Danville Express

Cover Story - October 24, 2008

Measure WW seeks trail funds

Measure WW seeks to extend a bond approved 20 years ago that would allow the East Bay Regional Park District to acquire land, complete capital projects, and preserve existing open space in Contra Costa and Alameda counties. The measure will need a two-thirds majority to be approved.

Founded in 1934 during the Great Depression, the Park District took on the job of preserving open space in the area and making it accessible to residents. It is one of the largest regional park agencies in the U.S. and has preserved more than 98,000 acres of open space in 65 regional parks.

Measure WW, an extension of the 1988 Measure AA, will generate $500 million over the next 20 years. At the same time, homeowners will not see their taxes increase as a result. Park District officials say they expect the assessment to remain at $10 per each $100,000 of assessed valuation.

Of the funds raised, $375 million will go toward existing projects and acquisition; $125 million will go toward the cities in the park district. Danville will receive $1.9 million.

Danville has already received $99,000 in Measure AA funds, which were used to improve Hap Magee Ranch Park and Green Valley Elementary School. AA funds were also directly responsible for the preservation of 34,000 acres of open space and the creation of 100 miles of new trails.

These local areas are on the project list for Measure WW funds:

* $1.4 million - Complete trail corridors between Las Trampas, Sycamore Valley and Mount Diablo.

* $8.3 million - Establish interpretive visitor facility and indoor meeting space to serve the San Ramon Valley in Las Trampas. Also develop access to recently acquired properties including staging, trails and camping areas.

* $925,000 - Acquire lands to complete Sycamore Valley Open Space boundaries and trail connections, both inside the park and to Mount Diablo.

* $875,000 to acquire and develop regional trail connecting Tassajara Creek in Dublin to Mount Diablo.

See the complete lists at www.ebparks.org.

Opponents to Measure WW include a group called Better East Bay Parks, which contends that the Park District isn't a good steward of the land it owns and manages.

"We find it bizarre that the EBRPD supports bicycle recreation on its urban parks and paved paths, but bans it from 85 percent of its back country trails," said Better East Bay Parks member John Grigsby.

He added that bicyclists are accused of destroying the natural environment of the trails, but the reality is bulldozers and grazing cattle have caused the destruction and they are employed by the park district.

Comments

Posted by Juley Hull, a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2008 at 3:03 pm

VOTE NO ON WW! The trails are bulldozed and poorly tended, EBRPD is not maintaining the land they have purchased. Besides, there are ordinances about how much construction is allowed, and the issue should be handled through your individual cities. I'm all for conservation, I just say ADVOCATE with your City Council. EBRPD is not to be trusted with our money!

I used to work for the EBRPD, and I admit I was treated horribly, but what Opponents of WW say is absolutely true. Arguments For WW are theoretical & let me say overly ambitious given the organization charged with the land stewardship! Employees are overpaid in comparison to their education and respective job requirements. I have never worked in such a lazy work environment. Upper-Management is overly top-heavy and frankly needs to be replaced.

Don't be put off by the biking argument. Whether or not you agree that they should share trails with pedestrians, the other arguments are SPOT ON! It's as if they had inside information! I'm very impressed, and I only discovered the site today!

Let's hold EBRPD accountable and pass shorter-lived, reasonable measures, and send the message to them that the gravy train is no more! They are piggybacking on taxpayers' backs, and mostly especially on those of us who are newest home owners. It is not a fair way to levy taxes more evenly.


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