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Measuring Measure WW

Original post made on Sep 30, 2008

The East Bay Regional Parks District was formed during the Great Depression, so it's no secret that despite the similarly fragile state of the economy, its members are hoping people will recognize as they did in the 1930s the importance of preserving land for future generations.
On the Nov. 4 ballot will be Measure WW, a $500-million bond measure that seeks to extend Measure AA, which was passed in 1988 and runs out this year. Measure AA raised a total of $225 million for the parks district to connect trails, purchase open space, restore creeks and build recreation areas and parks. But the money from AA has been spent or is already allocated for future projects.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, September 29, 2008, 12:31 PM

Comments (18)

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Posted by Mountain Biker
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2008 at 8:55 am

From the article: " 'Some of the older trails . . . are used by horses and the hikers and when we mix up the bicycles with it, you get issues--the horses panic, the bike coming down the road fast,' [EBRPD General Manager Pat] O'Brien said. 'It's something we have to balance. It's not that they're prohibited from access, it's a question of where.' "

If the horses are panicking, why doesn't EBRPD ban them from the trails? Are they also panicking when they encounter a snake, an off-leash dog, a coyote, or any sudden movement? Judging by EBRPD's horse-involved accident statistics, it appears they are.

Actually, competent equestrians with well-trained horses don't have these problems. The problem is the dilettantes who don't know how to ride a horse on a trail and whose horses aren't properly trained. They're a relative handful these days anyway, yet EBRPD caters to them as though the parks would lose their character without their presence.

The truth is that EBRPD bans bicycles from almost all of its nice narrow trails. It doesn't even have many such trails to begin with, which is another disgrace. Cyclists are stuck on antiquated ranch roads that aren't suitable for human-powered recreation. EBRPD generally can't manage to build new narrow trails either (although it did build one at Brushy Peak, near Livermore, recently). There's always some purported obstacle.

Believe it or not, cyclists are EBRPD's largest trail user group by mileage covered. We deserve better.


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Posted by Just another East Bay outdoorsman
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2008 at 10:43 am

Personally, I think the pictures of grazing and heavy equipment damage on Web Link are much more damning to the EBRPD and Measure WW than the bicycling arguments.

This isn't really about bicycles or horses. It's about a small minority of people who think they have a right to live in an urban area with 7 million people but never see anyone else in "their" parks. Mountain biking has become very popular, and it makes this minority grumpy to see more people in our public lands...especially when those people look like they're having a lot of fun.

Maybe if they want people to vote for more public parks, they shouldn't be working so hard to keep the public out of them.


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Posted by Lynda
a resident of Amador Estates
on Sep 30, 2008 at 12:07 pm

With the state of our current economy, I'd rather see tax dollars being spent on something more important. I'm all for parks & recreation but this just doesn't seem like a high priority right now.


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Posted by concerned
a resident of Country Fair
on Sep 30, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Can anyone comment. . .I heard that the Measure PP supporters want Measure WW to pass. Their plan is that with approval of PP, property such as Oak Grove will be devalued such that funds from WW could be used to purchase to the Oak Grove property. If that's true, what a crummy strategy and what happened to property rights of the owner?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 30, 2008 at 9:37 pm

I haven't heard anything like that regarding the supporters of PP. Oak Grove won't be affected by PP unless the appeal on the referendum lawsuit reverses the lower court's finding, which was the whole purpose behind creating PP. But I always wondered why Save Pleasanton Hills decided to use clipboard politics instead of trying to purchase the Oak Grove land from the Lins. Mary Roberts, a supporter of the Oak Grove referendum and PP, sits on the board of the Tri-Valley Conservancy, which does raise funds to purchase land or work in other ways with property owners to preserve open space. Things that make you go "Hrm?"


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Posted by Sarah
a resident of Happy Valley
on Sep 30, 2008 at 10:36 pm

I agree with Just Another Outdoorsman about the bikers, but I have to take issue with the website mentioned & his comment about keeping the public out of the parks. From what I can tell, the EBRPD is trying to open parks up, but lacks the funds to do so (as a professional land planner myself I know it sounds crazy to non-planners but you really can't just "open up" property and let folks at it). As for that website - the pictures are actually not that damning if you're familiar with the area. They bulldozer shots look like they were taken during construction of a paved trail or fire trail, and the "after" shots actually look like they were taken somewhere else. I'd also say the comparison to Joaquin Miller park is bad - those trails are even worse! Too bad there's no way to comment on that site and get a real discussion going!


