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Old 05-08-2012, 02:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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*Attempt to steal CA OHV Grant Funds*

Please act now: Senators Joe Simitian and Noreen Evans are pushing a bill that will take the entire $21 million from the OHV Grant Fund, and give it to State Parks! We must act now – call, fax and write these State Senators, and your own Senator to tell them what a devastating effect this will have on roads, trails, parks around the state, not to mention law enforcement and restoration projects. Please distribute this to all your networks and club members, we have to get the word out ASAP. Find you State Senator: http://192.234.213.69/smapsearch/framepage.asp

As soon as I have the bill number and the committee info I will post it, in the meantime, time is of the essence. Most importantly, constituents of Senators Simitian and Evans need to contact their offices now!

Thanks
Amy
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 8, 2012

For More Information, Contact:
Lisa Gardiner (916) 651-4011 lisa.gardiner@sen.ca.gov
SENATORS SIMITIAN AND EVANS UNVEIL PLAN TO KEEP STATE PARKS OPEN


SACRAMENTO – Today, State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) and State Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) unveiled a budget proposal to keep open up to 50 state parks slated for closure this year, and reverse the closure of still more in 2013, while providing a stable and long-term funding solution. As many as 70 state parks had been slated for closure beginning July 1, 2012.

The essence of the ‘Sustainable Parks Proposal’ is:
• Growing the non-profit support and engagement spearheaded by the California State Parks Foundation and their community partners;
• Finding “new ways of working” in the parks, including allowing parks to become more entrepreneurial and allowing more personnel flexibility;
• Accessing additional, existing funding sources that may be appropriately used for park purposes, including using up to $10 million of existing funds collected from vehicle registration fees for park road and trail maintenance and other uses.

The ‘Sustainable Parks Proposal’ will be up in Senate Budget Subcommittee #2 on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation, which is chaired by Simitian, on Wednesday at 2:30 in room 4203 in the State Capitol.

“It’s unacceptable to imagine putting up the ‘closed’ sign on these precious public resources,” said Simitian. “It’s also penny-wise and pound foolish. Closed parks are easy prey for crime, fire and vandalism. If we work together creatively to keep these parks open, we can prevent the kind of problems that will end up costing California far more in the long run.”

“This plan is worthy of the legacy that has been left in our trust,” said Evans. “I am thankful for Senator Simitian’s dedication to a solution-oriented and sustainable long term funding plan to keep parks open and thriving. Utilizing existing funds, providing flexibility and giving needed assistance to our nonprofit partners will keep parks in the public trust for generations to come. I believe this is a solid proposal that will set the financial foundation for saving our parks. In the short term, we will be able to keep most of our parks open this year, and in the long run, it will help make our park system stronger and more creative. “
Simitian noted as well that state parks “are an extraordinary economic asset for California. They pump tourism and hospitality dollars into the economy, and create jobs in the process.”

The proposal also would give Californians voluntary opportunities to support the parks. Under the proposal, Californians could purchase a specialty parks license plate for a fee and give a voluntary donation at the time of their vehicle renewal. In addition, the proposal would allow the Department of Parks and Recreation to access $10 million annually in long-term loans to fix the water and septic system problems that plague many aging park facilities.

In May of last year, it was estimated that 70 parks would close due to budget cuts. Since then, nonprofit organizations and the public, as well as local and federal agencies, have stepped up efforts to find ways to fund the parks, and the number of parks slated to shut dropped to 54 last month. To help encourage these efforts, the proposal would also include extending liability coverage to local and nonprofit agencies that work in partnership to manage the parks.

“The effort that the California Parks Foundation and other nonprofit organizations have put forward to keep parks open has been nothing short of heroic,” said Simitian. “Their hard work and innovation are the good news in these tough budget times. We want to continue to encourage these creative partnerships. The state parks belong to all of us, and we’re all going to have to work together to keep them going.”

A full copy of the eight-point ‘Sustainable Parks Proposal,’ may be found at http://www.senatorsimitian.com
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Here is a link to the proposal:



http://www.senatorsimitian.com/pdfs/...20Proposal.pdf

Quote:
Subcommittee No. 2 May 9, 2012

Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review Page 8

ITEM PROPOSED FOR DISCUSSION

State Parks and Recreation—Ongoing Sustainable Funding Proposal
Previous Subcommittee Actions. The Senate Budget Subcommittee #2 heard proposals from the Department of Parks and Recreation on March 7 of this year. The department answered questions from members of the Committee and Senator Evans on the department’s response to
implement budget reductions and the proposal to close state parks. The subcommittee held open the following: (1) the local assistance program including off-highway vehicle funds, recreational trail funds and federal trust funds; (2) lifeguard headquarters; (3) off-highway vehicle opportunity purchases; and (4) the department’s proposal for revenue incentive opportunities.

