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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by rensho View Post
    Midpen is being dishonest in the bond. The majority of the money will be spent on the $16M+/yr to keep the burgeoning staff paid, as well as the NEW trucks/motos/ATVs purchased.

    Like Rox said, don't give them a cent. There is no lack of access without MidPen there to CLOSE it to the public. At this rate, you would be damn lucky if your GRANDKIDS can access the lands they bought in 2000 era.

    The $300M would just go towards bike rider hatred and keeping dogs off limits, BUT will add 2000 more parking spaces for F550 diesel trucks with horse trailers.
    So, will you lead the campaign against the measure No On Measure WW! style? You could probably get financial support from developers if you were so inclined.
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  2. #27
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    I say we hold our votes and dollars hostage until we get some recognition. Mid Pen moves like a decomposed dinosaur. The user base has changed from Rich peninsula hikers and equestrians to the valley homeowners that actually paid for the space and are by far the largest users of the properties..
    The old guard has had these properties tied up since day one with their political connections.
    Time to upgrade the Open Space that is owned by the people to user specific trails designed and maintained by the users. Sure there can be some multiuse trails but 100% multi user trails is as old and tired as the board at Mid Pen.
    Mt Bikers need to be a unified group representing the largest group of users. Mt Bikers are by far the largest users of the recreational spaces around the peninsula.
    Last edited by StingRayBoy; 03-05-2014 at 03:00 PM. Reason: spell

  3. #28
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    Midpen's Bond Issue - Can / Should We Help?

    Why? If anything we should work to defund them. You want more radar, flooding parking lots and trail sanitation?

  4. #29
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    Midpen's Bond Issue - Can / Should We Help?

    Quote Originally Posted by HansNiemand View Post
    Let's see... 25 possible projects, $300M. No indication that all 25 will actually be undertaken, or in what priority, or how quickly. That's an average of $12M per project. Looking at the list, I'm having a hard time seeing how any one of those would cost $12M to implement. They already own the land, so the largest expense is already done with. Just think how long the Demo flow trail would be if it had a $12M bankroll!
    Consultants aren't cheap. Nor unfunded pension liabilities and mini dozers.

  5. #30
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    What does IMBA and/or ROMP/SVMTB say about the measure?

  6. #31
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    I am totally with Rensho & others about our frustrations with Midpen. How can we be careful not to anger people so that we even lose what we do have? I rely on these beautiful places for my after work sanity-keeping, healthful, de-stressing, calorie-burning activities, even though the policies are inane, and their heavy-handed, bulldozer trail maintenance makes mountain bike and horse use look like hugs & kisses.

    Honestly, the properties are gorgeous. Amazingly so. Sometimes you just need to stop and look up from the dirt once in a while and have a look around. We are so lucky to have them, and to be allowed to ride our bikes in them.
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  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by shredchic View Post
    How can we be careful not to anger people so that we even lose what we do have?
    We are tax paying voters that are encouraged to vote on issues we believe in. Why on earth would we want to "be careful not to anger" MidPen? Are we afraid they are going to take their ball and go home? If you think their policies are bad, and you don't like the way YOUR open space is managed then vote accordingly! This isn't Ukraine, yet.

  8. #33
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    Any of us who ride in the open spaces already supports Midpen financially.

    Who else gets $400 fines from Midpen?
    Hikers? Nope.
    Hikers with dogs? Nope.
    People with grow patches? Nope.
    Equestrians? Nope.
    People parking in Midpen lots after dark? Nope.

    They simply take more "support" (i.e., money) from riders by increasing the fines. The support we're providing to Midpen has been steadily increasing.

    I think it's amazing how much some organizations achieve with so little relative to Midpen. Imagine what could be achieved if we distributed $300 MILLION to the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, Trailworkers, etc.

    Bell is giving away a ton of money ($100k!!) again this year. I think the entire Demo flow trail (miles and miles of trails!) is estimated to cost $100k. Putting $100k in Midpen's hands would allow them to flatten and widen (w/ a bulldozer) maybe 10 feet of rocky trail to allow them to drive their excavator on it so they can "preserve" our open spaces.

    Seriously. I get the feeling that Midpen is swimming in so much money that they're struggling to figure out ways of spending it and have to resort to destroying the areas they're supposed to be preserving. This is common to many orgs--they either spend their budgets or lose it. Budgets have to stay the same or increase each year, even when they don't need it. Operating heavy machinery really inefficiently is a good way of blowing a lot of money really fast. Midpen want more money ($300M) so they can spend it so they can get more money.

    Mountain Bikers: "I like technical trails. Please leave the trails as is. We'll volunteer if trail work is needed."
    Midpen: "That amounts to $0/year for my budget. That's NOT acceptable!"

