Ladies and gentleman of the State of California, are you listening? Are you paying attention? Are your eyes open? Do you see any familiar friends of yours on this map? When your kids ask you why they can’t go to Sutter’s Fort like you did when you were a kid, are you going to have an answer for them? Are you at least going to be able to tell them that you opened your mouth and used your voice, that you stood on your feet and were counted?
If you have your head in the sand, I don’t fault you for that. I’ve been there myself before and no doubt will be again. But I’m tugging on your tail feathers and asking you to look around right now. Let me sum it up for you: the governor is closing 17% of our state parks in name of balancing the state budget. This closure is estimated to save us $9 million, in a state budget of about $100 billion. Is that worth it to you?
Do petitions and letters to our representatives do anything in our society? Better question: do you want to live in a country where they don’t? You have a voice. Don’t forget how to employ it lest it fail you when you need it most. Democracy is one of those use it or lose it sort of things.
And here’s a chilling thought. A map geek colleague of mine said she wanted to cross-reference the data you see here with property assessment values and see if there were any notable trends. Bet that would make a bigger dent in the deficit.