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State Senator Pavley Issues Statement on Oversight of Parks Department

The senator has worked to save Los Encinos State Historic Park from closure.

[The following information was taken from a press release issued by the Senator's office].

Senator Pavley’s statement to the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee on Oversight of the California Department of Parks and Recreation:

As the chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Water, the policy committee that considers legislation concerning the Department of Parks and Recreation, I am pleased to attend today’s oversight hearing.

I’d like to begin by stressing that along with many senators of both parties and a great many of the strongest parks supporters in California, I share a major sense of shame and betrayal over the failure by the department to disclose funds and the phony vacation buy-out.

Obviously, it is particularly troublesome this was occurring when, at the very same time, many of us have been deeply involved with donors and nonprofits who entered into agreements to fund parks and to keep parks open. It simply cannot be defended that the department was asking for money and other new donor agreements when there was $20 million in the parks fund.

I am hopeful any new legislation that may be considered to spend the undisclosed parks money accomplishes the following:

Direct the majority of the funding ($20 million) to match donations from our State Park partners for use in the parks that they are helping and to keep the remainder of our state parks open. No park should be closed over the next two
years.

Direct funding to the audits and investigations which are now underway to ensure the department’s fiscal accountability is brought back in line.

Improve and expand the role of the State Parks and Recreation Commission to
include more direct expertise and ex-officio legislative members. This should also provide the Commission a direct role evaluating state parks needs for deferred maintenance.

I am hopeful that these items will be considered in the legislation this committee will advance later this month, and such legislation will be sent quickly to the full Senate for consideration.

This is exactly what we need to do for immediate relief for stressed state parks and to move forward to ensure full, accurate and appropriate funding for our beloved state parks. We have a lot to do to repair the damage that has been done to this department, and I am hopeful that we can have a positive impact as a result of this hearing and the hearing that the Assembly held and in any bill that we can agree on in the last days of this session.

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To read more about the fight to save Los Encinos Park from closure, click on the links below:

Check out Encino Patch's full coverage of the effort to save Los Encinos by following the links below.

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