SAN ANDREAS – Today, Rico Oller, candidate for California’s 5th Assembly District, released the following statement after it was found that the Department of Parks and Recreation sat on a $54 million surplus while threatening closure of parks throughout the state:
I have been in business for 30 years. In that time I have never “found” $54 million lying around in one of our bank accounts. The recent discovery that the California Department of Parks and Recreation had been giving inaccurate reports of their expenditures shows a serious failure of the state’s spending and reporting policies. The revelation that the department has $54 million in surplus funds that were not reported to the Department of Finance constitutes a serious breach of the public trust.
More egregious still is that the Department recently placed 70 state parks on the closure list because the state supposedly could no longer afford to keep them open. In the absence of any cuts or cost saving measures, the $54 million surplus would have been enough to fund these parks for two years. In developing the closure plan, apparently no one at the department bothered to check the books. There were funds available. The State Controller’s office knew of the money. This suggests that the proposed closures may have been part of a political agenda.
The governor seems to think that state parks and public safety are fit to be used as bargaining chips to convince voters to raise taxes. I hope it doesn’t work. We need to audit all departments, agencies, commissions, and boards. One is left to ponder what other cash cows are hiding in Sacramento. Smells funny to me.