We’ve won big — Here’s what’s next

Bay Area voters’ approval of Measure AA is the biggest win for our Bay in decades, and it would never have happened without Save The Bay’s supporters. Our victory will mean cleaner water, more abundant wildlife, and greater climate change resilience for our Bay. Because of Measure AA, we’re on track to pass on a healthier and more vibrant Bay to our children and grandchildren.

It feels great to celebrate this amazing moment, but the truth is Save The Bay is just getting started with the next phase of our critical work. There is so much more to do.

Our Measure AA victory gives us enormous momentum to tackle the biggest threats to our region in the coming decades—pollution and climate change.

We have an ambitious strategy to tackle these head-on.

Measure AA will raise about 1/3 of the funds needed to restore 30,000 acres of wetlands. With your continued help, Save The Bay will lead the fight for federal funding to secure the rest of what’s necessary. The President and Congress should match Measure AA funds with major investments, just as they have in Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound, especially because so much restoration here will occur within federal wildlife refuges.

We’ll also continue directly restoring Bay habitat by putting more volunteers to work improving the Bay. And as always, we’ll bring the best science to decisions on how the Bay adapts to climate change.

We’ll also boost our work to help cities reduce trash flowing into the Bay to zero by 2020. And while we have secured plastic bag bans in most Bay Area communities, bag manufacturers have blocked a statewide bag ban and forced a referendum vote on California’s November ballot.  We’ll play a leading role to win that statewide bag ban.

Our next step is to make Bay Area communities “Bay Smart.” That means we will be promoting nature-based solutions to stormwater pollution prevention, fresh water conservation, filtration, and storage – which low-impact development advocates call “green infrastructure.” It also means we will be supporting a broader set of sustainable and equitable development practices. These “Bay Smart” standards will reduce energy use and emissions of greenhouse gases that fuel climate change, address the disproportionate impacts of sea-level rise upon disadvantaged communities, and expand public access to the shoreline.

I’m excited about this work ahead of us, and encouraged that we have strengthened our movement by leading Measure AA to victory.  The partnerships we built and people we mobilized can do so much more together to protect and restore San Francisco Bay for wildlife and people.

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

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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.”

Humans of the Bay for Measure AA

On Tuesday, June 7th, Bay Area voters will have an historic opportunity to protect our region’s wetlands by voting Yes on Measure AA for a Clean and Healthy Bay. We know that Measure AA has many benefits: cleaner water, increased wildlife habitat, improved public access to the Bay, and a healthier San Francisco Bay for future generations. But who exactly are the Bay Area residents who will benefit from the many ways Measure AA will help us?

Come meet some of these Humans of the Bay who want to share their own reasons for why Measure AA is important to them. Everyone has their own reason to support. Tell us yours in the comments!

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Measure AA: Advancing Environmental Justice in the Bay Area

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Measure AA is an opportunity to come together and protect communities throughout our entire region.

On Tuesday, June 7th, voters in all nine Bay Area counties will have the opportunity to secure funding for wetland restoration for the entire Bay.  In addition to the many benefits this measure offers  — improved water quality, reductions in trash and toxic pollution, carbon sequestration, protection for vulnerable wildlife and a natural barrier to sea level rise — Measure AA also presents a unique opportunity to advance environmental justice in our region. If passed, Measure AA could fund many proposed projects in low-lying and low-income communities, several of which need immediate help securing their shorelines against climate change and reducing levels of toxic pollutants.

First defined by Robert Bullard, environmental justice (EJ) is “the principle that all people and communities are entitled to equal protection of environmental and public health laws and regulations.” But not only is EJ about equal protection, it is also about equal sharing of environmental hazards and burdens.  Environmental justice is built on the notion that relegating environmental hazards to specific peoples and neighborhoods is illogical and inequitable, (see: environmental racism). Across the U.S., low income communities (disproportionately communities of color and other minorities) are continuously subjected to more hazards than white communities or other communities of privilege.

Our region is not immune to this problem and environmental injustices and racism persist throughout the Bay Area. In 2007, UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Justice, Tolerance & Community put out a report on EJ issues in the Bay Area. Taking a lesson from Hurricane Katrina, they found that leaving some people and areas under-protected ultimately poses environmental risks and costs for everyone.

Measure AA gives us an opportunity to secure funding for our entire Bay and recognize that pollution in one area of the Bay impacts the entire Bay ecosystem.  Instead of avoiding problems and making them worse by trying to shift them onto “other people,” Measure AA will facilitate us acting as one region protecting the Bay together.

