How it all Started

Measure AA on the San Francisco Bay Area June 2016 Ballot caused enough consternation to prompt the Nine-County Coalition to establish this website.  For memory sake, we have kept this original Home Page and its content

Measure AA

Where Do We Go From Here?

The San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority succeeded in passing Measure AA June 2016, thanks to a $2.3 million campaign.  However, the measure was hardly a mandate since it squeaked by at 69% of votes, barely making the 67% threshold, thanks to voter common sense. 

As those of us concerned about precedents Measure AA would set communicated to voters, more regional taxes will come, and so much more worrisome, more regional mandates originated by unelected officials. 

So, stay tuned.  We are here to update you on what is coming.

Here are the voting results of Measure AA by county:


Election Day, June 7, 2016

Measure AA will be on the ballot of all nine Bay Area Counties on Tuesday, June 7, 2016, two days from today.   Polls will close at end of the day, votes counted, results announced, and the Election will be over.  But repercussions will last forever.  In the case of Measure AA, should it pass, the repercussions are significant.   On this Nine-County Coalition website, on the Stop Measure AA website, on Facebook pages, letters to editor and forums concerned citizens expressed their opposition to Measure AA and the repercussions on the measure’s wake. 

We did our best, with little money.  We decided not to form a committee, not to solicit funds, and to test whether private citizens simply working on their own could make a dent on the plans of powerful individuals with $2.3 million at their disposal.  

Thank you to all who visited this and the Stop Measure AA websites, contacted us, liked our Facebook Pages, offered us opportunities to state our case in the media, interviewed us, and did not ignore us.  A wish greater than the defeat of Measure AA is that Bay Area residents became aware during this election cycle of the increasing trend towards regionalization -- towards setting precedents that strip off the local control that is only possible when there are local elected officials that can be rewarded or removed via the ballot box.


Measure AA Campaign Money:  YES Side $2.3 Million.  NO Side $0.00.

"Through last week, the Yes on AA campaign had raised $2.3 million, while opponents have not formed a campaign committee and are relying on volunteer efforts. The yes campaign has hired heavyweight political consultants, conducted professional polling, sent out glossy mailers and begun airing ads on every major Bay Area TV station." Paul Rogers, East Bay Times

That's right.  Opponents of Measure AA are just plain folk, very concerned about what bureaucrats are doing to our Constitutional government structures, as well as our pocketbooks. Voters, follow the money.

More from the East Bay Times article:

 "I'm not a very cynical person, but one of the oldest adages in politics is: What's in it for me?" said Larry Gerston, a professor emeritus of political science at San Jose State University. "This is presented as an environmental initiative, and it is. There's no question about it, but there are other elements that allow others to place themselves in the fold."

Indeed.  Lots of "others.


Can You Think of a Better Use of $500 Million?

"No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!” Ronal Reagan

Not only will we never see government at any level voluntarily reduce itself in size, we are likely to see government deliberately increase in size.  So, what’s wrong with that, some voters will ask.  Here is one example, related to Measure AA on the June 7 ballot, which illustrates what can and does go wrong.

A chart on the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture website shows a list of agencies and organizations providing grants for the purposes San Francisco Bay conservation and restoration:

Federal agencies, 44
Fellowships, 3
Private entities, 25
Regional/Local, 19
State agencies, 29

Private entities often leverage their own philanthropic revenues with government funds.  For examples:  Ducks Unlimited audited financial reports for period ending 06/30/15:  Philanthropic sources $86 million, Federal and State $72 million.  National Fish and Wildlife Foundation:  “As directed by our Congressional charter, NFWF works closely with U.S. government agencies to maximize conservation investments. These federal partners advance our conservation efforts.” 

Regional/Local entities are a mish mash of government/private agencies and organizations, all working on San Francisco Bay’s health and safety.

Government agencies, as private organizations, also have substantial budgets.  The State Coastal Conservancy’s proposed budget for 2016-2017 indicates “Total positions and All Expenditures:  $70,317,000.”

We have three questions for voters in the June 7 Elections:

o Do you agree with Ronald Reagan that “a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth?”

o Do you think if Measure AA passes any of the agencies and organizations working on San Francisco Bay health and safety will go away?

o Can you think, given the information above, of better uses for the $500 million the proposed $12 parcel tax would generate?

Here is another quote by Ronald Reagan

Reagan on the environment

Of course preservation of our environments is common sense!  The question is not whether we should preserve San Francisco Bay.  The question is how!


