News

Measure AA still a nail-biter

It's passing by a thin margin, but plenty more votes yet to count for open space district bond measure

The election results for Measure AA, which is asking for $300 million to fund recreation and wildlife preservation, were still too close to call today as Santa Clara and San Mateo county officials continue to count votes.

Measure AA, which went before voters Tuesday in the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, which includes parts of Santa Clara, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, needed a two-thirds majority vote to pass.

Supporters of the measure say that based on incomplete results, about 66.8 percent of voters in the district favored it, Yes on Measure AA spokeswoman Alex Doniach said.

However, mail-in and provisional ballots have yet to be counted, Doniach said.

"We're very hopeful and are just waiting for the final vote because it's so close," Doniach said.

In Santa Clara County, as of this afternoon a total of 175,002 votes, or 21.71 percent of the 805,922 voters registered in the county, had been counted during the primary, county registrar spokeswoman Michelle Shoates said.

The registrar has about 88,000 mail-in votes and provisional ballots countywide that are still being counted, Shoates said.

For Measure AA, Santa Clara County's unofficial results as of this afternoon showed 31,531 voters, or 67.6 percent, voting for it.

In San Mateo County, 11,848 voters, or 65.6 percent, favored it, according to election results reported on the county's website.

However, San Mateo County also has some outstanding ballots yet to count, an employee for the registrar's office said.

Santa Cruz County has a single rural precinct in the district with four voters in it. Only one participated in Tuesday's election and voted in favor of the measure.

The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, created in 1972, set aside 62,000 acres of open space on hillsides, in redwood forests and farmland, according to Doniach.

The land, covering 550 square miles from Los Gatos to East Palo Alto and as far north as Half Moon Bay, is meant to be a preserve for hiking and biking and wildlife conversation, Doniach said.

Measure AA would permit the sale of $300 million in bonds, with a maximum tax rate of $3.18 per $100,000 assessed valuation on property, for revenue to pay for improving hiking and biking opportunities, preserving forests, coastline and wildlife habitat, reducing fire risk and protecting water quality in creeks, according to sponsors of the measure.

The measure marks the first time the district has asked voters within the district for permission to raise funds via bonds for recreation and preservation in the area, Doniach said.

— Bay City News Service

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