Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Op Ed on Crime in CA State Parks and Yellow Journalism

HQ wrote the Op Ed below because it believes the Sac Bee and a number mainstream media outlets are guilty of yellow journalism or a shade thereof when they mischaracterized crime statistics for political purposes by claiming that illegal activity in state parks (mostly where OHV and powerboats are allowed) is out of control.
PHOTO: The Quiet Warrior

July 27 Sac Bee Editorial on Crime in State Parks

Thank goodness we have an alternative media. The General sent this Op Ed yesterday to the Sac Bee, Merced Sun Times, Fresno Bee, SF Chronicle, Modesto Bee, and McClatchy Washington Bureau yet none of those papers even called to verify that it had been received and was under consideration. At the time this blog was launched, no newspaper had printed the Op Ed.

So today, HQ is bypassing mainstream media and publishing this Op Ed. Slams like this against families who like to OHV at SVRAs and for folks who like to PWC or fish/water ski using powerboats will not be tolerated by The General.


Visitor Contacts are Not a Crime
By Don Amador
July 27, 2010

As a native Californian and land-use professional, I was disappointed today by your editorial entitled: It’s the Wild West in our state parks.

Rather then developing an opinion based on a dispassionate review of the facts, the Bee appears to have relied on the hype surrounding the State Parks Initiative and its proposal to create a $1/2 billion dollar per year slush fund by levying an $18/yr. tax per vehicle owned.

The editorial wrongly lumps ranger contacts with visitors who are reporting a bee sting, or a raccoon stealing a sack lunch, with real crimes such as DUIs, drug trafficking, vehicle theft, and vandalism of public property.

The State Vehicular Recreation Areas, water-based State Recreation Areas, and State beaches have the highest visitor usage in the State Park system. Of course there are going to be higher crime rates with parks with the highest visitation. But it is wrong to mischaracterize a visitor contact as a crime.

Crisis mongering is unattractive and seldom offers real solutions. I have always supported law enforcement and proper management of our public lands. However, popular self-funded user-pay/user-benefit programs such as OHV and Boating and Waterways should not be sacrificed on the alter of political correctness to support an Initiative that directs tens of millions of dollars to non-park related environmental groups and state agencies such as the Ocean Protection Council.

Support for the State Parks Initiative should be left up to the individual taxpayer and public land user without cheerleading from a biased media.

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Don Amador was a commissioner on the California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission (1994-2000) and is currently a land-use consultant. He writes on environmental issues from his office in Oakley, California. He may be contacted by email at:

For those who are interested, you can check out my archived blog below on the subject of
the State Parks Initiative.

Blog/Overview of State Parks Initiative

Thanks for your service and support of The Quiet Warrior. Being quiet on the trail is good -- being silent when OHVers are getting hammered is not.

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