Globalization

We have added a new page to this website, Globalization, where you will find information on yet another cause for concern regarding Measure AA.  Thank you to Rosa Koire, Executive Director of the Post Sustainability Institute, for providing an excellent article on the subject.  Here is a very short video that might be helpful to voters.  It is a clip from Rosa's interview with the Huffington Post in 2014.


Great Job By Tim Hannan!

Neal Fishman, a 32-year veteran of conservation projects, and Tim Hannan, of the Sonoma County Taxpayers’ Association, participated in an excellent debate on Measure AA hosted by the Sonoma County League of Women’s Voters. 

Some highlights by Mr. Fishman:

San Francisco Bay is a treasure all residents of the Area enjoy; therefore, Measure AA asks that all residents contribute a very small amount annually to preserve that treasure.

Malfeasance perpetrated by the Restoration Authority is most unlikely.  The Authority will have an Advisory as well as an Oversight Committee.  Also the California Legislation, the Coastal Conservancy, Save the Bay, and numerous other environmental agencies will be monitoring the Restoration Authority.

Restoration of the Bay will create thousands of good jobs

The $25 million projected to be raised annually would be enough to fund plans as to what needs to be done.  Funding of actual work needs to come from other sources, such as leveraged state and federal funds.

Some highlights by Mr. Hannan:

This is a seriously regressive tax, and a more equitable method needs to be devised.

The watchers of the Restoration Authority, including the Advisory and the Oversight Committee, operate only in a counseling capacity, without any power of action.  Also, members of these two Committees are appointed by the Restoration Authority itself.

Projected revenue from the $12 parcel tax is $25 million annually, translating into only 500 jobs with salaries of $50,000, even if all revenue were used for wages. 

$25 million annually is nowhere nearly enough to do significant work on the Bay.  We should expect further increases in taxes or debt in the form of bonds.  Planning to leverage local revenue with state and federal moneys is wishful thinking.

Good reason to keep an eye on the Restoration Authority:  "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."   

 Measure AA Debate May 4, 2016

League of Women Voters

Send Measure AA Back to the Drawing Board

By Kenneth Kelzer

Posted in Marin Voice: MIJ on 05/06/16. Reproduced here with author's permission.

With so much debate over Measure AA on our June 7 ballot, there must be a better way to resolve the current controversy.
With its impressive official title, “The San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habitat Restoration Program,” who could possibly be opposed to such a measure?

Its proponents are many, and they are the established political leaders of the Bay Area who have joined up with many leading environmental groups to promote Measure AA.  But the critics are raising their voices as well. The loudest criticism is that the proposal consists of taxation without representation, that the voters will over its 20-year life, not be able to vote in or vote out any member of the governing board.  Remember also that the proposal will spend $500 million of our tax dollars.

The proponents of Measure AA repeatedly state that there is representation because the voters are allowed to vote on June 7.
But they conveniently neglect to say that if Measure AA passes, June 7 will be the last time we get to vote for the next 20 years.
I attended the Measure AA promotional event, held in San Rafael on April 25. Moderated by Supervisor Kate Sears, it was a totally orchestrated, controlled-in-advance piece of political propaganda.  In the course of the evening, there was no debate or public discussion to evaluate the pros and cons of the measure.

Ann Thomas, in an April 14 letter to the editor, completely missed the point when she wrote that Kirsch’s “antipathy to the bay and to funding needed to adapt our shoreline to sea level rise makes her unsuitable to serve on the county board.”  The truth about candidate Kirsch is just the opposite. She is a strong environmentalist and cares deeply about the bay. She was simply the first to sound the alarm about the measure’s flaws (Marin Voice, Marin 10), thereby demonstrating precisely the courage and clear, independent thinking that is strongly needed on our county Board of Supervisors.

No one disputes the positive intent and laudable purpose of Measure AA. But its political flaws are sorely in need of correction and they could be corrected.  The proposal should be taken back to the state Legislature to amend the political structure of the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority with at least three amendments:

• The governing board should consist of nine members, not seven, as currently mandated.

• Each of the nine Bay Area counties should elect its own representative directly, for a four-year term.

• The $12 parcel tax for each residential parcel could be kept but only if large condominium complexes and large businesses are      assessed a higher tax, to carry their fair share of the financial burden.

