When I consider the many crises we’ve faced this year and what’s at stake for the whole country in November’s election, it’s hard to wrap my mind around local ballot measures. When I take a step back though, I realize that so much of what is actually important to me and to my community is on our local ballots, like Measure T. This measure will sustain the region’s open space that we directly enjoy and benefit from — and I feel like we can’t take that for granted.
Some South Bay voters have the chance to secure a permanent funding source for the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority by voting “yes” on Measure T.
Here is the thing: Measure T will simply renew and sustain 2014’s Measure Q, the Open Space, Wildlife Habitat, Clean Water and Increased Public Access Funding Measure. If you are unfamiliar, Measure Q has been an instrumental funding source for our close partners at the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority (the Authority), and it was impressively approved by 68% of voters in 2014.
Since it passed, Measure Q has brought in roughly $7.9 million each year for the Authority through a $24 annual parcel tax. I find it comforting to know that this funding has been used efficiently and effectively. For every $1 of Measure Q funds spent, the Authority has been able to obtain $3 in public and private partnership funds. With this funding, they’ve been able to double the amount of preserved land in their jurisdiction, now totaling nearly 30,000 acres — and make much of available for you to explore and for wildlife to thrive too.
I love taking a quick drive out of the bustling city of San Jose to enjoy the Authority’s picturesque Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve. It always amazes me how easy it is to get to and just how stunning the views are from there. I simultaneously feel so removed from the dense city life, yet I can see all of it right there, stretching from Silicon Valley to San Francisco. This open space preserve, along with the three others the Authority owns and manages, is a testament to their ability as an organization and their investment in our local community.
Within the Authority’s protected acreage is also the nearly 1,000 acres in North Coyote Valley that they, along with POST and the City of San Jose, protected in late 2019. And we continue to protect critical land in Coyote Valley today. This landscape is instrumental in sustaining our region’s biodiversity, buffering adjacent and downstream communities from flood risk, preserving the largest drinking water aquifer recharge in Santa Clara County and offering new public access opportunities. POST couldn’t continue this work in Coyote Valley without our partners at the Authority.
Measure T simply removes the “sunset” on Measure Q’s funding by keeping the same $24 annual parcel tax in place with no end date. There is no new tax, just continued funding for Authority’s impressive work in the South Bay area. If you are a voter residing in San Jose, Milpitas, Santa Clara, Campbell, Morgan Hill or the unincorporated portions of Santa Clara County, then you have the opportunity to vote yes on Measure T this year.
Bottom line, there’s no new tax being proposed; voting yes ensures continued funding for the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority’s impressive work in the South Bay.
It might not be the flashiest of all the items on your ballot, but knowing how effective this funding has already been, I am confident in what a renewal of these funds could bring for the South Bay — now and for generations to come.
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 80,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more