To protect San Francisco Bay for future generations by reducing trash, pollution and harmful toxins, improving water quality, restoring habitat for fish, birds and wildlife, protecting communities from floods, and increasing shoreline public access , shall the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority authorize a parcel tax of $12 per year, raising approximately $25 million annually for twenty years with independent citizen oversight, audits, and all funds staying local?
— San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habitat Restoration ProgramParcel Tax —
San Francisco Bay Area Restoration AuthorityMeasure AA Parcel Tax - 2/3 Approval Required
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The San Francisco Bay is the largest estuary on the West Coast and its watershed is the largest in western North American. Historically, the San Francisco Bay was the dumping grounds for quickly growing cities, as new lands were created by filling in the Bay with sediment, garbage sites located on the Bay’s shorelines. Waste and pollutants were dumped directly into the Bay.
The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) was created in 1965 in response to these concerns. BCDC effectively halted the inappropriate development of the Bay. After passage of amendments to the Clean Air and Water Act in 1972, much has changed and the Bay is less polluted now, even as the population has grown.
More recently, the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, has begun restoring 15,000 acres, but scientists feel a total of 100,000 acres of wetlands around the Bay still need restoration. These projects are estimated to cost $1.5 billion.
New challenges for the Bay have emerged with the understanding of climate change and the effects of sea level rise. This may be an even greater challenge, which requires the funding of adaption measures to restore the Bay ecology, provide flood protection and other wetland restoration.
The San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority is a regional government agency created by the California Legislature in 2008 to raise and allocate resources for the restoration, enhancement, protection and enjoyment of wetlands and wildlife habitat in the San Francisco Bay and along its shoreline.
The Authority is governed by a board of seven local elected officials appointed by the Association of Bay Area Government from among the nine counties in the Authority’s jurisdiction. State law requires that funds raised by the Authority be spent on tidal marsh restoration and associated flood protection and public access projects. Administrative expenses are limited to 5% per year of revenues.
Called the San Francisco Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habitat Restoration ballot measure - - Measure AA would establish a $12 a year parcel tax for 20 years on all parcels in the nine Bay Area counties. It would generate approximately $25 million per year ($500 million over 20 years) to fund programs to 1) reduce trash, pollution and harmful toxins, 2) to improve water quality; 3) restore habitat for fish, bird and wildlife 4) protect communities along the Bay’s shoreline from risks of severe coastal flooding caused by storms and high water levels; and 5) provide improved public access to the shoreline of the Bay.
A six-member Independent Citizens Oversight Committee will be appointed from the North Bay, East Bay, West Bay and South Bay who are bring expertise in areas related to the Bay restoration efforts and annual reports will be made
The Arguments in Favor of Measure AA are not the same in each of the 9 counties where this measure is on the ballot.
To see the Arguments in Favor in your county, click here to go to the listing of Arguments (see pages 2-5)
The Arguments Opposed to Measure AA are not the same in each of the 9 counties where this measure is on the ballot.
To see the arguments against Measure AA in your county click here to go to the listing of Arguments (see pages 2-5).
Impartial analysis / Proposal
The San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority was created by the State of California to fund projects to protect and restore the San Francisco Bay. The Authority does not receive any dedicated local, state or federal funding to underwrite such shoreline projects.
The Authority has placed on the ballot Measure AA, which if approved by two-thirds of the voters voting on the Measure, would assess a special parcel tax of $12 per year on each parcel of taxable real property wholly or partially within its jurisdiction, the San Francisco Bay Area comprising the Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma and the City and County of San Francisco. The parcel tax would be assessed for a period of 20 years, from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2037. According to the Measure, the parcel tax would raise approximately $25 million annually.
According to the Measure, proceeds would be used to fund shoreline projects to protect and restore San Francisco Bay for future generations by (1) reducing trash, pollution and harmful toxins; (2) improving water quality; (3) improving habitat for fish, birds and wildlife; (4) protecting communities from floods; and (5) increasing shoreline access for public enjoyment.
