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  1. #51
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    I posted this yesterday-"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."

    I'm not trying to sway anyone either way but I think it's important to be educated on the facts and the process. Everyone has a right to their opinion but, IMO, posting salaries and benefits for an agency located in one of the worlds most expensive areas is changing the discussion to something entirely different and it resembles a Tea Party bait and switch. Yes, there is waste in government but there is also waste in private industry… I've worked in both. The difference in private is you don't have a voice in private industry unless you're a share holder. The public, is for the most part, absent at MROSD Board meetings. Change doesn't happen in a vacuum.

  2. #52
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    Happy to hear you love the open spaces and enjoy them regularly. You are correct, change will not happen unless you participate in the process and become politically active. MtBiking, is a large user group that has, thus far, been relatively unorganized with no unified message. Silicon Valley Mountain Bikers is a new name and a new start to hopefully build the relationships that create change. Your ultimate goal should be getting a MtBiker on the MROSD Board… I am a MtBiker!

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigkidd84 View Post
    Happy to hear you love the open spaces and enjoy them regularly. You are correct, change will not happen unless you participate in the process and become politically active. MtBiking, is a large user group that has, thus far, been relatively unorganized with no unified message. Silicon Valley Mountain Bikers is a new name and a new start to hopefully build the relationships that create change. Your ultimate goal should be getting a MtBiker on the MROSD Board… I am a MtBiker!
    Most people would rather bike than spend countless hours campaigning for various offices and shake constituents hands to ultimately get a board seat. I don't foresee a mountain biker sitting on Midpen board for a while. Eventhough that'd be the best way to resolve issues. Meanwhile, people can get their voices heard.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  4. #54
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    Voicing a need for changing Mtb access in a losing cause vs. a winning cause; pick one.
    Last edited by Berkeley Mike; 03-10-2014 at 11:23 PM.
    I don't rattle.

  5. #55
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    I support the bond measure

    I ride quite a lot in MidPen's areas. They have lots of great biking trails all the way from Skyline to Skeggs. I like the Sierra Azul trails/roads for the biking and access they offer, even though it's not singletrack. I like riding there in the rain, which MidPen is one of the few places that allows. They've built nice new biking trails recently, like White Oaks. Most important, we have a great big open space area to ride right here in the middle of high priced Silicon Valley. That is what MidPen was about, and what they did.

    I don't see MidPen as anti-bike in my numerous conversations with several of the staff, and their discussions at several meetings. Rather, I seem them as more concerned about land stewardship. MidPen looks to be fair to biking use among other users after that goal of stewardship. But I may not have the long history that others have. The only big issue I can see a potential bias was the Mindigo Hill exclusion. But that looks to be more of an over concern with snake preservation than anti-bike. And they've suggested some compensation with biking trails in other areas, however real that may be. Still waiting.

    MidPen's charter has officially changed, according to board directives, to give more emphasis now to access, over past priorities of land acquisition and stewardship, now that much of the land has been acquired while it was low cost. With this change to provide more access, MidPen recently concluded an expensive outreach program to collect the public opinion in many ways, such as meetings and web input. I followed this outreach program carefully and feel that MidPen staff truly collected and represented the wishes of the public as best possible. There was minimal cooking on the way to the board. What was said at the meetings and web is the same as what went to the board, in my careful tracking of the voting. There was some bias in the list of projects that MidPen proposed for voting, and at the end extra columns were added so Staff could have a vote too. But that process was made very transparent. Most important, in looking at how that MidPen staff and board bias actually changed things, it was pro-biking!

    MidPen refined and reduced their list of goals to 25 projects that fairly represented the public input, and the board approved them. The board even added some MORE great singletrack biking trails that didn't make the cut at the public meetings. (Such as new access trails down the front side of Mt Umunhum to Hicks Rd. - Rancho de Guadalupe Family Recreation and Interpretive Projects, #24 on the link) So how is that anti-bike?

