Comments on: County Parks & Rec System Plans for Future it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Walter Cramer Walter Cramer Sat, 08 Sep 2012 15:28:47 +0000 Natural areas have a huge problem with purchasing vs. maintenance. Purchasing is extremely popular, and everyone & his aunt wants to have a hand in “doing the deal” or paying for it. Maintenance…well, that’s more like getting volunteers and donations to clean rest rooms at the homeless shelter.

Meanwhile, modern biological reality is that an UNmaintained “natural area” will turn into an impassible thicket, dominated by a few aggressive invasive species (buckthorn, garlic mustard, etc.), with amazingly few natives. Don’t expect people who care about nature to visit much – there’s little to see, and trails don’t maintain themselves.

I’ve volunteered a bit for work days (maintenance) in local natural areas, and seen both the good (a wide variety of native wildflowers, admired by frequent visitors on nice trails) and the bad (invasive shrubs so thick that the soil under them was barren gray dust, like the face of the moon – and you’d want a saw, gloves, tough clothing, and eye protection to force your way in).

So – when folks voted for the millage, what did they really want? To feel a bit like English lords, able to brag about the beautiful gardens at their country estates? Or for there to actually BE beautiful gardens (nice natural areas) – which (sad to say) means that there must be a lot of hard-working gardeners?

(I don’t recall much about the ballot measure, to know if this change is within the letter of the law, or consistent with how the County represented things at the time. But I’d bet the change is coming from people who care about our natural areas, not a bunch of politicians. The latter like “doing the deal”, not hiring seasonal maintenance workers – who’ll give the politicians about zero status, thank-you votes, or campaign donations in return.)

By: Sara Sara Thu, 06 Sep 2012 06:01:30 +0000 This is a very troubling development regarding the County’s Natural Areas Preservation Program. We just voted to renew a 10-year millage for the PURCHASE of natural areas–and now the County politicians want to change the ordinance so that all of the money can go towards maintenance. THAT’S NOT WHAT WE VOTED FOR!! The County needs the discipline of a 7% cap on administrative and maintenance expenditures.

I feel that this is a violation of the public trust and the ultimate “bait and switch”. It seems clear that if this ordinance change passes, I will never again vote for ANY County millage because I simply won’t be able to trust that they will do what they promise to do.

Another disturbing aspect of this article is that the Parks budget shows a deficit of over $11 million in 2011 and projects another huge deficit of over $14 million for 2012. Is anyone minding the store? Why is there such apparent mismanagement? They should quit building costly facilities which are very expensive to staff and maintain! Next thing you know, they’ll want another millage passed to cover their mistakes. Fool me once…