The Subcommittee required the department to submit by April 9 a list of the rationale for park closures which was received on April 9.

Background. As of April 26, the department has reduced the number of parks slated for closure from 70 to 54. While this doesn’t mean the parks remaining open will continue to be open in exactly the same manner, the effort of the department and particularly the efforts of the hundreds of local organizations stepping up to support parks is commendable.

Options to Provide Ongoing and Sustainable Support. As referenced in the Senate Red book and testimony by the Department, it is clear that simply funding the department at previous year levels is not sufficient to address structural problems inherent at the department.

The breadth of the problem includes a deferred maintenance backlog in excess of $1 billion, increasing operations and maintenance costs, collapse of septic and wastewater systems designed for a much lower capacity, restrictive funding sources, and a need for a cultural shift to match the
changed funding streams at the department.

Rather than look for one-time solutions solely, this subcommittee proposes a suite of changes, some in statute, and others in budget actions, designed to address the structural funding problem and promote cultural shift within the department. This proposal will still require short-term closures of a smaller number of parks in order to provide time to ramp up some of these
programs. In the long run, implementing these changes this will go far towards providing a more stable and long-term solution. This proposal can dramatically reduce the number of full park closures necessary in the budget year, and ensure that the number of parks to be reopened in
future budget years increases substantially.

These proposals are intended to complement other legislative proposals currently being considered by the policy committees including SB 1078—the State Parks Revenue Generation Act and SB 974 (Evans) —The State Parks Closure Review Act.

Subcommittee No. 2 May 9, 2012

Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review Page 9

Senate Sustainable Parks Proposal—Recommendations

The following are a series of seven proposals to address problems identified by the Legislature, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), and the administration that are barriers to a sustainable Parks program. The solution statements constitute the staff recommendation, in consultation
with Senator Simitian and Senator Evans, including an eighth proposal discussed separately that introduces a transportation funding proposal.

Problem 1: Department needs funding flexibility to become more entrepreneurial.

Solution: Approve administration’s two-year pilot proposal for continuous appropriation authority including trailer bill language requiring the department to report uses of the fund, and to require at least 50 percent of the funding received from district entrepreneurial projects to remain within that district.

Problem 2: Personnel structure at the department restricts ability for the department to direct peace officers to the highest priorities.

Solution: Approve LAO recommendation (trailer bill language) in part to add position authority to allow non-peace officers to administer certain non-law enforcement tasks. This proposal would be phased-in over a period of two years.

Problem 3: The department should be collecting entrance fees in more locations and utilizing concession agreements in as many areas as practical.

Solution: Approve LAO recommendation to approve entrance fee proposals and concession agreements. Require a percentage to remain in the district for revenue-related projects (budget bill language).

Problem 4: Department needs more varied funding sources and Parks supporters need a more visible way to show support for the department.

Solution: As mentioned in the LAO report, approve trailer bill language for both (1) an optin fee for vehicle renewal and (2) a specialty plate for parks alone.

Problem 5: According to a report by the department in May 2011, at least 20 parks were put on the closure list in part due to water, wastewater, and septic system problems. Many of these are due to both aging facilities and increased visitor-ship beyond the capacity of these older systems.

Solution: Approve budget bill language appropriating $10 million annually as long-term loans from the Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund for five years to replace the State Parks and Recreation Funding and to complement bond funding for water quality and septic system repairs. Recommend funding be prioritized to allow for re-opening of parks and directed to lower income areas to the extent possible.

Problem 6: Local nonprofits who step up to take over parks may be subject to additional liability risk which could deter their efforts to help support State Parks.

Solution: Approve trailer bill language to extend limited liability coverage to local and nonprofit agencies who partner with State Parks to take over functions or management of parks or park properties.

Problem 7: Restrictive funding streams and categorical allocations reduce the flexibility of the department to more creatively apply state dollars while maximizing both federal and local matching funds.

