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Monitor Notes: Voting, Voting, Voting (plus Greenbelt Gala, Energy Upgrades, and Anderson Reservoir)

Welcome to Monitor Notes, a weekly roundup of news items, event announcements, and updates on past Bay Area Monitor articles.


Voters, Cast Your Ballots!

Anyone who has read Monitor Notes for a while knows we like meaty public participation opportunities. The November 3 presidential election is arguably 2020’s most flavorful. So as Bay Area residents begin receiving mail-in ballots, we kick off early voting with some League of Women Voters decision-making resources and a look at a high-profile measure residents in three Bay Area counties will consider.

To get started, LWV Palo Alto is hosting a virtual Pros/Cons discussion on October 7 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. about the state’s dozen propositions, as well as local measures. LWV Berkeley-Albany-Emeryville also is giving props to the propositions during a Friday, October 9 voter education webinar at 6:30 p.m. The San Francisco and Oakland groups close out the week with similar ballot reviews, both on Saturday, October 10 at 10:30 a.m.

Should you run into voting issues, LWV Berkeley-Albany-Emeryville has a handy “everything you wanted to know” list. Or, scout out the state’s county registrar contacts to troubleshoot issues.

While there aren’t a lot of local measures that overlap across the region, voters in San Francisco, San Mateo County, and Santa Clara County will weigh Measure RR relating to Caltrain and a potential sales tax of 1/8 of a cent to generate $108 million annually for 30 years. Proponents say Measure RR will help save the commuter rail operator from ceasing operations and improve the system. Opponents believe pension and personnel costs have made the Caltrain budget difficult to meet, and that sales taxes are regressive and hurt poorest communities most. Watch a brief video from LWV North & Central San Mateo County for a summary of each position. Or check Voter’s Edge from the state League if you’re curious about who’s supporting specific measures and candidates.

With 27 days to go, we encourage you to reach out to the League near you for more on local measures. Notes will continue to highlight League events throughout October.


Greenbelt Views

As wildfires burn across California, Greenbelt Alliance is assembling Bay Area experts to talk about nature-based policy solutions to help people and communities hurt by the climate crisis during its annual gala, Savor the Greenbelt. The October 14 event from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. will feature Greenbelt Alliance partners, including Andrea Mackenzie (pictured), general manager of the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority. She’ll discuss the importance of policies to preserve open space and wildlife habitat. Wade Crowfoot, California secretary for natural resources, and Therese McMillan, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, also are speaking. The event is free, but donations are welcomed.


Rebate Offers

Thinking about a remodel or concerned your home is too drafty? Join the County of Santa Clara and City of Mountain View for an online energy efficiency workshop on Thursday, October 15 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. The event will cover energy upgrades and how to qualify for rebates with the Home+ Program run by the Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN). Rebates are available for air and duct sealing, attic and wall insulation, high-efficiency furnaces, and cooling and water systems. Register here and then fire up a 2018 Monitor article about grants awarded to local groups working to increase home energy efficiency.


Reservoir Retrofit

Valley Water began draining the Anderson Reservoir last week, the first in a series of retrofit activities to make the dam earthquake safe and return it to its original storage capacity. Planned improvements will help address flooding risks extending 30 miles north to San Francisco Bay and 40 miles south to Monterey Bay should a catastrophic failure occur during the rainy season when the reservoir is full, according to a Valley Water statement. In preparation, Valley Water closed some nearby recreation areas for safety reasons during construction and relocated steelhead fish to the Coyote Watershed.


Monitor Notes is produced by Cecily O’Connor. To receive it by email, scroll to the bottom of this page, enter your email address in the box under “RECEIVE EMAIL UPDATES,” and click the red “SIGN UP” button.


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