Projects would be prioritized based on criteria set forth in the Measure, including but not limited to, their positive impact on the San Francisco Bay as a whole, in terms of clean water, wildlife habitat, beneficial use to the residents, and ensuring projects are funded in each of the San Francisco Bay Area's nine counties. The Measure ensures allocation of 50% of the funds to the North Bay, East Bay, South Bay, and West Bay proportional to their populations, with the remaining 50% allocated to projects within the jurisdiction without regard to location.
Proceeds from the parcel tax would be used solely for the programs set forth in the Measure, would be deposited in a separate account, would be spent exclusively for projects in the nine counties comprising the Authority, and could not be taken by the State, with total administrative expenditures limited to no more than 5% of the Measure’s proceeds.
An independent, annual audit would be conducted of all proceeds and expenditures, and an annual report would be published detailing the amounts deposited and expended and the status of projects funded under the Measure.
These annual audits and reports would be submitted to an Independent Citizens Oversight Committee for review, with the committee’s findings posted on the Authority’s website.
The parcel tax would appear as a separate item on residents’ property tax bills and would be collected by tax collectors at the same time as and in the same manner as other property taxes.
A "yes" vote is a vote to approve a parcel tax of $12 per parcel on taxable parcels within the San Francisco Bay Area for a period of 20 years to fund San Francisco Bay restoration projects.
A "no" vote is a vote not to approve a parcel tax of $12 per parcel on taxable parcels within the San Francisco Bay Area for a period of 20 years to fund San Francisco Bay restoration projects.
Join Senator Dianne Feinstein and environmental, business and community leaders from across Marin County in voting YES on Measure AA for a clean and healthy San Francisco Bay.
This measure is critical to restoring wetlands and protecting wildlife habitat for future generations throughout the Bay Area.
San Francisco Bay is a part of all of our lives – whether we live along the Bay; work there; walk, jog, or visit parks along its shores; or simply appreciate it as we drive over a bridge. The Bay also attracts tourists, supports commercial fishing and attracts quality employers to the region – all of which help keep our economy strong.
But pollution and other problems have put the health of the Bay at serious risk. Fish in the Bay are contaminated with harmful chemicals like PCBs, mercury and pesticides.
Measure AA will restore wetlands throughout the Bay Area, which provide habitat for fish and wildlife and filter out pollutants from water to reduce toxins that threaten the ecosystem. Wetlands also act as a natural barrier against flooding and provide urban recreational open space, a resource we all cherish.
Voting YES on AA will:
- Reduce trash, pollution and harmful toxins in the Bay
- Improve water quality
- Restore habitat for fish, birds and wildlife
- Protect communities from floods
- Increase shoreline public access
Measure AA 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
- An independent citizens’ oversight committee will oversee funds to ensure they are spent properly
- Independent audits and annual public reports ensure transparency
Passing this critical measure will ensure that our children and grandchildren inherit a clean and healthy San Francisco Bay. Join us—vote YES on AA to protect San Francisco Bay, our greatest natural treasure.
s/ Loni Hancock
s/ Paul R. Kumar
Political Director, Save The Bay
s/ Scott Haggerty
s/ Libby Schaaf
Mayor of Oakland
s/ Suzanne Lee Chan
Fremont City Councilmember
- Measure AA doesn’t nail down how money will be spent. In fact, Section 5.A. says the Authority Board can “amend this measure by majority vote.” This is like TAXPAYERS WRITING A BLANK CHECK.
- Measure AA ensures POLITICS, NOT SCIENCE, DRIVES DECISIONS. There is no requirement for a scientific advisory board to evaluate proposed projects or assess project accomplishments. Grants will be based on politics instead of objective priorities.
- Measure AA is giving money to politicians that it TAKES FROM THE POOR. Google, Facebook and Apple Computer would pay the same tax as the owner of a one-bedroom condominium.
- High property taxes DRIVE UP HOUSING COSTS FOR RENTERS AND HOMEOWNERS. Many people are unemployed, underemployed, or financially stretched and CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY MORE.
- If this tax passes, politicians will ask for more -- but they DON’T WANT THE PUBLIC HAVING A SAY in how their money is spent.
Replies to Arguments FOR
- There’s no spending plan, only “example” projects.
