Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula’s plan to turn the San Joaquin River Parkway into a state park.
AB 3218 would have placed 5,900 acres adjacent to the river between Friant Dam and Highway 99 under the jurisdiction of the Millerton Lake State Recreation Area. It passed both the state Assembly and Senate without a single no vote.
“The bill will not lead to the author’s desired outcome,” Brown wrote in his veto message. “Regardless of whether the state entity manages the land or not, creating true public access to the San Joaquin River and the 5,900 acres adjacent to it can only be achieved if money is available and if private landowners are willing to sell. This bill, unfortunately, does not change this.”
Arambula expressed disappointment, in an email statement.
“While I am disappointed that AB 3218 was vetoed, I remain committed to doing everything I can to make the Parkway a reality. I am glad that the cities and counties of Fresno and Madera, as well as local stakeholders, were able to come forward to support AB 3218. After 26 years of work, the time is now for us to reinvigorate efforts that will protect and expand the San Joaquin River into a space that all of our families can enjoy,” Arambula said.
River Partners Disappointed
The veto also disappointed Sharon Weaver, executive director of the San Joaquin River Parkway & Conservation Trust.
“We’re disappointed that the Governor vetoed the bill, and look forward to working with Assemblymember Dr. Arambula to continue working toward improved management and public access on the San Joaquin River Parkway,” Weaver said.
Councilman Steve Brandau echoed her reaction. Last March, the Fresno city council voted to support part of Arambula’s plan, mainly obtaining funds for operating and maintenance.
“I’m disappointed. It seemed like a very good plan that I’m supporting,” said Brandau. “Most of us that were dealing with the San Joaquin River issues were hopeful that this would bring a source of money to provide maintenance for existing and potential trail systems.”
Brandau also serves on the San Joaquin River Conservancy Board, the state agency that oversees the parkway.