Gov. Gavin Newsom has budgeted $20 million to create California’s first new state park in a decade, a proposal that was greeted with bipartisan support. But with the park system facing a billion-dollar maintenance backlog, how can the state ensure that the beaches are clean, the toilets flush and some two million archaeological specimens are in safe hands?
It’s a fair question, with a long backstory. The governor’s proposal is more than just a line item: It is a vote of confidence that an agency embroiled in controversy eight years ago is capable of running the state’s 280 parks. It’s been a long road back from when the Department of Parks and Recreation was under fire for mismanagement and faulty accounting.