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Political endorsements

John Kerry is the Sierra Club's choice for President of the United States

Kerry-Edwards 2004, Inc. from Sharon Farmer


Vote the environment, NOV. 2

(click here for the Handy Guide below...)

Measure J is highway robbery

Widening Highway 1 won't ease congestion as proponents claim and will produce more air pollution and noise. Since the EIR has not yet been done, we don't know the exact environmental impacts, but they will be huge. The area around 41st Ave. and Bay Ave. in Capitola will be transformed into a 12-lane wide swath of concrete.

Common questions and answers regarding Measure J:

Q: I'm tired of being stuck in traffic on Highway 1. Isn't highway widening a logical solution?

A: According to the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission's own study, widening the Hwy. 1 would increase peak hour travel speeds by 1/10 mph. (MTIS, Table 4-5, p. 29). Moreover, in the Bay Area widening highways generally has not reduced congestion.(1) Leading transportation planners have recognized that "the idea of building our way out of urban traffic congestion problems has been decisively rejected in the United States, both by the transportation community and the public at large."(2)

1. Road Work Ahead: Executive Summary. The Surface Transportation Policy Project; Relationships Between Highway Capacity and Induced Vehicle Travel by Robert Noland of the US. Environmental Protection Agency.
2 Road Supply and Traffic in California Urban Areas by Mark Hansen and Yuanlin Huang. Institute of Transportation Studies, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Berkeley.

Q: But this widening project is for carpool lanes. Isn't that different?

A: It's a little different, but has similar results. When you create a new carpool lane, most of the people that use it were already carpooling or using transit. The real increase in traffic is from single occupancy vehicles which take up the space vacated by carpoolers. After adding more than 1000 miles of carpool lanes, the percentage of people carpooling to work has dropped from 14.6 to 14.5 percent as documented by the U.S. Census. The Modern Transit Society has documented that carpool lanes actually increase pollution, not decrease it.

Q: I don't like all the cars using the streets in my neighborhood. If we widen the freeway, won't that mean fewer cars on neighborhood streets?

A: The stated goal of the Highway Widening Project is to get more cars on the freeway. Once they get off the freeway, where are they going to go? Onto surface streets. Into your neighborhood.

Q: So who is behind this? Why is so much money being spent to promote Measure J if drivers won't benefit?

A: The organized proponents of Measure J represent business interests and government officials advocating for increased development. The Santa Cruz Business Council (representing, by invitation, large local corporations) and the Chambers of Commerce are pushing for this project. A wider freeway will encourage more bedroom communities in Southern Santa Cruz County and Northern Monterey County. This will benefit developers and large employers wanting to bring more workers to North Santa Cruz County at wages too low to allow them to live here. It will also give building contracts to some of the corporations funding the campaign for Measure J.

Measure J is opposed by many groups and individuals, including Sierra Club, People Power, Santa Cruz Friends (Quakers), and a majority of city council members from Santa Cruz and Capitola.

Q: I keep hearing reports that widening Highway 1 would be the most expensive public works project in the history of Santa Cruz County. How much is it exactly?

A: Measure J would raise the Santa Cruz County sales tax 1/2 cent for 30 years, totaling $530 million. $370 million of that would go towards widening Hwy. 1.

Q: I've also heard that Measure J includes funding for some great alternative transportation projects, including the Coastal Rail Trail. Is that true?

A: Yes and no. Besides funding the highway widening, Measure J would raise about $59 million for transportation alternatives.(1) However, the fine print of Measure J states that, if more money is needed to widen the highway, the money will come from the other projects.(2) Cost overruns for these types of projects average more than 20%.(3)

Even worse, an additional $102 million-beyond funds provided by Measure J-is estimated to be needed to complete widening of the Highway. This additional money would come from the same sources that currently fund other transportation projects, including the ones in the tax measure.(4)

Measure J is a net loss for alternative transportation. That's why the Sierra Club, Friends of the Rail Trail, Bike to Work, and other advocates of alternative transportation do not support Measure J.

1 RTC lane widening project fact sheets, May and June, 2004.
2 Ibid.
3 Cost and Oversight of Major Highway and Bridge Projects. U.S. General Accounting Office 2003 and "How Common and Large are Cost Overruns in Transport Infrastructure Projects?" Flyvbjerg, et al, Transport Reviews, 2003 Vol. 23.
4 RTC lane widening project fact sheets, May and June, 2004.

Q: What's the connection between this issue and our dependence on foreign oil?

A: Americans are the largest consumers of fossil fuels in the world. Creating more space for more cars on Hwy. 1 will add to this trend as well as to global warming.

Because our country does not have the oil reserves to supply our demand for oil, we are forced to trade with countries like Iraq. Thus, our overconsumption of oil creates a situation in which an unstable or unfriendly country with oil reserves becomes a threat to our economic security.

Q: So what's the alternative?

A: Ride a bike, walk, take the bus, and carpool whenever you can. Combine trips and try to reduce the total number of car trips that you take.

Demand that all levels of government fund non-car transportation.

Vote for city and county officials who support human-scaled transportation.

Vote NO on Measure J.

For more information visit

Prop. 64 is hazardous to your health

by Bill Magavern

Big business lobbies have put an initiative on the Nov. ballot to eviscerate citizens' ability to enforce environmental safeguards. Proposition 64, "Limitations on Enforcement of Unfair Business Competition Law," would leave California's air, water, food, forests, and lands much more vulnerable to attack by polluters.

The Unfair Business Competition Law (UBCL) is a crucial tool to defend the environment from the unlawful practices of polluters. Unlike many federal environmental laws, most California statutes do not contain "citizen suit" provisions authorizing environmental organizations to enforce these laws on behalf of the public. The UBCL is the sole remedy in such situations.

UBCL cases have:

o Blocked cruise ships from repeated dumping,

o Halted illegal clear-cutting in the Sierra Nevada mountains,

o Stopped diesel truck pollution,

o Forced bottled water companies to filter out arsenic and bacteria,

o Required warnings of pesticide dangers to children.

Prop. 64 would block environmental enforcement actions like these brought on behalf of the public by community groups. Prop. 64 would limit actions only to government and certified classes of individuals who have lost money or property. With government's enforcement ability severely limited by budget constraints, private enforcement of the sort allowed by the UBCL is vital to protecting our health and resources.

Oil, auto and utility companies, and other corporate donors wishing to avoid accountability for the damage they cause, have poured over $10 million into an advertising campaign for Prop. 64. The American Lung Assoc., California Nurses Assoc., Consumers Union, Gray Panthers and the CA Labor Fed. have joined Sierra Club and the state's other major environmental groups in a grassroots campaign against Prop. 64.

Vote NO on Prop. 64.


Handy Guide


Prop 64-OPPOSE
Prop 68-OPPOSE

US President

John Kerry

US Senate

Barbara Boxer

US House of Representatives

CD 14 Anna Eshoo

CD 15 Mike Honda

CD 17 Sam Farr

State Assembly

AD 27 John Laird

State Senate

SD 11 Joe Simitian

Monterey County Supervisor

Jane Parker

Santa Cruz County Supervisor

Mark Stone

Santa Cruz County Measure J


Santa Cruz City Council

Ed Porter

Capitola City Council

Colleen Corrigan-Armstrong

San Lorenzo Valley Water District

David Ross
Jim Nelson