Sen. Sam Blakeslee’s bill to allow local jurisdictions to operate state parks threatened with closure has fallen to the veto pen of Gov. Jerry Brown.
Brown announced Oct. 4 that he vetoed Blakeslee’s Senate Bill 356, which would have mandated that the California Department of State Parks and Recreation allow local jurisdictions—such as counties and cities—the option of temporarily taking over operations of state-run parks set to close.
Brown said the bill was redundant because State Parks has already signed contracts with a number of counties and cities wanting to run parks within their jurisdiction.
“Parks has already made its list of closures available to the public and a separate notification process for cities and counties would be duplicative,” Brown said in a press release explaining his veto. “Moreover, Parks already has signed agreements with localities willing to operate state parks and intends to sign more.”
Blakeslee replied in his own release that “state parks are an important environmental and economic resource. They should not be used by Sacramento as pawns of partisanship or leverage in budget fights.”
Brown did, however, sign Assembly Bill 42, introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Jared Huffman of San Rafael, which will allow nonprofit groups to operate the parks.
This is the second time Brown has vetoed a GOP-sponsored bill related to state parks. On Sept. 20, he declined to sign SB 386, introduced by Sen. Tom Harman from Huntington Beach, which would have required the state to post a 30-day notice of all closures online and answer inquiries about the closures.
More than 70 of the state’s 278 parks, beaches, and historical sites are currently set to close by July 2012, according to the department’s website. The closures come after approximately $33 million was cut from the department’s budget in March 2011.