Proposal increases park funds
Regional Park District Board of Directors place Measure WW on Nov. 4 ballot
Published: Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Updated: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 15:10
In 1988, Contra Costa and Alameda county residents voted to pass Measure AA, a $225 million bond measure created to benefit the East Bay Regional Parks.
Twenty years later, the East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors placed Measure WW, an extension of Measure AA on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Also known as the Extension of Regional Open Space, Wildlife, Shoreline and Parks Bond, the proposal would allot roughly $500 million in bonds to continue serving the needs of the East Bay Regional Park District, which encompasses 1,745 square miles on the eastern side of San Francisco Bay. This region includes 65 regional parks, recreation areas, shorelines, preserves and land bank areas.
According to smartvoter.org, the measure will not increase the current property tax rate of $10 per year per $100,000 of assessed value.
Measure WW needs to be approved by two-thirds of voters in the Alameda and Contra Costa counties to pass.
The measure will provide $125 million to help meet local park and recreation needs, while the other $350 million would go toward funding regional park acquisitions and capital projects, some of which will be set aside in reserves.
Supporters of the measure argue that the bond will help preserve open space and is a wise investment to make.
"Basically, any land that's not protected will be developed in the next 20 years," EBPD Board Director Ted Radke said.
According to the Measure WW Fact Sheet on ebparks.org, the previous bond, Measure AA, had been used to help the district preserve 34,000 acres of open space, create 17 new regional parks, add more than 100 miles of trails and fund 235 neighborhood recreation projects. In addition, federal and state matching grants, as well as private donations, doubled the amount of money for Measure AA.
With the money from Measure WW, district officials said they plan to acquire and restore urban creeks, protect wildlife, purchase and save open space, wetlands and bay shoreline and develop and improve local regional parks, trails and recreational facilities.
They also intend to develop and expand upon several trails, including the Bay, Delta and Ridge trails. Renovating Eastshore State Park and completing the Tidewater Recreation Area at Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline are also priorities.
"Some of the projects will begin sooner than later, but they will take place in the long-term over the next 20 years," Radke said
Opponents of Measure WW say the measure is little more than a scam and does not have the best interest of the public in mind.
"It's a red herring," John Grigsby, spokesman for NoOnMeasureWW.org, said. "They (the park district) do not do a very good job of taking care of their parks compared to the state parks."
Grigsby also said that out of the "trails" mentioned by those who support Measure WW, over 1,000 of them are dirt roads that receive little more maintenance than being run through by bulldozers, are not accessible to bicyclists and are often used for cattle feeding.
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