Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gibson Ranch Privatization: Follow Up

The board of supervisors has agreed to study the privatization proposal, as reported by the Sacramento Bee, and that is very good news.

Unfortunately, the opposition—as can be seen by the staff report online (pp. 5-6)—build their opposition primarily from their in-house regional park proposal, which would increase taxes.

An excerpt.

“Developer and former congressman Doug Ose's proposal to take over Gibson Ranch Regional Park is still alive.

“That's because the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors went against the advice of the Regional Parks Department director and an advisory committee – both of which came out against Ose's proposal – and directed the county executive to negotiate with him.

“Ose has proposed a 50-year lease of the Elverta park and a multimillion-dollar capital investment from the county – terms that county staff opposed and supervisors said they couldn't support.

“A majority of supervisors, however, said they want to get the park reopened quickly and hope County Executive Steve Szalay can negotiate revised terms with Ose.

“The board also directed county staff to prepare a new request for proposals while Szalay is negotiating with Ose. That way, if the county is unable to come to terms with Ose, officials can quickly put out a new request for bids.

"There is a sense of urgency," Supervisor Don Nottoli said.

“About a dozen area residents and horse boarders attended Tuesday's meeting to show their support for Ose. A small but passionate group of horse owners have boarded their animals at the park for years and are supporting Ose, who would keep L&M Concession Management on to run the boarding stables.

"Please open up this park. Please negotiate with Doug Ose," resident Bobbie Sundberg implored the board.

“Resident Keith Weber, who ran unsuccessfully for the Board of Supervisors last spring, called the Ose proposal the county's last chance to find someone to open the park. "Take a drive out to Gibson and see how you feel as a community member driving up to a closed park," he said.

“Countering the supporters were a few parks advocates. They questioned the privatization of public parkland and worried that the move would hurt a long-term effort to create a regional park district.”