Harman blasts Gov. Brown over parks bill veto

State Sen. Tom Harman (R-Costa Mesa) this week blamed partisanship on Gov. Jerry Brown’s choice to veto one of his bills that could let private companies operate cash-strapped state parks.

The state budget crisis has forced the state to temporarily close many of the parks to the public.

“California should use every tool in the tool box to keep these parks open and profitable,” Harman wrote in his weekly report to supporters. “There should be no excuse for closure when there are other, untapped options available.”

With deep cuts to the state parks’ department annually debated to help balance California’s budget, Senate Bill 386 would have required state parks to post notices 30 days ahead of their closure and list information on how to contact the department to discuss taking over park operations.

The law would give companies an avenue to contact the department about leasing, operating or maintaining state parks or providing concessions. The department would have been required to respond to all such inquiries in person.

“This bill would order state park staff to put certain information on the Internet and answer inquiries about park closures,” Brown wrote in his message explaining the veto. “A good idea, but not one that needs a law. What the parks do need is sufficient funding to stay open — something I feel compelled to note the author and his colleagues refused to let people vote on.”

Harman said there is established precedent for private vendors operating public parks and state guidelines ensure they remain in their natural condition.

“It is unfortunate politics got in the way of policy,” he wrote.

Twitter: @JosephSerna