It was a battle of dollars versus democracy, and democracy won. That means San Jose’s environment, infrastructure, seniors, and veterans all won as well. Greenbelt Alliance and a broad coalition of environmental and housing organizations worked together to show that sprawl development is not a solution to the housing crisis.
Despite being out-spent at least 10-to-1 by Measure B’s billionaire backers, our team of organizations stopped this destructive measure which would have rewritten local rules to facilitate sprawl development across the city. It threatened thousands of acres of open space across San Jose, including the majestic Coyote Valley. It also included development plans for the Evergreen area, paving over greenbelt lands while bypassing affordable housing requirements and local fees. Measure B would have set a dangerous precedent for the entire Bay Area.
We have seen efforts similar to Measure B in the past, as developers throughout the Bay Area tried to mislead the public and overrule community and environmental protections. But the public in our country’s tenth largest city has seen through the deception. Developers should be working with cities to create sustainable and inclusive communities with homes for a range of income levels, instead of destructive sprawl.
By saying No to Measure B and Yes to Measure C, San Jose voters showed once again that they will unite to stop sprawl and support smart growth in our cities and towns. Voters showed more strongly than ever, that safeguarding Coyote Valley, in particular, is an essential and unifying value.
Sprawl developers, take note: Voters want sustainable, walkable communities with housing for all. The Bay Area will not stand for sprawl.
We are especially proud of how our years of prior work emphasizing the need to protect Coyote Valley has embedded that concept in San Jose’s culture. When we met with City Councilmembers, leaders, and the community about the threat Measure B posed to Coyote Valley, they were ready to respond because they knew about its importance.
Greenbelt Alliance helped form Neighbors for Affordable Housing and Open Space, the campaign against Measure B and for Measure C, from the beginning. We organized residents to walk precincts and hit the phones, with Greenbelt Alliance volunteers calling San Jose voters to get the word out about Measures B and C. Our campaign expertise, together with our coalition allies, played a key role in defeating Measure B and passing Measure C.
Building on this victory, Greenbelt Alliance and our partners will continue to protect our region’s precious natural and agricultural lands—including Coyote Valley—while helping the Bay Area create the right development in the right places.
Photo: Wesley Lee