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SPECIAL REPORT / ELECTION PREVIEW : DECISION '94 / A Voter's Guide to State and Local Elections : Propositions : PROP. 180

May 29, 1994

What it is: This measure qualified for the ballot by citizen petitions. It would authorize $2 billion worth of bonds to buy, develop and conserve parkland, historic sites, wildlife areas, coastal areas and other land throughout California. It is the most expensive parks bond measure in California history and provides money for more than 400 projects in all corners of the state. Passage also would require the state Department of Parks and Recreation to give priority in awarding grants to groups that hire at-risk urban youths to clean up parks.

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Arguments for: The proposition would protect wildlife, open space and parklands throughout California at a time when state budget for these types of projects may be dwindling. It is also meant to give job opportunities to urban youths, thereby diverting them from gangs or crime.

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Arguments against: The measure is too costly and places too great a burden on California's future generations, who will have to shoulder the debt service. The initiative would spend most of the $2 billion to buy and preserve vacant land rather than to keep up existing local parks and recreational facilities. Passage would force diversion of resources from crime-fighting, school construction and other public needs.

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Who supports it: Planning and Conservation League, California Park and Recreation Society, League of Women Voters of California, California Organization of Police and Sheriffs, Sierra Club, American Assn. of Retired Persons, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, California Historical Society.

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Who opposes it: Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., Center for the California Taxpayer, Paul Gann's Citizen's Committee Inc., California Farm Bureau Federation.

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