This is an archive of a past election.
See for current information.
LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund If you appreciate our service to voters, please consider helping us with a donation.
Smart Voter
Alameda County, CA November 6, 2012 Election
Measure A1
Oakland Zoo Humane Animal Care/Education Protection Measure
Alameda County

2/3 Approval Required

Fail: 340933 / 62.99% Yes votes ...... 200333 / 37.01% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Feb 1 2:01pm, 100.00% of Precincts Reporting (1100/1100)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

To maintain/upgrade humane animal care and basic needs (food, medical, heating, cooling, safe enclosures); retain veterinarians/animal specialists; care for wounded/endangered animals; support wildlife conservation; maintain children's educational, nature/science programs, field trips; and keep entrance fees affordable; shall Alameda County levy a tax of $12/parcel annually for residential parcels and comparable commercial/industrial rates, with low-income senior exemptions, mandatory audits, and citizens' oversight?

Impartial Analysis from County Counsel
Measure A1 seeks voter approval to authorize an annual special parcel tax on each parcel of taxable real property following adoption of the measure until December 31, 2037. The tax will fund certain services and projects at the Oakland Zoo ("Zoo").

The authority to levy special taxes upon approval by two-thirds of the votes cast on special tax measures is pursuant to Article XIIIA of the California Constitution and sections 23027 and 50075 of the California Government Code.

If two-thirds of the qualified electors voting on this measure vote for approval, the County of Alameda ("County") will impose a special tax on all parcels of taxable real property annually. The tax rates will be as follows: $12.00 (twelve dollars) per parcel for single family residential and multi-family residential parcels, and $72.00 (seventy-two dollars) per parcel for nonresidential parcels. For purposes of this special parcel tax, the County will levy the tax on each parcel of real property that receives a separate ad valorem tax bill.

The Alameda County Treasurer-Tax Collector will collect the tax at the same time and in the same manner as ad valorem property taxes. Certain exemptions are available to any parcel owned and occupied by individuals 67 years of age or over and whose combined family income qualifies as "low income" under federal law. All property that is otherwise exempt from ad valorem property taxes by state law shall also be exempt from this tax.

If the measure passes, the funding revenue will be used for the specific services and projects at the Zoo as set forth in the full text of the measure and expenditure plan printed in this sample ballot pamphlet. Some of those purposes include: providing for animal care; providing educational and conservation programs; maintaining, operating, and improving existing facilities; and maintaining and improving visitor services. The measure further provides that the monies collected shall be accounted for separately and expended only for those specified purposes. The measure provides for an independent citizens' oversight committee and revenue and expenditure reports.

If two-thirds of the qualified electors voting on this measure do not vote for approval, the measure will fail, and the County will not be authorized to levy the special tax outlined above.

County Counsel

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure A1, which is printed in full in this sample ballot pamphlet. If you desire an additional copy of the measure, please call the Elections Official's office at (510) 272-6933 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you. You may also access the full text of the measure on the Alameda County website at the following address:

Notice: Per the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, the above text reflects a correction to the Impartial Analysis that was originally published by the County Counsel. The correction clarifies that the exemption is available only to individuals 67 years of age or over and whose combined family income qualifies as "low income" under federal law.

  Nonpartisan Information

Summary and background information on this measure

Ballot Measure Pros & Cons Presentation

  • Date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
    Time: 6 - 7:30 PM
    Place: Oakland City Hall, Hearing Room 3
    Sponsor: League of Women Voters of Oakland
  • The public is invited to attend and hear unbiased, neutral presentations on Measures J., A1 and B1, as well as the 11 State Ballot Measures. Questions? Call the League at (510) 834-7640
Campaign Finance Data

MapLight VotersEdge

News and Analysis

San Francisco Chronicle

East Bay Express Partisan Information

Proponents' Website

Opponents' Website
This election is archived. Any links to sources outside of Smart Voter may no longer be active. No further links will be added to this page.
Links to sources outside of Smart Voter are provided for information only and do not imply endorsement.

Arguments For Measure A1 Arguments Against Measure A1
The animals at the Oakland Zoo need your help! Vote YES on A1 to give Oakland Zoo animals the quality, humane care they deserve.

YES on A1 cares for and meets the basic needs of Zoo animals.:

  • YES on A1 ensures animals are safe and enclosures well maintained.
  • YES on A1 provides animals food, heating/cooling, and clean, fresh watering systems.
  • Yes on A1 repairs aging animal shelters and deteriorating sewage/drainage systems, some of which are 40+ years old.
  • Yes on A1 retains quality veterinarians to care for sick and aging animals.

YES on A1 supports the Zoo's work with wildlife conservation and animal rescue organizations, saving animals wounded in the wild. YES on A1 gives sanctuary to endangered species, such as the California Condor; retired circus animals, including lions, tigers and elephants; and animals rescued from abuse.

Measure A1 is endorsed by leading conservation organizations including Ventana Wildlife Society, Felidae Conservation Fund and Bay Area Puma Project.

The Oakland Zoo educates children about wildlife and nature in a way that just isn't possible through books. More than 200,000 Alameda County children visited the Zoo last year.

YES on A1 doubles the number of school children served by the Zoo at a time when local schools are cutting science programs and field trips.

  • YES on A1 maintains children's educational programs/school field trips
  • YES on A1 provides science/nature education to students who often have none in schools

Measure A1 requires strict fiscal accountability, including independent financial audits, citizens oversight, and an Expenditure Plan to ensure funds are spent as promised. Low-income seniors are exempt.

At only $1 per month, veterinarians, teachers, and Alameda County families agree YES on A1 is a small price to pay to protect Zoo educational programs and ensure animals receive quality, humane care.


