Greenbelt Alliance Election Wrap Up 2019

Voters Protect Natural Lands & Choose Smart Growth For A More Resilient Bay Area

On November 5, 2019, people across the Bay Area made their priorities clear—climate-smart growth that preserves open space lands is the future we choose. The residents of Rohnert Park and Brentwood stood against destructive sprawl development by protecting their urban growth boundaries. And in San Francisco, investing in homes that our teachers and neighbors can afford resounded with over two-thirds of the city voting for critical funding propositions. 

The North Bay has a history of protecting its unique open space lands that clearly define the character of the communities in the area. This year, Rohnert Park was asked to renew their commitment to the natural and agricultural lands that surround their hometown by renewing the city’s Urban Growth Boundary for another 20 years. Greenbelt Alliance worked with the City to craft Measure B, encouraging residents to protect the open spaces around the city. We also hosted several events leading up to the special election to ensure the people of Rohnert Park could get questions about the Measure answered as well as to fully understand what the boundary means for them and Rohnert Park as a whole. The community responded without hesitation with an overwhelming 90% of voters saying yes to Measure B to renew the UGB.

In Brentwood, developer Blackhawk Nunn wanted to sidestep the community planning process, drafting a 193-page ballot measure (Measure L) that undermined the city’s long-standing environmental protections to approve new development rules that would have allowed the company to build thousands of housing units on protected lands. Greenbelt Alliance, along with many partners, worked to raise awareness about this deceptive plan, rallying the Brentwood community to stand against Measure L. And the voters did just that—standing their ground and saying no to this poorly proposed development that would have paved over farmland and critical habitat—escalating traffic congestion, harming our already fragile environment, and putting the community’s water supply at risk. Defeating Measure L sends a clear message to developers that we must preserve valuable lands and build within current cities and towns near transit, services, and jobs. 

And while we say no to unnecessary sprawl development, we acknowledge that more housing is a must. Our region continues to grow at rapid rates. With the housing crisis reaching extreme levels, policies are required to ensure the Bay Area remains a place that is inclusive and sustainable for everyone. That is why we support growth in the right places—within cities and towns that people across the income spectrum can afford. We are thrilled that San Francisco’s Propositions A and E passed, providing solutions that will begin to turn the tides of the housing crisis for many residents. Both propositions will fund the creation and renovation of homes for our low-income neighbors while also ensuring our educators can afford to live in the same city where they teach.

We celebrate the open space wins in Brentwood and Rohnert Park, along with the new affordable homes that will be created in San Francisco. From increased wildfires to repeated cycles of drought and flooding, the wins from the November election are critical steps we must take as our region battles the effects of climate change. And the fight must go on! Immediate action is required to preserve our natural resources and help nature help us. We must continue to pass policies that provide homes people can afford within our urban footprint, away from the dangers climate change brings. It is with your support that we can continue our work in combating these issues through smart planning and conservation—please give today to ensure the Bay Area grows in a climate-smart and resilient way.

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Photo: Daniel J Schwarz via Unsplash

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