The editorial in the Sacramento Bee lamenting the decision by the County Board of Supervisors to turn over management of the shuttered Gibson Ranch to a group headed by a long time public servant and prominent philanthropist, whose history in the area is substantial, seems oddly inappropriate considering the park will now reopen with a very good chance it will be well-cared for and even enhanced.
“It is hardly surprising that Sacramento County supervisors have agreed to pursue an ill-advised deal with developer Doug Ose over the future of Gibson Ranch. Supervisors have been making reckless financial decisions for years. On Tuesday, they added to their legacy.
“The deal negotiated between Ose and interim County Executive Steve Szalay would allow Ose to take over Gibson Ranch, a 345-acre public park, and operate it for 10 years as a profit-making entity. Ose would pay $1 a year to take over this historic ranch. The county, in turn, would commit $500,000 over five years to upgrade facilities in this privatized park that Ose would control.
“Szalay and Ose touted the deal as the best way to get Gibson Ranch reopened in a short period of time. They both claim it would save the county money in the long run, because the cost of mothballing Gibson Ranch is about $212,000 yearly.
“While those arguments have some merit, Szalay and supervisors who voted for the deal – Roberta MacGlashan, Susan Peters, Don Nottoli and Jimmie Yee – utterly ignored the potential risks to the county. In particular, the deal, as now written, allows Ose to invest whatever amount of money he wants in profit-making businesses – ranging from a pet motel to an RV park. If the county wanted to end the agreement before 10 years, it would have to repay Ose for his investment costs and percentage of lost revenue. That could add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and possibly more.”