California Budget Environment State Government State Politics

State Parks, Summer School….and Inflammatory Rhetoric



There were committee hearings yesterday on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plans to close 223 of California’s State Park, Beaches and Recreation Areas, with the park gates being padlocked as soon as Labor day. Those proposing the closure say that shuttering the parks could save $70 million in park costs through June 30, 2010, plus an additional $143.4 million during the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

(Look at the list. It’s pretty startling. Morro Bay. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Parts of Lake Tahoe. Malibu Creek, Point Mugu, the Humboldt Redwoods, the Anza-Borrego Desert and the Salton Sea—plus 215 more.)

According to park advocates, however, in addition to the ghastly loss to the state’s sense of well being that park closures represent, shutting down the state’s parks may be fuzzy-headed thinking from a fiscal perspective too.

Annually, 80 million people visit California’s State Parks and, in addition to paying park fees and the like, those visitors also mean substantial amounts of money to the surrounding economies.

The Sierra Sun, which covers the region
that includes parks in such areas as Truckee and Tahoe, reports:

In a survey done in 2002, state parks brought $6.5 billion in revenue to private businesses across the state from tourism, said Pam Armas, California State Parks Sierra District Superintendent, and the Truckee-Tahoe area is particularly influenced by park visitors.

And according to the SF Chronicle:

[Elizabeth Goldstein, president of the California State Parks Foundation] said that, for every dollar spent, the state parks generate $2.35 in tax revenue from economic activity in the local communities surrounding the parks. That means the state could potentially see a [LARGE] reduction in revenue by closing the parks.

In this morning’s editorial, the LA Times points out that closing the parks may not just be loss of revenue, park shutdowns may cost the state big bucks in terms collateral damage and unexpected payouts.

Closing parks doesn’t mean that people won’t use them. It means that law-abiding people won’t use them. Among those who will: meth lab operators, marijuana farmers, the homeless, taggers, poachers, rogue mountain bikers and off-roaders, as well as just plain campers who think the rules don’t apply to their personal visits. Wildfire danger would increase from illegal, unsupervised campfires, sparks from off-road vehicles and drug operations. The cost of a single catastrophic fire could wipe out most of the savings from closing parks. Crime could turn the parks into expensive public nuisances.


Though details haven’t been worked out,
so far the proposal calls for putting up to 220 parks on “caretaker” status, which means turning off the water and power, boarding up the windows and sending regional patrols in every now and then to look for damage that needs immediate attention. This isn’t a workable scenario. Imagine trying to “close” the 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in San Diego County.

Like any homeowner who moves but has a legal responsibility to keep the vacant property in decent order, the state cannot simply lock the gates of state parks and walk away. Nor is this a long-term solution to the state’s budget crisis. Californians expect to see these treasured resources reopened within a couple of years, and they must be maintained with that in mind, not as potential lots for the auction block. The state is hurting badly, but it is not for sale.

Math is your friend, people!



Another worthwhile LAT Op Ed is by Gisselle Acevedo, president and chief executive of Para Los Niños. She writes from personal experience about how, slashing the district’s summer school programs means that many parents will be “forced to choose between feeding their children or protecting their children. ”



Somewhat contradicting yesterday’s unpleasantly lecture-laden LA Times editorial about how those of us pro-choice people should just chill on the subject of inflammatory anti abortion rhetoric, Times columnist Tim Rutten comes down rather differently on the subject. Here’s how he ends his column:

….It’s fair to wonder whether any of those who have rhetorically insisted that voluntarily terminating a pregnancy and shooting an abortion provider are equally murder, or that a Planned Parenthood clinic and Auschwitz are in any fashion analogous, now are willing to entertain the possibility that verbal extremism — however effective as argument — has consequences.

In the American debate over abortion, the extravagance of the moral argument and the intemperance of its expression have had consequences — and we have the graves to prove it.


  • Why is it that politicians can’t seem to think outside the box even for 10 minutes to solve a simple problem?

    This is the day of the internet, where 10,000 individuals would happily adopt every park on the list, maintain them and take care of them better than big government ever did.

    Big government will always want to control every thing, so if they are not completely in charge and in control they will want to padlock it.

