Following this year’s elections, and for the first time in decades, northern Los Angeles County’s 5th District will have a new Supervisor. During this time, legal OHV recreation opportunities here have been steadily shrinking due to rural development, conservation and regulation. Each year, the county spends tens of thousands of dollars from the State of California OHV fund, none of which provides any legal OHV riding areas.Therefore, Sundance Media, on the behalf of several state and local OHV recreation organization, developed and distributed a questionnaire to each of the eight candidates on the June 7th primary ballot for 5th District Supervisor. Questionnaires were distributed by U.S. Mail, email and website contact forms, first on May 12, 2016, then again two weeks later on May 25, 2016.Only two candidates replied, but both responses were enthusiastically in support of OHV recreation in the Antelope Valley. The first to respond was businessman and California State Senator Bob Huff, a staunch and longtime defender of the state OHV fund, and the second was real estate investor Rajpal “Raj” Kahlon. Below are the two questions we asked and their unedited responses.
Sen. Bob HuffMr. Raj Kahlon
BACKGROUNDEach year, OHV owners in the Antelope Valley pay vehicle registration fees and fuel taxes that fund California’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Program. The intent of the program is to provide high quality opportunities for OHV recreation balanced with protecting the state’s natural and cultural resources. (Source: Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission Program Report, January 2014, California State Parks)During the past four years Los Angeles County received $1.2 million dollars from California’s OHV Trust Fund through grant allocations and OHV license fees (in lieu of property taxes). Yet, zero dollars went to increasing or improving OHV recreational opportunities in Los Angeles County. Rather, virtually all of these funds went to subsidize the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Palmdale and Santa Clarita substations.In 2013 the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation was awarded a $377,000 acquisition grant from the OHV Trust Fund to purchase approximately 260 acres in the Littlerock area to develop an OHV Park for the half-million residents of the Antelope Valley that currently have no local OHV recreation opportunities.Despite the overwhelming support of Antelope Valley residents, Supervisor Antonovich directed the Department of Parks and Recreation to decline the grant award and cancel the project.There continues to be no OHV recreational opportunities in the Antelope Valley, yet Los Angeles County continues to siphon off valuable OHV Trust Fund moneys that could be used elsewhere in the state to increase and improving OHV recreation.QUESTIONS1) What will you do as Supervisor to improve or increase OHV recreation opportunities in the 5th District for residents of the Antelope Valley?Sen. Huff:As an OHV rider who grew up in the lower desert, I appreciate the need for more space to ride. It will be a priority of mine to find and set aside OHV areas to ride within the 5th District. I grew up riding OHV’s. I will also work to allocate funding for OHV Parks through any future County Park parcel fee or tax. With the population growing, the use of OHVs growing, and the BLM restricting more and more space, it is important to find and set aside appropriate places to ride. When I took my boys camping, fishing and riding, it was always the riding that they enjoyed most. That allowed us to engage in family recreation that helped pull us together. We learned to appreciate the outdoors, the environment and being good stewards of the outdoors. It also taught them courtesy to others and made them better drivers on-road later. You can’t learn that in a classroom.
Mr. Kahlon:I will reach out to OHV and residents of Antelope Valley to ask them how we can make it safe and fun for OHV and cut down the red tape this will bring more opportunities,I am a big fan of OHV i will be involved. 2) What is your position on the practice of Los Angeles County spending OHV Trust Fund dollars, which are paid by OHV owners and users, for OHV law enforcement programs in the Antelope Valley when the County provides no legal OHV recreation opportunities there?Sen. Huff:I find it despicable. In the state legislature I have supported increasing green sticker fees to provide for more space to ride, not to balance the state’s budget or for the county to double up enforcement on scarce riding space. I don’t believe the majority of our “new” LA County Board of Supervisors appreciates the value of OHV riding and we desperately need a strong voice on the Board who does.Mr. Kahlon:OHV trust fund will be use for bring more legal recreation opportunities ,keep every body safe and happy make more people join us by treating OHV owner and guest with respect no red tape.PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONSAmerican Motorcyclists Association, District 37 Antelope Valley Four Wheelers California Four Wheel Drive Association California Trail Users Coalition LA County Trail Crew 4X4 Club Off-Road Business Association
Update: June 2, 2016 at 3:42
A late reply was received from Candidate Billy MaloneI am sorry there has been a delay in my response. The campaign keeps us very busy and I always wish to respond to requests like yours directly, so that you have my personal opinions and not of someone else who is writing for the campaign.Whereas I do not presently own a OHV or enjoy the benefits of driving one, off roading is part of my history. When I first moved to North America in 1983 I lived in a small community that was extremely rural. A place called Coburg. Because of it being so rural most of the local pastimes included activities that where typically outdoor sports. It was here where I learned all about 4 wheel driving. The local reforestation and other lands were open and used by all. I purchased a CJ5 jeep and would continually go off road with my friends. This was some of the most fun I have ever had and I miss those opportunities to this day. After moving to the city to go to college and raise a family, I have not been able to get back into that kind of sport. I do, however, completely understand the desire to want and need areas that can be utilized by those who wish a more hands-on outdoor recreational sport.I will admit I am not too familiar with the present issues that pertain to OHV, but I am sensitive to taxes coming from one area and ending up somewhere else. I have always been concerned with this kind of taxing behavior. I do not currently live in Antelope Valley, however, I do live in unincorporated county and know full well how the taxes do not always come back to the people that pay them. This is so true, especially in AV which is home to so much of the unincorporated county.Should I get through to the next round in this election, through the primary on June 7th, I will sit down with you and your organization and see where we can make some true difference that will accommodate everyone’s needs. When that time comes, maybe I will get back involved in a sport that I enjoyed so much in my past. Billy MaloneCandidate for Los Angeles County Supervisor 5th district
iPhone, iPad, iCloud, iOS, iAds, iTunes, Mac and Mac OS are registered trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. YouTube and Android are registered trademark of Google, Inc, registered in the U.S. and other countries. Twitter is a registered trademark of Twitter, registered in the U.S. and other countries. Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook, registered in the U.S. and other countries, PRNewswire is a registered trademark of PRNewswire, registered in the U.S. and other countries, and MS Office is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation, registered in the U.S. and other countries. All other respective trademarks remain a respectable licensed product of it's original creator.