MROSD – from Vision Plan to ballot measure…maybe

Mindego Hill off Alpine Road. Will it ever be open? How about Big Dipper Ranch nearby? I've seen plenty of cow pies in the East Bay Parks. They don't have a problem with public access and open range.

Mindego Hill off Alpine Road. Will it ever be open? How about Big Dipper Ranch nearby? I’ve seen plenty of cow pies in the East Bay Parks. They don’t have a problem with public access and open range.

If you think the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) has a hidden agenda for its well-managed Vision Plan, you’re entitled to that opinion. I don’t believe that’s true because MROSD strictly adheres to the Brown Act, making available its finances and meeting notes on its website.

Few people attend MROSD meetings, so unless you go to the effort and look at the website, you’re missing out.

Ballot measure
After looking around I noticed that the District is moving closer to a funding measure on the local ballot, which was reported by the San Jose Mercury News (7/14/2011).

At the Sept. 25, 2013, meeting they contracted with George Gary Manross, Ph.D., who owns Strategy Research Institute (SRI), to monitor their vision plan. Manross was contracted by Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) to conduct a benchmark study to assess likely voter opinion regarding the District’s Vision Plan and related themes, as well as the feasibility of placing a successful funding measure on the local ballot in the near future.

Should the District move forward with a ballot measure, it would retain SRI’s services for writing the ballot language, as well as handling the data management and statistical analysis of District public surveys. Manross is an influential figure in California politics, according to Wikipedia. He predicted Chuck Reed would win the race for mayor of San Jose against Cindy Chavez (I could have predicted that one).

Property tax increase?
The bulk of the District’s revenue — 73 percent or about $30 million — comes from property taxes, with the rest from “transfers in” and “other.”

We all want open space, no denying that. How much the public is willing to pay for it when it’s off limits to humans is another matter.

POST received about $13 million in 2102, $16 million when you add interest and other commitments, which isn’t bad for a non-profit that keeps a low profile.

Now if only we could enjoy the land instead of just looking at it on a map.

Next up, at least there’s one enlightened water district…

One Response to “MROSD – from Vision Plan to ballot measure…maybe”

  1. Chris Harland-Dunaway Says:

    Ray, awesome series of posts, I’ve been reading all of them with great interest. Here is the lowdown on Big Dipper Ranch, as of a couple months ago when a teammate and I went exploring. Big Dipper is rideable, albeit a steep descent, all gravel to a private gate. On the other side of the gate is the ranch, and with a decisive turn of the pedals between two ranch buildings, you reach ‘Old Page Mill’. ‘Old Page Mill’ is unrideable for most of the ride, and a nasty hike because of bramble and many fallen trees, poison oak as well. However, you can detect the grade and trajectory of the road quite well and its very well made in that respect. 5% range most of the whole way. It ascends , gradually improving to a semi-rideable goat path, and eventually a passable dirt road. It reaches the top of the mountain nearby the Skyline/Alpine/Page Mill East junction in good form. Old Page Mill resides almost entirely on MROSD, from what I see on maps. All they need to do is clean up the road with a bulldozer and rebuild a couple slides and its good to go. A small bridge or culvert would be needed at a couple points too. They could even alter the course of the road to bypass the private ranch if they wanted to – not a massive undertaking at all, 90% of the work is done, albeit dilapidated at this point.

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