OPEN SPACE WILD FIRE RISK MUST BE
TOP PRIORITY OF PARKS SALES TAX RENEWAL
Tell Marin Supervisors TODAY:
You Don’t Like the Terms of Its Proposed Ballot Measure
And that you Agree with CO$T’s Objection Letter (below)
At 9:30AM Tuesday December 14 Marin County Board of Supervisors will consider approving a draft ordinance specifying the terms of a June 2022 ballot measure to renew the current Measure A 1/4 cent Parks and Open Space sales tax. CO$T objects to several elements of this proposal as being inadequate and out of synch with the priorities of county residents. This is a potentially unfortunate instance of a very important public interest being compromised by the influence of special interests.
SPEAK UP NOW: SEND YOUR EMAIL TO
MARIN COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS &
PARKS LEADERSHIP (AND CC CO$T)
address your comments to:
CO$T DEMANDS WILD FIRE FUEL REDUCTION BE A CLEAR PRIORITY
OF ANY PARKS AND OPEN SPACE SALES TAX RENEWAL
CO$T Objection Letter – December 13, 2021
Sent to Marin County Supervisors and Parks Director Max Korten
The Coalition of Sensible Taxpayers will not support the proposed renewal of the County Parks ¼ cent Measure A sales tax owing to inadequate provisions to ensure substantially stepped up removal of fire prone vegetation from the more than 17,000 acres of Parks’ Open Space lands. Absent changes to the current proposal that goes before the Board of Supervisors on December 14, CO$T may oppose the tax renewal.
County Open Space is a wildfire time bomb. We call on Marin County Supervisors to:
Fund what voters want most: Remove Dangerous Wildfire Fuel. Multiple opinion surveys demonstrate that wild fire fuel reduction is THE public’s top spending priority for Measure A renewal. It will undoubtedly be front and center window dressing in the ballot language courting voter approval. Yet the draft ordinance falls well short of that supposed promise. It provides insufficient funding and specificity to guarantee a significant increase in excess vegetation removal. Further, the ordinance leaves open the possibility that such funding could be reduced in a planned 2026 reallocation of spending priorities.
Represent the clearly expressed interests of the general public. CO$T views the draft ordinance as fatally compromised by concessions to special interests, ignoring the general public who have shown in repeated surveys that their top priority for Measure A spending is wild fire fuel reduction. The county’s own large community survey shows 78% of respondents say that it’s very important that wild fire fuel reduction should be funded with Measure A sales tax dollars; only 21% view grants to private agricultural land owners as a Very Important use of funds.
Measure A’s renewal ordinance must designate wild fire fuel removal as a distinct, top spending priority, funded with an IMMUTABLE 33% of the TOTAL sales tax dollars; and backed by a specific project list and acreage commitment for NEW wildfire fuel reduction projects. The latest proposal allocates only 23% of total sales tax funds to wild fire; is subject to revision in only 4 years; and is an afterthought within a program to protect or restore natural resources. As a result, species protection programs and other priorities will continue to limit fuel reduction despite Open Space’s exceptionally high risk of catastrophic wildfire. COST also continues to strongly object to the proposed diversion of 10% of total public sales tax money to “grants” to owners of private agricultural lands. That additional 10% should go to the public’s top priority, wild fire fuel reduction, rather than going almost entirely to an unpopular program marred by scandal.
Without the changes CO$T and the public favor, Measure A renewal risks failure at the ballot box. We urge the Board of Supervisors to amend the ordinance to ensure uninterrupted funding for County Parks and Open Space.