Solution: Approve trailer bill language to extend the eligible uses of funds for trails, multipurpose off-highway vehicle funds (with the exception of direct fees), and local assistance dollars. The intent is to allow greater flexibility for decision-making across the entire State Parks system. This includes amending the Local Assistance Program proposal to allow the department to utilize these funds more broadly for state purposes, so long as federal matching funds and constitutional requirements are not jeopardized.

Transportation Funding at State Parks. The department is responsible for construction and maintenance of roads, construction and maintenance of fixed facilities related to roads, and enforcement of traffic laws on public roads (essentially all roads within the park system including certain vehicle-accessed trails). The state annually transfers about $3.4 million from
the Highway Users Tax Account (HUTA) to the department per a longstanding agreement for roads maintenance. However, the department’s ongoing costs related to public roads is much higher with a conservative annual funding amount at about $15 million. This does not include
enforcement of laws on public roads or deferred maintenance which brings the total higher. This type of gap in funding is part of the structural deficit the department has incurred annually for multiple years.

As this Subcommittee has jurisdiction over transportation funding, it became clear in a recent hearing for Department of Motor Vehicles that there are funds held in balance (about $500 million) well beyond the prudent reserve in the Motor Vehicle Account. The eligible use of these funds is restricted by Article XIX of the California Constitution, which requires the funds
to be used for maintenance and enforcement of laws on public roads.

Problem 8: State Parks has an ongoing gap of up to $15 million for roads and trail maintenance, and for service provided by Park Rangers related to motor vehicles.

Solution: Approve provisional budget bill language to utilize only a portion of the reserve of funding related to proceeds of the Motor Vehicle Account annually. Up to $10 million of this item shall only be expended in units of the State Park System and only for enforcement of traffic laws on public roads, construction and maintenance of public roads and their fixed facilities, and any other purpose allowable by Article XIX of the California Constitution.
Staff Recommendation. Adopt Senate Sustainable Parks Proposal.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Legislators have plan to keep state parks open - Half Moon Bay Review : News
Legislators have plan to keep state parks open

By Clay Lambert [ clay@hmbreview.com ] | Posted: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 11:36 am

A pair of state senators plans to introduce “a suite of solutions” on Wednesday designed to keep open 50 of the 70 California State Parks currently slated for closure on July 1. Two local parks – Gray Whale Cove State Beach and Portola Redwoods State Park – are on the list of parks expected to close.

Sens. Joe Simitian and Noreen Evans say that closing the parks will only cost Californians money and have a devastating impact on a priceless legacy.

“State Parks people say they are short about $22 million,” Simitian said in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. “You say to yourself, really? Are we going to close 50 state parks over what amounts to 60 cents for each Californian?”

The legislators say they have found $41 million that could be diverted to state parks from a patchwork of existing funds. The money would add to help being provided from private organizations. That includes $10 million in long-term loans from the state’s Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund, $10 million from a motor vehicle fund and $21 million in local assistance funding that is currently planned for use elsewhere.

Evans and Simitian will present the proposal to a Senate budget subcommittee on Wednesday afternoon. Simitian said he and Evans have been working since March in an effort to “wrestle this issue to the ground.”

The planned closure of the parks has been controversial from the outset. Critics say that there is no way to close open space and that closed parks will still be magnets for visitors and even criminal activity. In addition, the parks are popular draws for tourists in areas like the Coastside that depend on tourist dollars.

“In a recessionary economy, you want to hold on to your recreational opportunities,” Simitian said. “If ever there is a time you want to keep these parks open it is a time when people are struggling to make ends meet.”

The legislators said that attendance at California State Parks has been relatively flat. They noted that recent increases in parks fees have already hit visitors in the pocketbook and that closing parks would be devastating.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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So it's 10 million coming in from the Gas Taxes?
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bebe View Post
So it's 10 million coming in from the Gas Taxes?
To the best of my knowledge its coming from the OHMVR acquisitions reserve. I am by no means the expert on the subject. But that's my understanding. I would have to find my notes on exact numbers but from memory, the OHMVR division is the only division that runs in the black.

Its an easy target.

Some day when its too late government will learn that you can't keep taking from producers and giving to takers.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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No, it's the $21 million that is stated in the article as coming from "other sources". It's the entire grants budget.

Everything that was in the OHV reserves has been taken, and the division is operating at a deficit so far this year. This is exactly what we were afraid might happen, that's why we started the investigation into a lawsuit.

