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Historic Measure AA for a Clean and Healthy Bay Approved by Bay Area Voters

SFBay_VivianReed
With nearly all of the votes counted, it appears that voters throughout the Bay Area last night approved Measure AA, a first of its kind regional ballot initiative that will generate $500 million for restoration of San Francisco Bay wetlands. With 965,543 votes counted so far, the measure is passing with 69.08% of the vote and the campaign is confident in its projected victory.

“All indications show that the voters overwhelmingly agreed that restoring the Bay Area’s most precious natural resource is a top priority,” said Save the Bay’s Executive Director David Lewis. “Tonight’s vote is a resounding victory for wildlife and people who want a healthy, beautiful Bay for future generations.

At current counts, it appears that residents in all nine Bay Area counties have approved the measure to restore of San Francisco Bay wetlands through a small parcel tax of $12 per year. Over the next 20 years, the measure will raise $500 million for critically important Bay restoration projects.

“The Bay is our region’s most important natural resource, and also its most threatened. It makes great sense that we all share in its restoration and preservation,” said Bay Area Council President Jim Wunderman. “Voters from all walks of life recognize the importance of bringing the Bay back to good health by voting Yes on Measure AA.”

The San Francisco Bay is challenged by trash, toxins and sea-level rise among other threats. For the Bay to be healthy and sustainable, it ultimately needs 100,000 acres of wetlands to filter pollution from its waters and increase habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife that make up its rich and diverse ecosystem. These wetlands will also allow for further expansion of public access to the shoreline, and protect low-lying communities and critical infrastructure from the increased risk of flooding due to extreme weather and rising seas brought about by climate change.

Each year, rising seas swamp more and more of the shoreline, leaving less wetlands to restore and making restoration of those that remain more expensive to complete. The recently completed Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals Update, a report that represents the consensus of scientists who study the San Francisco Bay, concluded that only 20 to 30 years remain for restoration that had previously been planned to take place over a period of 50 years.

“We would like to thank the many business, environment, labor and community leaders across the region who strongly supported the measure, as well as our elected leaders at all levels of government,” said Silicon Valley Leadership Group president Carl Guardino. “It is because of your efforts and support for this initiative that we will now be able to address one of our most pressing regional issues – protecting San Francisco Bay from the threat of rising seas and a changing world climate.”

Right now, the Bay has only 44,000 acres of tidal wetlands, and while more than 30,000 shoreline acres have been preserved from development and are awaiting restoration, lack of funding has slowed progress. Measure AA will generate sorely needed funding for the restoration of San Francisco Bay wetlands, benefiting the people, wildlife, and economy of Bay Area communities. This local funding will also help the region leverage the additional state and federal funding necessary to finish the job.

“Bay Area voters made a terrific investment to restore San Francisco Bay and leave a legacy that will be cherished for generations,” said Michael Mantell, President of Resources Legacy Fund. “It’s a great testament to collaboration, and this investment can leverage additional state and federal support the Bay needs to be healthy.”

More than 2,000 individuals and organizations endorsed Measure AA, and an unprecedented, broad coalition campaigned for the parcel tax from Vallejo to Alviso, and Livermore to San Mateo.

The measure was place on the ballot by the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, a regional government agency charged with raising and allocating resources for the restoration, enhancement, protection, and enjoyment of wetlands and wildlife habitat in the San Francisco Bay and along its shoreline.

“The San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority Board is thrilled by tonight’s result and the public’s support for our mission to restore the Bay,” said Dave Pine, San Mateo County Supervisor and Chair of the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority. “We look forward to utilizing these funds in a fiscally responsible way to do the important work of preserving a healthy San Francisco Bay.”

Our Bay’s future will be on Bay Area ballots

An unprecedented coalition supports a 9-county ballot measure that could restore SF Bay and protect shoreline communities.

Leading business and environmental organizations join elected officials from across the Bay Area in supporting campaign to fund better water quality, expanded wildlife habitat, shoreline recreation opportunities and improved flood protection.

PRESS RELEASE

OAKLAND—Today the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority (SFBRA) voted to place the San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention, and Habitat Restoration Program, known as the “Clean and Healthy Bay Ballot Measure,” on the June 2016 ballot in all nine Bay Area counties. The measure would raise $500 million over 20 years to fund critical Bay restoration and flood protection projects.

Funding generated by the measure would support wetlands restoration projects to reduce pollution of Bay waters, expand wildlife habitat, expand trails and recreational opportunities along the Bay shoreline, and protect shoreline communities from flooding.

“The San Francisco Bay is our region’s defining feature, and this measure is an historic opportunity to leave the Bay better off for our children and grandchildren,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council. “By acting now to restore our wetlands, we can improve the bay ecosystem for fish and wildlife, while protecting huge portions of the bay shoreline from storm surges and rising seas.”

