Have you heard the latest news regarding California State Parks? Apparently, there is approximately $54 million dollars of State Park money that was hidden, and went unspent and was unreported by the State Parks system, despite the parks facing closure. Approximately $20.4 million dollars of that money came directly from entrance fees and concessions. Ruth Coleman, the Director of California State Parks has resigned over the issue, and the second person in command, Chief Deputy Director, Michael Harris was fired according to recent news articles.
You may recall that in April of this year, I wrote a . I had an idea that by actually cutting the fees in half, it could have the potential to raise more money for the parks, not less. This would also give more citizens access to the state parks.
After I wrote that blog, I sent an email asking that same question to Ruth Coleman, and to the list of our local politicians, including our Governor, Jerry Brown and John Laird. I included a link to my blog. I didn’t hear back from any of the local representatives, but did receive a phone call from US Representative Anna Eschoo’s office encouraging me to contact my local representatives.
I feel cheated, as I am sure many of you do too. I also feel that people should be refunded the difference if they paid the increased annual pass fee since May 1. I think of the many organizations and citizens who donated to the parks, and spent much of their time and efforts ensuring the parks remained open. How much of that $54 million would have helped our parks? That is a question that needs to be answered soon. We need to ask for full transparency in regards to those hidden millions. Don’t forget who is really in charge of the government; we are the boss.
In the meantime, I believe my original idea is still a great solution, maybe now more than ever. It could go a long way to making things right. I think that reducing daily entrance fees, as well, could have the same effect. This would give more citizens a chance to enjoy our parks.
I say it’s time we ask them again, how about you?
Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160
Website and email: http://gov.ca.gov/home.php
John Laird, CA Secretary for Natural Resources
California Natural Resources Agency
1416 Ninth Street, Suite 1311
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 653-8102 fax
Website and email: http://resources.ca.gov/laird.html
To find your local reps: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_r.htm
*Editors's Note: This story has been corrected to include Anna Eschoo's correct title.