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Park Jobs Matter 

Editor:

It wearies me that people like Susan Nolan ("Parks and Offices," Mailbox, May 10) feel the need to malign public sector employees. Maybe I am hypersensitive because I am a veteran who later gained employment with the state and then the federal government, or because I remain so naïve as to think that stewarding some of the public's most valuable property is a hands-on way to keep America beautiful. At times, I have even deluded myself into thinking that being a thrifty steward of the public's land and money is almost patriotic. But, increasingly, I've grown to feel that Susan, Grover Norquist, Howard Jarvis' crew, and the rest of the Tea Party want to drown stewardship of our parks in a bathtub, along with most other government jobs.

Although Tea Partiers think that we should dramatically shrink the government, they do not reflect the feelings of most Americans. They are simply a very vocal minority. As a perhaps too vocal hard-working public servant, I love parks and public land, the abundance of which makes the western United States exactly the best place on Earth to live. I've been blessed to grow to love many of our state parks, most of which are unmatched in their beauty. The state's budgetary demise saddens me and makes me blame Proposition 13 for the problems, not a group of dedicated state employees. The state's interdisciplinary team, including the geologist, the archaeologist, and the landscape architect, all pour their hearts into their work with no goal other than to preserve the remaining fragments of our indigenous natural and cultural resources. None will become wealthy by working for the government. Because of their work, our parks are accessible to anyone, the facilities lie lighter on the land, and we can understand a place's history, tread lightly through its culturally important areas, and rest assured that these special places will be here for the ages; difficult tasks anywhere, but especially in our terrain. I'm sorry that some people are so enraged when they ponder their tax bills that they cannot appreciate the hard work done by these public sector professionals. I do.

Brad Job, Arcata

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