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Santa Clara County, CA November 4, 2014 Election
Measure Q
Protect, preserve, and expand public access to open space
Santa Clara County Open Space Authority

2/3 Approval Required

Pass: 170359 / 67.95% Yes votes ...... 80363 / 32.05% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 28 11:41am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (730/730)
Information shown below: Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

To protect and preserve natural open space areas for future generations by: improving parks, open spaces and trails; protecting land around creeks, rivers and streams to prevent pollution and improve local water quality; preserving wildlife habitat; expanding public access; enhancing environmental education; and protecting scenic hillsides, shall Santa Clara County Open Space Authority levy a special tax of $24 annually per parcel for 15 years, with citizen oversight and all funds benefitting local open space?

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote on this measure means:
A "yes" vote is a vote to approve a parcel tax of $24.00 per parcel on parcels within the District for 15 years.

A NO vote on this measure means:
A "no" vote is a vote to not approve a parcel tax of $24.00 per parcel on parcels within the District for 15 years.

Impartial Analysis from County Counsel
Upon approval of two-thirds of the votes cast by voters in an election, California law permits the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority to enact a special tax, pursuant to Public Resources Code section 35172 and Government Code sections 50075, et seq. and 53724.

The Governing Board (Board) for Santa Clara County Open Space Authority (District) proposes Measure Q, a parcel tax to be levied at $24 per parcel per year for a period of 15 years. If approved, the parcel tax will commence on July 1, 2015 and expire on June 30, 2030. The parcel tax shall not levied on any property that is legally exempt from paying ad valorem property taxes in any tax year.

State law requires the District to state the specific purposes for which the tax proceeds will be used and only spend the proceeds of the tax for these purposes. The stated purposes of the tax proposed by Measure Q are to: (1) protect open space, redwood forests, wildlife habitat, scenic hillsides and agricultural land; (2) protect land around creeks, rivers and streams to prevent pollution and improve local water quality; (3) open, improve and maintain parks, open space and trails; and (4) provide urban open space, parks and environmental educational programs.

The District is required by law to provide additional accountability measures for the proceeds. These measures include: (1) depositing the proceeds into a fund that is separate and apart from other District funds; and (2) providing an annual written report to the Board detailing the amount of funds collected and expended and the status of any project authorized to be funded from the tax proceeds. The Board will establish an independent advisory committee of citizens to review the expenditures authorized by Measure Q.

Measure Q was placed on the ballot by the Board.

A "yes" vote is a vote to approve a parcel tax of $24.00 per parcel on parcels within the District for 15 years.

A "no" vote is a vote to not approve a parcel tax of $24.00 per parcel on parcels within the District for 15 years.

Orry P. Korb
County Counsel

By: /s/ Susan Swain
Lead Deputy County Counsel

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Arguments For Measure Q Arguments Against Measure Q
We are fortunate to enjoy beautiful open vistas, parks, trails and unique natural areas right here in Santa Clara Valley.

From urban parks to scenic hillsides, the open spaces we preserve are a legacy for our children and grandchildren. They ensure protected natural areas and access to local trails.

Vote Yes on Q to preserve open space for current and future generations, so local residents can experience nature here in Silicon Valley.

Measure Q will:

  • Preserve scenic hillsides, open space, wildlife habitat, redwood forests, agricultural land and urban open space
  • Increase public access to open space, maintain local parks and trails, and expand trail connections among local and regional parks
  • Protect lands around creeks, streams and rivers to prevent toxins and pollution from getting into our drinking water
  • Provide outdoor environmental education opportunities for children and adults

All Measure Q funds will preserve open space in San Jose, Milpitas, Santa Clara, Campbell, Morgan Hill and unincorporated Santa Clara County--the state cannot take away a single penny. Independent citizen oversight and annual audits will ensure funds are spent as promised. Measure Q expires in 15 years.

As our region continues to grow, protecting scenic hillsides, open spaces, and creeks and streams is increasingly important to maintain our high quality of life in Santa Clara County.

Business and community leaders agree that open space makes Santa Clara County a wonderful place to work and live. Parents and educators agree that access to open space is essential for hands on science education and places for kids to explore nature.

Please join us: Vote Yes on Q to protect the natural areas that make Silicon Valley a beautiful place to live, now and in the future.

For more information about Measure Q supporters and a map of priority open space preservation projects, visit

/s/ Zoe Lofgren

/s/Rod Diridon, Sr.
President, Santa Clara County League of Conservation Voters

/s/Gloria Chun Hoo
President of the Leagues of Women Voters of Santa Clara County

/s/ Steve Tate
Mayor of Morgan Hill

/s/Carl Guardino
President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Open Space Authority (OSA) says we are fortunate to be able to enjoy beautiful parks, trails, and open vistas, here in Santa Clara Valley. But the reason for that is the truly excellent park system, put in place by agencies like the county Parks and Recreation Department, on over 45,000 acres comprising 28 parks. Almost no OSA land is open to the public for any use.