  • Will Rogers State Beach is a great Example:

    Gee, do you thinks it would be hard to find 10 retired couples with motor homes who would happily PAY the state to park their motor homes at the Beach and take of the that beach. How many swimming teams/clubs would love to adopt the beach and provide free life guards during the summer months.

    All it would take is a tiny bit of leadership skills, something we lack in Sacramento.

  • To make money from state parks, I propose turning part of Topanga State Park into an amusement center with roller coasters and water rides, another section into a minimum security prison, and an adjoining piece into a shooting range in case the prisoners have other ideas.

  • The sad thing about these morons – who pushed the kind of economic illiteracy and demagogy that pushed CA into this crisis mode – is that shit such as we read in the typical comments above is really all they’ve got to offer.

    Pathetic. In a generation “Conservatism” has morphed from a political philosophy into a social disease into simple stupidity – laced with a large dose of hysteria to make it seem “relevant.”

  • reg, you constantly display your economic ignorance and dishonesty by blaming conservatives, who demand fiscal responsibility, for your liberal-minded attitude that you can have it all.

    When it comes to numbers, who has more credibility…someone with a Master’s in accounting, who is a CPA, who has worked for major international accounting firms, has been a controller and VP-Finance, has taught CPA review courses, and who deals with financial issues all day like me…or a school drop-out, loud-mouth socialist loser like you?

    You have no solutions and place no responsibility on the wild spending of Democrats, where the problems started and continue. You really don’t have any credibility to point fingers at others.

    My point about Topanga is that liberals create financial problems in government, they expect others to pay for them, they won’t inconvenience themselves by making sacrifices, and they are too small to take responsibility.

    Get back with us after you’ve gotten your degree.

  • A quote from the article on summer schools: Eliminating summer school means more parents will be forced to choose between feeding their children or protecting their children. They simply won’t be able to do both.

    That’s not necessarily true, the problem is that of the parents, and it’s not the problem of the taxpayers. I’d rather put the money into law enforcement to make the streets safer for everyone than use it for schools to serve as a babysitting service for a few.

    This liberal attitude for a nanny-state instead of one of personal responsibility is what’s killing California financially.

  • I’m with Reg, the conservatives and their misinformation have made stupidity abound in California.

    to Tim Rutten I would say, take a look in your own backyard with the rise in conservative hate-blogs, and lets hear a whole lot more from you about it (instead of almost nothing).

  • “in a generation “Conservatism” has morphed from a political philosophy into a social disease into simple stupidity – laced with a large dose of hysteria to make it seem “relevant.”

    This is true but its worse than that. In a generation Conservatism engulfed once-Liberals, who were tricked by its “rebel” stance,

    and became what they once hated.

  • Good one Woody! Gitmo jihadists housed in Topanga! I like it, but only if we can maintain the “Draconian” theme. Could we expect them to help with the inmate firefighting duties during the season?

  • Thanks for your unsupported input about conservatives, Virginia. The views from someone who specializes in art and who labels herself as a progressive must be respected, despite not having any apparent qualifications to discuss particular subjects.

    In your view, conservatives are “stupid and hateful” and should be condemned rather than heard. Have you ever read blogs and comments from the Left? They give greater meaning to the word “hate.”

    Maybe this will help you to understand me.
    Why I Am Mean, Racist, and Greedy

    Have you ever taken taxpayer money for your art projects? Why should taxpayers fund art that won’t sell in the private market? Why are conservatives stupid and hateful for wanting to keep more of the money that they earned rather than let the government take it and waste it? Conservatives sound pretty smart to me.

    P.S. It’s best not to agree with reg. He always loses debates with me and breaks down into whiny, ranting, serial name calling.

  • Woody – anyone who advocates tax cuts without a viable political strategy to also cut spending is an economic illiterate. The proof is mega deficit spending increasing under every economically infantile Reaganite administration that has touted that toxic formula. You’re bluster about your silly degrees in the most boring, pedestrian occupation known to man is proof of your desperation. You can’t win by debating this point so you try to impress us with the fact that you’re…wait for it…a CPA !!!!

    The fact that you have not a clue how pathetic and, frankly, hilarious this is reinforces the fact that you’re…uh…pathetic.