- No one really knows how money would be spent.
- Measure AA gives politicians power to change the law, to spend money however they decide.
- The Authority plans to issue $1.5 billion in debt, to be added to our tax bills.
- Repaying this debt, with interest, would cost our children and grandchildren up to $3 BILLION.
- Wetlands restoration requires coordination among many agencies.
- The San Francisco Bay is a jungle of jurisdictions and regulations.
- Currently there is no plan to efficiently coordinate efforts among federal, state and local agencies.
- Reform must come first.
- Measure AA doesn’t identify costs for flood mitigation.
- Most money would be needed to build new levees, particularly in the South Bay.
- All Bay Area taxpayers shouldn’t pay for Silicon Valley’s flood protection.
Replies to Arguments AGAINST
THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY CLEAN WATER, POLLUTION PREVENTION AND HABITAT RESTORATION MEASURE
The people of the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority do ordain as follows:
Section 1. Findings and Purpose.
Over the last century, landfill and toxic pollution have had a massive impact on San Francisco Bay (sometimes referred to herein as the “Bay”). It is not too late to reverse this impact and restore the Bay for future generations. To meet that objective, in 2008, state law established the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority (the “Authority”), to raise and allocate resources for the restoration, enhancement, protection, and enjoyment of wetlands and wildlife habitats in the San Francisco Bay and along its shoreline.
The purpose of the San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habitat Restoration Measure (the “Measure”) is to protect and restore San Francisco Bay to benefit future generations by reducing trash, pollution, and harmful toxins, improving water quality, restoring habitat for fish, birds, and wildlife, protecting communities from flood and increasing shoreline public access and recreational areas.
Section 2. Funding of San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habitat Restoration Expenditure Plan.
Subject to voter approval, the Authority hereby establishes a special parcel tax (the “Special Tax”) the proceeds of which shall be used solely for the purpose of supporting the programs and priorities and other purposes set forth in this Measure. The Special Tax shall be levied at a rate of twelve dollars ($12) per parcel within the jurisdiction of the Authority, which consists of the Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma and the City and County of San Francisco (such nine counties, collectively, the “San Francisco Bay Area”). The Special Tax shall be levied annually for a total of twenty (20) years, commencing July 1, 2017 and ending June 30, 2037.
The Special Tax shall be levied on each parcel of taxable property within the San Francisco Bay Area, and shall be collected by the tax collectors of each county (including the City and County of San Francisco) in the San Francisco Bay Area (the “Tax Collectors”) at the same time as, and along with, and will be subject to the same penalties as general, ad valorem taxes collected by the Tax Collectors. The Special Tax and any penalty shall bear interest at the same rate as the rate for unpaid ad valorem property taxes until paid. Any Special Tax levied shall become a lien upon the properties against which taxes are assessed and collectible as herein provided. The Special Tax shall appear as a separate item on the tax bill.
All property that is otherwise exempt from ad valorem property taxes in any year shall also be exempt from the Special Tax in such year. The Authority shall adopt procedures that set forth any clarifications and exemptions to address unique circumstances and any procedure for claimants seeking an exemption, refund, reduction or recomputation of the Special Tax.
Section 3. San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habitat Restoration Expenditure Plan.
The revenues from the Special Tax set forth in Section 2 above shall be used solely for the purpose of supporting programs and priorities and purposes set forth in this Measure, including the following:
A. Program Descriptions
Under this Measure, the Authority may fund projects along the Bay shorelines within the Authority’s jurisdiction, which consists of the Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma and the City and County of San Francisco. The shorelines include the shorelines of San Francisco Bay, San Pablo Bay, Carquinez Strait, Suisun Bay, and most of the Northern Contra Costa County Shoreline to the edge of the Delta Primary Zone. These projects shall advance the following programs:
1. Safe, Clean Water and Pollution Prevention Program
The purpose of this program to be funded under the Measure is to remove pollution, trash and harmful toxins from the Bay in order to provide clean water for fish, birds, wildlife, and people.
- Improve water quality by reducing pollution and engaging in restoration activities, protecting public health and making fish and wildlife healthier.