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Posted by josh harpman
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Oct 1, 2008 at 3:43 am

sure, EBRPD, isnt perfect. I for one would love to see an end to private cattle grazing on public land.
that being said, i would much rather have a park that isnt perfect, from no park at all. I will vote for WW, but will also write to the park district to let them know my concerns about things such as cattle grazing.


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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Oct 1, 2008 at 12:48 pm

How do you keep fire danger in check on vast open spaces - Cattle grazing. This is a long standing practice that's proven to be effective. Yep, cattle do poop - just step around it...It's fertilizer...:)

Why not place a "user fee" on those using these open spaces and use the fees to purchase more open space for those desiring to use it. Why expect those that will never use this land/park to subsidize those that do.

Pay your own way...

This is so funny. It didn't take long for "Save Pleasanton Hills" and "PP" to enter this conversation...:) Take advantage of every opportunity!!!


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Posted by Becky Dennis
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Oct 1, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Dear Concerned,

Regarding your comments:

"Can anyone comment. . .I heard that the Measure PP supporters want Measure WW to pass. Their plan is that with approval of PP, property such as Oak Grove will be devalued such that funds from WW could be used to purchase to the Oak Grove property. If that's true, what a crummy strategy and what happened to property rights of the owner?

Posted by concerned, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, 19 hours ago "

First, I hope everyone votes for the EBRPD's Measure WW.

Regarding WW funding the purchase of the Oak Grove property, the EBRPD always identifies where and for what they will spend taxpayers money before they place a bond measure on the ballot. Oak Grove is not on the WW project list. It could never be part of the EBRPD WW plan because of its location inside the Pleasanton city limits and inside the Pleasanton's Urban Growth Boundary. Thus, no WW bond money can be used to buy that property. It is planned as a city park in Pleasnton's park plan.

Regarding the devaluing effect of Measure PP on the Lin's Oak Grove property, I have heard PP's proponents state a number of times that this is their intention. Nonetheless, the property, which is designated rural residential in our General Plan, retains its current development entitlements for nearly 100 residential units. It is the EBRPD's policy to always pay fair market value, which is why they stick to the purchase of agricultural land from willing sellers. The City, and government in general, cannot by law, downzone and devalue the land to make it cheap enough for the Park District or the City to purchase.

The only way to ensure that there is a park in the southeast hills is to support the Council's approval of the dedication of 500 acres of open space to Pleasanton that is part of the Oak Grove plan. You would also want to vote no on PP to prevent that proposed park from being carved up into 50+ acre private luxury view estates, which is the only alternative PP leaves to southeast hills property owners who are currently entitled to develop their land.

Becky Dennis


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Posted by Jason
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 7, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Mountain bikes are banned from a large portion of EBRPD land. Until that changes, they can forget about my vote to give them more money. Cyclists need to remember to yield the right of way on trails, but maybe if you actually let us use more of the open space there would be fewer encounters between bikes and horses.


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Posted by Becky Dennis
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Oct 8, 2008 at 9:25 am

Hi, Jason -

I hope you will vote YES on Measure QQ so that you will be able to ride your bike on trails in a new 2000 acre greenbelt in Pleasanton's southeast hills! Eventually you should be able to ride from Shadow Cliffs to the Calippe golf course, and on to Pleasanton Ridge, where you can also ride all the way to 580.


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Posted by Santiago
a resident of Siena
on Oct 8, 2008 at 9:23 pm

First of all, denying the EBRPD continued funds (that's right, not NEW funds) won't make life any better for bikers. Even if you are upset, and even if you ARE right, why take away from a system that provides hundreds of opportunities for recreation, special events and classes, and countless ways for children to interact with nature? Plus, the EBRPD will be celebrating its 75th anniversary in the coming year, and it will be hosting tons and tons of events to foster closer ties to the community. Also, the anti-WW site is nice, but misses lots of key points. For example, it points out how little money was spent on acquiring new land. That's just silly: its 2008, the land of the East Bay has long been divided up among cities, the state, various special jurisdictions like EBRPD and EBMUD, and others. It is obviously very difficult to acquire new land. EBRPD does waste some money as does any organization, but you likely underestimate the vast scope of the organization. It's employees acquire land, build and maintain trails, operate attractions, study and protect land and wildlife, manage garbage disposal and sewage, build buildings, and maintain the EBRPD's own police and fire services (which DO respond to emergencies beyond park lines). The list goes on and on. This is an organization with lots of responsibilities that they fulfill very well.


