Thom Hofman 6:15 a.m., June 19
If you were like me you thought our State Parks were protected from development and their closure would just mean that we couldn't use them until funds became available but I came across this story yesterday that alarmed me. It indicates that 23 acres of a State Park in San Francisco were sold off to a developer and ironically a developer using state allocated redevelopment funds to develop 10,000 units of housing on the park property.
"Under a land-for-cash swap with the city, State Parks is supposed to receive $40 million for park enhancements and $10 million for operations and maintenance funds for Candlestick. In return, the state will cede 23 acres of the 151-acre park to the new development, a multi-use complex of more than 10,000 residences, retail space and office buildings that will be built by national homebuilder Lennar Homes. The earliest those developer funds are expected to arrive is 2013, long past this summer’s park closure date."
OK hold on! "a land-for-cash swap"? Isn't every real estate transaction a "cash-for-land-swap"? Are we supposed to think they didn't "sell it" because its a "swap"? In other words we are allowing you to develop our pristine State Park in exchange for giving us a few mill that will cover costs for a few years and then we will sell you another 15% of our park until there is nothing left? This is assinine!
You may say "well its just 23 acres and we will get 40 million dollars".
This is terrible precedent selling off our parks acre by acre. Why are WE begging them for their money while we are still giving them billions of OUR money? The vultures are circling these State Parks and are seizing the opportunity to buy them all up as a result of our budget crisis. A crisis that has no doubt been intentionally caused to give away this land to special interests and no doubt was caused by the 5.5 billion dollar a year corporate welfare program to the same developers that are now empowered to buy up all the land with the money we gave them. (As a side note the recent dessimation of CEQA has made it all the more easy to develop these precious lands).
California will ALWAYS be in a budget crisis. Even if they get all the tax breaks they are asking for. Because a budget crisis means a firesale to special interests. I urge people to vote no on any and all tax hikes because they just go into a giant slush fund which is allocated to these same vultures. San Diego is already insisting they are owed 6.5 billion dollars for development projects and other cities are around the same. And the Governor has promised developers at least 3.6 billion dollars. Thus every penny in hikes goes to them first.
A state bill being pushed by Senator Christine Kehoe SB 580 would have protected these State Parks from being sold off to developers. It passed the state senate but it failed in the assembly headed by our developer friendly leader Toni Atkins.
"This bill would prohibit land acquired for the state park system, through public funds or gifts, from being disposed of or used for other purposes incompatible with park purposes without thesubstitution of other land. This bill would require the State Park and Recreation Commission, following a duly noticed public hearing, to certify that all requests to dispose of or use the land for other purposes incompatible with park purposes provide for the substitution of other land meeting certain criteria".
Make no mistake. The day of reckoning has come and Californians better wake up fast....We are about to lose everything we value and love about our state. It's bad enough that developers have bulldozed beloved historical buildings and destroyed the architectural fabric of our state with our tax dollars but our State Parks are under attack.
We cannot fall for the propaganda being pushed about how these are "partnerships" and "solutions" and are necessary because we are broke. They are not "partnerships" when we are allowing them to develop the land that belongs to US and should always belong to us. It is obvious our legislators have much bigger priorites than our State Parks so we need to create a ballot measure that will ensure State Parks are funded FIRST before ANY money is allocated to the developers or other special interests. Please contact your state legislators as well and express your outrage at the selling of State Park land to developers.