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GRASS ROOTS WORKING GROUP

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GRASS ROOTS WORKING GROUP

GRASS ROOTS WORKING GROUP

    To Secure Adequate, Stable, Long Term Funding for Our Regional Parks and Open Space System

PROGRESS REPORT NO. 1

    A Report to the Public and the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors

September 7, 2010

Grassroots Working Group

    C/o Save the American River Association

    4441 Auburn Blvd. Suite H, Sacramento CA 95841

    Phone: 916-482-2551 ? Email: info@sarariverwatch.org

    The Save the American River Association (SARA) supports the Grassroots Working Group. SARA has recognized that the threat to our Regional Parks and Open Space System posed by the ongoing County budget crisis is also a serious threat to the American River Parkway that cannot be mitigated by actions limited to the American River Parkway. SARA believes that the people, not a piecemeal process, should decide the future of the Regional Parks and Open Space System. If the people decide that they do not value the Regional Parks and Open Space System, the County can always proceed with divestiture of all or part of the Regional Parks and Open Space System.

    Progress Report No. 1

    Contents

Summary……………………………………………………………………………………………… i

The County Mandated Time Line………………………………………………………………….. 1

The Trust for Public Land……………………………………………………………………………2

Save the American River Association (SARA)…………………………………………………… 3

The Grassroots Working Group……………………………………………………………………. 4

The Advisory Committee……………………………………………………………………………. 6

Disposition of Options Considered by the Working Group……………………………………… 7

Budget Estimate……………………………………………………………………………………… 7

Education and Outreach…………………………………………………………………………….. 8

Next Progress Report…………………………………………………………………………………9

Attachment………………………………………………………………………………….. At end of Report

    “Disposition of Options Considered by the Working Group” dated August 21, 2010, including the matrix “Grassroots Working Group Analysis of Options” dated August 13, 2010.

    Grassroots Working Group

    To Secure Adequate, Stable, Long Term Funding for Our Regional Parks and Open Space System

    Progress Report No. 1

    SUMMARY

    September 7, 2010

    Clearly, this is a time of both crisis and opportunity. The continuing County budget crisis threatens our Regional Parks and Open Space System. Either we rise to the challenge of funding our Regional Parks and Open Space System or bear witness to the loss of our magnificent public Parkways and Open Space throughout the Sacramento region. The Grassroots Working Group is a response to this crisis.

    Mandated Time Line: County Regional Parks Department staff has advised that any proposal

    needing voter approval must be submitted to the voters at the November 2012 general election. Grassroots Working Group: Membership of the Grassroots Working Group is listed in the report. Persons serving on the Grassroots Working Group serve as individuals.

    Trust for Public Land: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) has been engaged to provide (a) feasibility research for options selected by the Working Group, (b) conduct professionally administered, statistically valid public opinion survey through telephone interviews of randomly selected voters in Sacramento County, and (c) provide recommendations for a finance strategy, ballot language, including legal parameters, examples of successful ballot questions and assist in presentation of results. Major milestones for the TPL work and associated Grassroots Working Group activities are as follows: ? Conduct Feasibility Study and submit Draft Report to the Grassroots November 1, 2010 Working Group

    ? Complete Public Opinion Survey December 10, 2010

    ? TPL provides recommendations to Grassroots Working Group December 21, 2010

    ? Grassroots Working Group provides recommendations to public and January 28, 2011 Board of Supervisors

    ? Summit Meeting for public consideration of Grassroots Working Group February 5, 2011 recommendations

