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  1. #1
    Air Pirate
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    Nearly all California State Parks to avoid closure - for now

    From the Sacramento Bee:


    Nearly all of the 70 California state parks originally slated for closure Sunday will remain open for now, despite a line-item veto of parks funding by Gov. Jerry Brown, state parks officials said today.

    The Department of Parks and Recreation has already struck deals with private donors, foundations and non-profit groups to continue operating 40 that were on the endangered list, including the Governor's Mansion in Sacramento. At the direction of Brown and lawmakers last year, the parks department had targeted the parks for closure based on attendance and how much revenue they generated.

    Because the state has found outside partners interested in sparing an additional 25 parks, it will keep them open using a sliver of special funds that Brown retained in the budget he signed Wednesday night, parks officials said. Democratic lawmakers added $41 million back into their budget to keep parks open, but Brown line-item vetoed $31 million of it.

    That leaves five parks for which the state has struggled to find donors or other agencies willing to chip in: Benicia State Recreation Area; the California Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa; Gray Whale Cove State Beach near Montara; Zmudowski State Beach near Moss Landing; and Providence Mountains State Recreation Area in San Bernardino County.

    It remains to be seen what will happen to those parks come Sunday, but at least one - the Mining and Mineral Museum - is planning to shut its doors and pack up more than 13,000 objects in its collection, according to curator Darci Moore.

    "At this point, we have no choice," Moore said. "We will be packing up the mineral collection and putting it in storage."

    Even if they face closure, the two state beaches on the endangered five-park list would remain open to visitors but without trash pick-up and restrooms, said Natural Resources Agency spokesman Richard Stapler.

    Natural Resources Secretary John Laird said today he still sees a path to keep all of the parks open using $10 million that Brown agreed to restore as a stopgap measure. Stapler said the department is examining possibilities over the next 24 hours that could save the last five parks without donors.

    "What this does is give us the money to allow us to focus on the next 30 without a tight June 30th deadline," Laird said. "We will work through every agreement that is possible with a proposed stakeholder. And then when we get to the end, I expect that there will likely be a few parks for which nobody has stepped forward, and then we will cross that bridge with what we do at that point."

    Read more here: Capitol Alert: Nearly all California state parks to avoid closure -- for now
    So Brown line-item vetoed out funding that had been added back into the budget for parks. I like that jerk even less now than the first time he was in charge of screwing up the state. But I am happy there is a little bit going to keep the parks open, glad there are so many groups who have stepped up into partnership with State Parks to help keep things going, and ecstatic there will still be good riding out there in these special places.
    "You're messing with my zen thing, man!"

  2. #2
    middle ring single track
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    Hey Jerry!

    ..er I mean Governor Brown SIR; you sure had us fooled!

    It's kinda funny after we donate our last pennies to keep some parks open (like Coe in particular) the magicians opens their palms to reveal yet more gold coins.

    Kind of mean of you to pick on State Parks though; with its measly little $383 million 2012~13 proposed budget.

    The $11 million~$22 million~$33 whatever that would have been saved by closing 70 parks seems even more paltry compared to say the Department of Corrections budget of over $2 billion.

    This stuff isn't that easy to pick through; is there a Department of Obfuscation somewhere???

    It wasn't easy finding this:
    Photobucket

    Notice that in 2011~12 the DoC spends $166 million on dental care for adult prisoners; this really burns my a$$.

    /rant
    The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent any policy of the CA Dept. of Parks & Rec.

  3. #3
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    Uh, doesn't this happen, like, every year in California?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Castigador View Post
    Uh, doesn't this happen, like, every year in California?
    Yes. And every other year, we re-elect the same pack of morons.

  5. #5
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    Scary part is the voters are so easily scared and manipulated. Politicians always scare us by threatening to cut funding to the things that effect voters the most...schools, fire, police, parks, libraries. But never their seriously cut their bloated salaries, benifits and pensions.

  6. #6
    Axe
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    Washington monument still stands.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dstepper View Post
    Scary part is the voters are so easily scared and manipulated. Politicians always scare us by threatening to cut funding to the things that effect voters the most...schools, fire, police, parks, libraries. But never their seriously cut their bloated salaries, benifits and pensions.
    It isn't the salaries and benefits of the lawmakers that cause trouble, but the handouts of our hard earned cash taken as tax money to those who don't deserve it and free spending on countless things that are just a flat-out waste of money.