  • “In your view, conservatives are “stupid and hateful” and should be condemned rather than heard”

    I’m all for idiots like Woody being heard – the more their heard, the more normal people condemn them for their bigotry and economic illiteracy.

  • reg, anyone who advocates more spending on causes without knowing how to fund it over its life (usually forever with liberal projects) is an “economic illiterate.” Don’t start stupid spending and we won’t have to worry about fighting tax increases.

    – – –

    Joke for reg…

    Q. Do you know why Stevie Wonder can’t read?

    Ask me for the answer.

  • Incidentally, Woody, “winning” a “debate” with you isn’t winning much of anything. It’s a priori understood that you’re not taken seriously here and your puny vanities – “Hey, Look at me – I’m so smart I’m an ACCOUNTANT!” – are beyond ridiculous. I never bother to make claims about “winning” over you, because first of all that gets me about as many points in life as tying my shoelaces and, second, you consistently expose yourself as a moron and a rancid bigot, whether anyone takes you on or not.

  • reg, you are so, so envious. I’m sorry that you can’t have initials after your name like me. Maybe you could try something like, say, SOB.

    Now, you need to start somewhere on understanding taxes and spending, so here’s a good lesson for you.

    What is the “Deficit?” Some kids at school take Deficit to help their attention, is it like that? Nope. In the news it’s about grownups who don’t pay attention to their money. That is, OUR money. Uncle Jay explains The Deficit!

    Good luck! ..and, work on getting that chip off of your shoulder.

  • Liberals love to spend other people’s money and love raise other peoples taxes, but are loath to actually make a choice between one program and another when there are limited resources. Yes, closing parks may be stupid, but that’s CA government.

    It is a joy to see the CA legislature be forced to make some hard decisions, my only worry is that they will still be unable to make the hard choices and bankrupt the entire state.

    What we have in CA is a government that has maxed out their credit cards buying things to make them feeeeeeel gooooood about themselves.

  • “so,so envious” – glad to see your back to just trying to make folks laugh. It’s your only talent – ableit modest. But it hasn’t been on display much in recent months, what with the “darkie” and “fag” garbage that just shows your hateful side.

  • Passing tax cuts makes no sense unless there’s an equivalent political will and ability to pass viable budget cuts. This is the simple economic reality and Reaganite demagogues don’t care about reality – which is why deficits as a % of GDP have skyrocketed under every administration that administered this patent medicine and gone down under every administration that enacted a responsible tax policy. Trying to cut taxes BEFORE you can cut spending is sheer stupidity and has consistently led to structural economic problems.

    Obama’s deficit spending is pure Keynesianism in the face of a threatening depression. And Keynesianism has withstood the test of time and been adopted to some degree by every adminstration since Roosevelt. It’s a historical fact that the country has tended to prosper more under Democratic Presidents than Republicans. The GOP is the party of economic demagogy and illiteracy. Arnold’s insulting “Smash the Car Tax” campaign was the latest in a string of GOP epic economic failures, rooted in mindless demagogy and bamboozlement of naifs and wingnuts like Woody and Pokey. Of course, one can always consult H&R Block, TurboTax or…uh…Woody for more nuanced, analytically sound advice on macroeconomic policy than the obvious insult to the laws of mathematics, to the intellect and to political coherence embodied in infantile “Reaganomic” rhetoric.

  • “…than the obvious insult…”

    should have been “…than recognizing the obvious insult…”

  • That’s a lovely dress you’re wearing, Ms. Fremon. However, Woodrow and Reginold have commenced tugging at each other again, and Wallace, Lumpy and myself are having a most burdensome, exacting time trying to read your wonderful post today. Can something be done?

  • Californians have shown a repeated willingness to be taxed in order to maintain state parks. But Pokey’s idea of park “sponsors” isn’t a bad idea at all. I quite agree. People would do it. And would cut at least a good portion of the cost. I think such a program could be up and running quickly. I know my community would fund raise in a heartbeat for our Topanga State Park.

    I think, however, it would have to be fiscal sponsorship only, not the folks in the RVs suddenly becoming life guards or whatever idea, simply because, as I’m sure you recognize, the latter would be a legal and organizational nightmare.