- Reduce pollution levels through shoreline cleanup and trash removal from the Bay.
- Restore wetlands that provide natural filters and remove pollution from the Bay’s water.
- Clean and enhance creek outlets where they flow into the Bay.
2. Vital Fish, Bird and Wildlife Habitat Program
The purpose of this program to be funded under the Measure is to significantly improve wildlife habitat that will support and increase vital populations of fish, birds, and other wildlife in and around the Bay.
- Enhance the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, shoreline parks and open space preserves, and other protected lands in and around the Bay, providing expanded and improved habitat for fish, birds and mammals.
- Protect and restore wetlands and other Bay and shoreline habitats to benefit wildlife, including shorebirds, waterfowl and fish.
- Provide for stewardship, maintenance and monitoring of habitat restoration projects in and around the Bay, to ensure their ongoing benefits to wildlife and people.
3. Integrated Flood Protection Program
The purpose of this program to be funded under the Measure is to use natural habitats to protect communities along the Bay’s shoreline from the risks of severe coastal flooding caused by storms and high water levels.
- Provide nature-based flood protection through wetland and habitat restoration along the Bay’s edge and at creek outlets that flow to the Bay.
- Build and/or improve flood protection levees that are a necessary part of wetland restoration activities, to protect existing shoreline communities, agriculture, and infrastructure.
4. Shoreline Public Access Program
The purpose of this program to be funded under the Measure is to enhance the quality of life of Bay Area residents, including those with disabilities, through safer and improved public access, as part of and compatible with wildlife habitat restoration projects in and around the Bay.
- Construct new, repair existing and/or replace deteriorating public access trails, signs, and related facilities along the shoreline and manage these public access facilities.
- Provide interpretive materials and special outreach events about pollution prevention, wildlife habitat, public access, and flood protection, to protect the Bay’s health and encourage community engagement.
B. Additional Allocation Criteria and Community Benefits
- The Authority shall ensure that the Measure’s revenue is spent in the most efficient and effective manner, consistent with the public interest and in compliance with existing law. The Authority shall give priority to projects that:
- Have the greatest positive impact on the Bay as a whole, in terms of clean water, wildlife habitat and beneficial use to Bay Area residents.
- Have the greatest long-term impact on the Bay, to benefit future generations.
- Provide for geographic distribution across the region and ensure that there are projects funded in each of the nine counties in the San Francisco Bay Area over the life of the Measure.
- Increase impact value by leveraging state and federal resources and public/private partnerships.
- Benefit economically disadvantaged communities.
- Benefit the region’s economy, including local workforce development, employment opportunities for Bay Area residents, and nature-based flood protection for critical infrastructure and existing shoreline communities.
- Work with local organizations and businesses to engage youth and young adults and assist them in gaining skills related to natural resource protection.
- Incorporate monitoring, maintenance and stewardship to develop the most efficient and effective strategies for restoration and achievement of intended benefits.
- Meet the selection criteria of the Coastal Conservancy’s San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy Program and are consistent with the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission’s coastal management program and with the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture’s implementation strategy.
- The Authority shall ensure that 50% of the total net revenue generated during the 20-year term of the Special Tax is allocated to the four Bay Area regions, defined as the North Bay (Sonoma, Marin, Napa and Solano Counties), East Bay (Alameda and Contra Costa Counties), West Bay (City and County of San Francisco and San Mateo County) and South Bay (Santa Clara County) in proportion to each region's share of the Bay Area's population, as determined in the 2010 census, and consistent with the priorities set forth in this section. As a result, each region will receive the following minimum percentage of total net revenue generated during the 20-year term of the Special Tax: North Bay: 9%, East Bay: 18%, West Bay: 11%, South Bay: 12%. The remaining revenue shall be allocated consistent with all other provisions of this Measure.
- The Authority shall conduct one or more public meetings annually to gain public input on selection of projects under this Measure. All actions, including decisions about selecting projects for funding, will be made by the Authority in public meetings with advance notice and with meeting materials made available in advance to the public.
