State Park System Was Hiding $54mil

State Park system had been holding on to money for nearly 12 years

by Brian Leubitz

Over the last few years, hundreds of state park closures have been narrowly avoided, and many have actually occurred. At the same time, the state park system has been squirreling away 54 million dollars:

State Parks Director Ruth Coleman resigned this morning and her second in command has been fired after officials learned the department has been sitting on nearly $54 million in surplus money for as long as 12 years.(SacBee)

Now, in some ways, you hate to drive out people for doing what very may well be long-term planning. However, the Legislature, as the body empowered by the voters to decide how our state revenue is spent, should have had that information. Maybe they would have used it to keep all parks open or to keep the parks open longer hours. Maybe they would have diverted it elsewhere, but ultimately that should have been the Legislature’s call.

That $54 million is a one-time thing, and won’t be repeating. Details on how that gets distributed weren’t available yet.

UPDATE: Gov. Brown just appointed Janelle Beland acting interim director of the CA Parks and Rec Dept. Hopefully the quick transition will get the department back on the right track right away.

6 thoughts on “State Park System Was Hiding $54mil”

  1. I have become too cynical and I done like that about myself.  I just don’t believe that the $54 million is a one time thing that won’t be repeated.  I wonder how much is hidden deeply away until we’ve had a chance on a tax increase.  I wish I had more confidence in the integrity of the state bureaucracy, but I have spent too much time with it.

  2. Nobody in state government audited this department for 12 years? Really? In what other kind of organization does that happen? Bond issuers and buyers don’t demand it? I just find all this hard to believe.

  3. This will ensure I don’t vote for the upcoming tax increase proposition(s), and I won’t be alone.  More evidence that you can not believe anything the politicians tell you about anything.  $54MM while they are raising usage fees and closing parks.  Don’t forget these are the same people that tried to force every vehicle owner to pay a fee to fund the parks while squating on and hiding this surplus then closing more parks when it failed.  Incompetent and/or dishonest at least.

  4. This happened under 3 Governors:

    (worthless) Gray Davis

    Gonad the Barbarian

    Jerry Brown

    It’s disheartening

    Why would people trust their state government after this ?

    Somebody look at UC’s books, too

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