Tostitos State Park

This is the legacy of historically unpopular Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his friends in the Yacht Party – corporate sponsorships for state parks.

State parks officials and nonprofit organizations scrambled Wednesday to find funding and possibly new corporate sponsors to keep as many as 100 parks and beaches open after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger slashed an additional $6.2 million out of the state parks system […]

State officials won’t finalize a list of park closures until Labor Day and said they hope to see the parks reopened in one to two years.

“We are actively seeking anyone who can help us with these places, all of them jewels, at a time when people need them most,” said state parks Director Ruth Coleman.

“There are many groups and corporations that will step up to the plate and try to help,” said Elizabeth Goldstein, executive director of the California State Parks Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting state parks. “But it would be a mistake to think that these efforts will be sufficient to replace the public funds being extracted.” […]

The crisis also triggered debate over the kinds of recognition corporate sponsors could expect in return for helping to subsidize a state park.

“We’re reaching out to all possible partners — cities, counties, nonprofits, banks, corporations, newspapers, individuals — who would be interested in helping us,” said Roy Stearns, spokesman for the state parks department. “Maybe we can find agreements that don’t alter, commercialize or degrade our state park system.

“For example, if Budweiser came forward with money for Malibu Beach State Park, we wouldn’t change the name to Budweiser Beach,” he said. “But why not put up a banner saying, ‘This park is kept open by Budweiser’ for as long as they continue helping us?

If this isn’t a hop, skip and a jump to unique licensing agreements to sell products on site, I don’t know what is.

The article makes pretty clear that, while state parks and beaches may not be financially self-sustaining, they generate major amounts of economic activity.  In fact, over the past year, the system “is currently packed with the highest visitation rates ever recorded,” according to the parks director.  This leads to residual spending in the areas around parks and beaches, increased tourism, etc.  The natural beauty of California is a major attraction throughout the world.

Thanks to Governor Hoover we must lock them up or turn to the private sector to sustain them.

All part of his plan.

…I want to also address George Skelton’s complaint that progressives somehow made their bed by voting down the May 19 ballot measures and now they must lie in it.  I’ll ignore for the moment this major error in the piece, the assertion that “state revenue has been plummeting, down 13% in the last two years even with February’s tax increases.” (um, they didn’t take effect until April, not over the “last two years”) And I won’t comment on his barely suppressed glee over eliminating cost-of-living adjustments for poor people on welfare.

Schwarzenegger and the Legislature were widely accused of scare tactics — crying wolf — when they warned about the consequences of voters rejecting the May ballot measures. The wolf just broke down the door.

So let’s do Skelton’s counterfactual.  Let’s envision a world where the ballot measures that impacted the bottom line passed.

Those were worth a little less than $6 billion.

The deficit was $26 billion.

$1 billion of those $6 billion were cuts to different programs.  If a world where cuts to certain programs means we wouldn’t feel cuts to other programs is a world you populate and exalt, I think you’re alone.

The other $5 billion was dubious borrowing.  The most contentious item in the budget, and the most likely to have been dropped in your counterfactual… was $5 billion in dubious borrowing, only to local governments.

So the consequences of voting down very unwise ballot measures was… what, exactly?  Different cuts to vital services and different dubious borrowing?

(And of course, we’d have a permanent spending cap, rather than the political spending cap we have now thanks to the conservative veto.)

6 thoughts on “Tostitos State Park”

  1. stories that “hop, skip and jump” to a conclusion. Seems like I’m always criticizing wingers for that kind of loose rhetoric.

    In any case, I’d rather see the parks institute burdensome entry fees on visitors. Sponsorship just disguises the real problem.

    Let the campers grip about being “taxed” to use a state park. Then we can tell them to drive their motorhomes to Alaska, where the public facilities are funded by an OIL SEVERANCE TAX.

  2. The parks stay open, the taxpayers save money.  Sounds like a win win.  When I went to Magic Mountain on Wednesday I didn’t mind the ads on the roller coasters I was riding in.  If that helps 6 Flags not charge me a higher entrance fee I’m all for it!

    It’s not like Tostitos or whomever would OWN the park.  s this really an issue?

  3. State parks – at least according to the SF Chron – have been taken over by Mexican drug cartels for the purpose of growing vast crops of marijuana, rent free and tax free.

    I’d rather have that production above the table – since it’s going on anyway and is much more dangerous if extralegal – than have parks debased into billboards and plagues for advertising and naming.

    If parks are the same as walking down a city street, what’s the point? they should be about nature, ecology, relaxation, family, as so forth – not just another marketing venue.

    There used to be plenty of tax revenue for state purposes before voters decided to create the largest prison system in the world rather than the best educational and health systems in the world.

    There used to be plenty of tax revenue until some decided they wanted all the benefits of living in California without having to pay their fair share.

    There used to be plenty of tax revenue before free riding became the name of the game. Believe it or not, when I moved here in the mid-50s, streets were paved and smooth, parks were clean and open, schools were excellent as was health care. Streets were not paved with gold, to be sure, but excellent, with opportunities aplenty for all who were willing to contribute.

    Californians were sold a bill of goods by the anti-tax cadres, and unfortunately, ever since, we have been living on and depleting the wealth built by those who came before. It’s quite sad, as well as unfair to both our children and our elderly, not to mention those in the workforce who lack decent, well paying jobs.

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