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Green Summit Hosted by Fierce

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Was very happy to speak last weekend at the Green Summit put on by FIERCE. FIERCE is the group of high school students from throughout Fremont that is fighting for environmental causes. They did a remarkable job organizing this with over 150 students coming out to attend.

I am so proud to see Fremont’s youth taking on the issue of the environment. Of course, their generation is going to feel the effects of climate change and pollution much more than my generation.

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It was a love of the environment, specifically the area around Coyote Hills Regional Park, that got me most interested in local politics. I used to be an avid bird photographer and loved going to Coyote Hills. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time to get out there like I used to.

Congrats again to FIERCE on a very successful event.

Read more about FIERCE at http://wearefierce.weebly.com/.

My Referrals on Prop 13 Reform and Measure AA Passed

My Referrals on Prop 13 Reform and Measure AA Passed (5/10)

I had two referrals on the agenda. The first was a proposal from a group called Evolve to reform the commercial exemption from Proposition 13. Proposition 13 was designed to protect elderly people on a fixed income whose property values were increasing radically. While that’s nice, it does mean that your property taxes also raise radically. For people on a fixed income, this is quite a burden. Of course, I think Propostion 13 was a good measure as it does cap the amount that ones property tax can rise.

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But there was no reason for this measure to cover commercial property as well. Commercial changes ownership less rarely than residential property, especially when owners see that changing owners could greatly increase their taxes. The application of Proposition 13 to commercial property should have never been done and needs to be reversed.

 

The second referral was to have our City Council formally endorse Measure AA. This is a $12 parcel tax that will raise money for San Francisco Bay restoration. This measure has been endorsed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, environmental groups, and many others. As a member of the SF Bay Restoration Authority is overseeing this measure, I will undoubtedbly be promoting this more before the June election.

More Stores, Less Parking at Pacific Commons (5/10)

I’ve always been disappointed that the City has failed to implement a walkable retail ‘downtown’ area as seen in cities like Pleasanton, Livermore, Mountain View, and many others. Instead our retail activities have gravitated towards the big-box style retail seen at Pacific Commons. Of course, this retail follows a very suburban, auto-oriented model.

While Pacific Commons is thriving retail that is good for our tax base, it makes it even harder for local retailers in the rest of Fremont. We all have basically a fixed amount of money that we will pay for food, clothes, etc. Having two good grocery stores near you won’t make you buy twice as much food. Pacific Commons is competition for other, more local retail in Fremont. This means that more and more people drive to do their shopping as there isn’t enough walkable retail.

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I support Fremont’s Measure I on the June 6 Ballot

After my post on the State bond measure I was asked about Measure I in Fremont. I am endorsing this measure.

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Measure I is a local initiative that would extend and increase the existing parcel tax that Fremont residents pay from $53 to $73 per parcel.

I don’t think it’s a contradiction to support this measure and also be opposed to the State bond measure. Measure I will be Fremont residents paying to support Fremont schools. While some of the money may go to portables to accommodate increased demand due to new development, the money from this measure will go to the existing school needs in Fremont, which we all know are plentiful.

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Council Approves Permit Parking Program Near Mission Peak

This was a difficult issue with supporters of mine arguing strongly from both sides. Sometimes in politics you just can’t make everybody happy.

On the one hand, I am definitely in favor of promoting outdoor activities. I used to be a Sierra Club hike leader. It’s great that we have such a popular destination as Mission Peak.

On the other hand, the very heavy demand combined with the small parking lot has resulted in significant impacts to the mission_peaksurrounding neighborhood. I’ve been there on weekends and seen the steady stream of people swarming the neighborhood from well before dawn to well after dusk in the summer. Also, the large number of hikers, especially those that are creating their own ad hoc paths, has caused a lot of damage to the park.
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