California Lawmakers Halt State Park Closings
In the continuing fallout from the state parks funding scandal, the California Legislature on Thursday (Aug. 30) approved a two-year moratorium on park closures and proposed allocating $30 million to keep them operating, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The parks bill goes to Gov. Jerry Brown for final action, a month after parks officials admitted that agency employees had stashed away $54 million even as the administration was cutting services and threatening to close dozens of parks.
The department's director resigned. Local groups that had raised money to keep their parks open clamored for refunds. A third of the $30 million would be matching funds for those donations.
Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-Woodland Hills, said he offered the bill as "a concrete step to make things right" after "rogue bureaucrats … lied and concealed millions."
The bill passed the Senate 25 to 12 and the Assembly 50 to 15. Some Republicans expressed concern that it doesn't sufficiently address the problem of financial mismanagement — in fact, rewards it by allowing the department to spend money it hid.