On Jan. 13, reporter Paul Rogers wrote in the San Jose Mercury News that Measure AA “is being bankrolled by Silicon Valley business leaders and Bay Area environmental groups. ... Among the leaders is Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which represents 390 large technology companies and other employers.”  It is also known that the headquarters of at least 20 major tech companies, including Facebook, Google, Oracle and Yahoo could be placed in jeopardy by sea-level rise. They too deserve protection, but let these large companies pay their fair share of the total costs of Measure AA.

For now, I urge everyone to vote no on Measure AA.  Send this flawed proposal back to the state Legislature for revision. We can do much better.  And I urge us all to work to end this type of indirect representation, this alphabet-soup regionalism, that for too long has passed for democracy in the minds of many of our politicians.

Kenneth Kelzer of Novato has lived in Marin for 45 years and is a lifelong student of American history and politics.


No, It's Not Just Us that Do Not Like Measure AA

Hearing proponents of Measure AA speak, you would think everybody is on board with this proposal.  Not so fast!  We at the Nine County Coalition don’t like, neither do a lot of other people.  You can read about some of those people on a really good website with the curious name of ZRants

https://zrants.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/proposed-property-tax-to-fight-climate-change-criticized-as-unfair/

From the Editor of ZRants, referring to a good article posted on the website, Proposed Property Tax To Fight Climate Change Criticized As Unfair:

“This doesn’t begin to touch the subject on Measure AA. This article only mentions a parcel tax. No mention of who is taxing, or who will collect, or who will receive, who will determine how to spend those tax funds. For that you need to look here: 

http://sfbayrestore.org/docs/Restoration_Authority_Procedures_Infographic.pdf

What you see is a list of projects that are already underway or planned. They appear to have nothing to do with the Restoration Authority. It appears that someone came up with a job for themselves to distribute funds to the already working organizations. In order to do that job, they need you to pay them taxes. Wow. I wish I had thought of that! "

Here are some examples of projects anticipated to be eligible for Restoration Authority grants listed on the SF Bay Restoration Authority site (http://sfbayrestore.org) :  http://sfbayrestore.org/docs/Projects.pdf


Six Reasons to Vote No On Measure AA

By:  Marcy Berry

San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority’s Measure AA on the June 2016 ballot carries a long list of harms.  Michael Reagan, candidate for Solano County Board of Supervisors, managed to cover several problems with Measure AA in one paragraph of a candidates' questionnaire.

“This regressive tax, the same $12 per parcel on a multibillion-dollar major corporate headquarters as a one-bedroom shack in a rural area, has no defined list of projects that will be funded – just a majority vote of a seven-member board of The San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority – on which Solano County has no representation. They have floated a rough plan to restore 30,000 acres of tidal marsh land at a cost of about $1.5 billion. The tax would produce about $500 million in revenue over 20 years and is supposed to automatically expire in 2037, despite only covering a third of their wish list, and revenue from the tax would be earmarked to restoring wetlands near the San Francisco Bay.”

o Regressive tax:  A senior on Social Security pays the same $12 as any of the well padded tech companies in Silicon Valley.

o Undefined objectives:  Clean water, pollution prevention, and habitat restoration are laudable objectives, but what portion of the parcel tax will go towards “education,” protecting the garter snake, or bike trails?

o Taxation without representation:  Restoration Authority Board members are not elected by each of the nine counties.  They are appointed by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).  The ABAG board is not elected by voters either.

o This parcel tax is only the beginning:  The Restoration Authority was authorized by the California state legislature to raise funds – whatever it needs.

o Arbitrary distribution of revenue:  The parcel tax applies to all nine Bay Area Counties, but the bulk of the benefit will accrue to counties at the water’s edge.

o Solution in search of a problem: 

Measure AA’s alleged purpose is to 1) “remove pollution, trash and harmful toxins from the Bay in order to provide clean water for fish, birds, wildlife, and people,” 2) "improve wildlife habitat,” 3) “use natural habitats to protect communities along the Bay’s shoreline from the risks of severe coastal flooding,” 4) “build and/or improve flood protection levees.”  All of these tasks can be done now by using existing county and state agencies more accountable to the people than the Restoration Authority.  Also, state and local agencies can cooperatively sign joint powers agreements to take care of regional challenges.

The California State Coastal Conservancy is already doing what the Restoration Authority wants to do.  This state agency is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors, appointed by the Governor and California Legislature.  From the Coastal Conservancy’s website:  “Along with being home to seven million people, the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area is home to a diversity of wildlife and habitats, world-class recreational opportunities, urban waterfronts, and working farms and ranches. These are the resources that the San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy Program works to protect and improve.”