Save the American River Association (SARA): The Board of Directors of SARA, by Resolution, has

    recognized that preservation and protection of the American River Parkway requires a thriving, successful Regional Parks and Open Space System. SARA has recognized that the threat posed by the ongoing County budget crisis cannot be mitigated by actions limited to the Parkway alone. SARA supports the Grassroots effort and provides administrative services to the Grassroots Working Group. Successor Effort Needed: The Grassroots Working Group is the first step in the process to secure adequate, stable, long-term funding for our Regional Parks and Open Space System. The outcome of will be a recommended solution, provided by the Grassroots Working Group, during the first Quarter of 2011. The intention is to then turn the project over to a successor effort that will move forward and develop any needed campaign for a successful result on the November, 2012 ballot. It is envisioned that the Grassroots Working Group, after completion of this first phase, will become an advocate for the solution recommended by the Group, monitor the development of any ballot measure(s) and campaign, and work to secure successful passage of ballot measure(s) that incorporate the recommendations of the Grassroots Working Group.

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Grassroots Working Group

    To Secure Adequate, Stable, Long Term Funding for Our Regional Parks and Open Space System September 7, 2010

    Progress Report No. 1 - SUMMARY

    Advisory Committee: An Advisory Committee has been formed to periodically review outputs from the Grassroots effort, provide feedback, offer suggestions regarding the Grassroots Working Group's efforts, and provide a forum for discussion. Persons who have volunteered to serve on the Advisory Committee are listed in the report. Persons serve on the Advisory Committee as individuals and not as representatives of the listed affiliation/interest.

    Options Analysis: The Grassroots Working Group has, since first meeting on June 7, 2010, been analyzing options for securing adequate, stable, long term funding for our regional parks and open space lands and facilities. A total of nine options were identified and five of the nine have been selected options for further study.

    The description of each of the options and basis of the sorting of the options is provided in the attachment to this report, “Disposition of Options Considered by the Working Group”, August 26, 2010. A matrix summarizing the results of the Working Group analysis is included in the attachment. Options for Further Study by TPL: The following options have been selected by the Grassroots

    Working Group. The selected options are not listed in any particular order or preference.

    1. New INDEPENDENT Regional Parks and Open Space District

    2. New DEPENDENT Regional Park and Open Space

    3. Non-Profit Conservancy

    4. Countywide Community Services District

    5. Continue County Department of Regional Parks (“No Project Option”)

Options NOT Recommended for Further Study: The following options are not proposed for further

    study. Discussion of the reasons for not selecting these options is provided in the attachment, “Disposition of Options Considered by the Working Group”, August 26, 2010 provided at the end of this Progress Report under “Discussion of Options Not Selected”.

    1. Co-operative Working Relationship among Parks and Open Space

    2. Form a new Community Facilities District

    3. County Service Area 11

    4. County Divests Responsibility for Parks except American River Parkway and Retains Open Space Budget Estimate: The Estimate that will be provided to TPL for use in their work will be based upon an independent regional parks and open space district and will be accurate to within +30% or -15%. The Grassroots Working Group will continue to review and refine this budget in parallel with the TPL work so that the Grassroots Working Group is confident that it is based upon efficient operation and maintenance and includes revenues from user fees and services charges to the maximum extent reasonably practicable. Guiding principles for budget development are described in the report. Education and Outreach: Education and outreach efforts have heretofore focused on fundraising to pay the costs of the TPL Proposal and establishment of the Advisory Committee described earlier. Attention now shifts to include activities to inform the public of (a) the crisis facing our Regional Parks and Open Space System, (b) status of efforts to secure adequate, stable long term funding for our System, and (c) the solution recommended by the Grassroots Working Group. Fund raising efforts also shift to payment of the costs of Education and Outreach activities.

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    Grassroots Working Group

    To Secure Adequate, Stable, Long Term Funding for Our Regional Parks and Open Space System

    PROGRESS REPORT NO. 1

    September 7, 2010

    The Grassroots Working Group to Secure Adequate, Stable, Long Term Funding for Our Regional Parks and Open Space System (the “Grassroots Working Group”) has its genesis in the consensus 1reached at the American River Parkway Coalition meeting held on March 12, 2010. This consensus

    identified the following five fundamental conclusions:

    1. The Regional Parks and Open Space System are important to the quality of life and economic

    future of the residents of Sacramento County.