    If bikers wanted more change, they should have been more vocal in the Outreach Program. Just a few voices and votes could have got us many more biking trails. And now bikers who didn't bother to vote or attend one of the meetings to provide input, instead want to campaign against the bond because MidPen isn't doing what they want? On top of being two-faced, I think MidPen already knows how much energy will be put into that.

    Bottom line is that MidPen is in charge. They are doing an OK job and will probably stay in charge, regardless of the new bond outcome. Without this bond, MidPen will stagnate and continue as it is now, however much you may love or hate. In contrast, this bond will allow them to move onto their next stage of providing access and more trails for all of us. This includes bike-only single track trails in Skeggs (ECDM), trails all over Mt Umunhum, including all the way to Demo, and many other improvements. Not all of it is just for biking. But the biking interests are fairly represented among all the user groups.

    In sum I definitely support the bond. It's not that big a tax, it provides much more bike trails and user access over time. Where the money will be applied is clearly spelled out and fairly represents what the public asked for, including us bikers, in the outreach meetings.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  6. #56
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    They're going to provide trails from Umunhum all the way to Demo? Wow. I'm not sure Demo is my style of riding, but if you're at Demo, you're practically at Nisene Marks, and if you're at Nisene Marks, you're at the coast on dirt.

    I ride and hike in Mid Pen parks. And when I do, I see other riders. Montebello, Fremont Older, Windy Hill, Russian Ridge, El Sereno... they're close to home and people ride there.

    When I look up at the hills from my house, I see green. That's because MidPen wisely bought up the hillsides and prevented them from development. They might not be doing everything we would want them to do, but they've done a lot of right things, and green hillsides mean a lot to me.

    I support the measure.

  7. #57
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    Nicely said Larry.

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

  8. #58
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    This is a perfect example of how much more can be done by participating early in the process than late in the process. It has been very hard to get our community to step up at this stage, so much easier to rail against something that seems conclusive.
    I don't rattle.

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by the other Anne View Post
    They're going to provide trails from Umunhum all the way to Demo? Wow. I'm not sure Demo is my style of riding, but if you're at Demo, you're practically at Nisene Marks, and if you're at Nisene Marks, you're at the coast on dirt.

    I ride and hike in Mid Pen parks. And when I do, I see other riders. Montebello, Fremont Older, Windy Hill, Russian Ridge, El Sereno... they're close to home and people ride there.

    When I look up at the hills from my house, I see green. That's because MidPen wisely bought up the hillsides and prevented them from development. They might not be doing everything we would want them to do, but they've done a lot of right things, and green hillsides mean a lot to me.

    I support the measure.
    My point entirely. MidPen was founded to create Green Hillsides. Access and trails are a secondary bonus. But now that sufficient land has been wisely acquired over the last couple decades, while it was still cheap, access is now finally taking a priority.

    Mt Umunhum is getting a lot of work under the proposed plan, especially nice since I live at the base. There's relevant three open space projects, looking at the map link:
    #23: Mt. Umunhum Public Access and Interpretation Projects. This is ongoing and besides restoring the top cube area, will make a couple mile singletrack trail along side the road, winding up to the cube. Should be great views.
    #25: Loma Prieta Area Public Access, Regional Trails, and Habitat Projects. This will open up a lot of land on the back (south) side of Mt. Umunhum. Trails will go all the way to Highland Rd. or Demo, and also connect in the east to the Santa Clara parks and open space, such as Rancho Canada del Oro and Calero park areas that just opened to biking. There's been talk in the past about doing lots of downhill singletrack in that new region. With the land available, I've even heard in past meetings proposals for equestrians and bikers to make their own separate trails to their liking. Don't know what will happen, but there's a lot of new open land with the potential to do a lot.
    #24: Rancho de Guadalupe Family Recreation and Interpretive Projects. This project was added back in by the board after it got low ratings by the public. It took me a while to understand this project value to biking, and verify with the MidPen staff this actually includes some multi-use singletrack on the front face of Mt. Umunhum.