    As pliebenberg alluded to, there is some serious obfuscation that constantly goes on in State government that clouds and hides how our tax money is really spent. You have to dig pretty deep to get the real data, and outside of the offices of the decision makers I do not think anyone, even the State accounting offices/controller/etc. know exactly where all the money is really going. Think of how the Pentagon uses shadow accounts and blue/black programs to hide spending of money...similar ruses are used by California state departments to hide the fact funds are given away or wasted. Even though this sounds like a bunch of conspiracy-theorist ramblings, it is what I have seen since 1995 working with my wife in her financial consulting business she runs that services school district, city, and county government clients in the State Mandates field. I have seen reports and data that show paper-trails leading to some really scary fiscal disclosures on how the State wastes funds.

    The lunatics are running the asylum over there at the State Capitol...that I know for sure.
    "You're messing with my zen thing, man!"

  8. #8
    middle ring single track
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    Murky News article...

    California parks get reprieve, won't close Sunday - San Jose Mercury News

    ...is fairly comprehensive and is worth a read IMHO. Looks like some of the money "saving" the parks this go-around came from OHV funds (as predicted):

    "Part of the reason the state was able to keep the parks open this year was that on Wednesday, the governor, as part of approving the state budget, allowed $10 million to be shifted from accounts for energy programs and off-highway vehicle recreation to state parks. He also approved moving $13 million in bond funding from Proposition 84 and Proposition 40 to state parks to fund projects that can help parks generate more revenue."

    I got a chuckle out of this one:

    "With the bond funds, Coleman said, parks will raise more money by such methods as building cabins that can be rented and installing electronic kiosks where campers and hikers can use credit cards to pay, rather than the state having rangers collect the money."

    I suppose building cabins is a good idea but doesn't Ms Coleman know that her own agency's natural resources people will be totally against this? Good luck with that one...

    Electronic kiosks??? They already have nearly-foolproof "iron rangers" in many locations; locations that are remote and off-the-grid---sounds like the Electronic Kiosk lobby has recently taken Ruth to lunch!
    The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent any policy of the CA Dept. of Parks & Rec.

  9. #9
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    thanks for the links; great news.

  10. #10
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    Wow,
    Didn't see this coming at all...........
    Massive closure of state parks announced: Coe, China Camp, Annadel, Malakoff, &c.

    Don't get me wrong, I am very happy to see the parks staying open, but this was quite predictable.
    Its all Shits and Giggles until somebody Giggles and Shits

  11. #11
    Axe
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    LOL:

    California parks had $54 million hidden surplus, officials say - latimes.com

    California's park system secretly stashed away $54 million even though it was cutting services and threatening to close parks, officials announced Friday, and the department's director resigned as the hidden surplus was revealed.

    Officials said the department has underreported tens of millions of dollars for the last 12 years. News of the surplus was first reported by the Sacramento Bee.

    The Attorney General's office is also conducting an investigation, said spokeswoman Lynda Glendhill.

    Ruth Coleman, the director who resigned, has worked for the parks department since 1999. Her second in command was fired.

    Its devastating, said Caryl Hart, chair of the state parks commission. I feel like a victim."
    So all that was an obviously cynical attempt to drum up support for more taxes. As if it was not clear.

  12. #12
    aka baycat
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    I need to find $54 million around and not know anything about it. WTF!

  13. #13
    Old,slow,still havin fun.
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    F**kers. I hope the AG goes after them for criminal charges.
    Why is the OHV community so cynical about state parks? Hiding $33M will do that, especially after the state illegally diverted money from the OHV trust fund and did not return it years ago.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    LOL:

    California parks had $54 million hidden surplus, officials say - latimes.com

    So all that was an obviously cynical attempt to drum up support for more taxes. As if it was not clear.
    We have our orders for this weekend!!!! Destroy!

  15. #15
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    More heads should roll

  16. #16
    Paper or plastic?
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    Incentives: prison guard union funds the election of many CA politicians. In return, department of correction budget gets spared every year. Kinda hard to bite the hand that gets you reelected.

    Frankly, without any kind of meaningful pension reform, I don't see any new tax proposal passing in the fall.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  17. #17
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    Incentives: prison guard union funds the election of many CA politicians. In return, department of correction budget gets spared every year. Kinda hard to bite the hand that gets you reelected.
    The moves come in the wake of a scandal, revealed by The Bee on Sunday, in which a deputy director at State Parks carried out a secret vacation buyout program for employees at department headquarters last year. That buyout cost the state more than $271,000.

