(CGF sent this "Inaction" Alert out to folks on our email alert list that are likely residents of the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority districts. -Brian)
The Committee for Green Foothills is sending out the easiest environmental Alert in its 47-year history. By doing nothing, you can help save millions of dollars for the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority (OSA) for land protection, and fix a mistake made by the California Supreme Court. All you have to do is to NOT request a refund of past parcel assessments that the Court said had to be made available. You are not required to apply for refunds - you can do nothing. Please help the environment more easily than you've ever had a chance to before!
In 2002, voters in the Open Space Authority district, which covers most of Santa Clara County from the city of Santa Clara eastwards, voted to enact a parcel assessment of about $20 annually to help fund the purchase and protection of local natural open spaces. Unfortunately, the California Supreme Court last year mistakenly applied a law that said the will of the majority is not enough, but that a two-thirds' vote in favor was required.
Following the decision, the OSA agreed to send a letter out to anyone who owned land in the district from 2002 to 2007 and paid the assessment, allowing them to apply for a refund if they wished. The letter has just been sent out.
Why This Is Important
The Supreme Court has cut off this voter-approved funding source for protecting local open spaces that funded most of the OSA's work, so the money collected to date remains the last major additional funding until the OSA can go back to voters for a super-majority approval. Most of this money, $57 million accrued so far, could still help preserve thousands of acres of land from sprawl and provide more public recreation for everyone - if people let the money stay instead of applying for refunds.
What You Can Do
If you owned land in the part of Santa Clara County where the OSA operates between 2002 and 2007 (OSA district map attached), you will receive a letter telling you how to apply for a refund. All you have to do is ignore the letter.
Please let us know how you did nothing - was it hard? Tell us your trials and tribulations, and how you accomplished doing nothing, and please let us know if you give us permission and we may publish your adventure on our website.
Okay, if you do want to do something - please forward this to your neighbors and friends who own residences in the OSA district, and tell them THEY CAN ALSO help protect their environment by doing nothing.
For more information, go to the OSA website to see all the good it does with the voter-approved funding: http://www.openspaceauthority.org/
Thanks! Your voice (and inaction) does make a difference!
- The Folks at Green Foothills
UPDATE: Already received this reply: "I will put this on my to do list."