A Santa Barbara County Civil Grand Jury report released last week suggested that all is not well at the popular Jalama Beach County Park near Lompoc. Initially motivated by a complaint about the park’s longstanding concessionaire, the report identified several aspects of the park that the jury felt should be remedied. The majority of problems stemmed from the contract between the county and the family-operated General Store. The report alleged that the county has twice renewed 10-year leases for the concessionaire without taking any public bids and that the terms of a 2004 amendment to the contract—allowing the store to rent out trailers to be used in 110 camping sites—are often violated and fail to provide the county with “sufficient revenue.” Additionally, the report identified the park’s no-reservation policy as an “inconvenience” to would-be visitors, and criticized the Parks Department for making little or no progress toward the realization of the 1999 Jalama Master Plan. County supervisors have 60 days to respond to the allegations, while the County Parks Department has 90 days to file a response.

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