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  1. #1
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    California state park closures

    Starting next week, virtually all California State Parks will experience various closures during the week. Here is an SF Chronicle article about the closing with some info about Bay Area closures. There are articles in other California papers and blogs.

    If you are planning on camping in a California State Park in the near future, be sure to check out that that service is still available.

    Ray
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    At the Calif Parks state website - there is still no overall listing on line. In the news section there are a half dozen listings by district, but half of these are dead links - even though they are only a day old. Typical.

    It is really sad that California - whose state parks rival most other areas' national parks - is being shut down.

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    If they sell them to private concerns that develop them as trailers parks, run down the infrastructure until it collapses, then log off all the trees and make a run for it, like they did with one of my local parks, that's a tragedy. But if they let them quietly return to the wild and protect their boundaries, not so bad.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
    If they sell them to private concerns that develop them as trailers parks, run down the infrastructure until it collapses, then log off all the trees and make a run for it, like they did with one of my local parks, that's a tragedy. But if they let them quietly return to the wild and protect their boundaries, not so bad.
    There is a huge difference between closing a park to services at certain times, and closing it up and putting a for sale sign on the gate. Realistically, in more Northern areas, parks go into Winter mode, and that usually means that most if not all services are shut down for the winter, when there isn't enough business to keep it all running. The other option of course would be to increase fees for services like camping, and possibly if they don't have them already to put in place day use fees. The budgets not that far short, close some parks that don't get a lot of visitors at certain times of the year, and establish or increase the day use fee at others, and it should be possible to make it.

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    One legged rider
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    I fail to understand that as high as the taxes and state fees are in California, how the state can be flat broke. I moved to the Bay Area from Virginia and easily pay twice as much in taxes and fees here. The public schools are horrible, they want to do rolling park closures, the state takes money from the cities so the cities can't pay their police and firefighters. It's nuts. My wife and I have been here three years and really want to move back to the DC area, just because of money. We love the area here but its just too expensive for what you get in public services. I just paid almost 500 dollars for my annual car registration.

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    benejah- first and foremost, our state's government is terrible. Just, really, really terrible. This started in the late 90s and has gotten worse and worse over the years.

    Second- we spend an amazing amount on welfare for those that do not pay taxes. I'll let you figure out who I'm talking about. The figure is somewhere around $12-20 billion depending on who's doing the math- whatever the case, 12 billion as a minimum is a lot, lot, lot of money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by benajah View Post
    I fail to understand that as high as the taxes and state fees are in California, how the state can be flat broke. I moved to the Bay Area from Virginia and easily pay twice as much in taxes and fees here.
    Do you? I moved to the Bay Area from Texas. My property tax bill is the same as my Dad's in Texas, despite the fact that my house has a 5X greater value than his! If you want to understand why the state has budget problems, you need look no further than Prop 13...

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    Quote Originally Posted by benajah View Post
    I fail to understand that as high as the taxes and state fees are in California, how the state can be flat broke. I moved to the Bay Area from Virginia and easily pay twice as much in taxes and fees here. The public schools are horrible, they want to do rolling park closures, the state takes money from the cities so the cities can't pay their police and firefighters. It's nuts. My wife and I have been here three years and really want to move back to the DC area, just because of money. We love the area here but its just too expensive for what you get in public services. I just paid almost 500 dollars for my annual car registration.
    How much was your annual car inspection back in VA?
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    As far as raising use fees, they were already high and have gone higher.
    Near me most day use parking is $15 per day and camping is $60 per night.
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  10. #10
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fantom1 View Post
    benejah- first and foremost, our state's government is terrible. Just, really, really terrible. This started in the late 90s and has gotten worse and worse over the years.

    Second- we spend an amazing amount on welfare for those that do not pay taxes. I'll let you figure out who I'm talking about....
    Not to get too bogged down in politics, but...

    Illegal immigrants are a scapegoat, not the primary problem here. The underlying problem is that since CA gutted its ability to raise money via property taxes, the State's revenues are tied to mechanisms that fall precipitously in a recession -- income tax, sales tax and corporate taxes in particular. The contortions of the state government don't help, but Prop 13 has hamstrung the State in this recession.

    And the alleged cost of illegal immigrants ($10.5 billion, nowhere near $20 bn) is floated by an anti-immigration group ("FAIR"); does not include the estimated $1.7 billion in taxes actually paid by illegal immigrants (e.g. automatically withheld income taxes and sales taxes); lumped together the nearly 600,000 children of illegal immigrants born in the US (which makes them citizens) and the 400,00 non-citizens in the education costs; and hasn't precipitously spiked in the last year. Some estimates put the cost of illegal immigration for the entire US at $10 billion, by the way. The number might not be wildly inflated, but should definitely be taken with a big fat grain of salt. Not to mention that you can't just magically kick an estimated 3 million people out of California (about 8% of the state's population) overnight without decimating the state's economy.

    (P.S. speaking in code doesn't make you look any better btw, you might as well just say what you mean.)