Regional government agencies often operate under joint power agreements which enable them to serve regional constituencies.  Several transportation agencies operate under joint powers, including Caltrain.   So the mechanism for regional cooperation already exists. Why do we need a new layer of bureaucracy?

Proponents of Measure AA say if the measure passes, funding for projects will materialize.  Excluding Federal money (the source of which is “flexible”), state and local funding can only come from one source – taxpayers.  Unless regional agencies go whole hog and totally remove taxpayer say so from the funding process, they will be faced with the same funding challenges as state and local agencies do now. 

So, if Bay conservancy can be done by agencies such as the Bay Area Conservancy Program, and Restoration Authority funding is likely to come from the same sources as that of the Conservancy Program, what problem does Measure AA want to solve? What guarantee do voters have that the Restoration Authority will do any better than the Bay Area Conservancy Program?

The Conservancy has been "saving the Bay" for the last 40 years.  How about   funding this voter-controlled agency instead of the Restoration Authority?

The Conservancy has been "saving the Bay" for the last 40 years.  How about   funding this voter-controlled agency instead of the Restoration Authority?


 Is Ezra Rapport Saying Voter Approval to Tax Them is Not Feasible?

Save Marinwood (http://www.savemarinwood.org/) uploaded a fantastic video that in 46 seconds reveals why voters need to look upon not only Measure AA but also "regionalism" with a jaundiced eye. 

Here are the notes on the video:

ABAG Executive Director, Ezra Rapport speaks on April 6, 2016 to the ABAG Regional Planning Committee about Measure AA which he reveals as an ABAG project. He promises more regional taxes to come. One of the more sneaky provisions is that 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.”

And here is the video:


Glossary:  Who/What are ABAG and MTC?

In the video above acronyms are bandied about, so let’s identify them:

ABAG:  Association of Bay Area Governments.

This is the San Francisco Bay Area’s Council of Governments.   ABAG was formed by a Joint Powers Authority in 1961 and is a voluntary association of the Bay Area’s 101 cities and nine counties.  Joint powers authorities are entities permitted under the laws of some U.S. states, whereby two or more local governments, or utility or transport districts may jointly exercise any power common to all of them for the benefit of a region.  ABAG appoints seven board members from Bay Area cities and counties to the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority.

MTC:  Metropolitan Transportation Commission

MTC was created by the California Legislature in 1970. It is the federally-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization and the state-designated Regional Transportation Planning Agency for the San Francisco Bay Area.  MTC is the collector of bridge tolls and the recipient of federal and state money.  It directly distributes around $700 million a year to local public transit agencies and other recipients.  MTC and ABAG are studying a proposal under which these two agencies would merge – given that MTC holds purse strings, such merger would be more like an MTC takeover of ABAG.

Restoration Authority – A new additional agency

The San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority was also created by the California Legislature as a regional entity with jurisdiction extending throughout the San Francisco Bay Area; such jurisdiction is not subject to the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 (which describes different types of government organizations).  The Restoration Authority's purpose is 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 parcel tax proposed by Measure AA is the principal vehicle that would fund the Restoration Authority.


Facebook Needs Grandma's Property Taxes?

By:  Marcy Berry

The list of beneficiaries clamoring for the passage of Measure AA is endless.  ABAG would love to see Measure AA on the books and ABAG appointees on the Restoration Authority Board.  100 or so save-the-Bay-type organizations stand at the ready to receive Measure AA largess to save the garter snake (Delta Science Center) or to enhance marshes (Ducks Unlimited and others).  Included on the beneficiary list are the tech companies enjoying the gorgeous Bay views, but sitting right on the path of rising sea levels.  Is it any wonder that the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Bay Area Council are bankrolling Measure AA?  A good article in the Mercury News quotes Carl Guardino.

"The bay is a beautiful asset we all want to protect and restore," said Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which represents 390 large technology companies and other employers. "We are also concerned about the risk of sea level rise over time, or a storm that could cause flooding in unprecedented fashion. Either way we want to be prepared for it." 

To paraphrase Tonto of Lone Ranger fame, who’s “we,” Mr. Guardino?  Grandma?... who lives in Calistoga?

San Francisco Bay is a treasure, not only for its beauty, but also for its diverse ecosystem.  The Bay is also part of the global ever-changing climate system.  Elected officials of each governmental jurisdiction along the Bay’s perimeter need to work collaboratively to ensure the safety and well being of their constituents, and not abdicate their Constitutional duties to non-elected bureaucracies.

