Tag Archives: Measure Q

Connecting to Nature is Good for Public Health

The Bay Area is a great place to live in. It is blessed with progressive land planning that has set aside vast open space areas for recreation. Measures, like Measure Q and now T, to be voted in by the people, ensure that open spaces in Santa Clara Valley stay protected and accessible.

During the lock-down, families truly appreciate the value of access to public parks and open spaces. 

Atulya Sarin, Professor of Santa Clara University lost his beloved 12 year old dog Bufar Bryant Sarin last year. During the pandemic Sarin yearned to be outdoors . “I truly understand how my dog Bufar felt,” says Atulya Sarin with a smile, “I can’t wait for 5pm when I can go for my walk.” 

What helped families like Professor Sarin’s to escape to the outdoors was Measure Q, a $24 parcel-tax that was approved in 2014 by voters. It generated approximately $7.9 million per year, thereby enabling the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority to nearly double protected space in the county to more than 26,000 acres.

 It also preserved about 1,000 acres in North Coyote Valley, so Santa Clara Valley’s residents had open spaces and lands to escape to during lockdown.

Measure T, on the November 2020 ballot, renews Measure Q – keeping the parcel tax at $24 – but with the clause that it will renew automatically each year unless ended by voters. 

All funds are spent in the cities of San Jose, Milpitas, Santa Clara, Campbell, Morgan Hill, and in the unincorporated portions of Santa Clara County.

“We are in a great place and the reason we are in a great place is because measure Q gave us resources to buy up land,” said state Assemblymember Ash Kalra at a virtual meeting organized by Ethnic Media Services on October 1. At the end of the day, said Kalra, the land cannot be protected unless it is bought. Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority purchased land to protect it permanently. 

“We can zone land any which way, but a different council can change that. It is critical therefore that in addition to legislation to create a conservation program we must have the Open Space Authority have resources to purchase and protect the land permanently,” he said. 

Coyote Valley

A case in point is Coyote Valley – 7,400 acres of land between the Santa Cruz mountains and the Diablo range. The land is key for flood protection and safeguarding the valley’s ecological livelihood. 

In the 1980s, Apple eyed Coyote Valley as a place to build its world headquarters. In the 1990s, Cisco Systems tried to build a massive campus there. Environmental groups, who said the area — currently used by farmers and wildlife — should be left in its natural state, fought both proposals.

“We all know a little bit of development causes a domino effect and next thing you know it really becomes a totally different type of landscape. 

Measured Response

The pandemic and wildfires have choked California this year.   

“Scientists are telling us that we need to protect 30 percent of the land to keep global warming at bay,” said Kalra. “The more land we can protect the more we can combat global warming. We are seeing how human behavior is connected to all these tragedies,” he said.

South Bay leaders at the press briefing urged a vote for Measure T, which would preserve a tax used for parks and open areas.

“We need to protect this open space for the preservation of a sustainable future for California,” said state Assemblymember Ash Kalra, a long-time environmental advocate. 

Expanding public access to nature improves public health  “Spending as little as two hours a week in nature, 15-20 minutes a day, can improve self-reported health and well-being,” says Sadiya Muqueeth, director community health at the Trust for Public Land.

“We can fix it! We created it and we can fix it,” said Kalra 


Ritu Marwah is a 2020 California reporting and engagement fellow at USC Annenberg’s Center for Health Journalism.

 

Five-Year Impact Report Aims to Connect Santa Clara to Nature

WHAT: Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority (the Authority) has produced, Investing in Nature, a Five-Year Impact Report to the Community highlighting the investments and accomplishments funded by Measure Q.  In the November 2014 voters overwhelmingly approved Measure Q, a parcel-tax generating approximately $7.9 million per year, allocating funds to protect Santa Clara Valley’s open spaces and lands. In 5 years the Authority has doubled the number of acres protected as open space in the Authority’s jurisdiction to almost 30,000 acres – including a once-in-a-generation acquisition of almost 1,000 acres long-threatened open space in the North Coyote Valley.

The report release will be followed by a Virtual Conversation that will take a deep dive into how the accomplishments achieved through the public’s support of Measure Q have been effective to safeguard and enhance the benefits of nature. The effects of climate change are being felt in communities across the region through droughts, fires, and floods, and these investments in farmland, habitat for wildlife plants and animals, and in urban communities help reduce these impacts, especially for our most vulnerable community members.

WHO: The discussion will be moderated by Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager featuring panelists:

  • The Honorable Sergio Jimenez, City of San Jose – District 2 Councilmember
  • Kathy Sutherland, Chairperson, Citizens’ Advisory Committee, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority
  • The Honorable Dorsey Moore, Board Member – District 4, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority

WHY:   Green spaces and parks have been linked to a multitude of positive outcomes including better health, less stress, and stronger communities. Measure Q has been an invaluable source of funding to protect natural areas and provide access to local trails, preserving open space for current and future generations, so that Santa Clara Valley residents can experience nature in their backyard.

As local and regional governments invest in man-made infrastructures such as roads, bridges, highways, schools, and fire stations, it is equally important to invest in our natural environment. Measure Q resources are more than simply preserving land from development. The ecological, economic, and health benefits offered from open spaces are abundant. It’s about quality of life, reducing the severity of drought, floods, and wildfires and creating opportunities to capture and reuse water, carbon sequestration, heat reduction, tourism, wildlife habitat protection, and for recreational use.

Human health and wellbeing depend on the health of our planet and that is why the Authority is not slowing down – we can’t let up on our mission. Now more than ever the public has registered its support and need for connection with nature and being in open space and we want to make sure we are there for you in the future.

WHEN:

Report Release: Wednesday, May 20th, 2020

Virtual Conversation: Wednesday, May 27, 2020 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

WHERE:

To View the Impact Report: Investing In Nature

Register for the Virtual Conversation: Connecting Santa Clara Valley Communities to Nature
Once you register you will receive a link to the webinar.

The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority conserves the natural environment, supports agriculture, and connects people to nature, by protecting open spaces, natural areas, and working farms and ranches for future generations. The Authority envisions the Santa Clara Valley and its surrounding hillsides as a beautiful place where a vibrant network of interconnected open spaces, trails, wildlife habitats, and thriving agricultural lands enrich the region’s cities and make it an exceptional and healthy place to live, work, learn, and play.