    Equestrians: "I need a huge paved parking lot for my F550 and horse trailer. I need nice smooth trails because my horse is out of shape and I don't want it to get tired."
    Midpen: "Awesome! We'll need XXX MILLIONS of dollars for years and years to bring in heavy machinery to widen and flatten the trails."


    Quote Originally Posted by jmpreston View Post
    Those in the district can lobby their neighbors but those of us out of the district have limited options to support it.

    Any ideas? Thoughts?

  9. #34
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    "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do"

    Benjamine Franklin

    It's amazing that in a urban setting of more than 3M people where there is access to so much open space and trails, people can't see past the end of their nose.


    Most visitors of park lands are respectful and appreciative of the trails and open space. In my 16 years working in parks, the few times I have been berated, belittled and called four letter words have come from the mouths of fellow mountain bikers. It's hard to get respect when some riders are just rude arrogant, pretentious a-holes. People remember the belligerent mtbiker over the one who smiles and waves hello.

    This is a political game it's time to stop complaining and start strategizing.

  10. #35
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    Bigkid, what is your stance on the bond measure?

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  11. #36
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    Well, from what we are hearing the bond measure will open up much of the lands that are currently closed to the public, purchase more lands currently held by POST and fund new capital projects (parking lots, facility structures, trails, bridges…). None of the bond money will go to the inflated salaries and benefits of the over paid park workers who drive in from Felton, Boulder Creek, Morgan Hill and San Martin because they cannot afford housing in the Silicon Valley.

    The bond amount is $300M over 30 years, not a big amount when you consider land prices and construction costs in the Silicon Valley. The SV is a unique economy that provides an added layer of security when considering long term debt payments.

    With that said, I support the vision of the funding measure but it will take the pressure of the public to see that vision come to a reality.

  12. #37
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    Re: Midpen's Bond Issue - Can / Should We Help?

    That's great, but does it benefit cyclists?

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  13. #38
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    Silicon Valley Mountain Bikers (SVMTB) fully supports the bond measure.

    Since the creation of MidPen, they have always operated under the policy of buy land now and manage it later. This insightful policy has saved tons of acres of forest and saved tax payers millions of dollars. The other result of this policy is that MidPen now has roughly 50% of the land unmanaged. The Bond measure will allow for more access for hiking and biking. It only makes sense for SVMTB to support any measure that gives our membership more opportunities to ride.

    I also fully agree with what bigkidd84 wrote.

  14. #39
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  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornfish View Post
    We are tax paying voters that are encouraged to vote on issues we believe in. Why on earth would we want to "be careful not to anger" MidPen? Are we afraid they are going to take their ball and go home? If you think their policies are bad, and you don't like the way YOUR open space is managed then vote accordingly! This isn't Ukraine, yet.
    I didn't really word that right. I don't mean there is some sort of threat happening here at all, but when we ask for more bike trails, our argument would be taken more kindly if we supported the bond measure. I don't live in any of Midpen's districts, so it might as well be the Ukraine for me I just work nearby and ride there.
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  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigkidd84 View Post
    Well, from what we are hearing the bond measure will open up much of the lands that are currently closed to the public, purchase more lands currently held by POST and fund new capital projects (parking lots, facility structures, trails, bridges…). None of the bond money will go to the inflated salaries and benefits....
    Where did Midpen explicitly say that none of the new money would go towards salaries? I don't see that on their webpage for the funding measure. In the past, a big excuse for all the "unmanaged" (translated: closed to all use) land is that they don't have the rangers to manage it. I suspect that the enticement of opening up more of the existing district-owned land will almost certainly come with a cost of employing a bunch more (radar-toting) rangers.

    The district currently gets $30M/yr from property taxes, for which we already pay $17 per $100K of assessed valuation. The bond measure would add another $3.18 per $100K on top of that. That's almost a 19% tax increase. Looking at their FY2013-14 annual budget, they're already budgeted to spend almost $6M for new land and special projects. This budget already includes $62K for Mt Um parking and $22K for a Mt Um multi-use trail. So even if the bond measure was defeated, it's not like they don't have any money to operate the district or build new trails.

    To me, their pitch comes across that the only way to do the 25 projects is if we give them $300M **more**.

  17. #42
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    General obligation bonds provide funds for projects that will not provide direct sources of revenue; Roads, schools, parks, equipment... These bonds are generally used to fund projects that serve the entire community. The law forbids the use of GO bond funds for salaries and benefits.

    82% of the EBRPD budget goes to personnel, debt service and operating expenses, while 64% of MROSD budget 2013 went to personnel, debt service and operating expenses. Funds for land acquisition and capital improvements fill the rest of the budget.