Besides being heard in the senate tomorrow afternoon, it will also be heard in the assembly tomorrow morning:

Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 Resources and Transportation

Senator Simitian is running for Supervisor of Santa Clara County, but this bill will virtually shut down Metcalf OHV Park, which operates largely on OHV grants.

Amy





9:00 AM State Capitol Room 447
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for clarity.like I said I am not an expert on it.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Rather than look for one-time solutions solely, this subcommittee proposes a suite of changes, some in statute, and others in budget actions, designed to address the structural funding problem and within the department.
Problem #9 - These Legislators.

Solution: "a suite of changes, promote cultural shift", get rid of them all.





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"Federal resource departments must carry out the land-use directives from the White House while answering to Congress that creates laws, has budget authority, and oversight responsibilities. It is critically important for recreational interests to support those politicians who champion a responsible land-ethic that includes managed OHV use on public lands," Manson concludes.

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Thanks for your support!

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PS: Please share this with your OHV network!
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:25 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The "Local Assistance Funding"?

This a budget proposal that is just now being prepared by the LAO, a good time to write your Representative and tell them to stop robbing Peter to Pay Paul.

We pay to play, that's our money (well at least the Green/Red Sticker money) but the Fuel Taxes, or our portion of should stay in the program as well.

The money that has been stacking up in the OHV reserves is always going to be an easy target because it is not being used - shame on us for not using it.

Now it's gone.

Tis the way it is.

It's not really clear to me what they are taking, how much and from where...it's a little ambiguous at this point.
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
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According to the current California Constitution, OHV gas taxes are not fungible until they hit the OHV Trust Fund hence the swirl around AB 95 and its Constitutionality.

Whether it's a battle that can be won is yet to be seen but it is currently clearly unconstitutional.

This was debated at some length during a OHMVR Commission meeting April 5, 2011.

http://ohv.parks.ca.gov/pages/1140/f...1-approved.pdf

Several legislative proposals are currently in the pipe that may selectively change some or all of the current "Constitutional" law pertaining to this and other related matters.
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:37 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Please see the other thread on Pirate /forum/land-use-issues/1056974-something-you-can-do-right-now.html for some of the answers concerning the constitutionality, and what we have or have not determined to this point.

As far as the money being taken before it hits the OHV Trust Fund, or afterwords, the attorneys have come back and said that this is basically an accounting trick that is well known to judges, and since last year's bill was written clearly to try and circumvent the original intent for those funds, that fact was somewhat inconsequential.

Senator Simitian is in a tough situation - he is running for County Supervisor, and taking away the funding for both Metcalf OHV Park and law enforcement for Santa Clara County will not be popular among many of his constituents. But those living in his district have to be the ones who call and contact his office, the same for Noreen Evans. If you know anyone in their districts, please pass the word along.

I'll be at the hearings tomorrow, and will report back.

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Old 05-08-2012, 05:43 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Here is where the ball may have started rolling on this:

Quote:
Fuel Tax Surplus Could Save California State Parks
Funds Earmarked for Off-Road Recreation Which Generates Only 1/6th of Revenue

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - July 6 - California's Off Highway Vehicle Trust Fund has enough money to save state parks from the chopping block but special interest politics keeps it locked away, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). State officials contend the $60 million the Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Trust Fund receives each year may be used only for projects benefiting dirt bikes and other off-road vehicles even those these vehicles generate just 17% of the fuel tax revenue in the fund.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced plans to close 220 of California's 279 parks, unless the Legislature finds a way to replace $143 million in general fund monies. Yet not a single State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) is slated for closure, because the OHV Division of the state Department of Parks & Recreation claims this program is user funded - a claim that PEER disputes

"The lion's share of the millions in fuel taxes that fill the OHV fund comes from street legal vehicles," stated California PEER Coordinator Karen Schambach, pointing out that the OHV Division refuses to fund any project that doesn't provide for "green sticker" recreation for non-street legal motorcycles, ATVs or snowmobiles although nearly 83% of the funds are generated from street legal vehicles. "Both fairness and common sense dictate that state parks should be receiving nearly all of this revenue."

While social programs, law enforcement and fire protection programs are being slashed throughout the state, the OHV fund continues to be funded at full levels, primarily through transfers from Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax revenues. Meanwhile, the OHV Trust Fund is so awash in money that more than $5 million allocated for maintenance goes unspent but is declared unavailable for other uses.

