BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES AND WATER
                             Senator Fran Pavley, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:            AB 446          Hearing Date:    July 14,  
          2015
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          |Author:    |Ridley-Thomas          |           |                 |
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          |Version:   |February 23, 2015    Introduced                      |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |Yes              |
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          |Consultant:|Katharine Moore                                      |
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                        Subject:  Baldwin Hills Conservancy.


          BACKGROUND AND EXISTING LAW
          In 2000, the Baldwin Hills Conservancy Act (act) established the  
          Baldwin Hills Conservancy (conservancy) in the Natural Resources  
          Agency (agency).

          The act provides that the conservancy, among other things, may  
          acquire and manage public lands within the Baldwin Hills area  
          and provide recreational, open space, wildlife habitation  
          restoration and protection, and lands for educational uses  
          within the area.  Additionally, the act allows the conservancy  
          to fix and collect fees, as specified, for certain activities,  
          provides the conservancy with the right of first refusal to  
          acquire lands suitable for park and open space within its  
          territory, to recruit and coordinate volunteers, and authorizes  
          the conservancy to accept private or public lands offered for  
          recreational trails.

          The conservancy's territory is located in the heavily urbanized  
          Baldwin Hills area of the Los Angeles Basin.  The territory  
          includes parts of the Cities of Los Angeles and Culver City,  
          unincorporated portions of Los Angeles County, the Kenneth Hahn  
          State Recreation Area and some adjacent lands. Lands under its  
          jurisdiction are about 2 square miles, although the conservancy  
          does not own or control all of these lands.  There is  
          considerable on-going oil development and production within the  
          conservancy's territory.  The conservancy is the smallest of the  







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          state's conservancies.

          Existing law provides that the act will remain in effect until  
          January 1, 2018.  The act was created with an initial sunset  
          date of January 1, 2008, and was extended once to its current  
          date (via an environment budget trailer bill (SB 85, Committee  
          on Budget and Fiscal Review, c. 178, Statutes of 2007)).  

          PROPOSED LAW
          This bill would eliminate the sunset date for the act and extend  
          the operation of the act (and the conservancy) indefinitely.

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT
          According to the author, "removing the sunset date would allow  
          the [conservancy] to continue its mission in parity with the  
          other eight out of ten conservancies that do not have a sunset  
          date impacting their ability to develop ongoing multiyear  
          projects."

          "Without the conservancy, the area will continue to face many of  
          the challenges that led to the conservancy's creation. [?] The  
          communities in and around the Baldwin Hills are quantifiably  
          park poor, with only one acre per thousand residents; the region  
          falls far below the National Recreation and Parks Association  
          standard of six acres per thousand residents."

          "Neighborhoods populated by minorities and recent immigrants are  
          especially short of park space. [?] Because of the  
          disproportionate burden of chronic disease that affects minority  
          communities it is essential that urban open space is promoted  
          and protected. [?] With the lack of urban open space and public  
          parks accessible to minority communities, the protection of  
          Baldwin Hills is the centerpiece of a legacy for park equity in  
          urban Los Angeles."

          Additionally, the author notes that there are dedicated bond  
          funds for the conservancy and the obstacles to pursuing  
          multi-year projects supported by bond funds given the  
          conservancy's current sunset date.

          The Nature Conservancy "supports AB 446 in light of the  
          biodiversity value of Baldwin Hills and the importance of  
          continued acquisition and restoration efforts by the Baldwin  
          Hills Conservancy."








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          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION
          None received.

          COMMENTS
           Most state conservancies do not have sunset dates  . Only two of  
          the ten conservancies located in the agency have sunset dates:  
          the Baldwin Hills and San Diego River Conservancies. (AB 392  
          (Atkins) is currently seeking to remove the sunset date for the  
          San Diego River Conservancy.)  While many of the state's  
          conservancies were created without sunset dates, it is not  
          without precedent to eliminate the sunset date for a state  
          conservancy: the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy was created  
          with a sunset date that was extended 3 times prior to its  
          eventual repeal.

           Proposition 1 and the conservancy  . There is $10 million in  
          Proposition 1 funds, approved by the voters in November 2014, to  
          be spent on "multibenefit water quality, water supply, watershed  
          protection and restoration projects."

           Recent audit results  .  In 2008 the Department of Finance audited  
          the conservancy.  The audit found deficiencies with the  
          conservancy's pre-awarding processes, monitoring and oversight  
          of projects.  The conservancy responded to the audit and agreed  
          to take several corrective actions to address the deficiencies  
          found.

           Recent related legislation
           AB 392 (Atkins, 2015) would remove the sunset date for the San  
          Diego River Conservancy. (passed this Committee 9 - 0, currently  
          on the Senate Appropriations Committee Suspense file)

          SUPPORT
          Ballona Creek Renaissance
          City of Beverly Hills
          Cherrywood/Leimert Block Club
          Community Health Councils, Inc.
          Council for Watershed Health
          City of Culver City
          Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council
          Ladera Heights Civic Association
          Los Angeles Audobon Society
          Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors








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          Mujeres de la Tierra
          Natural Resources Defense Council
          The Nature Conservancy
          City of Santa Monica
          Sara Amir, Chair, Baldwin Hills Conservancy Board
          Social Justice Learning Institute

          OPPOSITION
          None Received
          
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