Proposition 21 asks us to approve an $18 increase to our vehicle license fees to preserve and improve state parks. State parks bring visions of open space, forests, streams, meadows, and beaches.
The wording in Proposition 21 states that the revenue generated will be used for:
(b) Wildlife conservation and protection of natural resources, including forests, other natural lands, and lands that provide clean water, clean air, and protect the health of people and nature.
(e) Protecting rivers, lakes, streams, coastal waters, and marine resources.
We on the Central Coast have two places that are part of the state park system but do not meet the above criteria.
The Hearst Corporation gained great tax benefits when it gave the Hearst Castle and grounds to the state, also transferring the very costly upkeep to the state.
The Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area is where the off-highway vehicles stir up the dust to the point that it has been identified as the source of respiratory problems. Should a state recreation area be maintained even though it is a health threat?
The intent of Proposition 21 is admirable, but to pay additional license fees to keep open Hearst Castle and Oceano Dunes does not meet the criteria of conservation and protection of natural resources. The state should find other methods to keep appropriate state parks open, by utilizing groups such as California Conservation Corps and volunteer hosts at campgrounds.
Proposition 21 would allocate 85 percent of the revenue generated for state parks, freeing up those general fund dollars currently being used for state parks to other uses. The free pass into parks for day use and parking for California registered vehicles is a feeble attempt to entice us into approving another tax. Users of parks should pay for the use.