    Also, Demo itself is a side tour if you're on the way to the sea. From Highland, just go up Buzzards Lagoon and down the dirt roads all the way to Santa Cruz.

    MidPen has definite plans to open this up this access for continuity to the sea and other parks. This "Loma Prieta" proposal to open this land got some of the highest rankings by the public. MidPen also said in the meetings that they feel that bikers will probably get the most benefit out of these trails, due to the distances and remoteness.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  10. #60
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    They should complete the 25 projects on their list and then ask for more money to complete another 25 projects.

  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry View Post
    My point entirely. MidPen was founded to create Green Hillsides. Access and trails are a secondary bonus. But now that sufficient land has been wisely acquired over the last couple decades, while it was still cheap, access is now finally taking a priority.

    Mt Umunhum is getting a lot of work under the proposed plan, especially nice since I live at the base. There's relevant three open space projects, looking at the map link:
    #23: Mt. Umunhum Public Access and Interpretation Projects. This is ongoing and besides restoring the top cube area, will make a couple mile singletrack trail along side the road, winding up to the cube. Should be great views.
    #25: Loma Prieta Area Public Access, Regional Trails, and Habitat Projects. This will open up a lot of land on the back (south) side of Mt. Umunhum. Trails will go all the way to Highland Rd. or Demo, and also connect in the east to the Santa Clara parks and open space, such as Rancho Canada del Oro and Calero park areas that just opened to biking. There's been talk in the past about doing lots of downhill singletrack in that new region. With the land available, I've even heard in past meetings proposals for equestrians and bikers to make their own separate trails to their liking. Don't know what will happen, but there's a lot of new open land with the potential to do a lot.
    #24: Rancho de Guadalupe Family Recreation and Interpretive Projects. This project was added back in by the board after it got low ratings by the public. It took me a while to understand this project value to biking, and verify with the MidPen staff this actually includes some multi-use singletrack on the front face of Mt. Umunhum.

    Also, Demo itself is a side tour if you're on the way to the sea. From Highland, just go up Buzzards Lagoon and down the dirt roads all the way to Santa Cruz.

    MidPen has definite plans to open this up this access for continuity to the sea and other parks. This "Loma Prieta" proposal to open this land got some of the highest rankings by the public. MidPen also said in the meetings that they feel that bikers will probably get the most benefit out of these trails, due to the distances and remoteness.
    That is all good, but they do not need more money to implement any of those projects. They will just blow it on fluff like Skeggs parking lot for horse trailers. They have enough money.

  12. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    This is a perfect example of how much more can be done by participating early in the process than late in the process. It has been very hard to get our community to step up at this stage, so much easier to rail against something that seems conclusive.
    I agree with the idea of participation (and the idea of put up or shut up). The disconnect I see is the ability to effectively get the word out to the right people for the right causes at the right time. Forums like this help some as do Facebook feeds from ROMP/SVMTB and FATRAC. Maybe we need an avaaz.org equivalent for local issues - a platform for action alerts - from "come to the public input meeting" to "write your local congressman, here's his address".

    Also, Big +1 on BigLarry's post. Well said!

  13. #63
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    I'm all for the bond if more access is provided to open space already under the control of MidPen. What drives me crazy is seeing roads (dirt and paved) already in place that I cannot ride

    Strava Segment | Cathermola Rd Climb

    Strava Segment | Cathermola Rd Climb

    Strava Segment | Mt Umunhum L Prieta Rd Climb

    Loma Prieta Road defines open space | Silicon Valley Cyclist

    Will providing access to these areas cost any money? Repaving Mt. Umunhum would cost a big chunk of money but it is certainly ridable as it exists today.

  14. #64
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    MidPen should put up or shut up. We told them what we want them to do with all that space and money they've acquired over the years. Now go do it.

