By ALI BAY,
SACRAMENTO, CA - 3/11/02 - California voters have approved a
measure giving nearly $3 billion to the creation of new parks and
open space. Proposition 40, which passed with 56 percent of the
vote Mar. 5, was opposed by a handful of agricultural groups,
including the California Farm Bureau Federation.
“That was a disappointment,” said George Gomes, Farm Bureau
spokesman. “Prop 40
provides an opportunity for the state to buy more land when the
state hasn’t done a good job at managing the lands it owns
Gomes said the measure could effectively take farmland out of
production under the disguise of creating new parks and protecting
“Typically they want
to buy more agland,” Gomes said. “That will take land out of
production, which means costing jobs. And if they don’t buy the
agland, they wind up providing some habitat areas that affect a
farmer’s ability to work the adjacent land.”
Proposition 40, labeled the Clean Water/Air, Safe Park and
Coast Protection Act, requires the state to set aside more parks
and open space. Bonds would fund the measure.
The primary election also brought another disappointment for
the Farm Bureau in the defeat of Secretary of State Bill Jones in
the Republican gubernatorial primary. Instead of seeing a farmer
run against Gov. Gray Davis this November, Los Angeles businessman
Bill Simon will have an opportunity to unseat the incumbent.
In a surprising victory at the polls, Simon came from behind to
soundly defeat Jones and former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordin.
Gomes said he was surprised that Jones didn’t earn more votes
in the election. But he said the secretary of state has always
been more focused on doing his job than looking for personal gain.
“He’s just been a dedicated public servant,” Gomes said.
“This also just goes to show that you have to have a lot of
money to win elections.”