Yes on Proposition 21 Leaders Respond to Election Results

November 3, 2010

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 3, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — With the outcome of the Nov. 2 election now certain, the Yes on Proposition 21 campaign leaders expressed disappointment that the measure to provide state parks with stable and adequate funding was not approved by voters. But they predicted the widespread and diverse coalition that rallied around the measure will strengthen the parks and conservation movement in the state.

“We are disappointed this visionary proposal for saving our state parks did not receive the votes necessary for approval,” said Mike Sweeney, executive director of The Nature Conservancy California. “Parks and wildlife conservation programs are now at risk and face the prospect of severe cuts. Unfortunately, California’s weak economy and an election that was dominated by millions of dollars of negative advertising were too much to overcome in this election.”

“We owe a debt of gratitude to all the organizations and individuals who gave their time and resources to advocate for this vital measure to protect state parks,” said Ruskin Hartley, executive director of Save the Redwoods League. “We expect this widespread coalition to continue to advocate for protecting our state parks, wildlife and natural resources during difficult budgetary times.”

“The fight to protect our state parks will continue, and we will be looking to the new Governor and the Legislature to stand with us in that fight,” said Elizabeth Goldstein, president of the California State Parks Foundation. “Millions of new supporters now know the peril our state parks face because of persistent underfunding, and they know that more closures and cutbacks are imminent. With their support, we will continue the fight to find the funds needed to ensure our children and grandchildren can enjoy our state parks as we have.”

“With the most expansive state park system in the nation, California cannot afford to turn its back on parks or conservation now,” said Graham Chisholm, executive director of Audubon California. “Our state parks strengthen the economy and provide much-needed recreation and conservation of invaluable resources and wildlife that might otherwise be lost forever. With the coalition Proposition 21 created, our movement will be re-invigorated as it seeks to protect our state parks, conserve our precious resources and preserve these vital legacies for future generations. We will press on because our goal is too important to leave behind.”

Drafted by some of the nation’s leading parks, environmental and conservation organizations, Proposition 21 would have provided California’s 278 state parks with stable and adequate funding through a dedicated trust fund. The trust fund would have been funded through an $18 annual surcharge on most California vehicles. In exchange, California vehicles would have received free, year-round day-use access to California’s state parks and beaches.

A strong grassroots and netroots movement of Californians helped to fuel Proposition 21. More than 760,000 Californians signed petitions to place Proposition 21 on the ballot. Unlike traditional campaigns, the Yes on Proposition 21 campaign used a number of innovative online tools to engage real Californians from all walks of life in building support for the measure and spreading the message about the need for additional funding for state parks.

Proposition 21 won the support of more than 700 organizations representing a wide range of interests, including the business, travel and tourism, senior, public health, education, labor, entertainment, public safety, faith, Latino, African-American, social justice, local government, outdoor recreation, conservation and environmental communities. Major newspapers throughout California also endorsed Proposition 21, including the Los Angeles Daily News, The Sacramento Bee, San Jose Mercury News, The Bakersfield Californian, The Fresno Bee, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, The Ventura County Star, The Monterey County Herald and many more.

Among the more than 700 organizations that supported Prop. 21 are The Nature Conservancy, Save the Redwoods League, Audubon California, California State Parks Foundation, Sempervirens Fund, Peninsula Open Space Trust, Save Mt. Diablo and the Anza-Borrego Foundation.

For more information about Prop. 21, please visit www.YesForStateParks.com.

Proposition 21 Supporters Election Result Reactions

“Although we are disappointed by the outcome of Proposition 21, we are committed to ensuring that California’s economy continues to see the economic benefits that state parks offer. We will continue to work with the coalition that helped create Proposition 21 to ensure that the businesses and jobs that depend on state parks are protected.”

- John Severini

President & CEO of the California Travel Industry Association

“California is facing an ever increasing public health problem due to sedentary lifestyles and we need more low-cost recreational opportunities. We know that state parks are a key ingredient to improving the quality of life and health for California. We are committed to ensuring that Californians continue to have access to these important recreational spaces.”

