The California OHV community needs to write letters to Governor Brown and thank him for vetoing $14 million of the $21 million dollar take, and also thanks for investigating the State Parks budget debacle. This may seem like thanking the enemy for only beating you halfway down, but it was better than having everything taken away. It all came down to line item veto.
Off-Roaders in California need to understand this “State Parks” crisis and ask that the Governor does what he can to ensure that the OHMVR Division and the OHV Grants Program are sufficiently funded. We also need to remind the Governor how popular SVRA’s are and how successful the program is. It is self-funded and that fun, often robbed by the legislature, has also been used to make loans to help balance the often lopsided California state budget.
The Sustainable Parks Proposal, as authored by Senators Simitian and Evans was largely taken apart by line-item vetoes by Governor Brown. Of the $21 million proposed to be transferred from our fund to State Parks for 3 years, only $7 million was taken, for only 1 year. All the letters, phone calls and petitions asking the Governor for help really worked as well as personal contact by our OHV Commissioners, and lobbying by groups including Friends of Jawbone, AMA District 36 and CORVA.
What did make it through the budget, and has the greatest potential to hurt the areas where OHV recreation takes place throughout the state, is a limit of $10 million for the Grant and Local Assistance Program. Two years ago there was $26 million allocated for grants, and this year only $21 million. For next year’s grants, at this point only $10 million is included in the budget. CORVA is asking legislators for help, perhaps a bill that would restore the correct amount of grant funding to the program, but we would be also wise to think outside the box and create a similar program to the public-private partnerships that State Parks is using to keep open those parks previously stated for closure.
The announcement that 70 state parks would close come July 1st started this whole ordeal. Ironically, the day the budget was signed, it was announced that only 5 state parks would close, and that closure would only consist of stopping trash collection. Seems like this was a man-made problem that grabbed a lot of headlines, but in reality did not exist. Shortly thereafter firing and resignations throughout the State Parks Division after discovery of hidden funds, many of which were designated OHV money, made headlines in newspapers and have places a spotlight on the program yet again.
It only takes a few minutes and it is all about having a place to ride. Do this now!
You can reach Governor Brown this way:
Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160