Advertisement

Verde Laguna: Mulling the propositions and the environment

October 21, 2010|By Gustavo Grad

Two weeks to go into to the election, on a rainy Sunday morning, I walked with a cup of coffee to a chair next to the window trying to make up my mind on three initiatives on the Nov. 2 ballot. I grabbed the travel section of the LA Times, when the "Crazy Beautiful" title and the pictures from Yosemite National Park caught my attention. "Before you begin, let me warn you about something, I am not objective about Yosemite. I can't be, my view has been shaped by more than 50 years of visits," Mark Boster wrote.

First I am going to talk about State Parks and Proposition 21, so let me tell you that my personal relationship with the parks is also shaped by countless visits, walks and love for these places.

There is a state park near my house that I walk every morning from Arch Beach Heights to Top of the World with my dog. No matter what season, it's always a delightful walk. I found myself enjoying a foggy morning, walking in the clouds, looking at the lights, and a festivity of colors that awakens all my senses and make me feel alive.

Advertisement

California's State Parks are priceless public assets. But today the parks are in peril because of lack of funding. In 2008 a total of 48 parks were proposed for closure, and last year 220 out of 278 state parks were on that list. Last-minute deals kept parks open, but even then 150 were shut down part time or suffered service reductions. With a $20 billion budget shortfall next year, more cutbacks are expected.

That's why we have on the ballot Proposition 21 that will give vehicles free admission to the state parks in exchange for an $18 vehicle license fee, which will be specifically dedicated to state parks and wildlife conservation. The surcharge will apply to all vehicles except commercial ones, mobile homes and permanent trailers. Ballot-box budgeting may not be the best policy, and for sure nobody wants more taxes. The question is if an $18 fee is not worth 1.5 million acres, which includes one third of our coastline open to the public.

Coastline Pilot Articles Coastline Pilot Articles
|
|
|