The Mayor of San Diego's proposed budget cuts will have dramatic impacts
on the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority (JPA) and we urgently need your help to stop that from happening. WHAT IS HAPPENING
: The budget proposes to eliminate all funding ($295,084) for the River Park in the next budget year, and to not pay the final quarter payment ($73,771) this year. The City's share is 36% of our member agency contributions. These cuts will result in several immediate layoffs in our small staff. (We have 8 full-time (includes 5 rangers) and 3 part-time staff). There is no cushion in our budget after several years of cutbacks. But even worse, the City's withdrawal from the JPA could have a domino effect leading to other member agencies also leaving, which would be fatal for the JPA. What this means for park users is no more trail patrol or maintenance of existing trails, no new trails, no more educational programming or guided hikes, no restored habitat for wildlife, and most of all - the end of a vision of a Coast to Crest Trail and open space park in the San Dieguito River Valley that has been over 20 years in the making.
: The timing is very fast: the San Diego City Council has held the first hearing already on December 2nd. The next hearing will be on Wednesday, December 9th
. And then resolutions will be adopted on Monday, December 14th. WHY IS THE SAN DIEGUITO RIVER PARK JPA IMPORTANT
: The San Dieguito River Park JPA is preserving a natural open space park system along a 55-mile-long river valley that extends from Volcan Mountain just north of Julian to the river's mouth at Del Mar. It has acquired 2,976 acres for watershed and open space protection, constructed and maintained 40 miles of trails for hikers, bicyclists and equestrians and a 990-foot-long world-class bridge, restored hundreds of acres of habitat for wildlife, restored a historic pioneer farmhouse, and holds weekly free public education programs and walks and workparty activities. It advises its member agencies on potential impacts from private development projects. $157,525,000 in outside revenue has been brought to the San Dieguito River Park for habitat restoration and trail construction and land acquisition projects since 1989. The reason this much money has been raised is because the San Dieguito River Park JPA was there to seek it and to enter into partnerships with other entities and to serve as the lead agency, and to ensure responsibility and continuity of management. The San Dieguito River Park is a treasure for this region, and the San Dieguito River Park JPA is needed to take care of it and to share it with the public. WHAT WE NEED YOU TO DO
: We are counting on you (the San Dieguito River Park supporters) to call or email the San Diego Mayor and City Council members immediately asking them to remove the proposed budget cuts that would eliminate the San Dieguito River Park. Or plan to attend and speak at the December 9th City Council meeting. Thank you for your help! Click here to read the text of the remarks that our Executive Director Dick Bobertz made to the San Diego City Council on December 2nd and for a list of the various talking points that you can use
when you send an email or make a phone call or speak at the next City Council meeting. Here is a link to contact info for the Council members
. WHY YOUR PHONE CALL OR EMAIL OR ATTENDANCE AT THE COUNCIL MEETING IS IMPORTANT
: The City Council may not even realize that these budget cuts will severely injure the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority, the agency responsible for creating, managing, maintaining and operating the San Dieguito River Park. This information is not at all evident in the City staff report, which makes the cuts appear minor ("deferral of maintenance"). Then it is important to convey that this action to eliminate its contributions to the JPA would not only dramatically cut the JPA budget, which will require layoffs of key field personnel, but also lead to the termination of the San Dieguito River Park JPA. The San Dieguito River Park JPA is doing important work that is valuable to the City and the region and should not be eliminated.
Susan Carter, Deputy Directorsusan@sdrp.org