In March of this year, the SF Bay Water Quality Control Board asked their staff to bring back an enforcement order against Caltrans for the agency’s multi-year failure to clean trash from Bay Area highways before it pollutes local creeks and the Bay. Despite this clear and urgent direction, an enforcement order has yet to be presented. That’s why close to 80 local elected officials sent a letter to the Board last week urging them to take action immediately and demand cleaner highways for our region and the Bay.

 


Bay Area voters showed again this week that we understand climate change is upon us, and we will invest to keep our communities and San Francisco Bay safe and healthy. In fact, we are ahead of voters in other parts of California – and that meant some mixed results on priority ballot measures endorsed by Save The Bay Action Fund.

Your votes made a big impact in this election, producing victories on most ballot measures in our Bay Smart Voter Guide, which benefit San Francisco Bay’s people and wildlife in a time of rapid climate change. Together, we passed measures to protect against sea level rise, reduce pollution, improve transit, and enhance open space. This is huge progress, as you can see in the detailed results below.

Unfortunately, Proposition 3, the state water bond, did not secure enough votes for passage statewide despite winning majorities in most of the Bay Area. In a noisy campaign year with a crowded ballot, we and our Prop. 3 partners needed to communicate the facts to more voters around the state.

Too many state voters did not know that Prop. 3 would help the 1 million Californians who lack safe drinking water, restore thousands of acres of wetlands for wildlife, and advance water recycling. Too many forgot about recent severe droughts and floods Prop. 3 would prepare us to survive.

Nevertheless, we know these threats will keep increasing and sea levels will keep rising. Save The Bay is more committed than ever to educating voters and elected officials that we need to invest in San Francisco Bay, the Bay Area, and beyond. With your support, we will

  • Advocate even harder for Bay Smart Communities, adapting cities and the Bay to survive climate change, pollute less, and prepare more. We will unite partners to win clean water, better transit, affordable housing, and healthier communities for all.
  • Accelerate marsh restoration on the Bay shoreline, to boost wildlife and protect against flooding.
  • Keep educating the next generation and all residents to support the Bay as volunteers, voters, and donors.

Thank you for voting for the Bay! Don’t wait until the next election to stay involved:

  • Volunteer with us to plant wetlands this fall
  • Advocate against trash flowing into the Bay
  • And, please donate generously to support all that Save The Bay does.

Measure W helps reduce Bay Area traffic

Those who commute in San Mateo County know how bad the traffic is. If you’ve driven through the 101-92 interchange recently, you know something needs to be done to relieve congestion and improve commute time. To achieve this, we must not only fund highway projects, but also enhance public transit options, support alternative modes of transportation, and connect high-quality transit to affordable housing.

Measure W will do just that by raising $2.4 billion over 30 years for projects that will take thousands of cars off of highways every day, fix potholes and maintain streets throughout the County, and make it safer to travel to schools and employment centers by bike and on foot.


Photo courtesy of No on Prop 6

Improvements and upgrades to Bay Area roads and public transit are decades overdue. Not only does this outdated, inefficient, and crumbling infrastructure impact our daily lives—especially for those traveling from the outskirts of our region—it threatens the health of the Bay.

We need to invest in our transportation infrastructure to protect the Bay and improve quality of life in our region. But Proposition 6 will do the opposite by eliminating more than $700 million in statewide investments in public transit, road and bridge repairs, and initiatives to increase bicycle and pedestrian mobility.


Photo credit: Yes on Measure V

As San Jose grows and becomes more expensive, too many hardworking families are being forced out of the city they love. San Jose needs housing to reduce the hours and hours of time workers spend commuting. Affordable housing can reduce commute times and help decrease emissions that lead to pollution and contribute to climate change.

Measure V authorizes $450 million of general obligation bonds to acquire, construct and complete affordable housing in San Jose. Alleviating the critical shortage of affordable housing is essential to creating Bay Smart Communities that improve Bay Area sustainability. Measure V will produce and preserve housing with access to transit so more low-income and middle-income residents aren’t displaced, and can live close to work without long drives that emit pollution and greenhouse gasses that worsen climate change.


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.


Photo credit: Bill Clark

The East Bay Regional Park District provides Bay Area residents with access to public parks and trails along the San Francisco Bay Shoreline, an oasis destination that goes beyond the bustling urban development.

Measure FF funds protection and enhancement of urban parks by extending the current annual parcel tax on property owners in parts of western Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. It extends the tax of $12/year per single-family parcel and $8.28/year for multi-family units, raising approximately $3.3 million annually for the parks.


Photo courtesy of Strengthen Our Seawall for Earthquakes and Disasters, Yes on Prop. A

Proposition A authorizes $425 million in general obligation bonds to repair the 100-year old seawall along San Francisco’s waterfront, whose failure in a major earthquake could flood $100 billion in property and crucial infrastructure.

The Embarcadero already experiences flooding several times each year during King Tides. Floods will occur more often from severe storms, and up to five feet of additional sea level rise is expected this century. Even without a major earthquake, this flooding threatens vital roads along the waterfront, in the financial district, and nearby residential neighborhoods.

Flooding also could inundate BART and Muni tunnels, utility and water systems and historic buildings, such as the Ferry Building and along Fisherman’s Wharf. The Bay is too deep along the San Francisco waterfront to construct marshes for shoreline protection – this is one area where strengthening and raising the seawall is essential.


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.


A little over a year ago, California voters became the first in the United States to approve a single-use plastic bag ban. With the passage of Proposition 67, Californians took a stand to protect our state’s diverse and fragile environmental systems from being further harmed by plastic bag litter. One year later, we are proud to say that the ban has been successful in reducing the amount of plastic that reaches local waterways and harms wildlife and water quality.

Data from Coastal Clean-Up Day shows that there has been a 72% decline in plastic bag litter from 2010, and plastic bags now account for only 1.5% of total litter compared to 10% seven years before. Furthermore, it cost the state $400 million, or about $10 per resident, to clean up littered bags prior to the ban.

Far from going unnoticed, California’s plastic bag ban set a trend. Hawaii decided to implement its own statewide bag ban, and municipalities across Massachusetts and Washington have taken the same step to protect waterways and wildlife. While many states have yet to follow our example, Californians should be proud of the fact that we have proven ourselves once again to be leaders in protecting both local and global waters from toxic plastic pollution.