- Jan Lewis

State Chair of California Action for Healthy Kids

“California’s state parks are vitally important to protecting California’s natural heritage and wildlife habitat. That’s why we have supported Prop. 21 wholeheartedly. But while we’re disappointed by Prop. 21 not winning voter approval this year, we are very optimistic about the flood of support for state parks that came from all across California throughout this campaign season.”

- Sue Brown

Executive Director of National Wildlife Federation Action Fund

“We know that California’s state parks are the best solution for ensuring California families continue to have access to low-cost travel destinations to spend time together. Our families deserve to have state parks that are maintained and open, and we will keep fighting until adequate funding for our state parks and beaches is a reality.”

- Rev. Dr. Rick Schlosser

Executive Director of California Council of Churches IMPACT

“California’s entertainment industry is dependent on the health of this state’s one-of-a-kind parks system to help keep our production jobs here in California. That’s why we have been so supportive of Prop. 21. And though we weren’t able to see Prop. 21 become a reality today, we believe that something very positive has happened this year. The people of California have clearly shown throughout this campaign how much they care for our state parks, and we are determined to continue doing what’s best for our industry – and our state – by supporting efforts to keep them open and safe.”

- Veronique Vowell

Chair, Governmental Affairs Committee, Location Managers Guild of America

“The California State Park Rangers Association is disappointed that California’s State Parks will not receive this much needed funding for our invaluable natural and cultural resources, the maintenance of our facilities and to ensure visitor safety in the parks. To protect our parks in all regards, we need to ensure adequate funding is available. We will continue to support and be involved in appropriate efforts to ensure that California State Parks are protected and accessible to the people of California. We also want to thank the organizations behind Proposition 21 for their leadership and vision during this campaign.”

- Pam Armas

President of the California State Park Rangers Association

“Our state parks are crucial for the prosperity of California’s working families. They create thousands of jobs when our state needs them most. While Prop. 21 didn’t pass this year, a great deal of positivity has come out of this defeat. Californians realize the integral role of state parks. And we know that it won’t be long until Californians find a solution for funding them fully. We will continue to fight to preserve our treasured state parks so that many generations of California families will be able to enjoy them in the future.”

- Art Pulaski

Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the California Labor Federation

“California’s state parks provide endless benefits for Californians, in urban areas and throughout the state. They provide valuable educational opportunities for our children, as well as natural sanctuaries for urban families. Prop. 21 would have ensured a future for these vital public assets, and we are disappointed that it didn’t pass this year. But this year has brought a renewed commitment to ensuring the health of our state parks for future generations, and we will not give up our efforts to save them.”

- Alice Huffman

President of the California State Conference of the NAACP

“California’s Latino community relies on California’s state parks for everything from affordable recreation, to education and active, healthy living. Prop. 21 would have pulled these natural gems back from the brink of collapse, and set them back on a path toward restoration. We regret that California voters were unable to approve Prop. 21 this year, but we are very heartened by the enthusiasm we’ve seen for state parks this year, and we look forward to working with Californians across the state in our continuing effort to protect them.”

- Arturo Carmona

Executive Director of Consejo de Federaciones Mexicanas en Norteamerica (COFEM)

“California’s state parks are crucial resources that help Californians and their families live active, healthy lives. At a time of heightened concern about the obesity epidemic, we need to ensure that these valuable outdoor spaces are preserved for future generations, and that’s why we supported Prop. 21. Obviously, we would have liked to see Prop. 21 approved by voters today, but we believe this campaign has already accomplished something positive. It’s clear to us now that more Californians are beginning to understand the value of our state parks, and we look forward to continuing our work finding a way to protect this vital natural resource for our state.”

- Mary Pittman

President and CEO of the Public Health Institute

“It is disappointing that Proposition 21 will not be approved. However, the fight will continue. We are committed to ensuring the future generations of Californians will know the majesty of California’s state parks. We look forward to continuing our efforts and finding a solution that will provide the adequate funding that our state parks and beaches deserve.”

- Reed Holderman

Executive Director of the Sempervirens Fund

SOURCE Yes on 21, Californians for State Parks and Wildlife Conservation

Source: newswire

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