BIG SUR — When state Sen. John Laird toured Point Sur five years ago, he did his best to focus on the needs of the historic park and vowed to find funding if he returned to the state Legislature, despite a distraction flaring up in the background.
“We could see the start of the Soberanes Fire when we were up there,” he said. “You could have a clear view over to the top. I was texting the Cal Fire chief, who was saying, ‘We have it at 200 acres, we hope to hold it.’ Of course, they didn’t. The wind was whipping around the lighthouse when we were up there, so we knew that wasn’t a good sign for the fire.”
The fire went on to burn 132,127 acres and destroy 57 homes.
At the time, Laird was secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency. But the former state Assemblymember was elected to the state Senate in 2020 to represent Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo counties as well as coastal Monterey County and southern Santa Clara County.
“I always regretted not having done more for Point Sur when I was in the state Assembly,” Laird said. “Yet, the state had no money then.”
He lived up to his vow recently, with $4.5 million for infrastructure renovations to Point Sur State Historic Park included in this year’s state budget.
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