    2. Sacramento County government is unable to provide adequate, long term, stable funding for

    the Regional Parks and Open Space System.

    3. Sacramento County government has the duty, which is on par with the other duties of the

    Board of Supervisors, to preserve the Regional Parks and Open Space System assets and to

    protect these assets from damage.

    4. Sale, transfer, or other disposition of Regional Parks and Open Space System lands or

    facilities to overcome County budget problems is unacceptable.

    5. Sacramento County government, cities and other local agencies should endorse, support, and

    facilitate Grassroots’ efforts to develop adequate, long term, stable funding option(s) for the

    County Regional Parks and Open Space System so that the public can make a decision

    regarding the future of the Regional Parks and Open Space System.

    Clearly, this is a time of both crisis and opportunity. The continuing County budget crisis threatens our Regional Parks and Open Space System. Either we rise to the challenge of funding our Regional Parks and Open Space System or bear witness to the loss of our magnificent public Parkways and Open Space throughout the Sacramento region. The Grassroots Working Group is a response to this crisis.

    The County Mandated Time Line

     A fundamental problem is that our Regional Parks and Open Space System is facing a financial crisis. It is clear that a part of the solution will rest with the public as it considers additional taxes or fees to provide adequate, stable long term funding for the operation and maintenance of our Regional Parks and Open Space System. The other parts are (1) finding more efficient ways of operating and maintaining our Regional Parks and Open Space System and (2) securing revenues from other sources(e.g. user fees and charges, grants) to the maximum extent reasonably practicable.

     2County Regional Parks Department staff has reported that the County is insisting that any proposal needing voter approval be submitted to the voters at the November 2012 general election. This mandate has become a guide post for the conduct of the Grassroots Working Group.

     1 “Sacramento County Government Budget Problems and the County Regional Parks System”, March 22, 2010,

    which represents the consensus of the seventeen people present at the March 12, 2010 American River Parkway Coalition meeting. 2 Ms. Janet Baker, Director, Sacramento County Regional Parks Department

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Grassroots Working Group

    To Secure Adequate, Stable, Long Term Funding for Our Regional Parks and Open Space System September 7, 2010

    Progress Report No. 1

    The Trust for Public Land (TPL)

    On March 24, 2010, a meeting of American River Parkway stakeholders was held with representatives of The Trust for Public Lands (“TPL”) to discuss how to proceed. As a result of this meeting, TPL was requested to submit a proposal for consideration. TPL was invited to the stakeholder meeting at the recommendation of members of the Board of the American River Natural History Association (ARNHA) and Save the American River Association (SARA).

    The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national, nonprofit, land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has worked with willing landowners, community groups, and national, state, and local agencies to complete close to 4,000 land conservation projects in 47 states, protecting 2.8 million acres. Since 1994, TPL has helped states and communities craft and pass over 380 ballot measures, generating $36 billion in new conservation-related funding.

     3TPL has performed work for the City of Sacramento. The Trust for Public Land has protected land

    throughout the diverse Central Valley area. Some examples of their work are San Joaquin River Parkway, Tuolumne River Regional Park, Tulare Lake Land Retirement Program, and Butte Sink Wetlands. Additional information can be found at http://www.tpl.org/.

    TPL was selected before the identification of options for further study because of its reputation, experience, quality of work, and willingness to help address the crisis facing our Regional Parks and Open Space System. The timeline subsequently mandated by Sacramento County (i.e. any decision by the voters must be submitted to the voters at the November 2012 general election) has not allowed for a formal request for proposals process.