"The OHV Division, by refusing to fund any ‘non-green sticker' opportunity, is in violation of the spirit and the express language in SB742 which stipulates ‘extra consideration' for projects providing motorized access to non-motorized recreation like swimming and hiking," Schambach added, urging the Legislature to reallocate the $49.8 million dollars attributable to street legal vehicle use to the Department of Parks and Recreation to support state parks which serve the motoring public. "It is ridiculous to have this one branch of Parks & Recreation hoard all these funds while hundreds of parks are on the chopping block."

Another complication is that 67 of the parks Gov. Schwarzenegger proposes to shutter were financed with federal funds. The National Park Service has notified state officials that it may seize land removed from the park system. In addition, the state may forfeit future federal funds for park enhancements.

"Closing parks is one of the dumbest economies a tourist-dependent state could make," added PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "California is running ads, featuring the Governor and his wife, across the country pitching the state's great lifestyle. Boarding up its most scenic parks looks like false advertising."
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:45 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
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According to the current California Constitution, OHV gas taxes are not fungible until they hit the OHV Trust Fund hence the swirl around AB 95 and its Constitutionality.

Whether it's a battle that can be won is yet to be seen but it is currently clearly unconstitutional.

This was debated at some length during a OHMVR Commission meeting April 5, 2011.

http://ohv.parks.ca.gov/pages/1140/f...1-approved.pdf

Several legislative proposals are currently in the pipe that may selectively change some or all of the current "Constitutional" law pertaining to this and other related matters.
Can you find that Section of the Constitution? I can't....Article 19 and 19B?

All I can see is that they can borrow it if it goes to fund road work...
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:51 PM   #16 (permalink)
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the language stating that will give the Department the flexibility to use the local assistance money (grant funds) is basically saying that the Department can take that money to use in other areas of the Parks Operations. There goes the grant funds if this isn't stopped. The SVRA's are nice to have - but, the real riding occurs in the other public lands like the forest and blm - and some parks. Getting rid of the grant funds will devastate those opportunities - the forests and blm lands as well as the county parks survive off these funds....
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:58 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Can you find that Section of the Constitution? I can't....Article 19 and 19B?

All I can see is that they can borrow it if it goes to fund road work...
You once told me "he is the Governor, he can do whatever he wants" or something like that, does anything else really matter?
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:31 PM   #18 (permalink)
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We don't think the funds are fungible - the Gov, who is the former Attorney General - does, the LAO does.

So now what? They are taking 10 mil. now as we speak, but it's not money we were using...right? It's being diverted from fuel taxes directly to fund parks and rec's road budget...right?

I think it's robbing peter to pay paul, but how does anything like this get stopped?

Do we go to the Capitol and Beg? Do we write letters to the Attorney General asking for her "opinion"? I was reading the minutes, and that seems like something someone was hinting at....
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:39 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Yes Wolfie, I agree the SVRA's are nice to have, personally not a big fan and don't use them, but honestly, I have yet to see an OHMVR project aside from the Rubicon, that benefits where I ride.

Trails??? Where are the New Trails, where are the Maintained Trails? Why do we keep losing trails? All this is happening when we have funding....

IMHO a lot of the money goes to intangibles - stuff that's behind the scenes, not to a better maintained trail.

I'm so tired of the useless politics and posturing and nut swinging...just get something done on the ground already.

All the whining is really beginning to bore me.

How about we just divvy up the money to the Land Managers...like certain dollar amount per OHV mile, and let them decide where the money gets spent on which trails.
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Last edited by Bebe; 05-08-2012 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:42 PM   #20 (permalink)
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So now what? They are taking 10 mil. now as we speak, but it's not money we were using...right? It's being diverted from fuel taxes directly to fund parks and rec's road budget...right?

....
Five of the 10 million that is being taken was from the grants funds. in previous years, the grant amount given out was 26 million - this year, because of the take, it is 21 million. Thus, fewer projects will be funded. Our club rides in the Stanislaus quite a bit - they rely heavily on these grant funds to keep the trails maintained.
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:43 PM   #21 (permalink)
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You once told me "he is the Governor, he can do whatever he wants" or something like that, does anything else really matter?
Can't find it either huh?
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:45 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Five of the 10 million that is being taken was from the grants funds. in previous years, the grant amount given out was 26 million - this year, because of the take, it is 21 million. Thus, fewer projects will be funded. Our club rides in the Stanislaus quite a bit - they rely heavily on these grant funds to keep the trails maintained.
Ok, I read that in the minutes, so why not take it from Restoration? That's the one segment that does not have enough projects right? Why are you taking it from Operations?

