state parks are scheduled for closure because of budget cuts, which has
promoted a couple of bills now before the governor to find alternative ways to
keep the parks open. In a larger sense, this move to save the parks might be a
roadmap on delivering government services and saving taxpayer money.
by Assembly member Jared Huffman would allow non-profit organizations to take
over the operation of parks that are threatened to close. Currently, the
Department of Parks and Recreation are in charge of the parks. AB 42 would
allow the Department to enter into an operating agreement for an entire unit in
the state park system or a portion of the park, with the non-profit having the
ability to develop, maintain and improve the park.
386 by Senator Tom Harman goes a step further. The measure allows for an
individual or other party to enter into negotiations with the Department to
operate and maintain a park that is scheduled to close.
bills open the door for increased use of public-private partnerships to run
functions of the state that previously were the purview of state authorities
and state workers. In fact, the latter issue is one of concern for public
unions who have raised opposition to the bills.
tussle over using private resources for previously held publicly operated
functions has been going on for years. Searching for new ways to do business is
appropriate in these desperate economic times with government budgets suffering.
appears no doubt state parks will close if state funds are required to keep
them open. Allowing private or non-profit operators a chance to keep the parks
open while working in conjunction with state authorities will benefit the
public and the taxpayers.
former New York Governor Mario Cuomo once told the New York Times, "It
is not government’s obligation to provide services, but to see that they’re
Brown’s signature on the proposed park bills would not only save the parks for
California but, perhaps, set the state on a new road of how to deliver services
to the people and save taxpayer money in the bargain.