget Conference Committee will consider this proposal on Tuesday, June 2. There’s a form for sending messages to your state representatives on the State Parks Foundation site.

State Parks in San Mateo County, from Daily Journal:

Año Nuevo, natural reserve
Bean Hollow, beach
Big Basin Redwoods
Burleigh H. Murray Ranch (park property)
Castle Rock
Gray Whale Cove, beach
Half Moon Bay, beach
Montara, beach
Pacifica, beach
Pescadero, beach
Pigeon Point Light Station, historic park
Point Montara Light Station (park property)
Pomponio, beach
Portola Redwoods
San Gregorio, beach
Thornton, beach

How exactly does one close a state beach?

Excuse me, Mr. Kirkpatrick, but I don’t see what your comment has to do with this topic about the Governor’s proposal to close 223 state parks in California, some 17 of which are in San Mateo County. Not just Half Moon Bay, but **the entire county**...not to mention **the entire state**.

Perhaps you meant to reply to some other topic.

I don’t really know “how you close a state beach.” I guess you lock the toilets, turn off the water, bar the parking lots, close the campgrounds, ignore the garbage on the beach and trails, ignore the dog, horse etc. poop, ignore the beach fires and homeless camps, ignore any threats to public safety and to wildlife, forget the children’s education programs and campfire programs and family camping vacations in the great out of doors (and the income that generates).

Oh, and yes, fire all the rangers and staff who have worked tirelessly with dedication for years to make California beaches (and parks) a magnet for tourist and locals (and wildlife) alike who want the solace of nature, the sea and the sky when they camp or when they bicycle or walk. The beaches and parks of California ARE California, our heritage now and for future generations.

And since the beaches and parks are closed, you might as well close the tourist hotels and restaurants and shops, because folks won’t be coming over the hill to the beach anymore. The hassle and filth and inconvenience at the beach won’t be worth it. I’m talking money for the local economy.

How do you close a state beach? I guess you just close down why anyone pays the price to live here.

I know I am ranting; I don’t usually do that! But….our parks are a vital part of our lives as coastsiders. Please, write the Board of Supervisors, write the State Legislature, write the Governor. Tell them what this means to us and to California.

Save state programs or save HMB?

<li>Why would anyone want to bail out HMB with $18 million to settle a lawsuit and with all the cuts in state programs coming?  </li>
<li>Why would we want to assume more debt by taking out one or more bonds totaling $18 million to settle a lawsuit?  </li>
<li>Why would anyone raid the various state and federal funding sources to bail out HMB?</li>

Save those funding resources.  We do not have to spend money simply because there is money in many accounts.  That money is not to settle lawsuits no matter how you parse the use of the funds or subvert the intent of the funding source!

If Sacramento or the financial industry funds this lawsuit settlement, we do not deserve to save programs that may really help the poor and infirm or the schools and credit for student loans…  Nothing I see, should save HMB from their frivolous and bad decisions by backing out on their planning/land use decisions that landed them in court. 

So much for $41 million or $18, Don’t look at the more needy venues to settle HMB’s selfish interest.  Time for HMB to go bankrupt and get some perspective on what is really important!

Park & other program cutting has a lot to do with HMB

Any money taken from any funding resource to settle HMB’s fiscal problems stemming from the land/use fiasco could be money that could be drawn away from parks, education, healh care…!

Remember, it was Jerry Hill that said moving money around accounts is a common practice in Sacramento.  It is precisely this problem as a practice and diviation of the funding mission that has created our fiscal mess.  All one has to do is to look at the Department of Corrections & Rehabilitaion or a number of other raids on finances to see this occurs often between depatments or within divisions of departments.  The legislature uses the same manipulation by cutting budgets or moving around money within the general or specialized funds.

A simplified process goes something like this—Office managers often have to submit 2 or 3 bugets (usually 5%, 7% and 10%... sometimes more). The budgets are then advancesd up the line in departments along with midyear budget reviews and BCP’s - budget change proposals….  All of this goes to the governor’s office and is pared accordingly and then it goes to the legislature.

In any event, the legislature then has to come up with the money and they draw from all quarters including protecting their earmrks and pet projects at the sacrifice of the general populations welfare - that is the GREATER GOOD within hthe state! 

HMB should not be a pet project or an earmark when money serving the greater good is more important than a special interest group like HMB and its lawsuit problem that could have been settled for pennies on the dollar then!

Parks & core programs represent the greater good & settling hmb lawsuit does not does not represent the greater good

During these tough fiscal time the greater good has to be the focus of our core state programs.  Parks are but one core program, but it isn’t the highest on our priority list.  HMB is not a core program or a core city (it is a bedroom and designation city).  the bailout is a special interest matter: its a lawsuit settlement cause by one city’s poor management of a land use issue where permits were granted and then the city reneged on its permits without compensation to the proprietary interests of the developer in this case.

