BY NATHAN FLETCHER
Assemblyman, 75th District
Budget problems in Sacramento have forced tough reductions to a number of good programs - including our state parks. Like many Californians in these economic times, our state parks have been asked to do more with less. Fortunately, when public funds are cut we often see individuals and private organizations step in to fill the void.
A perfect example of this was on display across California this past Saturday - the 25th anniversary of California's Coastal Cleanup Day. My staff and I joined almost 10,000 other San Diegans and close to 100,000 Californians in an effort to clean up our state's beaches and coastal areas. The volunteer effort collected over a million pounds of trash from our beaches, parks and waterways - all under the direction of one of California's most successful public-private partnerships.
California's State Parks, the American Chemistry Council and the nonprofit Keep California Beautiful Organization united under the Coastal Commission's direction with environmental groups, private companies and organizations like Sempra, Bank of America and many others. Whether they're providing trash bags, sponsorship or recruiting volunteers, these partners are critical to making efforts like this a success. Because of them, the Coastal Cleanup is a perfect example of how taxpayer dollars can be saved when the private sector is brought in to help.
The task of keeping parks and beaches clean is a sizable financial hurdle. California's Coastal Cleanup Day is the largest coordinated volunteer effort in the state and is proof that public-private partnerships work to overcome odds. I encourage other businesses, nonprofits and volunteers to get involved and lend their support and expertise to good causes. Whether the economy is on an upswing or a downswing, private sector help is always welcome, and the energy and efficiency they bring to a cause will accomplish great things for California.