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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Thursday, November 12, 2009

California State Parks Initiative

“It is with great hope that I report that a significant step towards sustainability for our State Parks was taken this week by the California State Parks Foundation and partners. On November 3rd a proposed statewide ballot measure was filed with the Attorney General's office. The "California State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act of 2010, would create a stable, reliable and adequate source of funding to protect state parks and conserve California wildlife." - Michelle Luna, Stewards of the Coast & Redwoods

Initiative Basics:

The State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund ("Trust Fund") revenues could only be spent on state parks, wildlife, natural lands and ocean conservation programs.

The Trust Fund would be funded by an $18 annual State Park Access Pass surcharge on all California cars, motorcycles and recreational vehicles that would be collected by the Department of Motor Vehicles as part of the annual vehicle license fee. Larger commercial vehicles (those subject to the Commercial Vehicle Registration Act), mobile homes and permanent trailers would be exempt.

Vehicles subject to the surcharge and all occupants of those vehicles would have free day use admission to all state parks throughout the year.

Trust Fund revenues would amount to approximately $500 million each year (based on about 28 million registered vehicles) and 85% would be allocated to state parks and 15% to other state wildlife and ocean protection agencies.

With a new dedicated revenue stream in place, approximately $130 million of General Fund dollars, that provide a portion of overall state parks funding, would now be available for other vital needs, like schools, health care, social services or public safety.

The Trust Fund would be subject to an independent audit by the State Auditor and a Citizens' Oversight Committee would be created to ensure funds are spent appropriately. Audit, oversight and administrative costs of this measure would be limited to 1% of the annual revenues.

Next Step - Qualified Signatures on Petitions

The next step will be to qualify enough signatures in the next few moths to get the initiative on the ballot in November of 2010. Stewards will be spearheading this effort in Sonoma County and if you are willing to help, please email with your name, preferred email address and phone number. I will have more information after November 16th and will send out another update at that time.

Other Ways for you to Help Stewards Restore Services in our Parks

Support our Quilt drawing with a donation online. The drawing will take place at the Annual Volunteer Celebration on December 4, 2009.

Support our Holiday Online Auction (see below)

We are honored to have recently received another challenge grant from the Dean Witter Foundation for general support. The $20,000 award includes a $10,000 matching grant, which means we need your help to raise the $10,000 that will be matched by the Dean Witter Foundation dollar for dollar.

If you are able to donate now.

Thanks for your continued support,
Michele Luna

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