    The public participated in a process that developed the 25 projects, that process is independent of the bond measure. As with anything the more funds available the sooner things will happen. I agree that the timing of both the vision and bond measure come across as all or nothing.

  18. #43
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    Midpen's Bond Issue - Can / Should We Help?

    Quote Originally Posted by bigkidd84 View Post
    General obligation bonds provide funds for projects that will not provide direct sources of revenue; Roads, schools, parks, equipment... These bonds are generally used to fund projects that serve the entire community. The law forbids the use of GO bond funds for salaries and benefits.

    82% of the EBRPD budget goes to personnel, debt service and operating expenses, while 64% of MROSD budget 2013 went to personnel, debt service and operating expenses. Funds for land acquisition and capital improvements fill the rest of the budget.

    The public participated in a process that developed the 25 projects, that process is independent of the bond measure. As with anything the more funds available the sooner things will happen. I agree that the timing of both the vision and bond measure come across as all or nothing.
    Always ways around the law for a government agency. "Public processes" are designed to get the answers the agency wants. I worked for one for over a decade and know how they work from the inside.

  19. #44
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    It would be interesting to do a cost benefit analysis between Midpen and SCC Parks. This would take time because the data would have to be made comparable such as removing money spent by SCC Parks on kid's days and the holiday lights at Vasona.

    My guess from working as a volunteer for both organizations is that Midpen is more efficient. I certainly enjoy volunteer work for Midpen more and their team for that is far more organized and efficient.

    I doubt Midpen will ever create a Downieville Downhill experience on their properties. That isn't in the original purpose and the change to such recreation would need voter approval.

    There is also the media reaction to a large number of injuries. Braille Trail is off the media track but Midpen's properties are under the microscope. I don't blame the staff for wanting to avoid this mess.

    For technical trails buy or lease a ranch. The second option is to politically challenge State Parks for more challenging trails at Coe. Quit *****ing at Midpen.

  20. #45
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    Look long and hard at what is going on and make an informed decision. We are all very lucky to live in this area. Also remember MROSD is a Special District and not a Park system like Santa Clara County Parks. DT

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmpreston View Post
    It would be interesting to do a cost benefit analysis between Midpen and SCC Parks. This would take time because the data would have to be made comparable such as removing money spent by SCC Parks on kid's days and the holiday lights at Vasona.

    My guess from working as a volunteer for both organizations is that Midpen is more efficient. I certainly enjoy volunteer work for Midpen more and their team for that is far more organized and efficient.

    I doubt Midpen will ever create a Downieville Downhill experience on their properties. That isn't in the original purpose and the change to such recreation would need voter approval.

    There is also the media reaction to a large number of injuries. Braille Trail is off the media track but Midpen's properties are under the microscope. I don't blame the staff for wanting to avoid this mess.

    For technical trails buy or lease a ranch. The second option is to politically challenge State Parks for more challenging trails at Coe. Quit *****ing at Midpen.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigkidd84 View Post
    Well, from what we are hearing the bond measure will open up much of the lands that are currently closed to the public, purchase more lands currently held by POST and fund new capital projects (parking lots, facility structures, trails, bridges…). None of the bond money will go to the inflated salaries and benefits of the over paid park workers who drive in from Felton, Boulder Creek, Morgan Hill and San Martin because they cannot afford housing in the Silicon Valley.

    The bond amount is $300M over 30 years, not a big amount when you consider land prices and construction costs in the Silicon Valley. The SV is a unique economy that provides an added layer of security when considering long term debt payments.

    With that said, I support the vision of the funding measure but it will take the pressure of the public to see that vision come to a reality.
    I had to say something. So, Midpen employees have a long commute. Well, if it sucks so much, why even work there? For anybody interested in salaries: one can go look here: Bay Area Public Employee Salaries 2012 - San Jose Mercury News

    Salaries don't look too crazy. Benefits look pretty sweet though. Midpen (i.e. the taxpayer) pays both the employer and the employee pension portions.

    As to whether $300M is a small or big amount is really not the issue. What they're going to do with it is. If I were a local, I'd vote against it. Between the harassment of cyclists, the closing of parks 10+ years ago to cyclists, the lack of commitment to treating cyclists better in the future, one has to be a fool to give any more money.

    I'd ask for changes first and then give them money, not the other way around.

