Letters/Online Comments

Editorial: Here We Go Again

It never ends. Whether he’s a Democrat or a Republican, it seems that no California governor can keep his hands off the Department of Boating and Waterways (Cal Boating). Its healthy source of funding — state fees paid by boaters — looks all too attractive, especially in times of massive budget shortfalls.

From Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger to Jerry Brown, there have been many attempts to dismantle the entirely self-supporting department that funds boating facility improvements. A plan to eliminate Cal Boating has already been soundly rejected four times — when it was proposed by Governor Pete Wilson in 1992 and 1996, and when it was proposed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003 and 2009. But that would not have happened without a lot of effort on the part of boaters statewide.

Boaters have not been able to let their guard down for a minute. Without a continual barrage of letters, calls and emails to state legislators and the governor demanding that Cal Boating be left alone, the department would have been eliminated years ago.

The last time Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his plan to destroy the department and move its funds to the Department of Parks and Recreation, he received a stack of letters protesting the move that was 21 inches high.

Now, Gov. Jerry Brown is making the same proposal — buried on page 30 of an addendum to the state budget. Boaters must make their voices heard again — and loudly.

Speak now, or watch the funds you pay to support boating improvements in marinas, launch ramps and other key facilities statewide disappear.

The plan is for those funds to move to the Department of Parks and Recreation. In theory, some money would still be available for boating improvements. However, the decision-making body that determines how Cal Boating funds are spent — the Boating and Waterways Commission — would be eliminated. It’s almost a sure bet that boater-paid fees would soon be “borrowed” and diverted to other agencies, to pay for many things that have nothing whatsoever to do with boating.

Go to thelog.com and click on the “Take Action” icon to tell Gov. Brown and California state legislators what you think about the scheme to eliminate Cal Boating.

Obviously, they either have very, very short memories or they somehow did not get the message when boaters loudly and strongly expressed their opinion on this subject in 1992, 1996, 2003 and 2009.

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