  15. #65
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    MidPen Gripes

    I am trying to understand the major complaints about MidPen among other bikers. Scanning through the earlier comments, I come up with the following list, in the order of most concern.

    1. Rangers with speed guns give tickets to unwary bikers.
    2. Does not understand the need for good bike trails and wants to build roads.
    3. Too much money for too little.
    4. Restricts access to open areas.
    5. Does not allow any night riding.

    Here's my response on this.

    1. Radar Guns
    I ride a lot of MidPen, and pretty much never see radar guns. That's probably because I ride more desolate areas in Sierra Azul (Woods, Barlow, Kennedy) or biking oriented trails such Saratoga Gap, Long Ridge, and Monte Bello that don't have speed or conflict issues. Most of the radar guns complaints I hear are in the St. Josephs area in Los Gatos. I've ridden those trails a couple times and find them to be very steep as well as highly populated by a diversity of users. Those trails are so populated you almost need to wait in line to get on the trail. My feeling is those areas have real congestion and speed conflicts due to the diversity and density of users. I've seen radar guns on Kennedy once or twice. That trail has moderate density but high speeds. So I see the usage of radar as appropriate to maintain safety in congested areas with diversity of usage. They hope a few expensive tickets will cause bikers to howl all over the web and encourage others to slow down. It probably works.
    I suspect most of the enforcement is due to complaints by hikers. I know when I'm hiking, or even riding slow, I'm often startled by a speedster zipping by without warning. The biker may feel they're in control and know what their doing. I doubt the hiker has that same impression. We can help ourselves by improving that impression on others and reduce calls for enforcement by calling out before passing (I use a bell at a distance, and polite shout out when close) and slowing down below 15 MPH when passing others.

    2. Better Trails

    First, the reality. MidPen is not a biking organization. It's a stewardship with first priority always to preserve the land. You're just not going to get the same type of trails as the county parks or at Demo. Not going to happen. Not in their public charter. Deal with it.
    Next, their (wise) priority to date has been using the limited funds for acquiring, not building or providing access. That meant going with the existing dirt roads already in place for the last decades. The next stage as proposed in the plan will have a lot more singletrack. Of special interest is the new biking-only trail at ECDM, the bone they thew to us bikers.
    MidPen does allow a lot of biking and already has a lot of good biking singletrack. ECDM, Saratoga Gap, and the new White Oaks trail in Monte Bello show what MidPen can do. Not Demo, but a lot of fun biking trails. I suspect we'll see a lot more of that as access is opened up with new trails over the years.
    MidPen is treating biking fairly compared to other users. Other parks in the east and north bay can't get hardly any access whereas we've already got a lot of great trails. Even in their AA Ballot Measure, the first line in the ballot language is "To improve access to hiking and biking opportunities, protect and preserve redwood forests, natural open spaces,..." Two things of note in this language: Access is now taking priority over protection and preservation; Biking is listed as a priority right in front of the ballot.

    3. Too much money for too little.
    Each to his own. But considering one time entry fee at many parks is several dollars, a $3/$100K/year is not exactly excessive. The only reason such a low rate works is because it's spread over all the of the people in the jurisdiction, who want Green Hills rather than development, and willing to pay for that. Note they are not paying for more biking trails. See above for the reality on that.

    4. Restricts access to open areas.
    As said before many times, MidPen's charter and first priority was to acquire land while it was cheap, and preserve it. Now that this land acquisition has been fruitful, a change has occurred to now provide more access on that land. This was the point of the Open Space Outreach program, and this new tax. See the first three words in the ballot language above for evidence of this change.

