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Beyond Crisis: Recapturing Excellence in California's State Park System

Beyond Crisis: Recapturing Excellence in California's State Park System

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Beyond Crisis: Recapturing Excellence in California's State Park System
Beyond Crisis: Recapturing Excellence in California's State Park System

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Published by: scprweb on Mar 25, 2013
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March 2013
 To Promote Economy and Ef 
 The Little Hoover Commission, formally known as the MiltonMarks “Little Hoover” Commission on California State GovernmentOrganization and Economy, is an independent state oversight agency.By statute, the Commission is a bipartisan board composed of 
 vepublic members appointed by the governor, four public membersappointed by the Legislature, two senators and two assemblymembers.In creating the Commission in 1962, the Legislature declared its purpose:
...to secure assistance for the Governor and itself in promoting economy, ef 
ciency and improved services in the transaction of the public business in the various departments,agencies and instrumentalities of the executive branch of the state government, and in making the operation of all state departments, agencies and instrumentalities,and all expenditures of public funds, more directly responsive to the wishes of the  people as expressed by their elected representatives....
 The Commission ful
lls this charge by listening to the public, consulting  with the experts and conferring with the wise. In the course of itsinvestigations, the Commission typically empanels advisory committees,conducts public hearings and visits government operations in action.Its conclusions are submitted to the Governor and the Legislaturefor their consideration. Recommendations often take the form of legislation, which the Commission supports through the legislativeprocess.
Contacting the Commission and Copies of Reports
All correspondence should be addressed to the Commission at:
925 L St., Suite 805, Sacramento, CA 95814
 Telephone: (916) 445-2125 Fax: (916) 322-7709
Worldwide Web:www.lhc.ca.gov This report is available from the Commission’s website.
Little Hoover Commission
 Jonathan Shapiro*
David A. Schwarz
Vice Chairman 
Katcho Achadjian
 Virginia Ellis
Bill Emmerson
 Jack FlaniganDaniel W. Hancock*Loren Kaye Tom Quinn Anthony Rendon
Richard Roth
Mark Vargas*
Served on study subcommittee 
Served as subcommittee chair 
Former Commissioners WhoServed During the Study
Marilyn C. Brewer Alyson Huber
Eugene “Mitch” Mitchell*Michael J. Rubio
Mark Wyland
Commission Staff 
Stuart Drown
 Executive Director 
Carole D'Elia
Deputy Executive Director 
 Jim Wasserman
Project Manager 
David Brandt
Research Analyst 
State of California 
March 21, 2013 The Honorable Edmund G. Brown, Jr.Governor of California The Honorable Darrell Steinberg The Honorable Robert Huff President pro Tempore of the Senate Senate Minority Leaderand members of the Senate The Honorable John A. Pérez The Honorable Connie ConwaySpeaker of the Assembly Assembly Minority Leaderand members of the AssemblyDear Governor and Members of the Legislature:California has been given a two-year window of opportunity to save a park system built over85 years to global prominence. The alternative: Accept decline and a sharply curtailed vision forCalifornia parks in the future. To thrive, and to protect and preserve the natural and cultural treasures entrusted to the state,the California Department of Parks and Recreation needs a new operating model built aroundshared management, innovation, greater transparency and the expectation that it generate morerevenue from its operations. The old model is obsolete. That was driven home by the decision to close 70 parks – a quarter othe state’s total – to address a $22 million budget cut, an amount that represented 18 percent of its General Fund allocation, but just over 5 percent of its overall operating budget. The Little Hoover Commission calls on the Governor and the Legislature to help the CaliforniaDepartment of Parks and Recreation and its many valuable partners by giving the department thetools, authority and flexibility required to develop a new operating model. These include the basicaccounting and financial analysis tools required to run an enterprise and the authority andflexibility to move talented professionals into the positions where they can do the most good. These tools also should help enhance transparency and accountability and rebuild trust andconfidence lost through the disclosure of financial mismanagement and hidden reserves. The appointment of a new director and management team and their delivery this month of astrategic action plan mark encouraging positive steps in this process. It will be for them todevelop a new vision of the park system to drive its mission, a vision that embraces innovationand extends the definition of the park system to include its partners.Along with developing this new vision, the Commission recommends that the department, with thehelp of the State Park and Recreation Commission, undertake a public, top-to-bottom assessmentof the parks in its collection to determine which have clear statewide significance and which parksserve primarily local or regional populations. Those parks determined to serve primarily local orregional needs should be realigned. This analysis should look beyond parks, to include thesystem’s cultural and historic assets as well.California’s state park system has been a signature accomplishment of state government. Thesystem includes redwood groves, mountains, deserts and beaches. All are icons of California’snatural splendor, here at home and around the world. Cultural and historic treasures tellCalifornia’s evolving story to Californians and visitors alike. All have been protected in public

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