$300-million Open Space bond wins approval

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District unanimously votes to put bond measure on June 3 ballot

The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District board of directors unanimously approved a $300-million bond measure Wednesday night, culminating a year of public outreach dedicated to developing a vision for the future of the 62,000 acres of open space the agency is charged with protecting.

The bond measure, to be placed on the June 3 ballot, requires a two-thirds vote in the district's jurisdiction in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties and a portion of unincorporated Santa Cruz County.

If approved, the money would support a slew of future efforts: protection of local redwood forests; expanded public access to protected land; new hiking, biking and equestrian trails; land restoration and conservation of watersheds and farm land.

The measure will increase local property taxes by $3.18 per $100,000 of assessed value.

The district's public affairs manager, Shelly Lewis, said the $300 million amount was decided on after talking to public and partner agencies, environmental groups, bicyclists, walkers, runners and hikers about their visions and desires for local open spaces. She said there were a total of 24 opportunities in the past year for the public to voice their opinion about the topic.

"We've heard from the public," she said. "They want more access. They want us to be able to have the funds to preserve land when it becomes available."

She said that 54 percent of the land the district oversees is open, while 46 percent is not.

"We want to open that land," Lewis said. "We need the funds to do it and the public has said we want access, too."

For more information about the bond measure proposal, the visioning plan and the 25 proposed projects, visit


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 27, 2014 at 11:58 am

The bond didn't receive approval. The proposal to put it on the ballot received approval.

Like this comment
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 27, 2014 at 12:07 pm

I will vote for this bond issue, if I have the chance. I have a soft spot for conservation, and keeping our remaining open lands, with special values, conserved for the future.

Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 27, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Chris Zaharias is a registered user.

I grew up and live in Palo Alto, and must point out the obvious:

We have a massive housing issue that is preventing more middle class (by which I mean anyone who's not among the country's top 0.5% earners) from living in Palo Alto and owning property at the same time.

That group inherently does not get to vote on measures such as these, and the result is further have/have-not separation amongst PA denizens.

PA will become a dead-zone like Atherton, and the few that can afford to own homes in PA will use the open space less & less because they'll have become what another commenter on another thread described:

"People spending their days in little cubicles and nights in little boxes purchased with million dollar mortgages, between which they travel frenetically in more little boxes on wheels. Lives filled with worry until they die, leaving only strings of bytes in hyperspace, or nurturing their young to do the same until the planet can bear no more."

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 27, 2014 at 1:07 pm

An interesting POV. But honestly - predicting PA to become a "dead zone" like Atherton is a little over the top.

Like this comment
Posted by 99%er for parkland
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 27, 2014 at 1:09 pm

@ Chris,

We purchased our little house in PA 20 years ago. Year in, year out we scrape enough money to pay our mortgage. To do so, we have to watch our budget and we live frugally. One free thing we do is go hike often in Mid peninsula open space land. We love it.

All that to say that everybody here is not necessarily a 0.5%er. Some middle class people sacrifice to live here. You live here too!

If we build in our hills, and get rid of open space, what will this area be like? It will be like LA and the quality of life will nose dive for everyone including you. Never mind that most likely only ultra expensive upscale homes would be built in those hills, which would not help anyone like you or me.

Like this comment
Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Feb 27, 2014 at 1:43 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

I don;t see any conflict between preserving and enhancing existing open space and keeping density in selected downtown and transit corridors.

In 1970 we voted to keep housing out of the hills with the implicit agreement that new housing would go in other areas of the city.

I will vote for the bond

Like this comment
Posted by Ben
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 27, 2014 at 10:12 pm

In principal I support the efforts of the open space district. However, when I was polled a few months ago about this bond issue, I got the distinct feeling that they (MROSD) did not or would not articulate any specific goals or plans, but needed a lot of money to do it, what ever it was. I had more questions for the pollster than she had for me. The whole thing left me wondering what sort of organization is the MROSD.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike Alexander
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 28, 2014 at 6:17 am

Mike Alexander is a registered user.

The bond will be voted on by all registered voters (I'll vote YES) living within the district boundaries, not just property owners.

For an overview of the MROSD, see Web Link

For descriptions of the top 25 priorities to be addressed by the bond, see:
Web Link

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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