Legislation to Increase Fundraising Ability
for West San Francisco Bay Parks District
Needs Your Support
September 20, 2007
9/21/07 Dear BAOSC members:
I respectfully urge each Council member to support legislation
sponsored by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD)
that will increase needed resources to purchase and preserve vital
public open space lands by increasing the District’s debt term for
its “notes” from 20 years to 30 years. This request is a little
unusual, as normally the Council would go on record as supporting
such legislation, as we have planned; however, in the case of AB 697
(Ruskin), Craig Britton has run into a roadblock on this fairly
simple legislation and feels that only overwhelming support will
counteract a rather philosophical opinion on the part of the staff
for the Senate Local Government Committee that has stalled this
bill. It passed out of the Assembly on a unanimous vote!
As many of you may know, AB 697 (Ruskin) was designed to achieve this
minor amendment to MROSD’s enabling legislation during the last
legislative session, but was unexpectedly held up by the Senate Local
Government Committee, turning it into a two-year bill. The Committee
will take up this issue again soon and your support is critical for
its passage. (East Bay Regional Park District, MORSD’s sister
agency, already has this authority by legislation passed in 1987).
Extending the debt term will help ensure that the District can
continue to protect the peninsula’s natural environment and create
opportunities for public recreation. AB 697 would benefit the public
by saving taxpayer money and producing more funds to purchase and
preserve open space lands.
The committee staff will compile a report on this bill and it’s
important that your letters are mentioned in the “supporters”
category. Some talking points and a sample letter are attached to
this message – please feel free to use them. Of course you may
customize the letter to fit your organization.
Please fax the attached sample letter to the committee members:
Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod, (Chair) ……. FAX 916.445-0128
Senator Dave Cox (Vice Chair) ……………… FAX 916.324-2680
Senator Tom Harman ………………………… FAX 916.445-9263
Senator Christine Kehoe ……………………… FAX 916.327-2188
Senator Michael Machado ……………………. FAX 916.323-2304
Committee staff director Peter Detwiler ………FAX 916.322-0298
Thank you very much for helping pass this important bill!
Bettina Ring, Executive Director
Bay Area Open Space Council
Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod
Standing Committee on Local Government California State Senate Sacramento, CA 95814 FAX 916. 445-0128
AB 697 (Ruskin): SUPPORT
Dear Chairperson McLeod: [Organization] strongly urges you to support AB 697 (Ruskin), which would increase needed resources to purchase and preserve vital public open space lands in the San Francisco Bay Area by increasing the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s (MROSD) debt term from 20 years to 30 years. We understand that AB 697 was introduced during the last session and that it is now a two-year bill. We are also aware that your Committee will again take it up in early 2008. As you know, rising real estate prices threaten the region’s open space District’s financial ability to purchase the last remaining natural open space lands. The Midpeninsula area is one the hardest impacted by these rising costs. We support decisive action by the MROSD to buy open space areas to protect our natural environment and create opportunities for public recreation. AB 697 would benefit the public by saving taxpayer money and producing more funds to purchase and preserve critical open space lands. The District has a stable source of income through local property taxes and has received Moody’s highest rating on their notes. Because short-term rates in the current bond market are not much different than long-term rates, the District would not have to pay higher interest rates for paying back its debt over a longer-term. The extension of the District's debt is appropriate also because the District's financing is only aimed at the purchase of land for preservation as open space – and the public will own this land in perpetuity, thereby creating a lasting legacy for generations to come. We ask for your help in ensuring the passage AB 697 to achieve this apparent minor, but critical change in the District’s enabling legislation that would save taxpayers money and increase funds to purchase and preserve essential public open space lands that are vanishing quickly.
cc: Senators of the Local Government Committee, Assemblymember Ira Ruskin, Senate Local Government Committee Staff Director Peter Detwiler