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Vote Earth by Earth Hour Global

 

The following post presents our recommendations for voting on November 2nd.  Please note that CNPS cannot support individual candidates as a 501(c)3 organization, but we can openly air our opinion on ballot measures.  We have a strong opinion on two local measures – one in Richmond and a second in San Ramon that we urge environmentalists to vote on.  Both of these ballot measures initiate development in two separate Botanical Priority Protection Areas.

Vote No on Measure U in Richmond, an advisory vote, which poses the question, “Shall the City of Richmond approve a project including a casino at Pt. Molate provided that this advisory measure is considered in a manner consistent with all the City’s legal obligations?” The Richmond Shoreline is one of EBCNPS’s 15 Botanical Priority Protection Areas.  EBCNPS is opposed to all major development at Pt. Molate.

As part of the process in determining the ballot arguments for and against the measure, a citizen who supports the casino brought a lawsuit against the opponents to the measure, claiming that their statements (that there is no guarantee that locals would be hired to work at the casino and that the jobs could be described as low-wage) were false and misleading.  He lost the lawsuit when he could not rebut the opponents’ evidence that there were significant loopholes in the jobs agreements.

We also hope that Sierra Club members and other environmentalists will follow suit of other notable environmental leaders. Here we present a letter from a former Sierra Club Chair on Point Molate :

Hello,

I am coming out of hiding to make my position clear on Measure U.

I am opposed to Measure U. As the former chair of the West County Sierra Club, former board member of the West County Toxics Coalition, former chair of Richmond Neighbors (campaign finance reform), and former chair of the West County Legal Defense Fund (environmental litigation), Measure U will convert the Point Molate shoreline into a gambling casino, inviting organized crime and promoting exploitation of low-income citizens. The project will degrade the shoreline experience for citizens who wish to enjoy the spectacular peacefulness and beauty of the Molate shore.

Corporate and elite interests use economic extortion in an effort to coerce citizens into approving projects they don’t want in a time of severe unemployment. The elites tell us that we have only two choices: their gambling casino, or nothing. Casino jobs, or no jobs. This is a false dichotomy, a false choice. We have many choices in front of us as a means to put people back to work. We have our own choices. We should make our own choices based on our own desires.

We can have jobs, full employment, and a beautiful shoreline park for all to enjoy. We can make this happen. The central problem is the domination and exploitation by the corporate elite. The problem of unemployment in Richmond is the problem of unemployment throughout the US and beyond. We should unite with other citizens in addressing the local problem of unemployment as a part of the larger national problem. We are not alone.

As a former member of the board of directors of the West County Toxics Coalition, I urge citizens to think a moment about the many possibilities before us, not solely the casino project being shoved in our faces. The shoreline can be cleaned up and we can have a shoreline park, also.

Vote No on Measure U

Mark Mason PhD


Vote No on Measure W in San Ramon which would shift the current Urban Growth Boundary into the Tassajara Valley.  This measure provides for an amendment to the city General Plan that expands development impacts into current open space.  The Tassajara Valley is one of the EBCNPS’s 15 Botanical Priority Protection Areas and a site where we oppose the plans of land speculators such as those involved with the New Farm project who want to convert thousands of acres of grassland into huge housing developments.

Here’s the website for No on W. Here’s the Save Tassajara Valley site.  If you have the ability to help and donate to this cause, we hope you will do so to support the efforts of the residents and environmental community helping protect this area.

Vote on These Important Statewide Ballot Measures on November 2nd to Protect the Environment

Vote Yes on Proposition 21 which would provide for an annual vehicle license fee of $18 in exchange for free year-round day-use admission to all California state parks.  The money from these fees would fund a State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund that would provide reliable funding for management of the parks in the wake of major budget cuts.

Vote No on Proposition 23 which would suspend AB 32 (the Global Warming Solutions Act) unless unemployment drops below 5.5% for 4 consecutive fiscal quarters.  AB 32 is California’s landmark law targeting climate change that provides for clean energy and lower air emissions.  Texas oil companies, Valero and Tesoro, some of the top air polluters in the state, are spending massive amounts of money in support of this “license to pollute.”

Vote No on Proposition 26 which would reclassify as taxes the fees that polluters currently pay thus requiring a 2/3 vote instead of a simple majority vote of the state legislature to approve the fees.  The effect of the proposition would be to make it more difficult to impose fees on polluters for cleaning up oil spills, toxic waster, air pollution, etc. and shift the financial burden of these responsibilities to taxpayers.

Our non-profit status precludes us from endorsing specific candidates for public election.  However, we urge our members who are Richmond residents to educate themselves about the platforms of candidates for mayor and for city council seats.  There are considerable differences among those running for office in terms of their perspectives on whether major development should take place at Point Molate.

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Listed as one of the 15 Botanical Priorities Protection Areas of the East Bay, Tassajara Valley offers possibly the best example of rolling grasslands and alkaline swales in the East Bay.  Home to many rare and unusual plants, the Condgon’s tarplant is one species that occurs regularly in this area.

Congdon's tarplant (Centromadia parryi ssp. congdonii) with beetle photo by John Game

Congdon's tarplant (Centromadia parryi ssp. congdonii) with beetle photo by John Game

San Ramon has decided to attempt to break it’s current Urban Limit Line to allow for more growth outside of the City bounds.  This proposed change to the General Plan will imperil the botanical values of the Tassajara Valley area, as well as asking to rezone “parkland” to developed land (i.e. commercial and other).

EBCNPS has submitted a letter to the City Council and asked for the City to reconsider this ungainly proposal.  This general plan change will be voted on by San Ramon residents in the November 2010 election.

Here are our comments to San Ramon City Council regarding the General Plan Update process

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