The Loma Prietan - April 2014

Vote for Measure AA to protect and expand open spaces

by Bruce Rienzo

Open space trail Photo: Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
Open space trail Photo: Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

The Sierra Club enthusiastically endorses Measure AA – a vital funding measure that will appear on our June 3 ballots within the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (Midpen) boundaries.

 

The Bay Area is home to some of the most treasured natural resources in the world, from old-growth redwood forests to clean waterways, breathtaking coastlines, endangered wildlife and miles of trail ideal for hikes and exploration.

 

Voters will have the opportunity to safeguard these precious resources by voting Yes on Measure AA, a bond measure for the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (Midpen) that will provide the funding critical to ensuring our environment is protected for future generations.

 

The ‘Yes for Open Space’ measure will raise an additional $300 million to fund priority projects throughout the district that will restore, improve, expand and maintain our trails, forests, watersheds and farmland. Independent citizen oversight and annual audits will guarantee that the funds are used as promised.

 

Your Yes vote on ‘Yes for Open Space’ Measure AA will:

•      Preserve some of the last coastal redwoods – the original giants of the region – and the San Mateo Coastline from over-development.  

•      Protect the highest priority habitat lands that are critical to maintaining the region’s rich diversity of wildlife.

•      Protect high-priority creeks and streams to keep our drinking water clean and conserve the water resources critical in drought conditions.

•      Safely and sustainably open thousands of acres of protected land to hiking and recreation, expanding public access while conserving it for future generations.

•      Naturally reduce air pollution by protecting the open spaces around our communities, off-setting respiratory illness and preserving clear skylines.

•      Maintain the highest level of care for our beloved natural lands, adapting to accommodate for climate changes and reducing fire risks during dry conditions.

 

Midpen has been working in our community for more than 40 years to preserve the natural areas, water quality, wildlife, recreational opportunities and scenic beauty in the region. It has preserved more than 62,000 acres and continues to manage 26 open space preserves in San Mateo and western Santa Clara Counties. The benefits of Midpen can be felt by all, even those who have never set foot on a trail have benefited from the preservation of open space, which filters water pollutants and air toxins, sequesters greenhouse gases, provides flood protection and preserves agricultural lands– all of which boost the overall health of the local economy. 

 

 Measure AA has gained broad support from civic, business and technology leaders who recognize that our area’s natural resources make it a great place to live and work. Educators know it’s critical to protect our environment for future generations. And family advocates realize the value of improving trail access for all people, including those with disabilities.

 

A list of the top 25 priority projects that will benefit from AA and the measure’s endorsements can be found at yesforopenspace.org. It’s a rare opportunity when a small investment can make such a big difference. We must approve Measure AA now to help save natural areas that cannot be replaced. Once our natural areas are gone, they’re gone for good.

 Please join us and vote Yes on Measure AA.

Bruce Rienzo is the Loma Prieta Chapter's Executive Committee Chair