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Friends of the Richmond Hills Seeks Funds To Defend Protections for 430 Acres
As reported in the Spring/Summer 2017 newsletter, Richmond City Council unanimously voted on January 24, 2017 to adopt the Richmond Hills Initiative. This measure protects 430 acres of oak forests and savannas, streambeds, wetlands, and vernal pools adjacent to Wildcat Canyon Regional Park in Contra Costa County by rezoning the land. The City Council’s action followed the submission and qualification of a sufficient number of signatures for the 2018 ballot.
Unfortunately, three developers recently sued the City of Richmond over adoption of the initiative, challenging its language and the process the city utilized to adopt it. Richmond is defending the initiative, and Sierra Club has intervened in the litigation, securing legal counsel to help with the defense. California Oaks Coalition member and proponent of the initiative, Friends of the Richmond Hills, has established a campaign to cover these legal expenses. Please help them reach their goal to raise an additional $13,000 by November 15, 2017. Contributions are tax-deductible if they are made through the Sierra Club Foundation.

There are a number of ways to help Friends the Richmond Hills reach the fundraising goal:

  1. A GoFundMe drive has been established for online contributions.
  2. Donors may also send checks. Information is posted on the Save the Richmond HIlls website. Please note it is important to carefully follow the instructions for sending checks.
  3. A benefit concert featuring Kitka, Gamelan Sekar Jaya, and Keith Terry will be held Friday, November 10 at Ashkenaz Music and Dance Community Center, 1317 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley. All proceeds will fund the legal defense of the Richmond Hills Initiative. A link to purchase tickets will soon be posted on the Save the Richmond HIlls website and on the page that will be posted on Ashkenaz.com with information about the event.
  4. Social media tools on the GoFundMe and Save the Richmond HIlls websites allow supporters to reach out to their networks to spread the word.

Photo Credit: Friends of the Richmond Hills

Current Letter Writing Campaign

Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Reform Legislation IntroducedState Senator Ben Allen introduced SB 249, a bill to reform and modernize the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division of California State Parks. The legislation, which was introduced in February, seeks stronger protection for state park natural and cultural resources and greater accountability for the OHMVR Division. California Oaks is in support of this legislation.

California’s OHMVR Program, set to sunset at the end of 2017, is designed to ensure residents can enjoy OHV recreation in a sustainable and safe manner. Since its inception, the Legislature has periodically assessed and reauthorized the program. The most recent extension, 10 years ago, sought to improve program administration, environmental protection and law enforcement via grants to non-state facilities. Today, the OHMVR Program needs to be reauthorized in a way that continues public use while aligning with the mission and general resource protection efforts of the Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR).

One of the controversial provisions of the legislation, the Science Advisory Team, is a one-time effort, given up to five years, to help OHMVR scientists assemble best available science, and make recommendations on management guidelines needed to bring OHMVR Division up to date and more in line with their sister agencies. 

Please send a letter voicing your support for SB 249 to your State Senator. (To find your state senator follow the links provided by the Secretary of State’s office.)

California Wildlife Foundation/California Oaks sent comments to California State Park Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division in June 2015 and October 2016 regarding the proposed expansion of the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area onto the property known as Tesla Park in eastern Alameda County.