A December 2015 poll conducted by EMC Research for the SFBRA shows overwhelming public support for the measure, with 70% of likely June 2016 voters surveyed willing to support this modest, $12 parcel tax when provided with basic information about its benefits.

The measure is supported by a broad coalition of environmental and business groups, including Save the Bay, Audubon California, the Bay Area Council, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. More than 11,000 Bay Area residents have signed online petitions in support of the measure.

Along with more than 30 other elected leaders who have already endorsed the measure, the mayors of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose have all pledged their support. (Full list of endorsers attached.)

  • “It may bear our City’s name, but the San Francisco Bay is the shared treasure of all 7 million Bay Area residents. This measure is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the entire Bay Area to come together to support something that will touch each of our lives—a cleaner, healthier and safer San Francisco Bay.”
    San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee
  • “The Bay supports and sustains our local economy by creating and preserving hundreds of thousands of jobs in shipping, tourism, fishing, recreation, and education. A healthy Bay is essential to our quality of life.”
    Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf
  • “The Bay is the lifeblood of our region. Wetlands on its shorelines are critical for climate resilience in the decades ahead, and our future vitality as a region requires robust investment in their restoration.”
    San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo

Tidal marsh restoration funded by the measure would improve water quality and control pollution by reducing the trash and other toxins that flow into the Bay and ocean. It would increase natural habitat for hundreds of species of wildlife, including Pacific salmon and Dungeness crab, porpoises, sea lions, and shorebirds.

“San Francisco Bay is one of the most important places for birds in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the anchors of a migratory superhighway that we call the Pacific Flyway,” said Brigid McCormack, executive director of Audubon California. “Restored wetlands and cleaner water will support the million shorebirds and waterfowl that use the bay, and increased public access to the shoreline will provide recreational and educational opportunities.

Large-scale restoration of San Francisco Bay’s wetlands is essential to protecting shoreline communities from the increasing risk of severe flooding due to extreme weather and rising sea levels attributable to climate change. More than $60 billion in homes, businesses, and crucial infrastructure is at risk, including ports, airports, roads, office buildings, and entire neighborhoods at or below sea level. A March 2015 report commissioned by the Bay Area Council found that an extreme storm event could cost our region $10.4 billion, almost as much as the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

“The Bay Area is already beginning to experience the impacts of climate change, and the best science available shows that flooding due to sea level rise and extreme weather will intensify, putting low-lying communities and billions of dollars of critical infrastructure at risk,” said Mike Mielke, Sr. VP of Environment & Energy for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. The best answer is to work with nature to help protect us all from this. Doing nothing is not an option.”

“Scientists agree that the Bay needs 100,000 acres of shoreline habitat for the health of fish, birds, wildlife, and people,” said David Lewis, Executive Director of Save The Bay. “Today, 31,000 acres of publicly-owned baylands await restoration, but require funding. Today, with the Restoration Authority’s vote, the public will finally have an opportunity to act.”

In addition to directly generating $500 million for the Bay, funds raised by this measure could leverage additional state and federal funds, potentially tripling the available pool of funds for Bay restoration, public access, and keeping communities safe from flooding.

Passage of the measure will require approval by 2/3 of the total voters casting ballots cumulatively across all nine Bay Area counties in the June 2016 election.

# # #

Clean and Healthy Bay Ballot Measure

Public Endorsements (as of Jan. 13, 2016)

U.S. Congress

U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-02)

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (CA-14)

Former U.S. Rep. George Miller

Mayors

Mayor Sam Liccardo, City of San Jose

Mayor Edwin Lee, City of San Francisco

Mayor Libby Schaaf, City of Oakland

Mayor Pat Showalter, City of Mountain View

State Legislature

Sen. Mike McGuire (SD 02)

Sen. Steve Glazer (SD 07)

Sen. Loni Hancock (SD 09)

Sen. Bob Wieckowski (SD 10)

Sen. Mark Leno (SD 11)

Sen. Jerry Hill (SD 13)

Sen. Jim Beall (SD 15)

Assemblymember Bill Dodd (AD 4)

Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (AD 15)

Assemblymember David Chiu (AD 17)

Assemblymember Rob Bonta (AD 18)

Assemblymember Philip Ting (AD 19)

Assemblymember Bill Quirk (AD 20)

Assemblymember Kevin Mullin (AD 22)

Assemblymember Mark Stone (AD 29)

Bay Area County Supervisors

Alameda Co. Supervisor Wilma Chan (District 3)

Contra Costa Co. Supervisor John Gioia (District 1)

Marin Co. Supervisor Katie Rice (District 2)

Marin Co. Supervisor Kathrin Sears (District 3)

Napa Co. Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht (District 1)