The dots clustered around the Bay represent the likes of AMD, Apple, Dell, Facebook, Google, Intel.    

Silicon Valley Tech Companies

Big Bay Area Government Costs Voters Big Money

By: Linda Koelling, Former Foster City Mayor

Why are we being asked to raise another parcel tax, this time in all nine Bay Area Counties?

Another redundant government agency without voter or local government oversight is trying to raise money through a new parcel tax. The question for voters should be: “how many governing special authorities does it take to do the same job”? Proponents of the County Parcel Tax Initiative AA on the June ballot claim that this new tax of $25million dollars collected annually, for 20 years, will be used to protect San Francisco Bay for future generations. There are already several special agencies that currently market the same effort. Special governing bodies start off to provide special services, using feel good statements to sell themselves while eventually wielding considerable influence with little oversight. In many cases these special interest agencies are responsible for multi-million dollar budgets like what this special Authority is attempting to obtain. Voting NO on this initiative is all about stopping unnecessary government bodies using increased tax dollars and using a broad brush of authority. This same initiative AA is being voted on in all nine Bay Area Counties.

It states that there will be annual audits for transparency…by whom? Annual audits do not necessarily prevent mismanagement or embezzlements in these types of special governing agencies as a Civil Grand Jury found in the case of the San Mateo County Mosquito Abatement District. Consider the number of special districts in San Mateo County alone, their budgets, influence and oversight. Empowering government body with tax dollars is not needed, especially one that covers nine Bay area counties! Questions for voters in all counties should be: how does the money get distributed equally and how is this vote being tabulated given the population differences in the counties?

I encourage voters to evaluate the policies and procedures for managing what the Bay RestorationAuthority is alleging this significant monetary need is for, and consider alternatives to be implemented through already existing boards and commissions that protect the Bay. There are many state and non-profit agencies that already assert the Bay protection efforts.  Another question should be: “why was this authority even put in place given all these other groups”?    

Big government oversight by special governing bodies, like the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, will create more confusion for the public to have any accountability for decisions made.  Just consider the broad stroke of far reaching influence being used by the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Association of Bay Area Government Boards. As we continue broadening the umbrella of control over everything, we reduce local government control and the ability for voters to have their voices heard. I remember an old saying which I believe describes what this initiative is really doing. It’s called the Camel in the Tent: “A nomad crossing the desert, stops to rest in his very small tent and ties his camel right outside. As the Nomad rests, the camel asks if he could put his nose in the tent because he’s cold. The Nomad agrees. Later the camel asks if he could put his front legs in the tent for warmth. Reluctantly the Nomad agrees. Then the camel says to the Nomad that unless his hind legs are in the tent, he will be unable to make the journey in the morning. The Nomad allows this and now the camel has taken over the tent and the Nomad is kicked out”. We are allowing ourselves to be tossed out of our “tents of control” by continuing to allow regional agencies to be empowered.

Stop the growth of unnecessary government and redundancy of responsibilities. The public is best served now and in the future if control stays local. Vote NO on Initiative AA---The multi County ballot measure!!


Restoration Logo

About Measure AA

The San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habitat Restoration Measure, a proposal by the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority (SFBRA), will be on the June 2016 ballot of nine Bay Area counties. We encourage voters to consider some general issues of concern.

SFBRA and the media characterize this proposed measure as “historic,” because the taxation applies to nine Bay Area Counties.  In our view, this measure is historic because it opens a can of worms. “The Authority proposes to levy a special parcel tax of $12 per year for 20 years on each parcel wholly or partially in the San Francisco Bay Area, subject to two-thirds voter approval, to fund the programs identified in the Measure. Such a levy is anticipated to generate approximately $25,000,000 a year to fund specific clean water, pollution prevention and habitat restoration projects and other purposes, including, without limitation, the possible payment of debt service on bonds issued by or on behalf of the Authority…”  The creation of the Restoration Authority with powers not only to tax and spend but also to incur debt which might affect our next generation sets a significant precedent.  What is to keep other agencies in the growing pool of agencies from acquiring the same power?