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Posted by Mark Tanaka
a resident of another community
on Oct 22, 2008 at 1:21 am

It's sad to see a few disgruntled mountain bikers (an activity in which I occasionally participate), tightwads and farmers want to block what would benefit so many. The population of the East Bay is growing and the amount of trails and greenspace needs to be expanded and improved to accomodate this growing population. Also the trails in existence would benefit from connections. The current access to Pleasanton Ridge is limited to the southern end. LIkewise it would be nice to have access those lovely hills overlooking Dublin you see looking west from the Tri Valley.

Without a similar bond 20 years ago, there would be much fewer parks and recreational opportunities. If people are worried about costs, I'd bet the enhancement of property values would more than make up for such a small increase in property taxes (and no new taxes, technically).

I have some sympathy to small farmes, but it's not like they are going to be forced off them. I'm sick of seeing all this beauty (especially in the hills) and not having public access to it.


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Posted by Mark Tanaka
a resident of another community
on Oct 22, 2008 at 1:25 am

The website with all the ugly shots is as stupid as the shots are ugly. Most of the current parks are filled with gorgeous views. I frequent many of them and even do volunteer trail maintenance. Maybe the website owner could do something to make the area more beautiful rather than try to trash a measure that would inevitably result in more pavement and less green.


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Posted by Kay
a resident of Castlewood
on Oct 29, 2008 at 10:08 pm

Please let our wide open spaces be for now. What could be the hurry? Let it be. We have so much available already. Our wildlife needs a break from the development and I'm not willing to pay for something I can not see a need for. I'm an avid hiker and biker and I'm okay with as is...


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Posted by Kay
a resident of Castlewood
on Oct 29, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Please let our wide open spaces be for now. What could be the hurry? Let it be. We have so much available already. Our wildlife needs a break from the development and I'm not willing to pay for something I can not see a need for. I'm an avid hiker and biker and I'm okay with as is...


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Posted by Kay
a resident of Castlewood
on Oct 29, 2008 at 10:24 pm

By the way, the reason we need to protect these areas from development is because of the pristine beauty, not in spite of it.

Buy your own piece of land with a view or frequent so many other of our public lands easily accessed locally. How can you justify otherwise? Not yours get over it. Sorry to disagree, but I do. Please leave some of our land wild.


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Posted by Juley Hull
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 3, 2008 at 2:44 pm

Folks,

PLEASE VOTE NO ON WW!

As someone who used to work for the Park District as an Accountant, I can attest to the fact that there is EXCESSIVE waste of money, far worse than anywhere else I have ever worked. Who pays an Admin Asst. $100,000 per year? I had dealings with these ladies, and I can assure you they are not doing anything exteraordinary enough to justify their salaries. I'm afraid most of the employees, at least below management level, don't even have a Bachelor's Degree or even an AA! The problem runs district-wide.

The Parks in San Ramon & in Danville are ugly, just as depicted. I took one trail that connected to a lower trail from Mt. Diablo, and I had to literally wade my way through cow patties and horse s**t. Disgusting. Only dogged persistance got me through to the other trail, which was lovely and is tended by Mt. Diablo Park!

Your perspective is skewed if you only look to Sunol and Pleasanton Ridge for examples of the Parks. Remember, they haven't had enough time yet to ruin the Ridge, they only acquired it a little over 10 years ago. Wait till they bring in the cattle! Hope you like horse flies and dung. Don't give them too much credit for the natural beauty, it was there before the District existed!

What we are paying is not justified! Those of you who perhaps bought 10+ years ago and perhaps aren't looking at $11,000 property tax bills may think it's a nominal fee, but I'm here to tell you that the rest of us who payed inflated home prices are probably paying triple or more what the rest of you are, imagine people who bought before Prop 13?

There is no reason why the District can't hold more events, classes, etc. to raise money, rather than adding to the taxpayer's burden!


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