    5. Does not allow any night riding.
    Nor does any other county park or most other parks. The only place I know that allows night riding is Henry Coe. Not sure why the opposition. Maybe safety and enforcement at night? Maybe to prevent homeless and campers from setting up home? A fear of disturbing wildlife? I really don't know why. But it's not a policy unique to MidPen. So don't single them out either.
    Personally, I never use my night lights. as I like to ride in the day for better views and the warmth. But I don't see any rational reason against night riding that I see everywhere. Hopefully this attitude among parks and land managers will change in the future.
    Last edited by BigLarry; 03-11-2014 at 10:53 AM.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  16. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by beaverbiker View Post
    MidPen should put up or shut up. We told them what we want them to do with all that space and money they've acquired over the years. Now go do it.
    By telling them, do you mean the Outreach program or something else?

    I suspect they will start doing the projects they've now defined no matter what way the bond measure goes. But I suspect the bond measure funds can greatly accelerate that process, which can take decades, with progress mostly limited by funding. If the speed improves from decades to sub-decade, that money is worth while.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  17. #67
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    I second BigLarry.

    Midpen doesn't allow night riding for safety, to give animals some space, and the cost of hiring more rangers to save their properties from all sorts of a-holes. There may be other reasons but rangers have told me these. If you spend some time with rangers you can hear stories of how bad people can behave.

  18. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by timbo2000 View Post
    I'm all for the bond if more access is provided to open space already under the control of MidPen. What drives me crazy is seeing roads (dirt and paved) already in place that I cannot ride

    Strava Segment | Cathermola Rd Climb

    Strava Segment | Cathermola Rd Climb

    Strava Segment | Mt Umunhum L Prieta Rd Climb

    Loma Prieta Road defines open space | Silicon Valley Cyclist

    Will providing access to these areas cost any money? Repaving Mt. Umunhum would cost a big chunk of money but it is certainly ridable as it exists today.
    These links look to be mostly in the Loma Prieta area, which is a top rated project for MidPen. I'm not sure what patchwork of land is now owned and if it would allow opening of the roads. But there is a clear path through to Highland and Summit roads with the land they have now.

    However, new singletrack trails are what most here desire, and I've attended working meetings on those over the years. Those will take time to plan and create.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  19. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry View Post
    These links look to be mostly in the Loma Prieta area, which is a top rated project for MidPen. I'm not sure what patchwork of land is now owned and if it would allow opening of the roads. But there is a clear path through to Highland and Summit roads with the land they have now.

    However, new singletrack trails are what most here desire, and I've attended working meetings on those over the years. Those will take time to plan and create.
    fwiw, most of the land surrounding Cathermola Rd is owned by San Jose Water Co. the road has historically been maintained by them (sjwc) but is in fact patrolled by midpen. there was the Maas parcel in the middle section which has since been acquired by midpen.

    from 2009:

    The District will need to work with the Water Company to consider future use or disposition of the structures to protect the surrounding drinking water watershed and open space lands and evaluate future trail connections from Loma Prieta area to the Wrights Station Road area.
    http://www.openspace.org/CGI-BIN/age...e_r_09-126.pdf

    5 years later:

    The Maas property has a house and accessory structures that were originally considered potentially useful as part of a Real Property exchange with San Jose Water Company, which owns the adjacent land. Real Property has determined this transaction is no longer feasible and recommends approval for the demolition of the house and accessory structures, which include a utility building, two small sheds, and a garage/carport.
    http://www.openspace.org/CGI-BIN/age...ns_r-14-36.pdf


    hey, at least someone is using it!

    Apr 27

    A ranger discovered that a vacant District-owned residence had been broken into and vandalized. The area where the residence is located is in close proximity to a suspected marijuana grow. The intruders had made a fire in the stove using the window blinds. Santa Clara County Sheriff Deputies were requested but were unavailable to respond at the time of the discovery. Rangers returned with deputies a couple of days later to check the buildings and the area around the property.
    1
    IR 12F121
    Preserve Sierra Azul
    Location Former Maas house
    http://www.openspace.org/CGI-BIN/age...es_R-13-31.pdf


    why not two separate entities? Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is clearly capable of buying up land, but imo not particularly good at creating open spaces in a manner that reflects the desired use of the public.

    maybe "Midpeninsula Land Holding Company" and "Midpeninsula Regional Open Space" will allow continued progress on both fronts?

