This week has been a hard one for me. As a parent. As someone who knows we’ve reached the climate tipping point. As someone who cares deeply about equity. The list goes on and on.
The question we each have to answer right now is, “What am I going to do to make the world better?” Now more than ever, it is our responsibility to serve as role models. Now is the time to get involved with our children and neighbors to make the world a better place. To join our local neighborhood association. To organize community trash pickups. To advocate for local nature. To speak up against injustice. To vote with our dollar.
And take heart. We achieved tremendous local wins on Tuesday that deserve to be celebrated…
Measure H passed overwhelming in Gilroy, establishing an Urban Growth Boundary. This will protect open space and farmland while encouraging growth in the urban center. This was a grassroots triumph with resident-led Gilroy Growing Smarter up against a well-funded opposition, without any support from the City Council.
In Milpitas, voters said Yes to Measure I, Measure J, and Measure K, showing their strong support for the hillsides and parks. Measure I prohibits the extension of city infrastructure into the surrounding hillsides. Measure J affirms voter control over changes to the General Plan and the Hillside Ordinance. Measure K prohibits re-zoning of parkland unless approved by a two-thirds voter majority.
Measure R passed in Santa Clara, making a clear statement in favor of public protection of parks. Measure R prohibits selling parkland for development unless a two-thirds voter majority is reached. The success of this measure guarantees that parks will be protected regardless of future City Council politics.
Pacifica residents kept erosion at bay by voting No on Measure W. This defeats a massive redevelopment project that would have constructed housing without sufficient revenue support and contributed to the already damaging erosion of the Pacifica coastline.
We will also have many new local elected representatives joining us in January 2017. While Committee for Green Foothills does not endorse candidates, we know without the right decision makers even the best causes are lost. Because land use decisions are almost always local, these new city and county elected officials will inherit a big responsibility as caretakers of our region’s open space. It is our job to remind them of this and thank them for their service in advance.
And it is our responsibility as leaders to never lose hope. The impossible is achieved every day because ordinary people dare to dream.
This week our Board President sent me a quote from Paul Hawken’s commencement address to University of Portland in 2009 that I think is especially relevant right now. “You are Brilliant, and the Earth is Hiring. The earth couldn’t afford to send recruiters or limos to your school. It sent you rain, sunsets, ripe cherries, night blooming jasmine, and that unbelievably cute person you are dating. Take the hint. And here’s the deal: Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don’t be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.”