The TPL Proposal

    TPL submitted a proposal to SARA which was approved by the SARA Board of Directors on June 15, 2010. This proposal provides for:

     (a) Feasibility Research: Duration = 8 weeks. Budget = $7,500

     Research and analysis focused on broad based tax and bond mechanisms capable of

    generating significant funding at the local level that are practical and have been proven. TPL

    will examine up to four scenarios. For each local funding option, TPL will examine the legal

    framework, revenue raising capacity, the fiscal impact to government budgets and taxpayers,

    and how such options are implemented. TPL will also provide examples of where and how

    these mechanisms have been used by other jurisdictions in California. The objective is to

    provide a fact-based reference document to be used as a shared information source and

    frame of reference for use in evaluating available financing mechanisms from an objective

    vantage point.

    (b) Public Opinion Survey: Duration = 2 4 weeks. Budget = $17,000 to $24,000

     After completing the Feasibility Research, TPL will contract with Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin &

    Metz, a qualified public opinion survey firm, to conduct a professionally administered,

    statistically valid public opinion survey through telephone interviews of randomly selected

     3 “How Much Value Does the City of Sacramento Receive from Its Park and Recreation System”, The Trust for Public Land, 2009.

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Grassroots Working Group

    To Secure Adequate, Stable, Long Term Funding for Our Regional Parks and Open Space System September 7, 2010

    Progress Report No. 1

    voters in Sacramento County. The polling will be designed to test (i) level of support for a

    conservation funding mechanism, (ii) alternative funding sources and amounts, (iii) purposes

    for use of funds that voters find most compelling, (iv) the timing for submittal of questions to

    the voters, and (v) various governance possibilities and accountability measures. The latest

    polling known to be available is from 2007.

    (c) Presentations & Recommendations: Duration = 2 weeks. Budget = $6,000

     TPL will provide recommendations for a finance strategy, ballot language including legal

    parameters, examples of successful ballot questions, and consultation with legal counsel as

    necessary. TPL will assist in development of presentations and participate in a limited number

    of presentations, including presentations to the public.

Major Schedule Milestones

    The schedule for the TPL work and associated Grassroots Working Group activities are listed in Table 1, “Major Milestones for TPL and Working Group Activities”.

    TABLE 1

    Major Milestones for TPL and Working Group Activities

    ? Conduct Feasibility Study and submit Draft Report to the Grassroots November 1, 2010 Working Group

    ? Complete Public Opinion Survey December 10, 2010

    ? TPL provides recommendations to Grassroots Working Group December 21, 2010

    ? Grassroots Working Group provides recommendations to public and January 28, 2011 Board of Supervisors

    ? Summit Meeting for public consideration of Grassroots Working Group February 5, 2011 recommendations

Funding of the TPL Proposal

    Total budget for the TPL work is $37,500. At the time of approval of the TPL Proposal on June 15, 2010, the SARA Board of Directors authorized expenditure of $8,000 as its contribution to the funding required for the TPL work and the American River Natural History Association committed $2,000 towards funding the TPL Proposal. From that time until August 13, 2010, when the American Parkway Foundation contributed the last $10,000, funds were solicited from concerned citizens and organizations. As of August 17, 2010, all funds needed to pay the costs identified in the TPL proposal are in SARA’s hands.

    Save the American River Association (SARA)

    The Board of Directors of Save the American River Association (SARA) on April 20, 2010, considered 4the conclusions reached by the American River Parkway Coalition and adopted a resolution finding,

    among other things, that “Preservation and protection of the American River Parkway requires a thriving, successful Regional Parks and Open Space System.” SARA has recognized that the threat

     4 “Resolution of the Board of Directors Save the American River Association (SARA) Regarding the County Government Budget Problems and the County Regional Parks System”, adopted April 20, 2010.

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Grassroots Working Group

    To Secure Adequate, Stable, Long Term Funding for Our Regional Parks and Open Space System September 7, 2010

    Progress Report No. 1

    posed to our Regional Parks and Open Space System by the ongoing County budget crisis is also a very serious threat to the American River Parkway that cannot be mitigated by actions limited to the American River Parkway.