SFBRA characterizes its Board of Directors as “elected officials.” Although these officials might be elected by the jurisdiction in which they live as Mayor or Dog Catcher, they are appointed to the SFBRA Board.  “(c) Each member shall serve at the pleasure of his or her appointing authority.  (d) A vacancy shall be filled by the Association of Bay Area Governments within 90 days from the date on which the vacancy occurs.”  (AB No. 746, Chapter 226).  Traditionally, the kind of money management these officials are proposing is reserved for elected officials, who voters can recall or not re-elect.  Voters have no power over appointed officials.

SFBRA’s ballot measure is being spearheaded by two prominent and financially well-endowed business groups, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Bay Area Council.  Both groups engage in extensive community-benefit programs; although their cooperation with governments is not limited to doing good.  For example, the following is from their websites sections on objectives and accomplishments:  “Support the state government’s increased focus on international trade and domestic economic development strategy.”  (Bay Area Council)  “Manufacturing Sales & Use Tax Exemption: Persistent advocacy by the Leadership Group has pushed California to adopt a sales and use tax exemption for jobs and equipment purchases for manufacturing, R&D and biotech.” (Silicon Valley Leadership Group).  Voters need to take a good look during elections at who is doing what and why.

Regionalism is promoted as an efficient way of “getting things done.”  The price of using this form of governance is the erosion of voter control of what gets done.  Decisions are made by people we don’t know or had the chance to decide whether to vote for.  Entrenched regionalism represents an abdication of duties by our elected representatives.  Funding regionalism by approving measures such as the Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habitat Restoration Measure represents an abdication of power by voters.

Editor's Note:  I first wrote this article for www.lpsf.org, and reproduce it here without partisan intent – Marcy Berry


The Basics on Measure AA

By:  Marcy Berry

Who is the sponsor of Measure AA?

The sponsor of Measure AA is the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority (SFBRA), a regional governmental entity created by the California legislature in 2008 with the enactment of Assembly Bill 2954.  Since then, SFBRA has gone through legislative tweaks, the most significant of which is Assembly Bill 746 enacted in 2015.  AB 746 gives SFBRA the authority to tax and spend.  Assemblyman Phil Ting is proud of having authored AB 746.  From Ting’s website,

The Legislature created the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority in 2008 to raise local revenues to restore over 36,000 acres of publicly-owned bay shoreline into tidal wetlands.  However, that law has proven to be too restrictive to fulfill this charge.

An inaugural member of the Authority’s Governing Board, Ting authored Assembly Bill (AB) 746 to authorize the Authority to issue bonds free from a current restriction that has complicated the creation of viable restoration financial plans.  Currently, the Authority can issue bonds for up to ten percent of its prior year’s revenue, which makes significant restoration projects unfeasible.  The bill also extends the Authority’s existence to 2049 to ensure bond repayment.  Any bond would require voter approval through a uniform measure within the nine Bay Area counties.  The Authority has ability to levy benefit assessments, property-related fees, and special taxes consistent subject to voter approval.  It may also apply for grants and raise funds.

What is Measure AA supposed to do?

From the proposal’s text,

...after years of study, the Authority has prepared the San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habitat Restoration Measure (the "Measure") in order to fund programs that will:
• Reduce trash, pollution and harmful toxins;
• Improve water quality;
• Restore habitat for fish, birds and wildlife;
• Protect communities from floods; and
• Increase shoreline access for public enjoyment and recreation.

What kind of tax does Measure AA propose?

From the proposal’s text,

...the Authority proposes to levy a special parcel tax of $12 per year for 20 years on each parcel wholly or partially in the San Francisco Bay Area, subject to two-thirds voter approval, to fund the programs identified in the Measure. Such a levy is anticipated to generate approximately $25,000,000 a year to fund specific clean water, pollution prevention and habitat restoration projects and other purposes, including, without limitation, the possible payment of debt service on bonds issued by or on behalf of the Authority, all as set forth in the Measure.

Who would collect the tax?

Money would be collected by the Tax Collector of each of the nine Bay Area Counties. 

How would the money be spent?

A section in the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority’s website contains “Documents,” one of which is a “Project List” containing "Examples of projects anticipated to be eligible for Restoration Authority grants.”  The list is 10 pages long; hundreds of organization will receive tax dollars to “enhance and restore” stuff most of us probably don’t even know is/was there, as well as to support efforts like Clean-Up Day at the beach.

Does Measure AA require a 2/3 yes vote from each of the nine Bay Area Counties?

No.  The measure requires an overall 2/3 yes vote, with all nine counties counted as one entity. Residents of inland Solano County are counted along with residents of San Francisco’s Waterfront.