On July 1st, up to 70 of California's 279 state parks may be closed due to budget cuts enacted by the Governor and Legislature. State park closures will erode California's commitment and legacy to irreplaceable natural, cultural and historic resources. Additionally, closing state parks will impact California's travel and tourism industry and reduce much-needed revenues for local businesses.And here's the ugly reality of the department's budget, as reported this morning in the Sacramento Bee:
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.
When viewed alongside the ongoing investigation into the surprise bankruptcy of the city of San Bernardino -- as well as the truly atrocious story of public-sector malfeasance that emerged out of the city of Bell a few years ago -- a broader trend is starting to become clear: big government has bred big corruption in California politics.
The moves come in the wake of a scandal, revealed by The Bee on Sunday, in which a deputy director at State Parks carried out a secret vacation buyout program for employees at department headquarters last year. That buyout cost the state more than $271,000.