    The SARA Board resolution authorizes SARA participation in a Grassroots effort guided by the objectives of protection and preservation of the Regional Parks and Open Space System and development of adequate, long term, stable funding options and encouraged other interested groups, neighborhood associations, and individual citizens to join the effort. In adopting the resolution, the SARA Board also declared that, regardless of the means or option that may be selected to provide adequate, long term, stable funding of the Regional Parks and Open Space System: (a) The American River Parkway shall be managed to balance the goals of (i) preserving

    naturalistic open space and protecting the environmental quality within the urban environment,

    and (ii) contributing to the provision of recreational opportunities in the Sacramento area; and (b) The American River Parkway Plan shall guide decisions affecting the Parkway, specifically

    addressing the preservation, use, development and administration of the Parkway.

    SARA is providing administrative support to the Grassroots Working Group by receiving and disbursing funds for the Grassroots Working Group. Donations earmarked for the Grassroots effort are restricted to use by the Grassroots Working Group. This Progress Report and future Progress Reports are sent to contributors so that they can be apprised of progress.

SARA maintains a website at http://www.sarariverwatch.org/grassroots.html where information

    regarding the Grassroots activities can be found.

    The Grassroots Working Group

The Grassroots Working Group held its first meeting on June 7, 2010. At that meeting, Group 5reviewed the TPL Proposal and the attached description of the Grassroots Process.

    The Grassroots Working Group is the first step in the process to secure adequate, stable, long-term funding for our Regional Parks and Open Space System. While funds necessary to pay the costs of the TPL Proposal are in hand, additional funds are needed to launch the outreach and education effort to inform the public of the crisis at hand, the options under consideration, and ultimately, the recommended solution.

Successor Effort

    The outcome of this initial phase will be a recommended solution, provided by the Grassroots Working Group, and likely available during the first Quarter of 2011. The intention is to then turn the project over to a successor effort that will move forward to further develop detailed information and to develop the campaign for a successful result on the November, 2012 ballot.

    It is envisioned that the Grassroots Working Group, after completion of this first phase, will become an advocate for the solution recommended by the Group, monitor the development of any ballot measure(s) and campaign, and work to secure successful passage of ballot measure(s) that incorporate the recommendations of the Grassroots Working Group.

     5 “The Grass Roots Process to Secure Adequate, Stable, Long Term Funding for Our Regional Parks and Open Space System”, June 7, 2010.

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Grassroots Working Group

    To Secure Adequate, Stable, Long Term Funding for Our Regional Parks and Open Space System September 7, 2010

    Progress Report No. 1

    Grassroots Working Group Members

    Grassroots Working Group members participate as individuals and not

    as representatives of their listed affiliation. Table 2, “Grassroots

    Working Group Members” lists the members in alphabetical order and

    their affiliation or interest. Working Group members can be

    contacted at info@sarariverwatch.org.

    TABLE 2

    GRASSROOTS WORKING GROUP MEMBERS

    Name Affiliation/Interest

    1 Lea Brooks Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA)

    2 Rob Burness Environmental Council of Sacramento, Habitat 2020

    3 Keith Coolidge (Alternate) American River Parkway Foundation (ARPF)

    4 Bill Davis Save the American River Association (SARA)

    5 Pablo Garza The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

    6 Dennis Greenbaum (Alternate) American River Parkway Foundation (ARPF)

    7 Lou Heinrich American River Natural History Association (ARNHA)

    8 Gay Jones Butterfield Riviera East Community Assoc.(BRECA)

    9 Charlea Moore Dry Creek Parkway, Gibson Ranch

    10 Aimee Rutledge Sacramento Valley Conservancy

    11 Warren Truitt Save the American River Association (SARA)

    12 Betsy Weiland Save the American River Association (SARA)

    13 Charlie Willard Pathways to Recreation

    14 Leo Winternitz American River Parkway Foundation (ARPF)

Vision

    The guiding vision of the Grassroots Working Group is an integrated system of regional parks and open space areas linked by a bicycle transportation network. A system that is safe, accessible, and well-maintained provides recreational and educational opportunities to Sacramento County’s diverse communities. This system will also incorporate farmlands and wildlands, thereby allowing the people of the Sacramento area to enjoy the health and welfare benefits of clean air and water, locally grown food, and abundant opportunities to fish, boat, paddle, row, walk, hike, bike, ride horses, observe nature and enjoy all types of recreation.

