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Park proposition divides city, county

By Kent Gray

Triplicate staff writer

A state initiative to fund parkland acquisitions is putting city and county officials on opposite sides of the fence.

The Crescent City City Council voted this week to sign an endorsement of Proposition 40, a measure which will allow the state to sell $2.6 billion in bonds to buy or improve state and local parks, recreation areas and historical landmarks.

Earlier this month, the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors voted to compose and send a letter of opposition to the same ballot measure.

With a buyout of 25,000 acres of Stimson Lumber property by the Save-the-Redwoods League looming, Supervisor Chuck Blackburn said he believes Del Norte has been targeted by some environmental groups, along with U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, for an expansion of parklands without an end in sight.

It concerns me greatly, said Blackburn. It seems like there are more and more bond measures for parks how much more can we take in this county? Id like to see more money spent on improving existing parks.

If the Stimson property eventually becomes parkland, it will result in lost property and timber-yield taxes for the county. Blackburn said he believes this proposition would assist such purchases in the future.

Kolodner said yesterday he wasnt aware the county was opposing the measure when the council voted to support it Tuesday night.

The endorsement for the proposition was forwarded by the California League of Cities, according to city manager Dave Wells.

Propositions are typically balancing acts and have to supply a significant advantage to a broad spectrum of folks, said Wells. What may be a significant advantage for the city may not be a significant advantage for the county.

Kolodner said he would reexamine the measure and would reconsider signing if it would be a major detriment to the county.

The county is wrapped up in that right now and it really hasnt affected us, said Kolodner. I havent studied the measure completely, but if that is what it entails, I wont sign it and I wont send it off ... Weve got to support each other. If it would truly hurt the county then wed have to seriously take another look at it.

Kolodner said he wasnt certain if the other councilmembers were aware of the county opposition either and he may want to bring it back to the council at the next meeting.

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