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California Propositions: Proposition 21

Monica Nguyen, Stephanie Guzman |
October 6, 2010 | 6:43 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter, Contributor

California Propositions is a series about propositions that will be on the California ballot in November. In this edition, listen to a special report on Proposition 20 from Annenberg Radio News reporter Stephanie Guzman (below). See Proposition 19 here. See Proposition 20 here.


Graphic by Monica Nguyen, with Creative Commons images by Flickr user Washington SRC
Graphic by Monica Nguyen, with Creative Commons images by Flickr user Washington SRC


From Annenberg Radio News' Stephanie Guzman: [Listen to this story here].

Proposition 21 is one of the measures on November’s ballet that does not seem to be making many waves. The proposition proposes to tack on $18 to register your vehicle at the Department of Motor Vehicles. That money will then fund state parks. Officials claim some state parks will be out of toilet paper by October.  

At first, this seems like a win-win situation. 

But not everyone at the downtown Los Angeles DMV has something good to say about it.


It is 9 a.m. and there is a line outside the door.

We do not know how many people showed up to register their cars, but we do know that in California last year, more than 22 million cars were registered.

That is a lot of cars, and Proposition 21 plans to get $18 from every one of those drivers to help fund 278 state parks.

Joshua Mendez showed up today to register his 1993 Honda Civic. He has to pay $175, but he is not too thrilled that those fees may go up.

“I think they should find another way because why should we be punished for...driving our cars...,” Mendez said. “It’s not like we can do anything about it even if it passes. We’re gonna have to pay that extra $18 to register our vehicle.”

There are dozens of conservation groups across California. Some said the extra money was necessary.

“Those parks area already heavily supported by non-profit organizations, and they do a lot,” said Jane Adams, the executive director of the California Park and Recreation Society. “But yet there is that need for more money to make the necessary maintenance and repairs for our state parks.”

Adams said tax payers will see changes if the proposition is passed.

“It may take a year for people to say, ‘Oh, I see that building was painted, or I see I now have access to those restrooms that have been closed.’”

One manager at the DMV declined to give her full name or be recorded. She said she has been there for 26 years, and no matter the cost, people will pay.

Carlos Cuevas agreed. He was there to register his brand new truck, and he paid $600.

“You have to do it,” Cuevas said. “You have to renew your plates. Because I need to drive to work. You have to drive around, and if you don’t pay, they’re going to stop you and give you a ticket,” Cuevas said.

In November, tax payers will have to decide what is more important: keeping toilet paper stocked in their state parks or pocketing that extra $18. 


Reach reporter Monica Nguyen here.





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