Measure CC is the East Bay Regional Park District measure that was passed by the voters in 2004. It taxes the area from San Leandro north to Pinole and west of the Hills at around $10 per parcel to provide funding for Park District operations. Sierra Club leaders played a key role in drafting the measure and in identifying the items on which the tax revenues would be spent, including vegetation management, habitat restoration, and wildlife-protection projects. The Club was also instrumental in getting it passed.
Measure CC expires in 2020 unless renewed. The Park District is contemplating going to the voters in 2016 for a reauthorization. The Bay Chapter is again working to shape the reauthorization measure and ensure its passage. As with the original measure, we will insist that the projects slated to receive Measure CC funding are identified with great specificity to ensure that taxpayers know exactly how their money would be spent.
As we work to draft a final reauthorization measure to send to the voters, the Sierra Club identifies the following as critical funding targets. All are considered equally important.
- Funding for vegetation management should be increased from the amount designated in the original Measure CC. In addition, all vegetation-management funding should be allocated for the removal of non-native vegetation such as eucalyptus and its replacement with restored native habitat. Any funding for the mere thinning of non-natives must come from other sources. Over a period of 20 to 30 years, the costs of thinning with debris removal would be around $250 million, or $200 a year for each homeowner.
- Second, Measure CC renewal should increase the funding for stewardship programs and positions in the Park District. This aspect of the Park District’s mission still remains underfunded. In particular, the Park District needs more staff directly involved with conservation, restoration, and habitat-enhancement programs. How we manage parklands is just as important as acquiring more lands. In this time of climate change, the premier park and open-space land agency in the United States must have the scientists and skilled stewards who can meet that challenge.
- Third, funding for the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park should be increased to provide for the operation and maintenance of the Albany Bulb, the Brickyard, and other underfunded portions of the park. In addition, funding should provide the flexibility to pay for some of the costs of potential acquisitions such as the Golden Gate Fields race track site in Albany.
- Fourth, the renewal should include funding in Alameda for the Triangle Park at Alameda Point, the Northwest Territories at Alameda Point, conservation work at the Alameda Wildlife Reserve, and operational funds for when the Crab Cove property becomes part of Crown Beach.
- Fifth, Measure CC renewal should provide funding for the operations and maintenance of a nature preserve park at Point Molate. Richmond residents have demonstrated over and over that they want this important open-space resource protected as a public park.
- Sixth, we oppose further taxpayer subsidy of the Oakland Zoo as it has demonstrated that it can fund its own operations from private sources. The original Measure CC provides $100,000 a year for the Oakland Zoo.
- Seventh, no money should be allocated to fund any of the needed noise or lead mitigation at the Chabot Gun Range if the lease is extended for its operation. The range users and operators are the responsible parties and should bear those costs — not the taxpayers.
The Sierra Club looks forward to working with the Park District on the Measure CC renewal. You can help by writing the Park District Board of Directors to show your support for these key issues and insist that the Sierra Club be part of a working group that writes the renewal measure.
— Norman La Force, Chair, East Bay Public Lands Committee