    Anyway, I'm saddened by the partial closures, but at least they aren't firing rangers. Hopefully this condition won't last long.

  11. #11
    Bike touring webrarian
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    While the only reason I posted this thread was to alert bike tourists thinking about staying in California State Parks about possible closures, now that it has veered into politics, let me add my $.02.

    On every statewide California ballot there are many propositions. Some deal with social issues, others are for issuing bonds, but most are specific proposals dealing with how the state spends money. These propositions put funding guarantees right into the State Constitution, which can be amended by majority vote. This leaves very little maneuver room for the legislature whose term-limited members have no incentive to build a constituency and often have no previous legislative experience.

    In May, as the sorry state of California's budget was at its worse (no budget had been passed by the legislature for 2009) there were 5 propositions put on a special ballot to deal with the financial mess. Of the 5, four were attempts to override the strictures of previous propositions. While direct democracy sounds like a good idea, in truth, voters are ill-informed, easily swayed by misleading (or outright false) advertising, and usually choose the "feel good" quick fix. Not surprising, things are a mess.

    One last thing. Proposition 13 simply limited how much the state could levy for property taxes and limited how quickly assessments could rise. It was the legislators, who seem to believe that the best way to get re-elected is to funnel as much state money as possible to their main contributors, who turned to unsustainable budgeting gimmicks to maintain spending instead of cutting back on services. Now, things are hopeless and have gotten so bad that the preserved and most beautiful parts of California have to be "closed."

    As a native Californian, I am deeply saddened by how bad things have gotten.

    Ray
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  12. #12
    Hooked on Touring
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    While the only reason I posted this thread was to alert bike tourists thinking about staying in California State Parks about possible closures, now that it has veered into politics, let me add my $.02.
    Yes, Raybo -

    It has veered off into the political deep end. Which is unfortunate, but predictable given that the word "California" appears in the title and prompts sure visceral responses. There is so much that is wonderful about California - not just the spectacular scenery from Yosemite Valley to the Big Sur coast - but the people most of all.

    There is not a friendlier place on earth than the cafe at Davenport - where you can get a giant piece of olallaberry pie to fuel your cycling for another 100 miles. While riding thru the hot Central Valley, I paused in the shade of a school closed for the summer - and the custodian came out and let me in - asking me if I needed to use the bathroom or get any water.

    So, I really get tired of California bashing. Because there is so much that is good about California. Does California have its share of problems? You betcha - - but don't we all?

    Juan

    PS - And letting people know about park closures is important, because there have been more than a few people recently posting about riding in California. My guess is that many are not aware of the closures and might end up stuck. Thanks for posting this.

  13. #13
    One legged rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumpled View Post
    How much was your annual car registration back in VA?
    About 250

  14. #14
    Bike touring webrarian
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
    given that the word "California" appears in the title and prompts sure visceral responses.
    I am reminded of my recent tour from Oregon to Wyoming. I spent the night in a campground along side the Snake River. As I was paying my camping fee, the woman campground "host" saw that I was from California and let loose a tirade about California's problems. Her main culprit was "illegals," and she said that in Wyoming that would never happen. I responded that I had just arrived in Wyoming and that no one had checked my ID when I came in (as I walked away).

    Ray
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    Hooked on Touring
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    And BTW - that custodian didn't speak English very well.
    But he spoke a language more important than English - kindness.

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    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    In Arizona they shut down rest stops. I kinda like this I have the whole place to my self. Last I checked they still keep the water running. This might change though. I think this should be illegal if this happens. One rest stop I use for water has 80 miles without services.

    Don't even start with the aliens

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    Quote Originally Posted by benajah View Post
    About 250
    Hey, you changed it on me. I was actually asking about car inspection fees. Doesn't VA have state/commonwealth car inspection? Every 1 or 2 years, no?
    Also, of the almost $500 in fees to DMV, what were the initial or moving in fees? Your regular annual fees may be closer to VA rates.
    Just checking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Do you? I moved to the Bay Area from Texas. My property tax bill is the same as my Dad's in Texas, despite the fact that my house has a 5X greater value than his! If you want to understand why the state has budget problems, you need look no further than Prop 13...
    So, in TX the property tax rate is 5+%? (CA base rate is 1% + others)
    Is that what you would advocate here?
    That would make my taxes on my lowly condo well over 20 grand a year. That's why we had Prop 13.
    I'm not saying Prop 13 is all good, I think businesses should have their tax base adjusted more often. Since properties are assesed at sale and most businesses get bought and sold with the underlying property owner not changing; business real estate taxes change less than homes. Businesses around since '78 are paying much less in property taxes than newer ones, and homeowners.

    Our state has become far too dependent upon personal income tax and this moves opposite of state spending needs.

    As far as Rangers and staff at state parks; they are probably at least furloughed a few days a month if not laid off. Temps and seasonals will surely be laid off or not hired. Most lifeguards will be out of work.