- The Authority may accumulate revenue over multiple years so that sufficient funding is available for larger and long-term projects. All interest income shall be used solely to support programs and priorities set forth in this Measure.
- No Special Tax proceeds shall be used for campaign advocacy.
- No more than 5% of the Special Tax proceeds generated in any given fiscal year may be used by the Authority for general government purposes in such fiscal year, including to administer the projects funded under this Measure. Any unused funds may be carried over for use in subsequent fiscal years.
- The Authority shall have the right, power and authority to pledge Special Tax proceeds to the payment of bonds of the Authority or another public agency (including, but not limited to, a joint powers authority created pursuant to Article 1 of the Joint Exercise of Powers Act (Government Code Section 6500 et seq.), and use Special Tax proceeds to pay debt service on such bonds and the costs of issuance related thereto.
C. Accountability and Oversight
In order to ensure accountability, transparency and public oversight of funds collected and allocated under this Measure and comply with State law, all of the following shall apply:
- The specific purpose of the Special Tax shall be to support only programs and priorities and other purposes listed in this Measure. The Special Tax proceeds shall be applied only for specific purposes of this Measure and shall be spent only in accordance with the procedures and limitations set forth in this Measure.
- A separate account shall be created by the Authority into which all Special Tax proceeds must be deposited. The Authority shall commission an independent annual audit of all revenues deposited in, and all expenditures made from, the separate account and publish annual financial statements.
- All Special Tax revenue, except as set forth in Section 3.B.6 above, shall be spent on projects for the benefit of the San Francisco Bay Area, and shall not be taken by the State.
- The Authority shall prepare annual written reports showing (i) the amount of funds collected and expended from Special Tax proceeds and (ii) the status of any projects or programs required or authorized to be funded from the proceeds of the Special Tax, as identified above. The report shall comply with Government Code section 50075.3, be posted on the Authority’s website, and be submitted to the Bay Restoration Advisory Committee, established pursuant to Government Code section 66703.7 (the “Advisory Committee”), for review and comment.
- The Advisory Committee shall provide advice to the Authority on all aspects of its activities under this Measure to ensure maximum benefit, value, and transparency. Advisory Committee meetings will be announced in advance and will be open to the public. The responsibilities of the Advisory Committee shall include, but shall not be limited to: (a) advising the Authority about implementation of this Measure; and (b) making recommendations regarding expenditure priorities under this Measure.
- The Authority shall appoint six members of the public to an Independent Citizens Oversight Committee that shall: (a) annually review the Authority’s conformance with the Measure; (b) review the Authority’s audits and expenditure and financial reports; and (c) publish an annual report of its findings, which shall be posted on the Authority’s website. The six members shall include residents of the North Bay, East Bay, West Bay, and South Bay, as defined in Government Code 66703(a), who are experts in water quality, pollution reduction, habitat restoration, flood protection, improvement of public access to the Bay, or financing of these objectives. No person may serve on the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee who (a) is an elected official or government employee, or (b) has had or could have a financial interest in decisions of the Authority as defined by Government Code section 87103 and the Fair Political Practices Commission.
Section 4. Establishment of Appropriation Limit.
Pursuant to Article XIII-B of the California Constitution and section 66704.05(b)(2) of the Government Code, the appropriation limit of the Authority shall be set by the total revenues actually received by the Authority from the proceeds of the Special Tax levied in fiscal year 2017-18, as adjusted each fiscal year thereafter for the estimated change in the cost of living, population and number of parcels on which the Special Tax is levied (such estimate to be determined by the Governing Body of the Authority and be conclusive for all purposes after made). The appropriation limit may be further adjusted by any other changes that may be permitted or required by Article XIII-B of the California Constitution.
Section 5. Amendments and Severability.
- The Governing Board of the Authority shall be empowered to amend this Measure by majority vote of its members to further the purposes of this Measure, to conform the provisions of this Measure to applicable State law, to modify the methods of levy and collection of the Special Tax, or to assign the duties of public officials under this Measure.
- If any part of this Measure is held to be invalid for any reason, such decision shall not affect the remaining portions of this Measure and the voters declare that they would have passed the remainder of this Measure as if such invalid portion were not included.