Today’s the day!
Today Alameda County voters will make the decision about Measure A1 – and we hope they will turn it down. But however this vote goes, the battle to save the park will not be over. If you support the NO on A1 campaign,
so we have a way to let you know about next steps and park related events. We’ve built amazing momentum with this campaign, & your efforts big and small have been part of that. Thank you! And please help us stay in touch!
Here is a letter sent to the supporters of organized opposition to Alameda County Measure A1. In it are some important links to pages on this site containing information vital to fully informed voters. Please read it, follow those links, and be aware of the truth about this important measure.
Dear Knowland Park Supporters,
WOW: WHAT. A. BOOST! Did you see the editorial by Tammerlin Drummond in today’s Oakland Tribune? See it at http://www.insidebayarea.com/breaking-news/ci_21915737/tammerlin-drummond-measure-a1-read-fine-print-and
Every supporter should put this on their Facebook Page, or a link to ours. Coming on the heels of the Trib’s recommendation to vote NO on Measure A1, this is a tremendous affirmation of our position, and the fact that it is coming from our hometown paper is significant. Unfortunately, the San Francisco Chronicle, which long ago endorsed Measure A1 after printing several puff pieces about the zoo and featuring a 24-page Zoo magazine in its print edition, really never seemed willing to do the homework on the financial and other substantive issues we kept raising. The Trib did the homework, actually read the measure, and deserves the credit for doing so—just as the East Bay Express deserves credit for digging into the Zoo’s election law violations.
What’s especially amazing to us is that in both these cases, we had no idea these articles were even in the offing until we read about it in the papers—the journalists didn’t call us for comments. That tells us that independent journalists still are out there and willing to dig. And that the zoo’s Teflon PR about this measure is wearing thin for others besides the people on our list. The public is indeed figuring this one out for themselves, and the media are getting it.
Pretty much every East Bay media outlet has now come out against Measure A1. (See our Endorsers page at http://noonmeasurea1.com/endorsers.html) That’s just phenomenal, and it is testimony to the efforts of thousands of people who have helped raise hard questions even though they may love the zoo—doing it in person on the street, sending our posts on to community listserves, posting signs in their yards, sending checks to help us keep printing flyers (we could still use more to reimburse people for copying costs: send to our Treasurer, Lee Ann Smith, 111 Shadow Mountain, Oakland, CA 94605—see website for how to make out your checks), “liking” our website posts on Facebook, re-tweeting our tweets, calling their friends, raising questions in discussion groups—so many people have carried the banner in so many ways. THANK YOU to each and every one for exercising your civic muscles by “acting locally”—to protect our public space and our right to good government!
A special thanks to all those who have written letters, posted comments, and sent op-eds to media outlets. In the last month we have generated an amazing amount of media coverage of the issue, despite having almost no money for our campaign. See the list at http://www.saveknowland.org/media-coverage-of-measure-a1/ And if you know of anything not listed, please send it to us. This is the kind of buzz that made the TV anchor call Measure A1 a “hot-button” issue. And it’s the kind of attention we had to have to have even a chance against the zoo’s million-dollar campaign.
The downside of this is that the zoo has now gone aggressively negative (see http://www.berkeleyside.com/2012/11/02/op-ed-fact-checking-the-pr-spin-measure-a1/), accusing Measure A1 opponents of lying and who knows what else. That’s the sign of a campaign that knows it’s not gaining, but losing ground—but negative campaigning CAN sway people, so we have to be sure people get our information and look at the facts. We can’t convert those who truly are “my zoo right or wrong” fans, and for them it’s best to just say that we respectfully have to disagree—but among those who really do care about the facts, we have a chance to ask them to consider them before they vote, and to point out the truth. We aren’t anti-zoo: we’re just against this misguided expansion, which reflects badly on the zoo and its image as a conservation organization. We hope that a decisive defeat of this measure may be an incentive for zoo executives to rethink this plan and consider a compromise that would protect Knowland Park’s wonderful natural resources. Please be sure and take a look at our “Fact checking” piece on the website: http://www.saveknowland.org/2012/10/28/fact-checking-the-claims-of-oakland-zoo-executives-and-spokespersons/
We have also benefited from the support of groups like Oakland Rising and the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, which pointed to the social justice issues embedded in this measure, and to the Ella Baker Center, which re-posted John Reimann’s excellent blog on this aspect: http://ellabakercenter.org/blog/2012/10/social-justice-and-measure-a1-changing-the-face-of-oakland Anita Wah also pointed to the larger picture of who is behind this massive expansion in her fine piece: http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2012-10-26/article/40411?headline=Vote-NO-on-Measure-A1-How-could-I-ask-you-to-vote-against-Animal-Care—By-Anita-Wah
One thing we have really learned from the new partnerships we’ve formed is that following the money is almost as important as showing how this expansion is environmentally wrong. There is still so much we don’t know, and in the context of the huge out of state contributions for some of the state propositions on the ballot, we’ve started thinking: shouldn’t we know who the 4 mystery donors are who gave more than $4 million to the zoo in 2011? Do they have a stake in seeing this expansion built? What about the corporate executives on the zoo board? There are still so many things we don’t know about where the zoo’s money comes from, where it really goes, and why.
Now it’s time to be sure every single supporter votes! In every election, there are voters who—while having the best of intentions—don’t get around to voting. They lose track of the date, their ballot gets lost in the pile, they mail it too late (it is too late to mail now, but the Alameda County Registrar of Voters is open today, Sunday, 9-5 at 1225 Fallon Street downtown, as well as Monday and Tuesday—or you can take ballots to your local polling place on Tuesday), they forget to get to the polls, etc. There are all kinds of reasons why some votes never make it to be counted. Don’t let yours be one of them! And remind your friends—we tend to think everyone is paying as much attention as we are when we are passionate about an issue, but it’s just not so.
You almost have to hunt for Measure A1 on the huge ballot, so don’t miss it. It’s on the back side of the third of three ballot pages. So make sure your friends find it, too!
THANK YOU for everything that every one of you has done to help us—on this campaign, and across the many years people have been standing up for Knowland Park and its wild beauty!
Ruth, Tom, & the Friends of Knowland Park Leadership Team