    But certainly some level of maintenance could be organized for some parks on a volunteer basis, in the manner of the sponsorship of stretches of state highways that we see all the time.

    BTW, I don’t think building a SuperMax in Topanga State park is the answer, Woody. We have plenty of SuperMaxes in this state already, thank you very much. Put ’em in Pelican Bay, no problem.

    But now that you mention it, that town in Montana—Hardin—really wants the Gitmo folks, and Hardin already has a brand new, entirely empty prison. MT. Sen. Max Baucus is against it, but what does he know? (Baucus is on my blacklist for his opposition to single payer health care anyway. Screw Baucus.)

    I say bring ’em to Hardin. Hell, on the off chance anybody breaks out, they won’t get far. The whole state is armed to the teeth. (And I mean that affectionately.)

  • “not the folks in the RVs suddenly becoming life guards … legal and organizational nightmare”

    —- Nonsense —-

    There are many swim clubs and teams (not RV Elderly), who would love to do this function and are skilled and able bodied. An example of this is the Volunteer Ski Patrols and Volunteer Fire Departments all over the country.

    This “CAN’T DO” thinking in CA is what is holding us back. The problem is poor leadership, this is what causes it to be a legal and organizational nightmare.

  • Monsieur reg, who, like the French, loses every fight: Trying to cut taxes BEFORE you can cut spending is sheer stupidity

    Actually, creating new spending programs without the plan and abiity to fund those programs is what is sheer stupidity. reg, taxes didn’t come first. The spending came first. So, cut that.

    “Tax cuts” are really just allowing the workers who earned the money to keep it from government programs that aren’t wanted or cost-justified and should be dropped.

    – – –

    Hey, if California is serious about its budget problem, then it could take a cue from Gov. Palin – “Drill, baby, drill!”

    Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch – Hospitals are spared and oil-drilling equipment could soon pop up at your favorite state park under the latest changes to the two-year state budget….

    …said Jack Shaner, a lobbyist with the Ohio Environmental Council, a longtime critic of state mining policies. “We can’t drill our way out of a budget crisis.” (Wanna bet, especially if oil gets back up to $200/barrel).

    Among the changes yesterday, Senate Republicans guaranteed that hospitals would recoup all of the estimated $333 million they would pay under a new franchise fee. Hospital officials had said the fee would have cost them thousands of jobs across the state, reducing the quality of patient care for Ohioans.

    Other budget changes approved yesterday include:

    • Prohibiting school districts from blocking a teacher from having students recite the Pledge of Allegiance in class, and prohibiting schools from altering the words to the pledge. (That must kill anti-patriotic liberals.)

    California has a lot of offshore oil. Get the Democrats to approve that drilling and use the money for your financial requirements. Plus, that helps to make the U.S. energy independent from the Arabs, just in case you cared about our nation.

  • Woody, you’ll never “win” anything because you’re not in serious competition for anything. Your last comment – which is moronic and evades the critical issue of tax cuts as part of a budget plan as opposed to tax cuts as demagogic, wishful thinking on the part of pinheads – proves this once again.

  • Celeste – if we’re going to operate state parks on the bake sale principal, they should simply be turned over to localities to run as they see fit. Maybe this is a solution for the smaller ones. These are desperate measures – and it’s a scandal that our state has been run into the ground by crazies promising something for nothing. Basically, it’s become impossible to govern the state because anti-government types have totally bamboozled the public with crackpot initiatives and false promises. What we have is a situation in which Grover Norquist types have succeeded in literally drowning California in the wake of their single-minded tax-cut proposals that aren’t tied to any agenda of budget cuts. This is insane and no individual can operate on the principal of blind refusal to cover spending that’s on the books. If a “breadwinner” cuts back, it has to be according to some sort of plan and you don’t tell your family it’s painless or that you’ll figure it out when the bills come due. These hacks and demagogues have not done this as an act of “fiscal responsibility” but as a strategy to destroy the public sector at any cost – a reckless design borne, like most politically disastrous ideas, out of ideological extremism. And of course certain ego-driven public figures have played this game not out of any authentic beliefs or comprehension of policy but as self-serving political opportunism (Arnold! ) I’m still trying to figure out what happened to that “rainy day fund” he talked about creating and where he thought he was going to find the money. Arnold needs to be recalled immediately. He’s been a disaster for the state.

