San Francisco Bay is a part of all our lives â€” whether we live or work along the Bay, visit parks along its shores or simply appreciate it as we drive over a bridge. The Bay attracts tourists, supports commercial fisheries and attracts diverse businesses that bring our region jobs â€” all of which help keep our economy strong.
But pollution and other problems have put the health of the Bay at serious risk. Many of the Bayâ€™s wetlands have been paved over or diked off, and shoreline communities such as Mountain View face increasing flood risks from extreme storms and sea level rise. The Shoreline Regional Park Community, which is generally bounded by Highway 101 to the south, Stevens Creek to the east, San Francisco Bay to the north and San Antonio Road to the west, and home to several large high-technology corporate campuses and suburban-type office parks, recreational facilities, closed landfills, and habitat mitigation sites, is subject to coastal flooding from the Bay and surrounding creeks.
Now for the first time in our history the entire Bay Area has an opportunity to come together in support of San Francisco Bay to make it healthier and safer for future generations. Measure AA, on the June 7 ballot in all nine Bay Area counties, is a small parcel tax that brings huge benefits. For only $12 annually per parcel, Measure AA raises $500 million over 20 years to restore Bay wetlands that will provide habitat for fish and wildlife. These wetlands also provide a natural barrier against flooding and provide urban recreational open space.
Mountain Viewâ€™s shoreline will directly benefit from Measure AA funds. In addition to flood protection, pollution and harmful toxins will be reduced, allowing accelerated restoration of wetlands, including retired salt ponds that now sit barren for lack of funds to improve them. By passing Measure AA to create a regional pool of Bay funding, we also can leverage more matching funds from Washington, D.C., and Sacramento for Bay projects.
Measure AA is endorsed by the most diverse coalition the Bay Area has ever seen, from local and national environmental organizations and leading businesses to organized labor, mayors and other elected officials, including Gov. Jerry Brown, Senator Feinstein, Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speierâ€” more than 600 groups and individuals in all. Mountain View City Council took an important step when it endorsed Measure AA on May 3rd, 2016.
The measure includes important fiscal accountability protections. All funds must stay in the Bay Area to be used only on local habitat restoration and wildlife protection projects. The San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, created by legislation introduced by Mountain Viewâ€™s own Sally Lieber, would provide grant funds for restoration projects and would be overseen by a board of elected representatives from around the Bay, including from Santa Clara County.
Measure AA is a bold step to join together as a region to help the Bay we all love, but too often take for granted.
Letâ€™s make the Bay healthier for future generations by voting Yes on Measure AA.
Pat Showalter is the Mayor of Mountain View and is on the Board of the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority. Gary Kremen is a Director on the Board of the Santa Clara Valley Water District.