Measure AA is a $300 million bond approved in June 2014 by a two-thirds majority of voters in the Midpen district. It is intended to provide additional funds for public access as well as, acquisition, restoration and protection of open space. Several Midpen board members have described Measure AA as an intentional shift toward more access for the public, while remaining true to Midpen’s mission.
The text of Measure AA is as follows:
To improve access to hiking and biking opportunities, protect and preserve redwood forests, natural open spaces, the scenic beauty of our region and coastline, critical wildlife habitat, restore creeks to protect water quality, and reduce forest fire risk; shall Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District be authorized to issue up to $300 million in bonds, at a tax rate not to exceed $3.18 per $100,000 of assessed value of property owned, with expenditures verified by an independent citizen oversight committee?
MY POSITION: While I fully support Midpen’s dedication to land acquisition, preservation and restoration, I feel that the promises made in Measure AA are not being kept. The public input for Measure AA showed that trails were the #1 item desired by the public. This is evident in Midpen’s advertising for the measure (“Old Trees, New Trails”) as well as specific promises in Midpen’s communications to expand the trail system by over 200 miles. At the current rate (20 miles of newly opened trails since 2014, less than half of which are purpose-built trails), it would take 80 years to deliver on that promise. At the same time, other land managers in our area are showing how to build great trail systems much more quickly while still upholding the highest environmental values. Midpen was once the premiere trail and trail system builder in our area and I believe it should be again.