Category Archives: California State Parks

>Help Stop the Closure of California State Parks

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Here’s our San Diego letter below. Please help by forwarding this letter to your contact lists. Thanks!

Many of you are concerned with the state proposal to reduce the budget of California State Parks by $143 million. And, many of you will be directly impacted since Border Field State Park, the Tijuana Estuary, Silver Strand, Torrey Pines, and Carlsbad State Beach are slated for closure.

You can help by sending letters to your legislators no later than Monday of next week. THE MORE LETTERS THE BETTER. PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO YOUR CONTACTS.

Attached is a letter which highlights the main reasons Border Field State Park and the Tijuana River Natural Estuarine Research Reserve should not close.

Since Sacramento will be making decisions on Monday, we need you to FAX letters to the legislators NO LATER THAN MONDAY!!

Emails will not work for some legislators. They don’t want their staff spending time making copies of emails

IF YOU DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO A FAX MACHINE, YOU CAN SEND A FAX FROM YOUR COMPUTER. HERE’S HOW YOU DO IT:

1. Highlight and copy the proposed letter narrative (with any additions or changes YOU want to do)

2. go to http://ga3.org/campaign/budget_may09 which is the State Parks Foundation Website.

3. Highlight and paste the letter narrative over the existing letter on the site.

4. fill in the individual info on the right.

5. click on “Send this message”

A fax will then be automatically sent.

SEND A COPY OF YOUR SIGNED LETTER TO:

FAX (No cover sheets necessary)

619-409-7688 Senator Denise Ducheny
619-462-0078 Assemblyman Marty Block
916-323-2232 Natural Resource Committee (Senate)
916-323-8386 Budget Committee (Senate)
916-319-2107 Budget Committee (Assembly)
916-319-2196 Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee (Assembly)

EMAIL

senator.kehoe@sen.ca.gov Senator Christine Kehoe
rachel.gregg@asm.ca.gov Assemblywoman Mary Salas

If you don’t have time to send a letter to all of the above, please at least send one to your Senator and Assemblymember.

Thank you!

HERE’s a TEMPLATE LETTER

RE: OPPOSE CLOSURE OF BORDER FIELD STATE PARK/TIJUANA ESTUARY – IMPERIAL BEACH

We are writing in support of Border Field State Park/Tijuana Estuary, which is also a National Wildlife Refuge, a National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), and a Wetland of International Importance under the RAMSAR Convention.

Border Field State Park, a part of the Tijuana River NERR, should not be closed because:

1. State funding for Border Field State Park is $319,000, which is approximately 26% of the operational costs to run the park. These funds serve as a match to leverage non-state funding of approximately $906,000. Without a State match, these funds will be in jeopardy. Over the past 50 years the public has invested over $500 million in the Tijuana River Valley, and it is imperative that this investment be protected.

2. Tourism is the third largest industry in San Diego County. Without our State Parks we will lose jobs in hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and the recreational industry. In general its been found that State Parks return $2.35 for every dollar received from the state General Fund. Ultimately, closing state parks to save money may cost the state many, many times more in state tax revenue.

3. Over 1.8 million people live within a 30-minute drive from Border Field State Park. Over 70% of this population is non-white and low-income. Border Field State Park serves many of San Diego’s disadvantaged population by providing outdoor educational opportunities in partnership with local school districts.

4. Because of severe economic impacts nationwide, studies have shown that more and more people are vacationing locally. Without Border Field State Park there will not be recreational opportunities for local citizens.

We encourage you to oppose the closing of Border Field State Park, as well as the rest of the Parks in the State. Furthermore, we are in support of your efforts to find new revenue sources, including a dedicated DMV fee to support State Parks. This fee is especially attractive because it will provide free state park access to all Californians.

>Another Federal Land Grab: San Onofre State Beach Park

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Scandal at San Onofre
By Serge Dedina

Monday, Aug. 3, 2008 | One of the most alarming features of the Bush administration has been the lack of respect for democracy and principles of fairness, honesty and justice.

Pick a topic — human rights, global climate change, electronic surveillance, and energy policy among others — and the salient features are always the lack of transparency, the influence of special interests with large economic interests in the outcome (usually in the form of no-bid contracts), the lack of public review and public participation.

The increasing amount of money in the political process also has a significant impact on the ability of citizens to get a fair hearing on any issue, if one occurs at all. In the case of the proposed Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) toll road that would bisect San Onofre State Beach Park (home of famed surf break Trestles), democracy seems to off the agenda. After the Feb. 8 decision by the California Coastal Commission to deny the TCA a toll road permit, the agency appealed to the U.S.-Department of Commerce.

The federal government is the final “decider” due to the fact that land for San Onofre State Beach Park is leased from the federal government. After receiving more than 30,000 emails and letters asking for a public hearing on the issue to be held in southern California, the federal agency headed by Carlos Gutierrez, a former Kellogg Company CEO, agreed to hold a hearing at the Bren Center on the campus of the University of California-Irvine on July 25. The center has a capacity of 4,758, more than enough to seat what activists expected to be a crowd of between 3,500 – 4,000.

However, on July 11, the Department of Commerce, cancelled the hearing. Apparently, officials at UC Irvine believed that more than 10,000 people would attend the toll road hearing and would have exceeded the center’s “capacity and security resources.”

Rather than quickly identify a new location for the hearing, Commerce Department General Counsel Jane Luxton argued in a letter to California state officials that, “It would be difficult to accommodate a much larger crowd because the cost of a larger facility and increased security would exceed our current budget.” Unfortunately for American citizens, the out of control costs of the Iraq war, that was originally intended to bring about a “democratic renaissance” in the Middle East, have made it difficult for the Bush administration to practice domestic democracy.

The Save San Onofre Coalition and the State of California urged the U.S. Department of Commerce to schedule a new public hearing. Jammee Jordan Patterson of the California Attorney General’s office requested that the federal agency hold a meeting at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on Sept. 8 or 9.

Surfers and environmentalists have flooded Gutierrez with emails and phone calls urging the Commerce Department to hold a new hearing. And on Aug. 5, the State of California will hold a joint oversight hearing with the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee and the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee in Sacramento on the status of state parks in California. One of the central topics will be the threat to San Onofre State Beach Park from the proposed toll road project.

Meanwhile, the main congressional supporter of the toll road, Rep. Gary Miller, a Republican and former land developer was found to have bought $20,000 in TCA bonds back in 2000. Miller subsequently helped the TCA obtain $8 million in federal funding for the toll road project.

Congressional rules prohibit federal legislators from appropriating federal funds to promote projects that they have invested in. Miller told the press that the conflict was most likely the fault of his wife who might have purchased the bonds without his knowledge.

He did later state that, “If TCA ever completes Foothill-South, I will sell my bonds before completion of the project to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.”

It remains to be seen what the fate of San Onofre State Beach Park and Trestles will be. Hopefully environmentalists might be able to wait it out for new President who actually protects our natural heritage and defends democracy abroad and at home. Otherwise we might be stuck with a toll road that destroys one of the most popular state parks in California and degrades one of the best surfing sites on the planet.

Serge Dedina is the Executive Director of WiLDCOAST. You can e-mail him at sdedina@wildcoast.net. Or send a letter to the editor of VoiceofSanDiego.org

Story from Voice of San Diego.org