Timmy Lu, State Organizing Director at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, is clear on what this means for the communities whose interests he represents: “Our members, who have been and will be hit first and worst by the impacts of climate change, support Measure AA because we know that the wetlands will protect our neighborhoods from flooding.

Measure AA is an exciting opportunity to promote environmental justice in the Bay Area by ensuring our whole community is accountable to the Bay’s well-being, and the well-being of all of us who are impacted by it. The waters of the Bay don’t know the difference between county lines. Pollution in one area becomes pollution in another, just as restoration in one area makes the entire Bay healthier. Let’s vote as a region to protect our Bay on June 7th, by voting YES on Measure AA.

For more information on environmental justice and racism see “Principles of Environmental Justice.”

 

Gov. Brown Joins Huge Outpouring of Measure AA

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With less than two weeks until Election Day (Tuesday, June 7), we at Save The Bay are doing everything we can to communicate with voters the reasons why we hope you’ll join us in supporting Measure AA, the Clean and Healthy Bay ballot measure.

But we can’t do it alone. Having the support of local elected officials, community leaders, and groups that voters trust has helped us tremendously in communicating why Measure AA is so important. After months of hard work throughout the region, we and our partners have amassed an impressive list of public endorsements for the measure.

In fact, we recently got one of our biggest endorsements to date: Governor Jerry Brown. Having his support for a measure affecting just the Bay Area is a testament to the importance of Measure AA and the benefits it will yield for the entire region.

Gov. Brown joins a list of more than 1,400 elected officials, organizations, and individuals who are supporting Measure AA. The breadth and depth of this list is so extensive, it’s worth breaking it down by the numbers.

Measure AA is supported by:

14 Members of Congress (current and former), including:

  • Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer
  • Nearly every Bay Area U.S. Representative
  • Former Congressmen George Miller, Pete McCloskey, and John Burton, who is currently serving as the Chair of the California Democratic Party

38 Mayors (current and former), including:

  • The mayors of the three biggest Bay Area cities – Mayors Sam Liccardo of San Jose, Ed Lee of San Francisco, and Libby Schaaf of Oakland
  • Mayors of cities in every Bay Area county, as far north as St. Helena in Napa County (Mayor Alan Galbraith) and as far south as Gilroy in Santa Clara County (Mayor Perry Woodward)

32 Members of the State Legislature and Other Statewide Offices (current and former), including Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, and nearly every member of the Bay Area state legislative delegation

220+ Local Elected Officials, including members of city councils, regional park districts, local school boards, and more

40 Individual County Supervisors representing every Bay Area county

4 Boards of Supervisors in San Mateo, Marin, Sonoma, and Alameda Counties

14 Cities, Public Agencies, and Associations, representing all geographic subregions of the Bay Area

72 Environmental and Environmental Justice Groups, including state chapters of leading national groups like the Sierra Club, Audubon California, The Nature Conservancy, and the California League of Conservation Voters, and leading environmental justice groups like Asian Pacific Environmental Network and Green For All

3 Foundations doing important philanthropic work on open space and other issues

23 Business Groups and Businesses representing all corners of the Bay Area and including four local Chambers of Commerce and the San Francisco Giants

17 Labor Organizations, including every Central Labor Council in the Bay Area, and several of the region’s largest and most prominent Local Unions and District Councils

22 Community Organizations and Civic Groups, including the League of Women Voters of the Bay Area, the California NAACP, SPUR, and California Interfaith Power and Light

46 Political Party Organizations, including Democratic groups of Latino, African-American, Asian-American, LGBTQ, Jewish, and women voters, as well as every county Democratic Party

14 Newspapers, representing every major newspaper in the Bay Area, including the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Marin Independent Journal, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, San Mateo Daily Journal, and more

This remarkable group joins the more than 800 community leaders and neighbors who have endorsed Measure AA, a list that is growing by the day.

All of this tremendous support puts us in the best possible position to win on June 7, but it will still require an all-out effort. The two-thirds threshold needed to win means that every conversation about the measure counts. Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Send an email to your friends and family about why you’re supporting Measure AA! If you need a template, visit our website for a sample email and social media posts.
  • Sign up to volunteer! We have thousands of voters to call before Election Day to make sure they show up and vote for Measure AA. We are hosting three nights of phone banking at our office in Oakland next week and on Monday, June 6.
  • Remember to vote Yes on AA on June 7!

Onward to victory in two weeks!