SCGA Governmental Affairs

PUBLIC GOLF ENDANGERMENT ACT STYMIED BY FAILURE TO PASS APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE TODAY

Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Public Golf Endangerment Act (AB 672) died in the Assembly Appropriations Committee today in large part due to the thousands of SCGA members who took the time to send letters and make calls to their legislators – that and the usual behind the scenes work and solid argumentation that always accompanies any successful effort in the public arena.

AB 672 is no more. As a 2-year bill it had to pass its House of origin (Assembly) before the end of January. Because it was held in today’s Appropriation suspense hearing, that is not logistically possible. The proponents’ strategy to rush the bill through the extremely truncated processes attendant to 2-year bills failed. The golf’s community’s strategy to prevent that result succeeded. Yes, it was a bad bill that caused harm while producing little of palpable value. But in the tight time frame available, that in and of itself would not likely have proven sufficient to prevent the bill from making it to the floor of the Assembly.

If the golf community draws from today’s action the conclusion that citizen and organizational engagement matters, it will have drawn a solid conclusion. If the golf community draws from today’s action that it has nothing to worry about, it will have drawn a flawed conclusion.

The author may refile to be sure, but that’s just the tip of this particular iceberg. AB 672 was more symptom than problem – a symptom of increasing challenges to the game’s use of the land required to offer its recreational pleasures – land that is coveted for alternative recreational uses and now residential development as well. Can more overtly commercial development be far behind?

It’s also a symptom of much of the public’s failure to recognize municipal golf courses as parks. The California Park Preservation Act recognizes that fact, as do a number of other Codes in California Law. But as long as much of the public recognizes otherwise, things like AB 672 are sure to keep popping up.

Golf forgets that at its great peril. It also forgets at great peril the maxim that only to the degree to which the 90% of the population that doesn’t play golf finds the golf course in their neighborhood a boon to their neighborhoods and their family’s quality of life, can the game really be protected against predations like the “Public Golf Endangerment Act.”

Upping the social, political, and environmental value proposition of the game to non-golfers – that’s the work the golf community needs to get about doing and doing now. The good news is that at long last we actually believe that the game’s leaders and organizations are coming to that conclusion.

The deadline for filing 2022 bills in the California Assembly is February 18. We’ll know in short order whether AB 672’s author has the will to continue pursuing the idea of developing golf green spaces into residences while pursuing an uphill battle for the 42nd Congressional District against Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. Cristina Garcia is tenacious. That’s a compliment.

Archived Updates

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Are you interested in becoming an advocate for golf in California? The CGCOA is seeking amateur golfers who are passionate about protecting the game of golf and promoting public policies that enable golf to flourish in California. Take the next step to becoming an advocate for golf by completing the attached Golf is Good Ambassador Application.

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FORE - Public Affairs

FORE - The magazine of the SCGA. Find archived Public Affairs articles on the website of the SCGA's award winning quarterly publication.

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