  • I’m still with Reg, especially after this from Woody:

    “That’s not necessarily true, the problem is that of the parents, and it’s not the problem of the taxpayers. I’d rather put the money into law enforcement”

    Jeez, yet another poor kid hater who wants to just “lock up” the “problem”,

    ummmm, thats how we got INTO this mess!!

  • “Basically, it’s become impossible to govern the state because anti-government types have totally bamboozled the public with crackpot initiatives and false promises.”

    So true!!

  • Virginia, there is no Santa Claus.

    Taxpayers are the ones who pay for your gifts. Why should responsible parents have to cough up the babysitting fees for kids of other parents?

  • Woody, there is no Santa Claus – which is why when idiot pols propose long-term tax cuts they need to link them to budget cuts. If the budget cuts aren’t politically feasible, the tax cuts are a fair tale, Santa Clause, total rightwing bullshit, economic illiteracy, etc. etc.

    Grow the fuck up. You’re a moron peddling toxic ideology condensed into feelgood soundbites. On top of being a bigot and a disgusting racist prick. And a narcissistic whiner who no one in their right mind takes seriously.

  • reg, when will you realize that tax money belongs to the workers who earned it — not the government?

    Taxpayers don’t have to justify keeping back what is theirs with budget cuts on your programs. Liberals, on the other hand, should justify every program that they approve and keep – especially those with no sunset provisions.

    It’s better to never start programs that are open-ended and can’t be afforded by those who have to pay for it and the future generations. It’s one thing to buy a car over sixty months, but you want to buy one and keep refinancing it forever with no sense of fiscal responsibility.

  • You’re a moron…really. You’re not making a coherent argument about taxation or budgeting. Just whining…

    Truly pathetic. This is so weak, “you aren’t even wrong !”

  • Woody is a right-wing Troll and he is going to keep putting up his inanity for as long as Celeste says its ok to.

    The trouble is, the people screaming about “MY tax dollars!!” are ALL OVER the place in California these days,

    no wonder our State is in such a mess!

    They most certainly have contributed to it, and would have our State fall to the ground rather than give up one inch on their illogical positions.

  • “anyone who advocates tax cuts without a viable political strategy to also cut spending is an economic illiterate.”

    This is so true.

  • “Rob Thomas Says:
    June 4th, 2009 at 2:31 am
    oop’s Reg , there goes the name calling”

    Sometimes objective fact hurts – Woody is no more capable of making a coherent analysis of tax and budget policy from a political perspective than a small child. I put forward a point about those who cry “tax cuts” not having the political ability or – more likely – the balls to put equivalent spending cuts forward as the only rational companion piece of their agenda and Woody goes into the usual infantile rant. If there is no political will to cut spending forthrightly, according to some kind of plan put forward by tax-cutters, promising the public tax cuts is nonsensical. Woody is a moron. Objectively. He’s also a racist prick and a bigoted homophobe – again, objective fact that he proves time and again with his perverse commentary.

  • I am in total favor of name calling where appropriate, and with Woody,

    its just calling a spade a spade!!

    “infantile” sure names him (and his kind, he is one of a large pack).

  • reg, when will you realize that tax money belongs to the workers who earned it — not the government?

    When taxes – or any money for that matter – are paid they no longer belong to the person who paid the money.

  • look at this, from Woody:

    “reg, when will you realize that tax money belongs to the workers who earned it — not the government?”

    These people really believe this.

  • And, Virginia, sadly you believe the opposite. In your view, everything belongs to the government and they just allow the workers to keep some of it.

    You better stick to art, reg better stick to man-love, and Randy should just stick it.

  • I kinda like the play on words. And, reg obviously didn’t get my association of Virginia and no Santa Claus. You guys have no sense of humor. It takes intelligence to make jokes, some intellignece to catch them, and no intelligence to completely miss them.

  • look at this from Woody:

    “everything belongs to the government and they just allow the workers to keep some of it”

    These people really believe this!

    (even after our State is falling apart, thats why they are so destructive)

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