Column: Newsom rejects every local homeless plan in state, demanding more ambition
Newsom rejects every local homeless plan in state, demanding more ambition
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The California Constitution sets down a clear mandate: Public lands must remain open to the public for use and enjoyment.
So it should be.
But Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision, in a move with the potential to open a Pandora’s box of other questions, threatens to destroy the ability of the public to use Yosemite Valley, the state’s world-renowned redwood forest, and other state parks.
The state will now pay people to use the park.
It is a move that could drive up real estate prices and cause a massive, unsustainable expansion of the park, in what some have derisively called the Governor’s Trophy Forest.
This is not the first time the state has made such a move, nor will it be the last.
The governor’s decision, which comes into effect on June 30, will have a profound impact on the public lands and the people who use them.
But, as a legal and political issue, the governor’s plan goes beyond the state’s constitutional mandate, and, in a time of ever-increasing environmental crises, it is a decision that should be examined.
Saying goodbye to Yosemite Valley
This past summer, the state put a proposal to lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown to develop a 1,735-acre parcel on the northern end of the Valley, which is a popular destination for hiking and camping.
During a state Assembly environmental review hearing, about 25 people spoke in opposition to the state’s proposal, saying they would be forced off their land and away from the parks.
The state then asked lawmakers to put a 2,500-acre expansion of the park on the table for an environmental analysis. The legislation would have created a new wilderness area with more than 9,000 acres of wilderness land, protecting hundreds of miles of rivers that flow through Yosemite and would require more development of the area.
In response, lawmakers asked the state to create a land swap with San Francisco. That plan, which would have eliminated the park