Carle on Prop 21

I’m not in the habit of telling anyone how to vote, but this year Prop 21 is near and dear to my heart. Many of you remember several threats of closure to our Eastern Sierra State Parks, Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve and Bodie State Historic Park.

I worked for California State Parks for over 30 years, as a seasonal and as a Ranger in several parks. Over those years, State Park budgets and staffing were cut more and more. Since I retired in 2003, conditions have become worse than ever. This surcharge will dedicate a funding source for our parks.

Proposition 21 will create a stable adequate fund source for our 278 California State Parks, some of the most magnificent places in the USA. In exchange for an $18 surcharge on passenger vehicles, Californians will receive free day use in all 278 state parks all year! The surcharge would be paid with your annual DMV fees into a special Trust Fund. The Trust Fund will only be spent for state parks and wildlife conservation and cannot be used for other things, and cannot be taken away by the Governor or legislature. A state-wide economic boost is anticipated from more Californians enjoying their parks without paying day use fees, and staying longer in communities near the parks. The general fund dollars that would normally be allocated to parks will be freed up for education, highways, social services, etc.

People have complained that regular tax dollars should cover expenses like taking care of our parks. In a perfect world, that would be the case. Parks need to be maintained , cared for, and kept open NOW. This small surcharge will allow every Californian free entry and dedicate a funding source that is not at the mercy of the political climate and the election cycle.

Hundreds of volunteers worked thousands of hours to obtain the 700,000 signatures to get this measure on the November ballot (after two failed legislative attempts). There was no corporate funding. Now we are spending days and weeks increasing voter awareness during the campaign phase of this process.

Janet Carle, retired State Park Ranger, Mono Lake
PO Box 39
Lee Vining, CA 93541

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