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East Bay Proposition FF: Wildfire Protection

CCO Public Domian. Resized and cropped.

If you live in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, Alameda, San Pablo, El Cerrito, Albany, Emeryville, Piedmont, El Sobrante, and Kensington, listen up. You’ll be voting on Measure FF this November.

Measure FF renews a tax to fund parks, open space, and wildfire prevention in the East Bay Regional Park District for 20 years. In 2004 local voters approved a similar tax for parks which is about to expire.

Wildfire protection is the top spendingpriority. It would go toward thinning trees and hiring firefighters. The funds would also maintain hiking trails, and pay for erosion control, watershed protection, and redwood conservation.

The East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors voted unanimously to place this new measureon the ballot. Democratic congresswoman Barbara Lee, the Alameda County Fire Chief and the Executive Director of the Alameda County Taxpayers union all support the measure. So do organizations like Save the Bay and the Golden Gate Audubon Society. They say that this year has been the worst on record for wildfires and it’s urgent that voters pass a measure that will fire-proof their parks.

Groups like the The Forest Action Brigade, the  East Bay Pesticide Alert, Save East Bay Hills, and  Fire and Cancer Survivors oppose Measure FF. They don’t like the idea that trees will be removed as part of fire protection measures, and they are worried about potential pesticide use.

This is a parcel tax, so if you own a single family home, you’d pay 1 dollar monthly. If you own a multi-family unit, you’d pay 69 cents a month. Together, estimates show the parks parcel tax would raise about 3.3 million dollars a year.

So, if you want to renew a parcel tax to fund fire protection and trail improvements in East Bay Regional Parks, vote YES on Measure FF. If you don’t want the tax to continue, vote NO.