San Mateo County, CA November 3, 1998 General
Smart Voter

Minority Report - SMC Park & Rec. Alternative Funding Committee

By John J. "Jack" Hickey

Candidate for Member, Board of Directors; Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District; Ward 6

This information is provided by the candidate
Minority Report of the Alternative Funding Committee(AFC) Prepared by John J. Jack" Hickey 9/1/1994

 San Mateo County Parks and Recreation Department established a committee to investigate alternative methods of funding the activities and responsibilities of the Department. The result of that investigation concluded with a report with which I strongly disagreed. As the only "taxpayer's advocate" on the committee, I submitted the following report on behalf of taxpayer's of San Mateo County

Minority Report of the Alternative Funding Committee(AFC) Prepared by John J. Jack" Hickey 9/1/1994

The amount of publicly-owned open-space and park land in San Mateo County constitutes a valuable resource to its citizens and taxpayers. Currently, much of this land is underutilized. With proper stewardship, these lands could be tended in a low risk, self supporting manner, providing recreational and open space needs of residents and visitors. User fees, land leases, land swapping and divestiture of surplus lands are major tools essential to proper stewardship. It is from this perspective that I, John J. Hickey, designee of AFC member Dean McHan, dissent from the majority report and its accompanying recommendation.  


Regarding the AFC Report I find as follows:

more than $21,000,000 is proposed for new land acquisitions - excluding maintenance!(page 41) this, at a time when we are seeking supplemental funds to maintain and/or improve currently owned public lands. the report is lacking in its evaluation of non-tax alternative funding sources "THE COUNTY'S ROLE IN PARKS AND RECREATION" (Page 1.) specifically fails to mention the County's endless pursuit of "revenue producing golf courses" most recently demonstrated in the: "Master Plan Report for Edgewood County Park" Prepared(in 1982) for the Division of Parks and Recreation San Mateo County - by CHNMB Associates. (excerpt) "The clubhouse will provide both golfers as well as other park users with indoor and outdoor sanitation and food-serving facilities. Inside will be educational display showing park ecology and endangered habitats... The site of the clubhouse will provide visitors with an attractive setting among natural vegetation and other excellent views overlooking the park." and, A Market and Financial Feasibility Analysis for a New Golf Course in San Mateo County"(Southern Watershed) Prepared for San Mateo County Parks and Recreation Department by Economics Research Associates(ERA) in 1989. report acknowledges need* for four financially successful golf courses($1,000~000/yr)(page 59), yet: the Committee has de-emphasized this "non-tax" funding alternative. In fact, the taxpayer funded survey performed by Godbe Communications, at the behest of AFC, for Parks and Recreation asked if the county should BUY or LEASE land for an income producing golf course- Clearly a loaded question. this acknowledgment, added as a result of my input at the AFC August II meeting, was made after verification by Chris Yoshi of ERA, experts in their field. This belated acknowledgment of significant income potential through use of public lands was not reflected in the analysis of Non-Tax Sources(page 53) nor in the AFC recommendation. the Pulgas Ridge Preserve is targeted by MROSD to acquire 74 additional acres(page 77) since this site was included in the original list of the Golf Course Task Force, the added acreage makes the site a primary candidate for a revenue producing golf course via a land-lease arrangement.(see PRC Sec.5563.5 re:50 yr. lease) a major source of existing property tax revenue and salable resources has been overlooked. $3,000,000/year currently collected and controlled by Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District(MROSD) from South County property owners, the salable portion of the MROSD Teague Hill Preserve located in Woodside, which has already been offered for sale, and other valuable, underutilized lands in San Mateo County including the aforementioned Pulgas Ridge Preserve. It can be argued that the deterioration of funding for Parks and Recreation followed the questionable Annexation of South County cities by MROSD. Landscape(sic) and Lighting Act Benefit Assessment District is a bad choice for funding Taxpayer revulsion to abuses of that act is strong and growing. A better choice would be a Regional Park /Open Space District with the powers granted to this type of agency by the Public Resources Code(PRC), Sec.5541;

"A district may plan, adopt, lay out, plant, develop, and otherwise improve, extend, control, operate, and maintain a system of public parks, playgrounds, golf courses, beaches, trails, natural areas, ecological and open space preserves, parkways, scenic drives, boulevards, and other facilities for public recreation, for the use and enjoyment of all the inhabitants of the district. and it may select, designate, and acquire land, or rights in land, within or without the district, to be used and appropriated for such purposes. It may cause such trails, parkways, scenic drives, and boulevards to be opened, altered, widen, graded or regraded, paved or repaved, planted or replanted, repaired. and otherwise improved, may conduct programs and classes in outdoor science education and conservation education, and may do all other things necessary or convenience to carry out the purposes of this article. "and Sec.5562;

"The board may acquire, construct, improve, maintain, and operate golf courses, bathhouses, boathouses, tennis courts, gymnasiums, and other special amusements and forms of recreation, and it may acquire, Construct, or complete all buildings, structures, waterways, lakes, equipment, and other necessary or convenient facilities it may fix and collect fees the use by the public of any boars, bathing suits, lockers, golf courses, tennis courts, or other special facilities, services, or equipment."

I suggest that one convenient facility is the South Bayside Systems Authority reclaimed water facility in Redwood City. Water from this facility would be used to irrigate golf courses and parks, augment flow in streams, create lakes, etc.



In submitting the minority report with recommendations I ask the Parks and Recreation Commission to seek the Compromises" mentioned in "Basic Principles and Assumptions" which guided the AFC

I recommend any ballot measure include revenue producing ground leases for creation of four golf courses ON PUBLIC LANDS(to occupy LESS than 1% of total publicly owned lands) in the 1-280 corridor, and that they be integrated into, and help subsidize, other elements of the overall program. I recommend the Recreation Elements contained in the Grant of Scenic and Recreation Easement(January 15, 1969) be included in that program. I recommend that a PROGRAM EIR be prepared so that a negative declaration, based upon the overall impact, can be more easily justified. I recommend that revision of the Master Plan re: Edgewood Park be deferred until completion of the Program EIR. I recommend San Mateo County be included in a Regional Park/Open Space District pursuant to PRC Sec. 5500 et. seq. created to carry out this program, having as one of its purposes, implementation of reclaimed water Master Plans. I recommend that revenues produced by any assessment district resulting from a ballot measure should not increase the Gann Expenditure Limit, and provision be made for reducing, canceling and refunding of assessments when alternate revenues from District assets become sufficient. Since County expenditures subject to the Gann Limit are projected to be $69 million below that Limit, there should be no opposition to assigning a portion of that Limit to the proposed District. I recommend the Board of Supervisors prepare TWO ballot measures incorporating the following:
1. the annexation of the entirety of San Mateo County into MROSD.
2. the detachment of the entirety of San Mateo County from MROSD and creation of a San Mateo County Regional Park/Open Space District. Precedent for recommendation re: water

Public Resources Code

Sec.5782.25. Notwithstanding any other provision of low, the Parker Dam Recreation and Park District may:

(a) Purchase or lease electric power from any agency or entity, public or private, for use within the district. (b) Acquire water and water rights and do any act necessary to furnish a sufficient water supply in the district for any beneficial use. (c) Sell. dispose of, and distribute Water and electric power for use within the district.

The powers granted to the ParkerDam Recreation and Park District by this section may be exercised by the district only if the authority to exercise such powers is approved by a majority of the votes cast on the proposition at a district election called and conducted in accordance with the provisions of this chapter

John J.Hickey
243 Ferndale Way Redwood City, CA 94062 (415) 368-5722



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