NEW NAME; SAME THREAT (AB 1910)

How clubs and organizations in particular can help in the 1st phase of the game’s allied effort to beat back this bill for a 3rd and final time.

As you know, Assembly Member Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) has refiled most of the contents of the AB 672 iteration that died in Appropriations in January. The title is the same; however, the author is calling it the following: “Incentivize Conversion: Accessible Open Space & Affordable Housing.” We’re still calling it what it is – The Public Golf Endangerment Act or depending on the audience sometimes “The Park and Open Space Endangerment Act.” The new number is 1910. To read it online click here. To read a PDF version of it click here.

AB 1910 is in its gestation period through March 14; that is, no action can be taken until then. But after March 14 the “action” promises to be fast and furious – the 1st phase of the “action” that is. That phase: Hearings before the two Assembly policy committees of reference (Housing & Community Development and Local Government).

Golf clubs can have an outsized impact upon that 1st phase by filing letters with those two committees. But in order to do so they must act quickly! That’s why SCGA has made it easy. Click here to access the simple form letter that SCGA has prepared for a club or organization to execute. Because the process for filing formal committee letters is a convoluted one, SCGA will handle the filing for clubs and organizations during this 1st important phase of the game’s allied effort to beat back this bill for the 3rd and what is likely the last time. E-mail signed, executed letters to kfitzgerald@scga.org. SCGA Public Affairs will make sure your club’s letter gets to the committees in time to be impactful.

SCGA executed a soft opening to this 1st phase of the effort late last Thursday. The above information has appeared on the “Public Golf Endangerment Act” landing page at www.scga.org since then. Early this week (Monday or Tuesday) a harder opening in the form of this same information cum form letter will go out to the officers and directors of SCGA’s clubs in their monthly “Club Digest” e-publication.

The World Golf Foundation (WGF) has contacted the state’s First Tee Chapters to encourage them to participate in this 1st phase of the campaign by executing and returning policy committee letters to SCGA. The Golf Course Superintendents Association and California Golf Course Owners Association have sent out action alerts to their membership bases. California’s two PGA Sections will soon follow suit, as we anticipate will the state’s other leadership organizations. The National Golf Foundation (NGF) is close to completing a comprehensive redux of the California public golf market for filing with the two policy committees, which promises to be a total rebuke of the false information about “underutilized golf courses” that AB 1910 author Cristina Garcia has been spreading around the Capitol.

Over the weekend the NCGA tweeted out a blogpost that ran February 14 highlighting several PGA Tour Professionals giving testimonials regarding the role municipal golf played in their respective journeys – along with a lot of solid information to clubs and individual golfers as to how they might make their voices heard. Click here to view the NCGA blog.

It’s important to flood the two policy committees of reference (Housing and Community Development & Local Government) with as many organizational “oppose” letters as possible. Time is short. Both committees can schedule their hearings any time after March 14. They must pass the bill out of committee no later than April 29. We have no control over when they’re heard, nor will we have much advance warning. And we have little time to collect and file these letters, which is why this 1st phase of the game’s allied campaign is focusing so intently on executing and filing them. There will be time thereafter to gin up the generic “contact your legislator” protocol that SCGA (and others) promoted December 6 through the bill’s failure to pass Appropriations January 20. AB 1910 must again pass muster with Assembly Appropriations, and that has to happen before May 20 in order to move 1910 to an Assembly floor vote, and that’s exactly what every phase of the game’s allied strategy is focused on preventing, albeit even a successful floor vote presages the same gauntlet for AB 1910 in the Senate.

Now would be the time to get those club and organizational letters executed and returned to the SCGA (kfitzgerald@scga.org) for filing with the policy committees.

While clubs and organizations do their part, the California Alliance for Golf (CAG) will be doing its part by providing both policy committees with a very deep policy and legal dive into why AB 1910 is just bad public policy, something sure to cause great harm to the state’s park and open space stock while doing next to nothing to mitigate a housing shortage that ALL agree requires immediate redress. As we have said from day one of this saga, this is NOT about housing. It’s about singling out one and only one of California’s parks/open-green space activities for differential treatment. If it were about golf playing its part in a shared sacrifice scheme that might actually put some small dent in the state’s acute housing shortage, this would be a very different matter.