Category Archives: Environment

Green Summit Hosted by Fierce


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.


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

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.


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.

Appointment to the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority

I was recently appointed as a member of the Governing Board of the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority. The Authority is a regional government agency charged with “raising and allocating resources for the restoration, enhancement, protection, and enjoyment of wetlands and wildlife habitat in the San Francisco Bay and along its shoreline.”

The biggest news from the Authority is that they have put a nine county ballot measure on this June’s ballot (Measure AA). This is a parcel tax of $12 per parcel for twenty years. It would generate about $25 million a year which will be used to fund shoreline projects that protect and restore San Francisco Bay. Specifically, the measure would:

(1) reduce trash, pollution and harmful toxins;
(2) improve water quality;
(3) restore habitat for fish, birds and wildlife;
(4) protect communities from floods; and
(5) increase shoreline access for public enjoyment

You can read more about the Authority and Measure AA here.

Update from Alameda County Water District

The gist of the ACWD’s presentation was that while California is under a drought overall, the ACWD is doing so well in terms of water supply that they have even shut down one of their facilities.

Residents have been good about heeding the call to save water. The reductions seen in water usage for 2014 weren’t that great but they did improve significantly in 2015 by comparison. I could relate to this as I made some changes to my water usage in 2014 but it wasn’t until last year that I really changed my sprinkler system to conserve more. (It now only is used for my food crops.) I also think the work the District did in getting people to conserve will continue to reap benefits as people’s habits have permanently changed for the better.

While there are many reasons to oppose rampant residential development, it looks like water supply isn’t one of those reasons according to the ACWD. New development uses fixtures that are far more conserving than older homes. Newer homes simply use a lot less water as a result. Also, most newer development is quite dense resulting in less outdoor landscaping. This is where most older homes use most of their water. ACWD has planned for significant future growth and has the facilities to accommodate a significant amount of new demand.

If you’re interested in reading more about the State’s water supply I recommend the State website below. It shows the status of the big reservoirs throughout the state. Lake Shasta, the biggest reservoir was at 29% before this rainy season but is now at 53%. Also available from this site is snow pack data which is currently well above average for this time of year. While we’re not out of the drought, we’re at least having a pretty wet year.

See all of the State reservoir sites at the California Data Exchange Site.