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Voters approve $500 million for regional parks

on November 4, 2008


Nov. 5 — Measure WW, which raises up to $500 million for East Bay Regional Parks through government bonds, passed overwhelmingly with 71 percent of the vote.

Measure WW was introduced by park officials in August. The money raised will replenish dwindling funds that have been levied since 1988 by Measure AA, the last bond issue aimed at East Bay parks. Measure AA raised $225 million for the park system, less than half the amount allotted for Measure WW.

The parks system will invest the new money in more than 60 projects, including restoring an eight-mile park along the East Bay shoreline, establishing a visitor facility at Las Trampas and restoring bird habitat at the Hayward Shoreline.

Opponents of Measure WW argued the funds would be misdirected. John Grigsby, spokesperson for No On Measure WW, a group of self-identified hikers, mountain bikers and environmentalists, said they don’t trust the parks district. They claim that the organization leaves the parks in worse condition, using heavy machinery to create service roads and other “eyesores” in East Bay parks.

Instead, the group advocated more money to fund the California State Parks system, which they say is underfunded. Grigsby said East Bay Parks spent $143 million last year, whereas the California State Park system spent $344 million in 2006.

Measure WW will allow East Bay Regional Parks to borrow up to $500 million from banks and other investors. This money will then be paid back by collecting $10 annually, over 20 years, per $100,000 of a homeowner’s property value.||||||||||||||||||||||||

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