While half a world away a nation is struggling to resolve whether it'll have its old conservative, autocratic government or a new(ish), slightly less conservative and autocratic one, we have some problems over here on our own shores.
Everyone knows California is in deep doo-doo. We ran out of money, in the hole for, oh, about $24 billion. There will be big budget cuts and they will all hurt, but there is at least one that doesn't make any sense at all: Legislators plant to shut down 220 out of 279 of California's state parks. Which would account for a whopping 0.62% of that budget gap. Even less if you count in that it would also cut the income that the state parks directly generate. Also hurt would be numerous local economies that would lose income from tourists attracted by and to state parks. Overall the loss to the California economy is likely to be bigger than the savings to the budget. It's nonsensical.
Additionally, the closure promised to be temporary (I would sure hope so), but reopening, restarting parks that have been without maintenance for some time could prove far more costly than maintaining them. There is another aspect to this that is hard to put a price tag on. Our parks are our treasures. The closure would mean that iconic places, like the big redwood forests, beaches, camp grounds, deserts and all sorts of wilderness areas we take for granted would become off-limits to all of us.
There have been one proposal to cover the cost of park maintenance: A once-a-year $15 charge added to license fees of non-commercial vehicles in California. To me that seems like a great deal.
If you care at all what happens to our park you might want to visit the California State Parks Foundation website or facebook page.
A few articles to read:
State Parks on Chopping Block - video - Wall Street Journal
Closing California State Parks: Is this the answer to the budget crisis?
Proposed California state parks closure list includes Calaveras Big Trees: Locals anxious
Proposed state parks closure list is not for the faint of heart - LA Times
State parks access pass might be key to preventing their closure - LA Times
6 days ago