  20. #70
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    Thanks to Big Larry and Modbog for some informative posts

    I apologize if this has already been posted here somewhere but I think it's a helluva good read:

    http://www.openspace.org/CGI-BIN/age...on_r-14-46.pdf

    Skip to the end and you'll see how the $300M will be divvied up.

    Mind boggling...

    $8M for that ECDM single track! Woohooo...

    In my turf the Sierra Azul projects get almost $53M! (I guess I should be happy!)

    I'm still bothered that the land acquisitions aren't broken out in MROSD's disclosures.

    Keep in mind that these expenditures are spread over X (10 or 20?) years. (I may not live long enough)

    And, it appears that MROSD staff is cranking up the "more (bicycle) enforcement" machine with this upcoming (tomorrow) presentation to the Board:

    http://www.openspace.org/CGI-BIN/age...es_r_14-08.pdf

    I suppose the above deserves its own thread but I haven't the time.

    Go for it...
    The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent any policy of the CA Dept. of Parks & Rec.

  21. #71
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    midpen in their wisdom have figured in inflation, it probably will cost $8M to build single track in 2044-45!

  22. #72
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    Midpen's Bond Issue - Can / Should We Help?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmpreston View Post
    I second BigLarry.

    Midpen doesn't allow night riding for safety, to give animals some space, and the cost of hiring more rangers to save their properties from all sorts of a-holes. There may be other reasons but rangers have told me these. If you spend some time with rangers you can hear stories of how bad people can behave.
    There are plenty of public lands that are not patrolled at night and where night riding and what not is allowed. Observe the lack of chaos and destruction. Midpen on the other hand had massive grows in Sierra Azul area. Which was closed to anything. What rangers are telling you is a self serving myth.

    Main fact is that proposed tax increase is incremental, will not make a difference for strategic purchases (any purchases in the plan? No. ). And the goal of better access does not require that much of our tax money. Smoke and mirrors from a self perpetuating bureaucracy.

  23. #73
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    Midpen's Bond Issue - Can / Should We Help?

    $8M for that ECDM single track! Woohooo...

    I wonder if this is for dozers and compacted gravel to prevent erosion from horses?

  24. #74
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    Thanks plienberg for the links. Very nice summary.

    To be fair, the ECDM projects are not just about one trail, but also completing Ridge Trail gaps, trails to parking area, restoring damaged trails to improve water quality, and preserve additional open space.

    The Sierra Azul breakdown is about what I'd expect.
    22: Cathedral Oaks. $6.7M
    23: Mt Umunhum peak. $28M
    24: Rancho de Guadalupe & trails. $10M
    25: Loma Prieta trails. $8M

    And like you said, this expense will be over a couple decades, hopefully less to get it sooner.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  25. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    There are plenty of public lands that are not patrolled at night and where night riding and what not is allowed. Observe the lack of chaos and destruction. Midpen on the other hand had massive grows in Sierra Azul area. Which was closed to anything. What rangers are telling you is a self serving myth.

    Main fact is that proposed tax increase is incremental, will not make a difference for strategic purchases (any purchases in the plan? No. ). And the goal of better access does not require that much of our tax money. Smoke and mirrors from a self perpetuating bureaucracy.
    I agree that most night riding restrictions are based on unfounded bias. I don't understand myself. But MidPen is not at all alone in their attitude. There's a mass attitude that needs to change.

    The is definitely some marketing at play here. Pay THIS and get THAT. Well, uh, you might eventually get THAT anyway. Still, I think it's a good thing. The tax increase is incremental, but so are the funds currently available to these projects. Bigkidd84 said 64% of current funds are used for staff, debt and operating expenses. If only 36% of the current funds are available for improvements, then the incremental extra funds from this bond can greatly accelerate the process. It's not a lot to help see these projects completed in our life time.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

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