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Arnold “Line Item Vetos” State Parks Funding – UPDATED

July 28th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

eaglerock-topanga-state-park


Using the poorly named “line item veto,”
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger managed, with the stroke of a pen, to make a series of unilateral budget cuts that bypassed legislative approval.

They include an additional $6.2 million cut from the state parks budget,
which according to Bob Cruickshank at CALTICS will likely cause as many as 50 more parks to be closed—or 100 total, which is potentially 1/3 of California’s State Parks.

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UPDATE: Here is a letter from California State Parks Foundation president Elizabeth Goldstein:

“This is a dark day in the history of California’s state park system. At a time when Californians are most in need of their low cost, accessible state parks, the gates are being slammed in their faces. At a time when local businesses, particularly in rural communities, most rely on tourism and park visitation for their own economic stimulus, the doors are being shut to them. In the context of an $85 billion General Fund budget, the $14.2 million in “savings” that would come from closing more than 100 state parks is truly a drop in the bucket. But it’s a small drop that will have a ripple effect, then a tsunami, for park visitors and local economies.

Closing more than one-third of the state park system cannot be done
without real consequences to Californians. Although CSPF and other park partners are already trying to identify ways to keep some parks open, it will simply not be possible for the state to walk away from 100 parks and expect others to fully substitute for its public responsibility. California’s state parks have been teetering on the brink of a funding cliff for several decades, this action now pushes them over the edge. California cannot afford for its state parks to be a political football every year. Our state parks desperately need a dedicated funding source to protect them from these now- annual budget actions.”

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CALTICS also reports:

• Elimination of state funding for community health clinic programs

• $80 million cut to child welfare services

• Total of about $400 million in health care cuts, including further Healthy Families cuts

• Elimination of funding for the Williamson Act programs to preserve farmland from development

• Deeper cuts to HIV/AIDS programs,

The only fallback position is a veto override.

About that: Fat chance.

But, hey, let’s make sure we keep that 1.2 billion in corrections. (More about that tomorrow. I have some new thoughts about early prisoner release. HINT: It’s not at all what you think.)

God help me, I’m beginning to think we should revisit oil drilling. I’m serious. (If you disagree and are not driving a hybrid, I don’t want to hear about it.) (Or a VW, or other cunning non-gas guzzler.]

Photo by Gary Valle, Sierraphotography.com

Posted in California budget, environment, public assistance, Public Health | 17 Comments »

17 Responses

  1. Em Says:

    I drive a 2009 VW (clean diesel) Jetta that gets @40 mpg OR I drive a 2005 Ford F250 (dirty diesel) that gets @18 mpg. Which one I drive each day depends on what my day entails. Hope the VW (though not a hybrid) qualfies me to comment.

    If drilling will help keep the parks open and maintained and/or help pay some of the other bills, then I say DRILL, DRILL, DRILL.

  2. Woody Says:

    Cuts have to be made. You just think that cuts should affect other people and causes other than yours.

    Regarding revenue, California has let itself be taken over by so-called environmentalists, who don’t care about the environment but do care about crippling capitalism and the U.S. We need more oil for our energy needs, to reduce dependence on OPEC, and to keep trillions of petrodollars at home. Drill, baby, drill!!

    Hey, that’s an impressive piece of stone in the picture. Do you think that they could turn it into a carving of Obama’s head? Even the color is right.

  3. Em Says:

    Celeste wrote – “Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger managed, with the stroke of a pen, to make a series of unilateral budget cuts that by passed legislative approval.”

    The way I read it, his unilateral cuts by-passed legislative approval because the legislature left and went home and left him with a budget that still was not balanced. Yes or No? What was he supposed to do?

  4. Celeste Fremon Says:

    EM, Go VW!

    I do understand that Arnold was also boxed in. In truth, a pox on all their houses.

  5. Woody Says:

    I went to the Topanga State Park site and learned some interesting things.

    “The name Topanga is from the Shoshonean Indian dialect. These Indians and their ancestors occupied the canyon on and off for several thousand years until the Spanish evicted them and forced them to settle at the San Fernando Mission.”

    “By 1870 Los Angeles had grown to 5700 people, and its murders, lynchings, race riots and Vigilance Committees had earned it a bad reputation.”

  6. John Moore Says:

    Hey Celeste, when I lived in Pacific Palisades, there was an oil lease on my deed. There’s oil all over the place out there.

    Californians really should drill for oil. With modern techniques, oil spills are almost eliminated, and the amount of land needed for the wells is tiny compared to the area the drain.

    As for the parks… everyone has their favorite program, and CA has more ways to spend money than about anywhere else. I’m sure they could cut and cut and cut a lot more and have plenty of government services left.

    One problem with big government, as conservatives have long said, constituencies of dependent people form for almost every program. That’s certainly what happened in CA.

  7. Evonne Says:

    This year alone, California will spend $250 million on the death penalty system. That money would restore ALL of the funding cuts to child abuse investigations, health care for children, and HIV/AIDs prevention.