Napa Co. Supervisor Keith Caldwell (District 5)

San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar (District 1)

San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin (District 3)

San Francisco Supervisor London Breed (District 5)

San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim (District 6)

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener (District 8)

San Francisco Supervisor David Campos (District 9)

San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos (District 11)

San Mateo Co. Supervisor Dave Pine (District 1)

Santa Clara Co. Supervisor Ken Yeager (District 4)

Santa Clara Co. Supervisor Joseph Simitian (District 5)

Solano Co. Supervisor Erin Hannigan (District 1)

Business Groups

Bay Area Council

Bay Planning Coalition

Silicon Valley Leadership Group

Environmental Organizations

Audubon California

Ducks Unlimited

Friends of the San Leandro Creek

Greenbelt Alliance

Regional Parks Association

San Francisco Bay Joint Venture

Santa Clara Co. League of Conservation Voters

Save The Bay

Sonoma Land Trust

Trust for Public Land

Political Party Organizations

Santa Clara Co. Democratic Party

Sonoma Co. Democratic Party

Local Elected Officials and Community Leaders

Andy Ball, Suffolk Construction*

Rod Diridon, Sr., Former Santa Clara Co. Supervisor

Ted Lempert, Children Now*

Lenny Mendonca, Director Emeritus McKinsey and Co.*

John Sutter, East Bay Regional Park District Board Member

 

Board Spotlight: Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson has been a member of Save the Bay’s Board of Directors since 2005.  Stephen lives in San Jose and is an executive recruiter for LinkedIn.   Stephen loves to go to the marsh land at Moffett Field and run along the Bay.

Why did you decide to get involved with Save The Bay?

I moved to the Bay Area in 1998 from Northern Nevada, where I was a member of the United Way’s “Project Blue Print.”   That organization focused on assisting leaders from the business community to join the boards of non-profit organizations. In 2001, I was invited to attend the BLUE event in San Francisco.  My wife and I attended the event and we were really impressed by the organization’s impact in the Bay Area.  We were moved by Save The Bay’s mission to conservation and pollution prevention of the Bay, coupled with a great staff and a large group of members/advocates.  I was surprised to learn how much of San Francisco Bay had been lost to in-fill before Save The Bay was formed and I really wanted to work with an organization that is dedicated to preserving and protecting our area’s top natural treasure.  Shortly thereafter, I was introduced to members of the board, as well as David and the staff and I knew that this was an organization that I wanted to help and serve.

What is your favorite thing about the San Francisco Bay Area?

The Bay area is so rich with culture, food and a great diversity of people that it is hard to choose just one favorite thing.  However, I love the scenic views and the Bay has so much to do with the beauty of this place that those of us who live here, as well as the countless annual visitors, all enjoy.  

Do you have a favorite site along the Bay?

I love so many areas of the bay from the shoreline in Mountain View, the Berkeley Marina, San Rafeal  However, right now I am enjoying getting out on the water and boating around the Bay.  There are so many gems to experience and discover.

What is your first/fondest memory of San Francisco Bay?

My first memories were sailing on the bay with my good friend and his father from the Richmond Marina to the Pier in San Francisco.  It was a great day and a wonderful introduction to the Bay.

Anything else you want to tell us?

The Bay area is a very special place and the Bay and her beauty adds to that each and every day.  I hope we can preserve this treasure for years to come.

Welcome, Chief Development Officer Meghan Macaluso

Meghan Macaluso
Meghan Macaluso is Save The Bay’s chief development officer

We’re proud to welcome Meghan Macaluso as Save The Bay’s new chief development officer. As CDO, she is responsible for meeting Save The Bay’s ambitious fundraising goals.

Meghan is a political and charitable fundraiser who has worked for nearly fifteen years at leading Bay Area non-profits, political campaigns, and private sector firms. She comes to Save The Bay with significant experience raising money for political and advocacy organizations, most recently in the field of women’s reproductive health and rights.  She has served in senior leadership positions at NARAL Pro-Choice America, Population Action International, and Planned Parenthood Northern California.

“I am inspired by the story of our founders, three women who were politically savvy and effective in an era when women didn’t have a seat at the table,” Meghan says. “Now, I hope to marshal the financial resources Save The Bay needs to carry our mission forward for the next 50 years.”

Native to landlocked Denver, Meghan chose to relocate to the Bay Area for the quality life and natural setting. “It was love at first sight – I was struck by the exquisite beauty of the Bay waters. Now I can work to preserve the Bay’s natural beauty for my son and the many generations to come.”

In her free time, Meghan serves as a volunteer fundraising trainer for Emerge California, a statewide organization that trains Democratic women to run for elected office, and provides fundraising consulting services for political candidates.  A graduate of Boston College with a BA in History, Meghan lives in Oakland with her family.