California's Prop 68 Grand Outdoor Movement Or Money Pit In Disguise.

The greatly anticipated Clean Water and Parks Act passed June 2018 with roughly 56 percent. Senate President Kevin de León, who challenged Dianne Feinstein for the U.S. Senate, was the author of the $4-billion bond. In my opinion, De León's political future was very likely the leading reason for the creation of this bond. Hopefully, it will benefit the population even though it was not the original motivation. Co-authors of the proposition were Sen. Anthony Portantino and Rep. Eduardo Garcia.  To certify the ballot Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill.

What is the Proposition supposed to do?

Infuse California State Parks with $4 billion in funds to make sure parks and outdoors are safe and available. According to the proposition, general obligation bonds will be used to fund three main areas:

1. State and Local Parks

2. Environmental Protection and Restoration Projects

3. Water Infrastructure (including Ocean Conservancy), and Flood Protection Projects

One main point on Prop. 68 is 15 to 20 percent of the bond funds are to be used for projects in communities with average household incomes less than 60 percent of the statewide average.  This is a big deal since the immigrants and minorities in this group are historically forgotten and ignored.  Also, a large portion of this specialized population is located in urban areas.  This is doubly beneficial because in the past these urban areas have been severely neglected as well.  725 million is earmarked for neighborhood parks in park-poor neighborhoods.  This allows many run-down neighborhoods to renovate, improved, or even created new outdoor areas for their neighborhood residents.  Many people know that nature and outdoors are beneficial to health and well being.  Now many more can hopefully have a chance to realize this too.

 Executive Director, Sara Barth, for the Sempervirens Fund, stated, “For 118 years, Sempervirens Fund and California State Parks have partnered to help protect some of the most valuable natural resources in the state. The passage of Proposition 68 is a long overdue investment in California’s public gems.”  Sara also stated, “Like many places, the world over, the Santa Cruz Mountains are facing frequent and severe droughts, wildfires and the impacts of climate change. While Prop. 68 is by no means a cure-all, it is a strong step towards responsible stewardship of the land.” With all the natural disasters, restoration will be greatly needed, but prevention will be key in keeping it safe and available.

 It's no surprise that California is a leader in water conservation and protection.  With it, lengthy Pacific coastline and seemingly never-ending droughts, water has always been at the forefront of Californians' minds.  Proposition 68 is no different in this regard.  Some of the areas they will be looking into are ocean acidification, the rise in sea levels, and critical coastal habitat, such as their beloved Pacific Flyway.  These areas have not always been a top priority, but with increasing pollution threats, and climate change they are becoming more and more important.  These are not their only worries though.  Preparedness and resiliency are also at the top of the lengthy list.  With over 1 billion purposed to help, Californian hope to up their game by being better prepared, and more resilient.  Water purification, increasing water supply, runoff pollution, and fishery improvements are all areas were they will improving.

In conclusion, only time will tell us what impact this proposition will have.  Even though this is a great step in the right direction we all should be doing our part to help push in the same direction.  Government intervention is great in the case of Prop 68, but overwhelming change needs to happen on an individual level as well.  Improving your outdoor space is vital, but not if you don't use it correctly.  It is of great concern that if knowledge is not provided along with these funds then we could be wasting our time and money.  I am hopeful that the plans for improvement will bring a greater appreciation for the outdoors, but realistically we need to understand that a population that has been neglected for so long might not realize or appreciate what this proposition has to offer.

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