    Read more here: California parks director resigns amid scandal - Lead Story - The Sacramento Bee
    Quote Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    Frankly, without any kind of meaningful pension reform, I don't see any new tax proposal passing in the fall.
    Never underestimate the power of populism. They just have to package it as in "sock the rich". People do not think ahead.

  18. #18
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    Let me say that Ms. Coleman...

    Quote Originally Posted by Restricted View Post
    More heads should roll
    ...is taking the fall for Gov. Brown!

    Impeach???
    The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent any policy of the CA Dept. of Parks & Rec.

  19. #19
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by pliebenberg View Post
    ...is taking the fall for Gov. Brown!

    Impeach???
    I just hope this little fiasco backfires on him.

    I do not think Brown did that. He was busy trying to spend some Billions with a B for a magnetically levitated train from Los Banos to Coalinga. Or was it a monorail around the state Capitol?

  20. #20
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    i don't think it was gov brown. the governator was too blame. of course he was too busy f_____g his housekeeper rather than being governor of california. i am glad that ruth coleman resigned now we can open the parks back up.

  21. #21
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    I do not think Brown did that. He was busy trying to spend some Billions with a B for a magnetically levitated train from Los Banos to Coalinga. Or was it a monorail around the state Capitol?[/QUOTE]

    i don't think a high speed train is going to happen. we already have amtrack from sacramento down to la. why waste billions?

  22. #22
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by 29ernb View Post
    i don't think a high speed train is going to happen. we already have amtrack from sacramento down to la. why waste billions?
    Indeed, why? You should probably ask its biggest cheerleader - gov. Brown.

  23. #23
    Is now still the time?
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    New information emerges

    Quotes:

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A former California state parks employee says she told state attorneys that her department was hiding about $20 million in a special fund several months before officials announced discovering the surplus money, according to a sworn declaration filed in court Tuesday.

    Read more here: APNewsBreak: State lawyers told of hidden funds - AP State Wire News - The Sacramento Bee

    Taylor, according to her statement, first told a representative of the state attorney general's office in January about the hidden $20 million and that the budget manager for the parks department had warned employees to keep the underreporting quiet.

    Taylor's declaration is part of a sexual harassment lawsuit naming Manuel Lopez, the state parks' former budget manager who is at the center of multiple investigations. State attorneys were tracing an unauthorized vacation buyout program organized by Lopez when they questioned Taylor about department finances.

    Her sworn declaration, filed in Sacramento County Superior Court, says she told Deputy Attorney General Corrine Lee Murphy and parks department staff attorney Jennifer Comilang in April that she "was aware of the under reporting of funds," but that Lopez had told her not to report the information. She also told the attorneys that Lopez had ordered her to demote an employee who reported the $20 million surplus in the spring of 2010.

    Taylor said in her declaration that she had a similar conversation by telephone in January with the state Department of Justice, which is run by the attorney general's office.


    Read more here: Former Parks Employee Says State Attorneys Told of Budget Stash | KQED News Fix

    Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird said last month that the hidden money was found in July by a new park fiscal staff member while the attorney general's office was examining the unauthorized vacation buyouts by parks employees. Taylor's court declaration says the attorney general's office knew as early as January.

    Read more: APNewsBreak: State lawyers told of hidden funds - SFGate
    SOrCerer

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    Incentives: prison guard union funds the election of many CA politicians. In return, department of correction budget gets spared every year. Kinda hard to bite the hand that gets you reelected.

    Frankly, without any kind of meaningful pension reform, I don't see any new tax proposal passing in the fall.
    fact--california already has the second highest top state income tax rate in the usa.
    fact--california already has the highest state sales tax rate in the usa
    fact--california has unfunded benefit/pension unfunded liabilties between $300-500 billion
    fact--there have been zero cuts to state staff levels, wages, benefits, pensions

    why would any rational voter be in favor of additional taxes in this state? i just don't get it. we clearly have a spending problem, and we clearly have a competitiveness issue. i am against all new tax or fee proposals until the state gets serious and starts getting spending down in line with revenues. each of us has to do this in our daily lives, we should expect no less from our elected representatives imo.

  25. #25
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by cohenfive View Post
    fact--california already has the second highest top state income tax rate in the usa.
    fact--california already has the highest state sales tax rate in the usa
    fact--california has unfunded benefit/pension unfunded liabilties between $300-500 billion
    fact--there have been zero cuts to state staff levels, wages, benefits, pensions
    Nobody cares about facts. If they can somehow sell it as "socking the rich" scheme, people will vote, and nobody will notice they are duped. Sacramento is bought lock, stock and barrel by those benefiting from all the spending.

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