In an effort to pare $32 million from the county general budget next year, the Board of Supervisors is considering cuts throughout the county budget, including a 25% cut in the Parks Department budget. The need for budget reductions is said to be the need to fund more jails.
A 25% cut in the Parks Department budget would be most immediately felt by the public in the closing of most county parks and wilderness areas. Some would be retained in public ownership, but many would be sold and the likelihood of their being repurchased is not only slim, but also exemplifies poor judgment in the administration of public funds.
The board should carefully consider the message this action would send to San Diego citizens. The message is: "If you are criminals, we will spend large sums of taxpayers' money on you; if you are law abiding and enjoy legitimate forms of recreation, we will penalize you by taking away the places where you find fun, relaxation and entertainment at small cost."
The Sierra Club is appalled that the board would even consider such a ham-handed, meat-ax approach toward solving its budget woes and, specifically, a "solution" that would soon add to county problems as many thousands of kids have to find other outlets for recreation.
Closing county parks and risking their permanent loss is an abdication of responsibility for public land stewardship that should result in a repudiation of the elected officials who would show so little regard for the public trust.
EMILY A. DURBIN