OSA is redundant. It claims to preserve wildlife habitat; however, we now have Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency to comprehensively perform that function. Due to its extensive, countywide studies of species' habitats, it will acquire land in a sensible manner; not by OSA's checkerboard approach.

As to protecting land around creeks and streams to keep out toxins: Santa Clara County and Santa Clara Valley Water District are front and center in this effort, alongside the Regional Water Quality Control Board. They have permitting processes, policing resources, and expertise to do the job in a first-class manner.

As to preserving agricultural land: county, state, and regional resources are fully in place to protect this vital economic activity. OSA is unnecessary.

Does OSA protect redwood forests? Give us a break! What are they going to do--shoo away red-headed woodpeckers?

OSA is a bit player in fields well handled by specialized agencies already in place. We already pay for these protections through our state and local taxes. Don't authorize more taxation, to reward a redundant agency of amateur status.


Please visit:

/s/Omar Chatty
Vice President, Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association

/s/ Edward Leo Wimmers
Chair, Libertarian Party of Santa Clara County

/s/ Elizabeth C. Brierly
District Homeowner/Resident

/s/ Steven B. Haug
District Homeowner/Resident

If you thought the Open Space Authority (OSA) was protecting your "view shed"---think again.

Much of its property in the Diablo Range is east of the western ridgeline. Of the vast areas that OSA has in the Santa Cruz hills, only small areas are visible from the valley floor. The large parcels here are not only out of sight, but out of reach--to all but the most avid hikers.

What's going on? A new dynastic bureaucratic-elite is now enjoying its vast spread of land. The land for the most part is so steep that only a small fraction of our citizens can ever enjoy it. OSA calls the trail up to Sierra Vista "bracing".

The OSA is already taxing typical homeowners $12 a year, and for 2014- 2015 will raise $4,216,965.

OSA's Engineer's Report shows an "ESTIMATE OF COSTS" for the year. Only $80,000 is earmarked for land acquisition. But $4,228,254 is for "General Operating Expenses" of which $1.9M is for payroll and another $0.82M for benefits. The OSA staff is very well paid.

Now they want to get an ADDITIONAL $24 per year from us. If they do, how long do you think it will take for the "General Operating Expenses" to double and then triple to keep this bloated bureaucracy in place?

Six years ago, the California Supreme Court unanimously held that OSA's $20 "assessment" was unlawful; OSA Illegally took over $50M from us. But OSA ended up keeping over $30M, which has allowed its annual expenditures since then to exceed income; and now they are using a big slice of these ILL-GOTTEN GAINS to run an expensive "EDUCATIONAL" effort to get your favorable vote on this measure.

Tell OSA "NO"! Vote "No" on Measure Q.

Please visit our website:

/s/Omar Chatty
Vice President, Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association

/s/ Edward Leo Wimmers
Chair, Libertarian Party of Santa Clara County

/s/ Elizabeth C. Brierly
District homeower/resident

/s/ Steven B. Haug
Treasurer Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Whether we live in San Jose, Morgan Hill, Santa Clara, Milpitas or unincorporated Santa Clara County, we enjoy the benefits of open space. That's why Santa Clara County leaders are voting Yes on Q.

A plan to preserve and expand open space, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities in Santa Clara County, Measure Q is the result of years of public input. It's our community's plan to protect our natural heritage and quality of life.

Measure Q protects nature for future generations as Silicon Valley grows.
On a very lean budget, OSA preserved 16,000 acres of open space in the last 20 years. To continue safeguarding open space in California's fastest growing region, we need Measure Q. It will preserve our last remaining open spaces, keeping them open to the public into the future.

Measure Q means more access to nature.
Urban and suburban creek trails and beautiful open space preserves, like Ulistac, Three Creeks and Sierra Vista, are accessible to all 365 days per year. Measure Q will double the publicly available open space and trails available.

Open Space protects clean water sources.
By preserving open space, we protect creeks and streams, keeping pollution and toxins from getting into our drinking water.

Measure Q funds stay local and cannot be taken by the state.
Citizen Oversight and annual audits ensure all funds support open space protection for specific projects as outlined in your ballot book.

Open space that surrounds our communities makes Santa Clara County a desirable place to live, work and raise a family. Join us--vote Yes on Q.

/s/Cindy Chavez
Santa Clara County Supervisor, District 2

/s/ Lan Nguyen
Board Member, East Side Union High School District

/s/ Laurie Smith
Santa Clara County Sheriff

/s/ Evan Low
Councilmember, City of Campbell

/s/ Jim Cunneen
Former President, San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce and Former Republican Assemblymember

Full Text of Measure Q
Full Text

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