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Vote ‘Yes’ on Prop. 180 in June

From Big Sur to Death Valley, California is blessed with great natural beauty. Historically this state’s electorate has wisely voted to preserve some of that wonderful landscape by approving bonds to purchase or maintain state parklands. Another opportunity to do so is offered by Proposition 180, on the June ballot.

Entitled the 1994 Parks and Wildlife Initiative, Proposition 180 authorizes up to $1.98 billion in general-obligation bonds for state parks. Although the measure allows purchase of some new parkland, most of it adjacent to existing parks and wildlife preserves, most of the money would go to maintenance. Due to the state’s fiscal crisis, millions of dollars in maintenance for park infrastructure--roads, campgrounds, bathrooms, tables--has been deferred. The problem was compounded in 1990 when state voters for the first time defeated a park bond issue, largely because it was lost amid several controversial initiatives that also were rejected.

Among the popular facilities that will benefit if Proposition 180 passes are Griffith Park and Kenneth Hahn Park in Los Angeles, Vasquez Rocks Park near Santa Clarita, Chino Hills State Park in Orange County and Boney Ridge Park on Point Mugu.

To make the initiatives more appealing to urban voters, the initiative’s authors included language that would allow cities like Los Angeles and Santa Ana to use some state park money for gang-prevention programs like the Los Angeles, Long Beach and Orange County Conservation Corps. Proposition 180 also sets aside some funds for the state museums in Los Angeles and other cities. To some voters this may give the proposition a “Christmas tree” look, but there is no denying the merit of the urban park programs that will benefit if 180 is approved. It deserves a “yes” vote.

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