Is it a scare tactic?
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:55 PM   #23 (permalink)
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the amount per category is stated in statute - it gives the percentage that will go to each category, 50% to operation and maintenance, 25% to restoration, 20% to LE and 5% to education and safety - regardless of how much is allocated each year for the grants program. so, if there is less allocation - then each category has less in its pot. they take the whole 21 million - there is nothing for any category.
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:02 PM   #24 (permalink)
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We don't think the funds are fungible - the Gov, who is the former Attorney General - does, the LAO does.

So now what? They are taking 10 mil. now as we speak, but it's not money we were using...right? It's being diverted from fuel taxes directly to fund parks and rec's road budget...right?

I think it's robbing peter to pay paul, but how does anything like this get stopped?

Do we go to the Capitol and Beg? Do we write letters to the Attorney General asking for her "opinion"? I was reading the minutes, and that seems like something someone was hinting at....
ohvdc.org

The trail pac is not involved in local elections as much as in Washington DC elections. The thing to do here is to donate to the people that are fighting for these funds here in California. That is the Off Highway Vehicle Defense Counsil or ohvdc.org. It is a fund set up by N2dirt and is run by a coalition of OHV advocates from around the State.

The idea is to sue to get the money back. Make no mistake who is behind this effort to thwart the funding we get for our OHV opportunity. Read the articles and you see the name Karen Schambach.............
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:12 PM   #25 (permalink)
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We don't think the funds are fungible - the Gov, who is the former Attorney General - does, the LAO does.
Last year the LAO did say in the assembly budget subcommittee meeting that they felt the funds were fungible, but the Finance Office disagreed, claiming they were not fungible. The Legislature did what the Legislature always does, took the money and gambled that the OHV community would not do anything about it.

On OHV Caucus Day in April, Senator Bob Huff came to our roundtable to talk about this very issue, and his words were clear - the Legislature will take whatever money they feel they can get away with, until they get sued.

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So now what? They are taking 10 mil. now as we speak, but it's not money we were using...right? It's being diverted from fuel taxes directly to fund parks and rec's road budget...right?
The $10 million was split - half comes out of the operating budget for the OHV Division, half comes out of the grants funding. So this year, the grant amount totaled about $21 million, as opposed to $26 million available the last funding cycle. The money is being diverted directly to the general fund, not to State Parks. State Parks is funded through the general fund, so maybe some of those dollars end up there, who knows.

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I think it's robbing peter to pay paul, but how does anything like this get stopped?
The only way something like this gets stopped is to sue the state to return the funds, with a long term goal of passing some kind of legislation to increase the protection for these funds.

I've been working on the legislation part by building a large coalition of groups working together, because votes, and money, talk the loudest. But even the most conservative groups recognize the change that will take place with the top two vote getters in the primary becoming the candidates in the election. It means we have to change our tactics, engage new thinking instead of old thinking, and work with moderate Democrats in districts where it is likely only Democrats will be elected.

By courting the moderate candidates, we stand a greater likelihood of increasing our influence. For those districts that are solid Republican - hallelujah and please stay that way.

For those districts that are Democratic, we need to influence more moderate viewpoints. And yes, coalitions are the way to go. I sat in the Capital yesterday at the Sierra Club stood next to the Humane Society of the US to support the bill to outlaw hound hunting. That's a coalition in action, a very successful coalition at that. Some in the OHV community only want to work with the more conservative members, and that's great, however it will not help us achieve our goals in California. Hanging out at the Capitol is interesting and frustration all at the same time, but watching politics in action you learn a lot.

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Do we go to the Capitol and Beg? Do we write letters to the Attorney General asking for her "opinion"? I was reading the minutes, and that seems like something someone was hinting at....
Please don't ask the Attorney General for her opinion, it is her job to support the state's actions, therefore she will support the state's actions. She is not unbiased. Let's see what our actions through OHVDC achieve. And public pressure really does count. Those Senators and Assembly members who sit on the budget committees need to be contacted, preferably by their constituents, who carry the most weight, because they are the voters. We know we have the support from the Republican members of the Legislature, but we need more support to vote this down.

And we are making it known, through sources, that the OHV community is not taking this lightly, that we have engaged counsel, the same firm that won the First 5 case against the state (and the same lead attorney). Hopefully just that knowledge will be enough to make them think, instead of passing it without a thought.


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