    Benefits doled out at Midpen:

    Benefits

    Retirement Plan

    CalPERS 2.5% @ 55 for classic members; CalPERS 2% at 62 for new members

    Social Security – District does not participate in SS; however, the District does pay toward Medicare

    Medical Plan – Choice of HMO or PPO plans through CalPERS – District pays most of insurance premiums

    Dental Plan – Delta Dental – District paid

    Vision Plan – VSP – District paid

    Life, LTD (Long-Term Disability), and AD&D (Accidental Death and Dismemberment) Insurance – District paid

    Employee Assistance Program –District paid

    Vacation – Starts at 15 days per year

    Personal Leave – 36 hours of leave per year

    Administrative Leave – Exempt positions receive up to 40 hours of leave per year

    Holidays – 11 paid holidays per year

    Sick Leave – 12 days per year – no cap on accumulation; up to 72 hours per year may be used for Family Sick Leave
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  22. #47
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    There WILL be more trails for riders

    I participated in MidPen's public process that started last year. Fortunately there was a pretty good turnout of MTB riders and a lot of the things we wanted floated to the top. The process was proof to me that you need to participate in the process by SHOWING UP. At the meetings I went to riders made up about 30% of the participants there. At 2 of the meetings if only 10 or 15 more riders had shown up we would have had 50%. And public agencies notice who shows up.

    I'm not suggesting that all MidPen lands will turn into a destination like Demo but we will have more trails once the 25 projects are done - there is no doubt about that. The plan is still in the early stages with a lot of specifics still to be worked out. This is where SVMTB (I recently joined the board) and others will need to rally riders to help guide detailed plan development in the direction we want. This can be done by working with the staff that develops the plans.

    Take a look at the projects at Top 25 Open Space Projects. Look at #4 for example at Skeggs. Development of single-use hiking and biking trails. What's not to like?

    Organized MTB opposition to the bond won't change the MidPen board. If the bond fails it just means that a number of new trails won't open. Don't fool yourself into thinking that being against this will somehow give you what you want. If you like trails to ride on, you should vote for the bond. If you like to live in an area where open space is valued, vote for the bond.

    Thanks,
    Alex Anderson
    Support trails, support access. Join IMBA and your local advocates - SVMTB. www.svmtb.org

  23. #48
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    Zorg, the thread claimed that the bond money would go to salaries and benefits, that's just not true. Now you have changed your position from opposing the bond measure to an attack on public employees? I'm not quite following your logic here.

    You said, "So, Midpen employees have a long commute. Well, if it sucks so much, why even work there?"…. how old are you? The length of employees commute time is in response to a post about MROSD "inflated" salaries. The point that you fail to acknowledge is that many people are being priced out of the Bay Area. Example: I have a friend who just got offered $150K for writing code 4 days a week.

    What value do you place on our natural environment and open spaces? There is no revenue stream coming out of protected lands no value in an economy based on growth and profits but there is value to the planet and society.

    I see in a previous post to this thread you proposed hooking up with developers to oppose this measure… that's an interesting bed to make Zorg. You come across as an individual who would privatize their National Parks if it meant you'd get your way.

    You lose all credibility when your position moves from any sort of logic to a position scripted by Ted Cruz or any other Tea Party nut job.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigkidd84 View Post
    Zorg, the thread claimed that the bond money would go to salaries and benefits, that's just not true.
    You are saying it would not go to salaries and benefits? Where is it written?

    I think Midpen has enough money already. They do not need another $300M to implement the "vision" plan.

    As far as losing credibility, there is not need to bring Tea Party into conversation. Just start right away with Hitler, alright? Anybody who opposes wasting more money on inefficient public bureaucracies is a right wing Hitler sympathizer.

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigkidd84 View Post
    Zorg, the thread claimed that the bond money would go to salaries and benefits, that's just not true. Now you have changed your position from opposing the bond measure to an attack on public employees? I'm not quite following your logic here.

    You said, "So, Midpen employees have a long commute. Well, if it sucks so much, why even work there?"…. how old are you? The length of employees commute time is in response to a post about MROSD "inflated" salaries. The point that you fail to acknowledge is that many people are being priced out of the Bay Area. Example: I have a friend who just got offered $150K for writing code 4 days a week.

    What value do you place on our natural environment and open spaces? There is no revenue stream coming out of protected lands no value in an economy based on growth and profits but there is value to the planet and society.

    I see in a previous post to this thread you proposed hooking up with developers to oppose this measure… that's an interesting bed to make Zorg. You come across as an individual who would privatize their National Parks if it meant you'd get your way.

    You lose all credibility when your position moves from any sort of logic to a position scripted by Ted Cruz or any other Tea Party nut job.
    Let's just say that your political assumptions miss the mark widely.

    I love the open spaces like all of us on this board, since we use them so much. I also realize that we're a tiny minority of heavy users. I'd wager that over 80% of bay residents use the open spaces less than twice a year.

    But back to the point. I think that the best approach would be for the bike advocates to support the bond. It's going to pass anyway. But, it'd be great if some individuals campaign against it to bring to the fore cycling issues. If we all blindly say yes to the bond without saying anything, our best shot at changing the discriminatory practices in place now will be missed.
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