Election: Bay restoration measure passes


A regional ballot initiative proposing a parcel tax that would raise $500 million over 20 years to fund marsh restoration and flood protection projects in San Francisco Bay was approved by 69 percent of voters in the nine-county Bay Area in the June 7 election.

The "yes" vote for Measure AA, an annual $12 per parcel tax, exceeded the two-thirds voter approval threshold required for passage.

With all precincts reporting, the unofficial count showed the measure winning the approval of 71.5 percent of the voters in San Mateo County, 77 percent in San Francisco County and 72.5 percent in Marin County.

The measure fell short of the threshold in Sonoma County, where 62.5 percent of voters approved it, and in Napa County, where 57 percent supported it, but since the test was winning two-thirds support in the nine-county area, property owners in those counties will pay the tax, too.

Supporters of the proposal, including many local politicians, business and environmental groups, said the funding was critical to help restore wildlife habitat, protect communities from flooding and increase shoreline access, including the creation of 25 miles of new Bay Trails.

The measure's passage is "a historic milestone" because it gives us the opportunity to heal the Bay, to improve the ecosystem and provide for flood protection, said San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine, who chairs the seven-member board of the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, which put the measure on the ballot and will oversee the distribution of its tax revenues.

The state Legislature created the nine-county Restoration Authority in 2008 "for the sole purpose of the collection and distribution of revenues for restoration of wetlands," Mr. Pine said.

"(Tuesday's) vote is a resounding victory for wildlife and people who want a healthy, beautiful Bay for future generations," said David Lewis, executive director of Save the Bay, one of the groups backing the measure.

In a ballot argument opposing Measure AA in San Mateo County, the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association said the measure was not specific enough in its goals and lacked oversight by a panel of scientists. The measure would create "a whole new bloated and expensive bureaucracy," with overhead costs and expense accounts, the association said.

Asked about these allegations before the election, Mr. Pine said the measure's language puts a 5 percent ceiling on revenues spent on administrative expenses. Support work for the Restoration Authority tends to be done by employees of the Coastal Commission, which can bill the authority for expenses, he added.

Supporters also said the measure includes an independent citizens' oversight committee to ensure funds are spent properly and that all funds must stay in the Bay Area to be used only for local habitat restoration and wildlife protection projects.

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

Earlier story: Measure AA would raise $500 million to restore marshes.

— Bay City News Service

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Like this comment
Posted by Bay Lover
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 8, 2016 at 12:51 pm

I am absolutely THRILLED!!!

2 people like this
Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jun 8, 2016 at 1:16 pm

I'm glad the restoration is being funded. As someone who lives a few blocks from the Bay, and who regularly goes there to enjoy nature, the $12/year is well worth it to me, so I voted for it. However, the tax should've been structured differently; a small parcel out in Dixon should not pay the same as one of the parcels owned by Facebook, or one of those other multi-billion dollar businesses on the Bay. I never saw a reasonable justification for that.

4 people like this
Posted by Gio (graphic)
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 8, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Yes, Dixon is well away from The Bay, however, it's county is heavily influenced by the health and economic viability of The Bay, which runs along it's entire southern "border".

36 people like this
Posted by oh gawd
a resident of Woodside: Kings Mountain/Skyline
on Jun 8, 2016 at 8:07 pm

You know,back in the 60's I remember the bay really needed this type of a program. The pollution was thick, the wildlife was suffering and the was even talk of filling in the south bay. But the efforts in the past 50 years have been exemplary. The oversight of the waters by fish and game, regional water control board, baykeeper, others has the bay back strong again. Fish are thriving, birds have returned in groves and you can actually eat meals from the bay now (strongly advised against 30 years ago). So we're being told now we need to TAX everyone because the bay is polluted again, i just don't see it. All's this money will do is spawn a new bureaucracy that will cost half of the 500 million its supposed to raise on salary's and impose more regulations on the people who live/work here. 69% of the people voted for this? And they say this area is so well educated. Bunch of dum dum's if you ask me.Can we ever reject an initiative?

40 people like this
Posted by Liberals Gone Wild
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jun 8, 2016 at 8:55 pm

oh gawd hit the nail on the head. The idea is to create a burgeoning bureaucracy with high salaries and egregious pensions that will eventually reduce Californians standard of living to the equivalent of serfdom, while supporting their Government Lords and Masters in a most opulent lifestyle. And the environment? That is just a carrot stick for suckers who actually believe that the State Government are public servants. Hah! They are porcine public masters, feeding at the trough, who tax us heavily, reduce our standard of living while taking away our freedom.

The California State Government is a Political Insane Asylum! And like the Sirens they lure us to California with the great weather with the true intention of putting us between Scylla and Charybdis. Our hopes for a promising future is dashed on the rocks.

4 people like this
Posted by Gio (graphic)
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 8, 2016 at 9:11 pm

"eventually reduce Californians standard of living to the equivalent of serfdom"

And the fringe has been saying this for how many decades?

"while supporting their Government Lords and Masters in a most opulent lifestyle"

Wasn't it a vote?

Like this comment
Posted by Wingnuts on Parade
a resident of another community
on Jun 8, 2016 at 9:22 pm

Gio (graphic) -- "'while supporting their Government Lords and Masters in a most opulent lifestyle'

"Wasn't it a vote?"

Never confront the wingnuts with facts or logic. Their brains can't handle it.

2 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jun 8, 2016 at 10:03 pm

The bay *has* become polluted again, especially at the south end. I don't recall the details of the reports I read, but one focused on those polluting microbeads that have now been outlawed, and others focused on the overall health of the bay. Toward the mouth of the ocean it' much better, as the recent whale sightings can attest, as they were feeding on anchovies.

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Jun 9, 2016 at 8:05 am

These comments about "serfdom" and "Government Lords and Masters" are funny. Didn't know Tywin Lannister from Game of Thrones reads the Almanac!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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