Proposal to sell California’s Ramirez Canyon parkland meets tough opposition – Wire – Lifestyle – bellinghamherald.com
meets tough oppositionLos Angeles Times–
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. The 22-acre Malibu ranch with rolling meadows, burbling creeks and homes customized by Barbra Streisand may be a lovely location for weddings or afternoon tea.
But California Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown says state taxpayers have no business owning it, and his proposal to sell the government property in Ramirez Canyon is reverberating from the corridors of Sacramento to the storied seaside colony.
The governor has injected himself into an 18-year battle involving Streisand, the city of Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, a quasi-autonomous state agency Brown created in 1980. The group, which has rented out the ranch for private events and invites hikers and campers to roam the property, has become one of the largest owners of parkland in Southern California.
The backlash Brown sparked when he tucked his sale proposal deep in the revised budget he unveiled last month highlights the tangled web that state properties can become when officials try to sell them for the money they might bring in. In the end, many such proposals founder on the shoals of opposition from local or even state interests.
Brown’s predecessor, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, was unable to sell the Orange County Fairgrounds and San Quentin State Prison amid local opposition. He couldn’t unload a small parcel that California owns in Tahiti after lawmakers bowed to objections from officials in the state university system, which uses it for research. And the multimillion-dollar sale of state office buildings he negotiated has since unraveled.
The state is even hanging onto a strip mall in San Rafael that houses a massage parlor. The Department of Transportation, which owns the property and serves as landlord to the massage parlor, opposed sale plans in 2004 because the area was mired in construction.