    Facilities will also suffer even more.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Do you? I moved to the Bay Area from Texas. My property tax bill is the same as my Dad's in Texas, despite the fact that my house has a 5X greater value than his! If you want to understand why the state has budget problems, you need look no further than Prop 13...
    So, in TX the property tax rate is 5+%? (CA base rate is 1% + others)
    Is that what you would advocate here?
    That would make my taxes on my lowly condo well over 20 grand a year. That's why we had Prop 13.
    I'm not saying Prop 13 is all good, I think businesses should have their tax base adjusted more often. Since properties are assesed at sale and most businesses get bought and sold with the underlying property owner not changing; business real estate taxes change less than homes. Businesses around since '78 are paying much less in property taxes than newer ones, and homeowners.

    Our state has become far too dependent upon personal income tax and this moves opposite of state spending needs.

    As far as Rangers and staff at state parks; they are probably at least furloughed a few days a month if not laid off. Temps and seasonals will surely be laid off or not hired. Most lifeguards will be out of work.

    Facilities will also suffer even more.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    When I heard about the park closures I was wondering how it would affect bike touring along the Pacific coast. Do you think they will really have rangers patrolling the parks for people being there "illegally" instead of just collecting fees? I imagine it would be really easy to elude detection and stealth camp if you had to. The only downside is that if they do catch you, I'm sure there will be really large fines. That's the other solution for the budget problems - lots of heavy fines and fees (backdoor taxes). Personally, it drives me nuts to have to pay money for a patch of ground to set up my tent, so I would find perverse pleasure in camping in closed state parks.

  21. #21
    One legged rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumpled View Post
    Hey, you changed it on me. I was actually asking about car inspection fees. Doesn't VA have state/commonwealth car inspection? Every 1 or 2 years, no?
    Also, of the almost $500 in fees to DMV, what were the initial or moving in fees? Your regular annual fees may be closer to VA rates.
    Just checking.
    Inspection is like 20 bucks or so, maybe 50. I can't remember. A lot of it depends on which mechanic you go to, as the base rate was 18 in state fees and the rest was profit for the mechanic or something. Not much money at any rate (I could be off by a dollar or three as I left there 3 years ago).
    My regular annual fee for registration, looking at the bill right now cause I have to pay it by the 31st is $481, for a vehicle I paid 17k for.

  22. #22
    One legged rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumpled View Post
    So, in TX the property tax rate is 5+%? (CA base rate is 1% + others)
    Is that what you would advocate here?
    That would make my taxes on my lowly condo well over 20 grand a year. That's why we had Prop 13.
    I'm not saying Prop 13 is all good, I think businesses should have their tax base adjusted more often. Since properties are assesed at sale and most businesses get bought and sold with the underlying property owner not changing; business real estate taxes change less than homes. Businesses around since '78 are paying much less in property taxes than newer ones, and homeowners.

    Our state has become far too dependent upon personal income tax and this moves opposite of state spending needs.

    As far as Rangers and staff at state parks; they are probably at least furloughed a few days a month if not laid off. Temps and seasonals will surely be laid off or not hired. Most lifeguards will be out of work.

    Facilities will also suffer even more.
    Prop 13 had a lot to do with businesses worrying about losing middle level people. Many of the high tech companies and things, especially in the bay area recruit from out of state, and have no trouble getting talent to move into the state at the beginning of their careers, when those grads start buying houses and having families, they move away because they just don't see themselves climbing up the social ladder, even with upper middle class jobs.
    Good example is my job. I work for Chevron as a middle level manager. We have another big corporate headquarters in Houston, but the pay is exactly the same for the same position. There I would be the guy with the big house on the hill, here my wife and I can barely afford a townhouse.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumpled View Post
    So, in TX the property tax rate is 5+%? (CA base rate is 1% + others)
    Is that what you would advocate here?
    That would make my taxes on my lowly condo well over 20 grand a year. That's why we had Prop 13.
    I think the base rate where my Dad lived was something like 3% and then there were a bunch of 0.25% and 0.5% local add-ons.

    I'm not advocating for a 5% tax rate, BTW. But it does seem like the tax burden should be a bit more equitable. Look what Prop 13 does: say you buy a condo today that's worth $1M and your neighbor also has the same condo and it's also worth $1M. You'll pay 1% of $1M in property taxes, or $10,000/year. But your neighbor bought his place 20 years ago for $200K. He'll only pay 1% of $200K or $2,000/year in taxes. Same condo, same building, same fair market value but you'll be paying 5X more in taxes!

    Granted, Prop 13 allows for minimal adjustments to the neighbors tax rate each year so he'll actually pay a bit more than $2K/year, but still way less than what you pay. Doesn't that seem a bit crazy? The fact that it cheats the local school district out of a serious chunk of change, is also an obvious problem. And one of the reasons that $40B of the state's $95B budget goes toward education...

  24. #24
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    when a park is closed it's an invitation to stealth camp is my personal take on things.. public land.
    rangers and campsite hosts doing drive bys to look for wayward campers usually are looking for motor vehicles..... no vehicle, no chance of people being there is the prevailing appearance to those that don't think of human powered transportation to go camping.... course it helps to keep your campsite low key.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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