My name is Jack William Graham, and some folks (my friends) call me Bill or Billy Graham. I recently learned that the greedy folks in Garden Grove and Santa Ana city governments (in Southern California) have their eyes on the prize that is the Willowick Golf Course -- they want to convert it to a "nonpark purpose" type of property (e.g. a business park or something like that). But they cannot do that, according to the plain words of the law.
California law, that is, the Public Parks Preservation Act of 1971, Public Resources Code section 5400 et seq., specifies that if a city government seeks to convert a property that is serving a park purpose into one that is serving a "nonpark purpose" then the city government must replace the converted park property -- acre-for-acre -- with a similar park property. If you want a case precedent to check out, see the case of Save Mile Square Park Committee v. County of Orange (2001) 92 Cal.App.4th 1142. In that case it was made clear that even though fees are charged for the use of government-owned golf course facilities and services, that government-owned golf courses still serve a "park purpose," in accordance with the mandate of the the Public Parks Preservation Act. (In that cited case, above, the Court praised golf courses as the kind of "park purpose" properties that pay for their own upkeep!) Indeed, since the Willowick Golf Course property was first acquired by Garden Grove in 1964, the Willowick Golf Course has been kept a golf course, and has been serving the public as a government-owned recreational facility -- serving a "park purpose" as such. I have contacted staff in the City of Garden Grove and City of Santa Ana planning departments, and presented them with these same facts and points, yet they insist that Garden Grove and Santa Ana can dispose of Willowick Golf Course any way they like, because there was never any "intent" to make the Willowick Golf Course a "park," and insist that they don't think it is a "park" because fees are charged for people to play golf.... blah, blah, blah. But Willowick Golf Course clearly IS serving a "park purpose" as a "golf course," and has since 1964 (the year it was acquired by the City of Garden Grove and when all members of the public were first able to play golf there, and which now is a golf course that is entirely owned by the City of Garden Grove). Basically, the people in the city governments of Garden Grove and Santa Ana are licking their chops for a development deal and they simply do not want the law standing in their way.
Now, they don't have to leave the Willowick Golf Course as a "golf course" type of "park," as they can convert it to any other "park purpose" type of property, like a regular park, or even a campground, or even something more exotic like an equestrian center, etc. But the land must continue to serve a "park purpose," unless, of course, they "replace" Willowick Golf Course with an equal amount of park land somewhere else in the nearby area. But they are not going to do that "replacement," and have told me so. (Actually, it would be very expensive and wasteful for them to do that "replacement" as far as I can tell, so such a "replacement" is really not feasible, and so according to the law Willowick Golf Course should remain a "park purpose" type of property -- that is, if the law is going to be followed here, but it doesn't look like the law will be followed unless legal action is taken here, which is why I am running this Go-Fund-Me campaign.)
Thus, because the government officials of the City of Garden Grove and Santa Ana are hell bent on turning the Willowick Golf Course into something other than a "park purpose" type property, and have no intention of providing replacement "park purpose" land, a lawsuit is needed. It will be necessary to take the matter to court and have a judge recognize the precedent of Save Mile Square Park Committee v. County of Orange (which I cited, above), and to recognize the statutory law (the Public Parks Preservation Act statutes), and to recognize that the Willowick Golf Course has been serving a "park purpose" since it was first acquired in 1964. I have contacted attorneys about this case, but they want to be paid up front, and will not work "pro bono" on this case. Thus, I must do some fundraising. (But, hey, maybe you know of an attorney that will take this case on a "pro bono" basis? Well, great! Have them contact me and I will give them everything I have so far and even work as a volunteer paralegal on this case! But I am not holding my breath on that.)
One attorney that I told about the case (seeking his firm's help here) does provide a "discount" rate of $150 per hour for services, yet he expects that $50,000 in attorney fees will be needed to fully handle the lawsuit. But he also informed me that if hired he does not intend to file the case as a "class action" lawsuit. But I think this is very much a "class action" lawsuit, even for obvious reasons. Also, I don't know that $50,000 can be raised -- that is a lot of money. (Maybe $50K can be raised, but I don't expect to raise $50K.) Let me also say that I am a paralegal, and I intend to do some volunteer work here, and that won't bother me at all. And I think I can find attorneys to represent the people of the area in this matter much, much less expensively. In fact, I feel pretty good that I can get the job done for the $10K I am asking for here. I feel that $10K is a realistic amount of money to raise, and I am confident I can get the job done with a $10K budget. (This is a reasonably simple case, and not a lot of argument to be put forth here -- the case precedent is clear, the law is clear, and the bad intentions of the greedy government officials are clear.)
So that is the basic problem that needs a solution. Even if you cannot contribute anything to this campaign, PLEASE HELP OUT THIS CAMPAIGN BY SHARING THE LINK TO THIS CAMPAIGN WITH YOUR FRIENDS! SPREAD THE WORD!!!
I also would like some other help from anyone that is willing to do a little bit more than donate to this cause, and here (below) is what I would ask of you:
It is important that a resident, Citizen, and taxpayer of the City of Garden Grove, and a resident, Citizen, and taxpayer of the City of Santa Ana, step forward to act as "class representatives" in this lawsuit (i.e. lend this cause your names, that the lawsuit can go forward IN your names and with you representing the "class" AS residents, Citizens, and taxpayers in Garden Grove and Santa Ana -- that is important). I can honestly say you won't be bothered to do much at all, but your names on the class action lawsuit will be important as a matter of "standing." ("Standing" is a legal term I won't go on about here.) You can contact me if you would like to do that -- I don't live in Garden Grove or Santa Ana, and though I can stand-in as a "class representative" for part of the lawsuit, I cannot stand-in as a "class representative" for all parts of the lawsuit.
And I just discovered that there are a few others who already feel the same passion about saving the Willowick Golf Course. Here's a link to an online blog article you can check out:http://newsantaana.com/2018/11/04/we-need-to-save-the-green-space-at-the-willowick-golf-course-from-needless-development/
Let me also say if you know of any other groups of individuals that want to save the Willowick Golf Course park land, please contact me here on Go-Fund-Me, or contact me at SaveWillowickGC@gmail.com
So please contribute anything you can easily afford to contribute and are willing to contribute to help me save the Willowick Golf Course.