Mission

    The Mission of the Grassroots Working Group is to identify an appropriate structure to manage our regional parks and open space system linked by a non-motorized transportation network, coupled with a reliable funding stream that adequately provides for the operations, maintenance, and expansion of the system.

Meetings

    The Grassroots Working Group is NOT a governmental entity. However, Grassroots Working Group meetings are open to the public unless the Working Group determines a closed session is appropriate to the work of the Grassroots effort.

    Members of the public and Advisory Committee attend as observers and will be afforded a place on the agenda to provide comments to the Working Group. Otherwise, members of the public and the

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Grassroots Working Group

    To Secure Adequate, Stable, Long Term Funding for Our Regional Parks and Open Space System September 7, 2010

    Progress Report No. 1

    Advisory Committee should not expect to participate in Working Group deliberations unless requested to do so by the Working Group.

    The results of the Working Group effort are expected to be the subject of future public meetings by governmental agencies before any final decision is made. Every effort is made to make Grassroots Working Group meeting agendas available to the public at the same time that agendas are provided to Working Group members.

    The Advisory Committee

    An Advisory Committee has been formed to periodically review outputs from the Grassroots effort, provide feedback, offer suggestions regarding the Grassroots Working Group's efforts and provide a forum for discussion. Persons who have volunteered to serve on the Advisory Committee are listed in alphabetical order in Table 3, “Advisory Committee Membership, August 26, 2010”. Persons serve on the Advisory Committee as individuals and not as representatives of the listed affiliation/interest.

    TABLE 3

    ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

    August 26, 2010

    Name Community Zip Affiliation/Interest

    Carmichael 95608 ARNHA & ARP Equestrian Patrol 1 Katie Baygell

    Carmichael 95608 American River Parkway 2 Dave & Maxine Clark

    Rancho Cordova 95670 Sun River Neighborhood 3 Ginger Enrico

    Sacramento 95864 Friends of Mather Park 4 Marilyn Evans

    Sacramento 95864 Regional Parks & Open Space 5 Jane Hagedorn

    Sacramento 95814 ECOS 6 Jude Lamare

    Sacramento 95819 Regional Parks & Open Space 7 Joseph Larzalere

    Carmichael 95608 California Native Plant Society 8 Chris Lewis

    Fairfield 94534 Regional Parks & Open Space 9 Dave Lydick

    Sacramento 95818 Water Forum 10 Clyde MacDonald

    Fair Oaks 95628 American River Parkway 11 Shelley Mathews

    Sacramento 95864 County Parks & Rec Commission 12 Ted Robinson

    Sacramento 95822 Save Our Sandhill Cranes 13 Mike Savino

    Sacramento 95816 Friends of the Riverbank 14 Robert & Lyvonne Sewell

    Sacramento Unk Park Commissioner City of Sacramento 15 Dave Tamayo

    Sacramento 95838 American River Parkway 16 Mary Tappel

    Sacramento 95811 Friends of the River 17 Paul Tebbel

    It is expected that meetings of the Advisory Committee would be held, as desired by a majority of the Advisory Committee, or requested by the Working Group, to obtain feedback on a particular matter. Grassroots Working Group meeting agendas are provided to Advisory Committee members so they may determine whether or not to attend specific Working Group Meetings. Also, the Working Group will issue periodic status reports to keep the Advisory Committee informed.

    The Advisory Committee will also need to consider what role it wishes to play in the successor effort described above.

    Disposition of Options Considered by the Working Group

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