Last year, the California State Legislature bickered and slugged out a poorly constructed state budget well after its due date. Earlier in that process, Governor Schwarzenegger had offered a proposal to shut down 48 state parks. Outdoorspeople rallied, flooded the Legislature and the Guv's office with e - mail and the parks were taken off the table.
Fast forward to January, 2009. Because of expected huge revenue shortfalls, the budget deficit this year will be overwhelming. Once again, both houses of our state legislature are deadlocked, too self absorbed in their comfy, gerrymandered districts to work as a team and put some solutions in writing and ready for the Governor to sign. This year, more dramatic cuts will be made, more programs, departments, councils and boards will be left without funding.
Expect the California State Parks system to be hit. Hard.
You see, our legislature is so out of touch with the needs and concerns of anything but their immediate political agendas they fail to fathom the value of open parkland to a mostly urbanized population. When's the last time you saw your State Senator out on a trail, or fishing? That's a bit of a stretch there, but really - they run the state at the state's expense, both financially and with their collective inaction.
All I ask here, in my barely concealed disdain for Sacramento politics, is that you fire off a letter or e - mail to your state reps and let them know the park system is off limits. They hear from me frequently, most often for my exasperation with their fiscal dormancy. But we have to speak up to protect those things that provide value in a time of diminishing open space reserves. Let them know what you think, and that you're paying attention.
There. I'm done. After poring over budget "news" this afternoon, it's clear state employees will soon be paying their bills with IOU's. Let your voices be heard, and don't be bashful. Remember, the cars they're driving are paid for on your dime. Please insist that they earn them!