Streets in downtown San Jose

Decades of neglect and lack of investment in San Jose’s urban infrastructure have left neighborhoods highly vulnerable to natural disasters and drought, leaving disadvantaged communities shouldering too much of that vulnerability. The February 2017 Coyote Creek flood forced 14,000 people to evacuate and caused $100 million in property damage. San Jose also struggles to comply with regulations to reduce trash and other pollutants from the city’s stormwater that flows into San Francisco Bay.

Measure T authorizes $650 million of general obligation bonds to protect vital infrastructure and people from earthquakes, floods and other disasters, and preserves natural open space. Bond funds will repair deteriorating streets, bridges and stormwater systems, and upgrade emergency preparedness.


Vote for the Bay this November

YOU can keep fish, birds, and Bay Area communities safe as sea levels rise. YOU can make sure our tap water is truly safe to drink. YOU can slash greenhouse gas emissions and improve public transit across the region. All you have to do is VOTE!

But with so much on the November ballot, where should you begin? Right here! Below you’ll find all the information you need to shape San Francisco Bay’s future – right from the ballot box.


The global effort to stop plastic from choking our oceans is under attack Nov. 8.

Proposition 67 on California’s ballot would ban giveaways of single-use plastic shopping bags throughout our state, not just in individual coastal and Bay Area cities.

Passing Proposition 67 would reduce plastic pollution and boost the movement for bag bans throughout the United States. But failing to pass it could crush progress here and around the world.

Plastic bag manufacturers are going for the kill right now, desperate to protect their profits from making throwaway items. When Gov. Jerry Brown signed a 2014 law banning these bags statewide, bag makers paid signature gatherers hundreds of thousands of dollars for a referendum that blocks the law unless Proposition 67 passes. Now they’re preparing to spend millions more to confuse voters. (Take Action: Let’s hold them accountable.)

Novolex and three other out-of-state plastic bag makers know that populous California is not only a huge market, but a trendsetter. If they defeat Proposition 67, they deter other states and countries from banning bags, and global plastic pollution continues to grow. If we pass Proposition 67, we keep billions of plastic bags from trashing our neighborhoods, creeks, bays and beaches, and we encourage other states and countries to do the same.

Single-use plastic shopping bags create some of the most visible litter in our communities and they harm and kill wildlife every day. In our oceans, sea turtles, otters, seals, fish and birds are tangled in plastic bags. Many animals mistake bags for food, fill their stomachs with plastic bits and die of starvation. Bag pollution also costs our state and local communities $107 million dollars annually for litter cleanup. Less than 5 percent of plastic bags in California are recycled.

In the 150 California cities and counties that have banned single-use plastic bags, these laws have already proven successful. Shoppers quickly adjust to bringing reusable bags to stores, and communities see deep reductions in plastic bags clogging creeks and storm drains. San Jose banned plastic bags in 2012 and currently reports 69 percent fewer plastic bags in its trash screens and 71 percent fewer plastic bags in its creeks.

But in most of California, bags are still distributed free by stores, and those bags don’t respect boundaries. Millions of plastic bags from other cities still blow and flow into our shared waterways or are carried to beach destinations like San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Monterey to become marine debris.

More than 1.3 million plastic bags were picked up from California beaches on just one recent Coastal Cleanup Day. So it’s no surprise that 90 percent of floating ocean debris is plastic, which never biodegrades.

For all of us who treasure California’s creeks, bays and beaches, and the fish and wildlife who live in them, Proposition 67 is a crucial opportunity to prevent billions more plastic bags from becoming toxic, deadly litter throughout the state.

Voting Yes on 67 is also our chance to show the nation and the world how to stand up to the plastic bag industry, so other states and countries follow our example and rescue the world’s oceans from the plastic trash that is choking them.

This Op-Ed was originally published in the San Jose Mercury News on 8/9/2016. 


This is the third and final blog in our series on the June ballot measures that will affect San Francisco Bay.

If you’ve read our previous posts in this series, you’ll know about a couple of the important measures on the June ballot that will affect San Francisco Bay. Proposition 68, the parks and water bond, includes $20 million for Bay wetlands restoration, adding to Measure AA funds. Regional Measure 3 would help relieve Bay Area traffic, reducing roadway and air pollution that threatens the health of the Bay and the air we breathe.

Save The Bay Action Fund has endorsed these measures for the benefits they will provide for San Francisco Bay and Bay Area residents. Here are Save The Bay Action Fund’s voting recommendations on other measures on this Tuesday’s ballot:

NO on Proposition 70 – Obstructs Climate Change Spending: Proposition 70 would hinder the Legislature’s ability to allocate money from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), which holds revenue from the state’s cap-and-trade program. The Legislature currently allocates GGRF funds each year to programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help communities most affected by pollution adapt to climate change. This measure would lock up GGRF revenue after 2024 unless the State Senate and Assembly both vote by two-thirds to release it.


Photo by Vincent James

This is the second in three posts about June ballot measures that affect San Francisco Bay.

Bay Area residents know all too well the gridlock on our roads and highways. Our region’s rapid growth has put a significant strain on our transportation infrastructure, with more cars on the road, more passengers packing trains and buses, and longer commute times.

All of this growth has a direct impact on the health of our Bay, as more vehicles crowd roads and highways that parallel the shoreline and cross the water. When cars sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic along I-880 or inch along the Bay Bridge, more oil runs off onto roads and washes into the Bay, and more particulate matter and greenhouse gas emissions pollute the air and threaten Bay water quality.