On June 7 North Bay voters have an opportunity to support the bay that defines and supports us. Measure AA would levy a special parcel tax of $12 per year for 20 years on every parcel in the nine Bay Area counties to raise $25 million annually for 20 years. That's $500 million. Properly managed, that kind of money could do enormous good for an imperiled body of water.
If passed, Measure AA would make available funds for myriad projects aimed at reducing pollution and trash, improving water quality, protecting us from the impacts of climate change and flood, restoring habitat and offering increased public shoreline access. Eligible projects include:
• Restoration of the 3,300-acre Skaggs Island and adjacent 1,100-acre Haire Ranch to wetlands to benefit endangered species and other wildlife; creation of recreational trails and public access for wildlife viewing.
• Stewardship, maintenance and monitoring of restored and enhanced wetlands within the Napa-Sonoma marshes to improve water quality and habitat values for endangered species, fish, waterfowl, shorebirds and other wildlife.
• Enhancement of 400 acres of degraded tidal wetland habitat at the mouth of Sonoma Creek to simultaneously improve water quality, reduce mosquito production, enhance habitat, reduce costs, and provide public outreach and education.
Opposition to Measure AA has come from the usual anti-taxation quarters. Quentin Kopp, a retired judge of the San Mateo County Superior Court, former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and former state senator representing San Mateo and San Francisco counties, has argued against AA because it's a regressive tax that forces homeowners to pay the same as larger corporations. True, but it's just 12 buck a year, Quentin, and the measure needs two-thirds of the voter approval to pass. If a parcel tax is the easiest way to do that and protect and enhance our bay, we should do it.
Vote yes on AA.
Stett Holbrook is the editor of the 'Bohemian.' Open Mic is a weekly feature in the 'Bohemian.' We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write firstname.lastname@example.org.