A vote against Measure FF on the ballot for the November 6, 2018 election is a vote against pesticide use in the East Bay. If Measure FF passes, it will renew a parcel tax for 20 years. For the past 15 years, the parcel tax has funded the destruction of thousands of trees on thousands of acres of public parks in the East Bay. The renewal of the parcel tax will increase the percentage of available funds for tree removals and associated pesticide use from 30% to 40% of funds raised by the parcel tax.
Post-election update: Measure FF passed easily. In Alameda County 85% of voters approved Measure FF. In Contra Costa County 80% of voters approved Measure FF. These were the vote tallies on the day after the election, on November 7th.
Tree removals increase pesticide use because herbicides are required to prevent the trees from resprouting. Also, when the shade of trees is eliminated, the unshaded ground is soon colonized by weeds that are then sprayed with herbicide. The destruction of trees has put public land managers on the pesticide treadmill.
The public tried hard to convince the East Bay Regional Park District to stop destroying healthy trees and quit using pesticides in our parks. We attended public hearings and wrote letters to Park District leadership and its governing board. We made many suggestions for useful park improvements that would be constructive, rather than destructive. Our requests and suggestions were ignored.
After making every effort to avoid opposition to Measure FF, we reluctantly take a stand against it. The parks are important to us and we would much prefer to support park improvements. Unfortunately, Measure FF will not improve the parks. Rather, it will continue down the destructive path the Park District has been on for the past 15 years. In fact, Measure FF would escalate the destruction and poisoning of our public lands.
The Voter Information Guides in Contra Costa and Alameda counties have published the following argument against Measure FF that was submitted by the Forest Action Brigade. We hope you will read it and take this important opportunity to protect our public parks from being needlessly damaged.
Do not be misled
The arguments in favor of Measure FF are misleading. East Bay Regional Parks District attempts to portray a destructive agenda as a constructive agenda. Please look beneath these pretty-sounding euphemisms for the destructive projects of Measure FF:
· EBRPD claims Measure FF will “protect against wildfires.” Destroying harmless trees miles away from any residential structures and replacing the shaded, moist forest with dry grassland that easily ignites will NOT “protect against wildfires.”
· EBRPD claims Measure FF will “enhance public safety” and “preserve water quality.” Spraying thousands of acres of open space in our water shed with pesticides will endanger the public and contaminate our water supply.
· EBRPD claims Measure FF will “protect redwoods and parklands in a changing climate.” Destroying hundreds of thousands of healthy trees, storing millions of tons of carbon, will exacerbate climate change. Our redwood forest in the East Bay was confined to less than 5 square miles prior to settlement because of the restrictive horticultural requirements of this treasured native tree. Because redwoods require more water than most of our urban forest, it is a fantasy that they can be expanded beyond their native footprint. Where they have been planted outside of that range, many are already dead.
· EBRPD claims Measure FF will “restore natural areas.” Our pre-settlement landscape in the East Bay was predominantly grassland in which fire hazards are greatest. A landscape that has been sprayed with pesticide cannot be accurately described as “natural.” Previous attempts to convert non-native annual grassland to native grassland have consistently failed, partly because the soil has been poisoned with herbicide.
You can help
The Forest Action Brigade is offering yard signs in opposition to Measure FF (shown below). Request your yard sign by contacting the Forest Action Brigade: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (510) 612-8566. Please state how many signs you would like and the neighborhood where you plan to place them. These are the East Bay cities in which Measure FF will be on the ballot: Oakland, Alameda, Piedmont, Berkeley, Emeryville, Albany, Richmond, San Pablo, El Cerrito. These cities are the top priority for yard sign placement.