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Action Guide
March 7, 2000

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF CALIFORNIA

SUPPORTS

Proposition 12 — Safe Neighborhood Parks, Clean Water, Clean Air, and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2000 (the Villaraigosa-Keeley Act)

DESCRIPTION

This bond measure will allow the state to sell $2.1 billion of general obligation bonds to provide funding for a wide variety of projects. These include acquisition, development, and protection of recreational, cultural and natural areas to: (1) protect land around lakes, rivers, streams and the coast to improve water quality and ensure safe drinking water; (2) protect forests and plant trees to improve air quality; (3) preserve open space and farmland threatened by unplanned development; (4) protect wildlife habitats; and (5) repair and improve the safety of state and neighborhood parks.

About $940 million of the bond money would be granted to local governments for recreational areas, community centers, cultural areas, environmental improvement projects, farmland protection, and urban forestry programs. The remaining $1.16 billion would be used by the state for recreational, cultural and natural areas of statewide significance.

Money to pay the principal and interest on the bonds would be appropriated from the state General Fund. According to the Legislative Analyst the cost to the state would be $3.6 billion over 25 years to repay the bonds, with an average cost of about $144 million per year. Operating costs for state and local parks would potentially be in the tens of millions of dollars annually, but these costs may be partly offset by revenues, such as entrance fees.

BACKGROUND

This bond measure was passed by a two-thirds vote in each house of the Legislature and signed by the Governor. In past years, the state has used funds from previous bond issues to purchase, protect, and improve recreational areas (such as parks and beaches), cultural areas (such as historic buildings and museums), and natural areas (such as wilderness trails, wildlife habitat, and coastal resources). The state has also provided money to local governments for similar purposes.

In the past 25 years, voters have approved about $1.9 billion of general obligation bonds for these purposes. The last park bond approved by the voters was an initiative measure in 1988. Park bond measures put on the ballot by the legislature in 1990 and by initiative in 1994 failed passage. As of June 1999, all but about $18 million of the bonds authorized by previous bond acts had been spent or committed to specific projects.

IMPORTANT POINTS


SUPPORTERS
Signing ballot arguments for:
OPPONENTS
Signing ballot arguments against:
Robert Stephens, Chair
National Audubon Society, California

Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa
Chair, Californians for Safe Parks

Allan Zaremberg, President
California Chamber of Commerce

Ray Haynes
California Senator

Brett Granlund
California Assemblyman

Lewis K. Uhler, President
The National Tax Limitation Committee

The rebuttal to the opposition arguments was signed by Gail Dryden, President, League of Women Voters of California; Jacqueline Antee, State President, American Association of Retired Persons; and Larry McCarthy, President, California Taxpayers' Association.

Other supporters mentioned in the ballot arguments include National Wildlife Federation, California Organization of Police and Sheriffs, National Parks and Conservation Association, Congress of California Seniors, Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, Coalition for Clean Air, State Treasurer Philip Angelides, and Governor Gray Davis.


RESOURCES

Bryan Blum, Californians for Safe Neighborhood Parks and Clean Water, 916-313-4538, email blum@safeparks.org, www.parks2000.org


SPECIFIC PROJECTS FUNDED BY PROPOSITION 12

$940 million would be used for grants to local governments and nonprofit groups as follows:

The remaining $1.16 billion would be used by the state for recreational, cultural and natural areas of statewide significance as follows:


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