Friday, May 13, 2011

California's Shame

Look at the following pictures, and see if you can tell what they have in common...




If you guessed that these are important geologic localities in California, you would be partly right, and if you guessed that these are parts of California's wonderful State Park System, you would also be right. But the correct answer to the question of the day is that each of these is a picture of a California State Park that will be closing in a few weeks because the legislature can't produce a budget. This, despite that fact that every dollar spent to support a state park produces something like four dollars of economic activity in nearby towns.

There is a political party that is so adamant about not raising or maintaining taxes that they won't even let us decide as voters to continue taxes and fees that we are already paying to keep our parks open, to educate our students, to feed our hungry, to provide support for our unemployed. This political party thinks that despite the pain that nearly everyone in this state has suffered during our depression, the rich and well-to-do must not be inconvenienced by slightly higher taxes. It's more important to fire a policeman, a nurse or a teacher than it is to ask a person in comfortable circumstances to pay a bit more for the privilege of living in a society that allowed them to become rich. Kristin Olsen of the California state assembly? I'm talking about you. And Tom Berryhill of the state senate? I'm talking about you too. You supposedly represent me and my neighbors in Sacramento. Stop representing your rich benefactors, and try representing the people who live in your districts instead.

Yes, I am angry. I've given up thousands of dollars in lost wages these last two years, and have lost the entire equity that my house accrued over the last twenty years, but I would happily pay a few more dollars in taxes to keep our parks open, and to help the state maintain the programs that keep our people healthy and educated.

Wondering which parks are closing down? Here is the entire list, courtesy of the California State Parks Foundation (they also provide a few ideas of what to do):

Anderson Marsh State Historic Park
Annadel State Park
Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park
Austin Creek State Recreation Area
Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park
Benbow Lake State Recreation Area
Benicia Capitol State Historic Park
Benicia State Recreation Area
Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park
Bothe-Napa Valley State Park
Brannan Island State Recreation Area
California State Mining and Mineral Museum Park Property
Candlestick Point State Recreation Area
Castle Crags State Park
Castle Rock State Park
China Camp State Park
Colusa-Sacramento River State Recreation Area
Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park
Fort Humboldt State Historic Park
Fort Tejon State Historic Park
Garrapata State Park
George J. Hatfield State Recreation Area
Governors Mansion State Historic Park
Gray Whale Cove State Beach
Greenwood State Beach
Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park
Hendy Woods State Park
Henry W. Coe State Park
Jack London State Historic Park
Jug Handle State Reserve
Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park
Limekiln State Park
Los Encinos State Historic Park
Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
Manchester State Park
McConnell State Recreation Area
McGrath State Beach
Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve
Morro Strand State Beach
Moss Landing State Beach
Olompali State Historic Park
Palomar Mountain State Park
Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park
Picacho State Recreation Area
Pio Pico State Historic Park
Plumas-Eureka State Park
Point Cabrillo Light Station Park Property
Portola Redwoods State Park
Providence Mountains State Recreation Area
Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
Russian Gulch State Park
Saddleback Butte State Park
Salton Sea State Recreation Area
Samuel P. Taylor State Park
San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park
Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park
Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park
Shasta State Historic Park
South Yuba River State Park
Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Tomales Bay State Park
Tule Elk State Reserve
Turlock Lake State Recreation Area
Twin Lakes State Beach
Weaverville Joss House State Historic Park
Westport-Union Landing State Beach
William B. Ide Adobe State Historic Park
Woodson Bridge State Recreation Area
Zmudowski State Beach Map

4 comments:

Martha Z said...

I agree, we will lose part of our heritage when we lose these parks. I read the list last night and was sad to see how many of the parks still on my list to visit were on it. Castle Crags, Lime Kiln, these were ones I hoped to visit this year. I'd better hurry, though I hear they won't close until fall.
As for taxes, the GOP says they are "job killers". I find it interesting that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, two great job creators, disagree. I guess they know less about business than career politicians.

A Friend of Tanya said...

It seems a lot of these parks are ones with strong volunteer associations or would be easy for a city or county to take over management. The state parks department had to have that in mind when they made up this list.

KC said...

Henry Coe . . . so sad. As one of the only state parks that offer a primitive backpacking experience, particularly in the vast Diablo Range, one can only hope people decide to preserve this treasure. Limekiln is another beauty. Wonderful hike, beautiful waterfall, interesting history, in a gorgeous location--can't be beat.

I'm getting so tired of listening to the state GOP tell me that modest tax increases are so terrible. Especially when California has already absorbed the modest increases! My hope is that as these parks begin to close, people start asking why we're not seeing a chance to vote on continuing the temporary tax extensions. With luck there will be a positive reaction, though you never know.

What I fear most is the trashing of some of these parks. Simply because the state closes them, does not mean people won't use them. Another long run concern I have is that this could be the first step to privatization. That would be the ultimate screw job after years of public utilization and (frankly, sinking in some cases) protection.

naturalist said...

People like yourself Garry see the world as a "whole cloth" that is interconnected,inclusive requiring active care by all involved where many short-sighted conseravtives like those in your legislature see the world as compartmentalzed and insular. They worship at the feet of infantile and mediocre minds like Ayn Rand who think the highest form of human excellence is selfishness,greed and exclusion.

We are seeing the fruits of the seeds that Reagan and his extremist followers planted that has done nothing much but divide and polarize this nation for the benefit of the few and privileged. Ignorance,greed and denial is the "proud" legacy of conservative agenda.