We do not have the money nor do the people want to be taxed to settle this lawsuit that is best settled through a bond, paid by the community whose elected officials failed to perform its fiduciary responsibility to its own community.

I’ve edited Jack’s comments to remove the all-caps and bold. I’d prefer not to set a precedent for what looks like shouting on Coastsider.

More from the Chron:


Only five parks in the Bay Area are among the 59 statewide that could be spared because they are self-sustaining, collect special use fees or are run by local cities and counties, according to Roy Stearns, spokesman for California State Parks, which released the plan.

Those are: Albany State Marine Reserve, Emeryville Crescent State Marine Reserve, Lake Del Valle State Recreation Area, Pacifica State Beach and San Bruno Mountain State Park - all of which are operated by local cities and counties.

The rest of the state parks within the Bay Area’s nine counties would have to close. And some popular spots just outside the Bay Area, including the foggy redwood groves of the Mendocino coast and the craggy cliffs of Big Sur, would also shut down.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the East Bay Regional Park District would be unaffected.

The proposed cuts would force the layoffs of 1,500 to 2,000 maintenance workers, park superintendents and rangers, among others, that would result in parks having to close, officials said.


To Barry and readers - a misunderstanding?

Barry - it was a title to the substance or content of the following paragraph.  A “shout out” that you find offensive is CAPPED sentences or in a single phrase within a sentence to emphasize a point.  Some tiles are all capped, others are bold and or capped…  It depends on the context…!

You or your readers may be offended, but you rarely if ever, see me use capped phrases in a sentence. Even MLA guide or Chicago Manual of Style recognizes the usage, but it should rarely be used.

In this case, it was a reply to a queastion about what does HMB lawsuit have to do with cutting parks!  This was flagged to me with a starting emphasis on my name, “Mr. Kirkpatrick…,” (that sounded like a shout out from the writer to me to explain).  I digress.

Anyway, I will sometimes use bold banner leadoffs with an upper case to lower case lead off if I use a title in the future to my paragraphs as a compromise.  Thanks for your thinking and caution - it was good advice.  I do not have a problem with the edit, but since you chose to tell the readers why you did it, a reply seems reasonable.


Perhaps a little better editing might have made it more clear that they were only talking about state parks, but the article makes it sound like only five parks will be open if the Governor comes through on his threat.  But without even trying, two good county parks nearby that shouldn’t be affected come to mind—[Memorial Park][1] and [Huddart Park][2].  The county has almost [20 parks][3].  There are also the GGNRA areas which are federal, not state.

Is the Governor trying to get the state out of parks and recreation?



I think the Governor is trying to punish the voters for hating his stupid ballot propositions.

I think bold or even ital would suffice for titles.  Most Internet style guides will tell you that all-caps is bad form.  I’m probably more obsessive about caps than most folks, which is why I use sentence case, rather than title case, or headlines on Coastsider.

More at the [Mercury News][1].

“Goldstein noted that a study by the University of California-Berkeley found that for every $1 in public money spent on state parks, $2.35 is returned to the state in taxes from tourism and other revenue they generate.”

And apparently it’s not something the governor can do on his own.


“I think the Governor is trying to punish the voters for hating his stupid ballot propositions.”

Of course. This is not the first time the Governator has threatened state parks in recent spending-conscious years. It is an attention-getting subject, but a very small one in the overall budget picture. Never forget who this guy and the major players behind him are and how they came into office. Arnold, himself, knows very little of California, the geographic place, and of the diverse people who populate it.

For a better kind of approach, all state branches and departments might take an equal percentage hit and be given a quota to cut. That would maintain mandated percentages for certain government expenditures, such as education, while providing some flexibility from department to department.

Suzanne, I agree with you wholeheartedly. This just doesn’t make sense from a financial standpoint. Penny wise, pound foolish.

And the ironic thing is that if you go to the state parks’ Web site, the governor’s page is highlighted right up top. Click on it and you’ll discover that May is “National Tourism Month” and see the following quote (ironically enough):

We are lucky to have a Governor who gets Tourism and supports our efforts to keep this industry strong, and I urge legislators at the state and local level to do the same. Travel and tourism expenditures total $97.6 billion annually in California, supporting jobs for 924,000 Californians and generating $5.8 billion in state and local tax revenues.

Every time money is tight, politicians always cut or threaten to cut the sacred cows which are important to **tax paying voters** in order to try to blackmail voters into approving tax increases.  Note how many special taxes there are for fire protection and schools.  Fire protection should be the last thing cut, yet it’s typically one of the first.  Ever see a special tax for any of the so-called “entitlement” programs or any other “social services”?