    The Governor has chosen to spend $1 billion in the next five years on a dysfunctional death penalty that serves no one, while abandoning the children of this state to abuse, neglect and illness. If the Governor wants to protect all Californians and keep our children healthy and safe, he should stop wasting our money on the death penalty now.

  8. John Moore Says:

    The Governor has chosen to spend $1 billion in the next five years on a dysfunctional death penalty that serves no one, while abandoning the children of this state to abuse, neglect and illness.

    It’s always a matter of opinion, Celeste. I doubt the Governor has any mal-intent towards the children.

  9. Mavis Beacon Says:

    Obviously the governor and I have different priorities, but I recognize how unbelievably difficult it is to balance the budget right now. People, especially out of staters, love to offer big prescriptions – cut spending or raise revenue without actually examining who those policies will hurt. If you’ve got some free time (Woody, that means you) spend a little time with this state budget balancer from the LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-statebudget-fl,0,95571.htmlstory

    Also, just for your own amusement, keep track of how many lawsuits this will earn you. Remember, when you’re struggling, you make like Ahnold and can cut health insurance for children!

  10. John Moore Says:

    Mavis, maybe I’d have a bit more outrage if Obama and his goons in the Congress weren’t trying to kill me by depriving me of health care in my (rapidly approaching) old age.

  11. John Moore Says:

    I just spotted a posting that should give a clue to the bad choices California is making that cause its budget problems.

    Check out Coyote Blog‘s graph. It’s amazing.

  12. John Moore Says:

    Hey Celeste – you might want to set your blog style sheet slightly differently, so that links are visible. In my previous post, “Coyote Blog’s” is a clickable link, but it’s almost impossible to tell.

    John

  13. Mavis Beacon Says:

    John, from what I can tell eliminating all welfare in Californa (something that was under consideration at some point) and becoming the only state without welfare benefits would save the state only a modest fraction of the 25 billion deficit. Welfare benefits are a very small fraction of the overall budget. I know you guys hate welfare and anti-poverty programs, but that’s just not why we’re in this mess.

  14. John Moore Says:

    Well, Mavis, that welfare is the tip of the iceberg for its recipients. For example, those on welfare are going to also be on Medicaid, thus costing lots of health care dollars. They are also more likely to just show up uninsured entirely and get their routine care from emergency rooms, even though they qualify from medicare. They are also likely to be getting public aid through other various programs not included in welfare.

    And no, I don’t hate welfare. It is probably a necessary safety net (I don’t think the charities have the money to do it). But welfare is a sign of trouble.

    If a few people are on welfare – fine – they are likely those who are genuinely unable to take care of themselves due to disability or mental illness. If a lot of people are on welfare, it is because they are participating in a defective culture, often enabled by lefty programs.

  15. Triumph Says:

    Celeste, sometimes I agree that maybe we should just drill, drill, drill. But I still have this unwavering suspicion that the oil companies, and a stooge governor of theirs like Arnold, helped create this financial crisis (and set it up in a way to where Democrats would be blamed) to make drilling seem like an only option. I’m not ready to cave in just yet. I know it’s ideological considering the political climate and what’s really possible, but let’s look into ways of cutting prison spending first. Legalizing marijuana would be a start, to not only cut prison funding but also tax the sales of it. I would rather create a couple of Vegas style party towns, where anything goes, in desolate parts of the state, before we resort to drilling. Aside from the environmental disaster drilling would be, the worst part of it is that it sets us back that much further from exploring alternative fuel options. I get your point that people who drive gas guzzlers while being against drilling are hypocrites, but most of these people would buy hybrids if there were more available at a better price. A lot of people can only afford old clunkers. If you need a car, and there’s a hybrid being sold for 15k, whatever, and a 95 dodge pickup v8 for 2 grand, and you’re just looking for a car to get to and fro work, what are you getting? A lot of people can’t afford not to be hypocrites. So I don’t think that’s a logical response to the ‘don’t drill’ argument. In fact, it serves as more of a red herring to benefit pro drilling argument.

  16. John Moore Says:

    Celeste, sometimes I agree that maybe we should just drill, drill, drill. But I still have this unwavering suspicion that the oil companies, and a stooge governor of theirs like Arnold, helped create this financial crisis (and set it up in a way to where Democrats would be blamed) to make drilling seem like an only option.

    That is sheer genius – of the paranoid variety. Are you also a 9-11′er? Did Bambi killed JFK?

  17. Triumph Says:

    John, I don’t know if I agree with your sentiment (intended or not in your sarcasm) that oil companies are as bad as JFK’s assassins and the Al Qaeda network, and that a corrupting agenda by the oil lobby to get off shore drilling in California is as bad as the assassination of JFK and the 9/11 attacks. But I will admit to being paranoid over the oil lobby’s power and their ability to buy politicians, and allowing that paranoia to keep me from voting for off shore drilling. I’d rather make cuts to law enforcement first, by way of omitting some useless laws. Sorry you disagree, but I enjoy your sarcasm and find it entertaining.

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