/s/ Nate Miley, President, Alameda County Board of Supervisors
/s/ Joel J. Parrott, Veterinarian, Executive Director, Oakland Zoo
/s/ Sheila Jordan, Alameda County Superintendent of Schools
/s/ Judith Cox, Government Accountability and Transparency Advocate
/s/ Caleb Cheung, Recipient of Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Measure A1 sounds good --who doesn't support animal welfare and education? But there are troubling provisions in this measure you might want to check out for yourself.

First, the measure lumps in so many spending options that there's no requirement the money will go for what the ballot summary says it will. In fact, it specifically lets zoo executives delete items and spend the money for other things, including expanding, constructing and financing new facilities--allowing them to direct parcel taxes to their proposed new big expansion that would put a three-story visitor center, restaurant, gift shop and bay view offices atop rare wildlife and plant habitat in Knowland Park.

Second, the public can't ever amend the measure, except to extend or increase taxes--no matter how bad economic conditions get. Low-income senior citizens would have to file for an exemption directly with the zoo operator each and every year. And the zoo is run by a private nonprofit corporation with no publicly elected representatives and isn't required to follow California's open records and meetings laws.

There are many other needs right now that are higher priority. Schools, libraries, and government services for the needy require money, too. We can't afford everything. Zoo executives need to live within their means like the rest of us.

This election offers a real choice between something very costly--in dollars and environmental losses--and something priceless: defending Knowland Park's ecological treasures and good public policy.

Vote No on Measure A1!

/s/ Laura Baker, Committee Member, East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society
/s/ Ruth E. Malone, Co-Chair, Friends of Knowland Park
/s/ Jeff Miller, Director, Alameda Creek Alliance
/s/ Jim Hanson, President, California Native Grasslands Association
/s/ Elizabeth Baker, Vice President, Resource Renewal Institute
Vote NO on this measure. Even if you love the zoo, this tax is bad public policy, creating an open checkbook for zoo executives to use for virtually any zoo expense. It forces Alameda County taxpayers to pay at least $112 million in Oakland Zoo bills over the next 25 years.

The zoo already takes in millions in public funding, including city funds, hotel taxes, Regional Park District funds, bonds money and a State Parks grant. But zoo executives want more--to build a "supersized" expansion project in unspoiled Knowland Park, Oakland's largest and biologically richest park, paving over threatened wildlife habitat and rare native plant communities.

The Sierra Club and other environmental groups opposed the controversial Knowland Park expansion. Now zoo executives say they won't use these funds for it. But loopholes explicitly written into this tax measure give the zoo carte blanche to spend the funds for "constructing" and "expanding"--or to add projects later.

Even if not used to build zoo executives' expansion with its bay view offices, the taxes free up other funds for this. So, while the public may think it's voting to create humane conditions for captive animals, there's no guarantee they aren't unwittingly voting to fund extensive environmental damage in Knowland Park and destruction of threatened native wildlife habitat.

Zoo executives now claim they haven't enough money to care for the animals they already have, while planning to spend multi-millions on a big expansion. When governments are struggling to cover basic services and programs, is this top priority? It just doesn't add up.

Show zoo executives and politicians that you want honest dialogue about public spending priorities that includes protecting native wildlife habitat AND caring for cherished zoo animals. Please vote NO on Measure A1! More info:

/s/ Laura Baker, East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society
/s/ Ruth E. Malone, Co-Chair, Friends of Knowland Park
/s/ Jim Hanson, President, California Native Grasslands Association
/s/ Jeff Miller, Director, Alameda Creek Alliance
/s/ Elizabeth Baker, Vice President, Resource Renewal Institute

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Did the opponents even bother to read the official ballot language? Vote YES on A1 -- the money is legally required to be spent on Humane Animal Care! Read the official wording yourself in your voter handbook.

FACT: Measure A1's Expenditure Plan specifies that ALL funds must be spent as promised to taxpayers, for the following purposes:

  • Quality Humane Animal Care
  • Basic Animal Needs
  • Educational Programs for Children
  • Maintaining Zoo Affordability/Visitor Safety

FACT: Measure A1 requires an Independent Citizens Oversight Committee to ensure funds are spent as promised to you, the taxpayer. By law, the A1 Oversight Committee must include Conservation/Environmental and Animal Rights representatives, the League of Women Voters, Taxpayer and Senior advocates, and a PTA representative.

FACT: YES on A1 costs just $1/month -- pennies a day -- to give Oakland Zoo animals quality care.

"YES on A1 allows the Oakland Zoo to continue quality care for Zoo animals."

-Jim Maddy, President/CEO, National Association of Zoos & Aquariums

"Oakland Zoo animals deserve quality care. Many are retired circus animals or animals rescued from abuse -- YES on A1 ensures more animals can be rescued and get the care they need."

-Laura Maloney, Chief Operating Officer, Humane Society of the United States and Pat Derby, Co-Director, Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)

"YES on A1 supports the Oakland Zoo's wildlife conservation and animal rescue efforts, saving animals wounded in the wild and giving sanctuary to endangered species."

-Ron Kagan, Founding Member, Center for Zoo Animal Welfare

Join us:

/s/ Dr. Kim R. Carlson, Veterinarian/President, Alameda County Veterinary Medical Association
/s/ Betty Yee, Board of Equalization, Member
/s/ Dr. Joel Parrott, Veterinarian/Executive Director, Oakland Zoo
/s/ Judith Cox, Government Accountability and Transparency Advocate
/s/ Gary Twitchell, Knowland Park Neighbor and lifetime Sierra Club member

Alameda Home Page || Statewide Links || About Smart Voter || Feedback
Created: February 1, 2013 14:01 PST
Smart Voter <>
Copyright © League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office or political parties.