SACRAMENTO — Assemblyman Gray Davis (D-Los Angeles) has revived a plan to expand the 1,000-acre Malibu Canyon State Park by purchasing 500 more acres along the canyon's eastern slope.
A similar $2.5-million proposal was vetoed two months ago by Gov. George Deukmejian.
But an aide to the governor said Thursday that it was too early to tell whether Deukmejian will blue-pencil the plan again if it passes the Legislature.
Trying for Acceptability
"Obviously the assemblyman is trying to make the bill a little more acceptable to us," said spokeswoman Donna Lipper.
A switch in the source of funds for the purchase might "make a big difference to the governor," said Davis.
Under his revised plan, all $2.5 million would come from the state Coastal Conservancy. The original proposal called for the state Department of Parks and Recreation to pay $1.9 million and the conservancy $600,000.
"I believe we have a better than even chance of gaining the governor's signature," said Davis. "In the end, he has always come through for the (Santa Monica) Mountains."
Opposition to Purchase
However, both the parks department and the Coastal Conservancy are opposed to the Malibu Canyon purchase.
The parks department, which manages the 2-year-old Malibu Canyon park, opposes the expansion partly because the property is not in immediate danger of being developed, said Maurice (Bud) Getty, superintendent of the department's Santa Monica Mountains District.
"Nobody's saying it isn't a desirable piece of land," Getty said. "But it doesn't have the jeopardy of some of the other parcels statewide. There are still a lot of things ahead of it."
All $2.5 million for the canyon property would come initially from conservancy funds, but should be repaid within two years by the parks department or from other available state funds, according to the Davis bill. No repayment is guaranteed, however.
Amendment to Bill
Davis revived the proposal as an amendment to a Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy land acquisition bill that passed out of the Senate budget and fiscal review subcommittee on Thursday.
Purchase of the acreage on the canyon's eastern ridge would connect lower Malibu Canyon and the Malibu Lagoon State Beach with the popular Backbone Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains.
"It would give us more flexibility in trail alignment, things of that sort," said Getty.
A second Davis amendment to the same bill would restore $166,500 for five Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy programs also cut by Deukmejian from the Legislature's proposed budget.
Governor's Support Expected
Those programs provide outdoor experiences for poor and handicapped children, and the Deukmejian Administration has indicated that it will support them this time, said Joseph T. Edmiston, executive director of the mountains conservancy.
When he cut the budget drafted by the Legislature in June, Deukmejian left intact $5.8 million for the mountains conservancy to buy the 1,690-acre Circle X Ranch, west of Malibu in Ventura County.
Another $3 million is going to the Coastal Conservancy with the recommendation that it be used to purchase 345 acres at Roberts Ranch in Malibu's Solstice Canyon.
And $1.2 million for a parks department acquisition of 136 acres of private property within Malibu Creek State Park also survived the cuts.