cda51e3e-da13-4156-baee-d6627ccf785b75% of Oakland Voters Say Zoo Should Re-Think Expansion Plans, Protect City’s Largest Park

You may have just heard about the new public poll we commissioned and its stunning results: A supermajority (75%) of likely Oakland voters say the Oakland Zoo should either not be allowed to expand into undeveloped parkland or that any expansion should be built within or near the existing Zoo, impacting the smallest amount of public parkland possible and minimizing impact to threatened plant and animal species.

Conducted by independent polling firm EMC Research between September 30 and October 5, 2014 with a representative sample of likely voters in Oakland, the poll shows that Oakland’s people really like the zoo, but when they are provided with more information about the particulars of the expansion project and its effects on wildlife, rare plants and public open space, their level of support plummets. Access to open space and protection of parkland for children are rated far more highly than this zoo expansion.

“This poll shows that it is time to press the re-set button and find a compromise on this expansion project that everyone can support,” said Laura Baker of the California Native Plant Society. Added Norman La Force, Chair of the Sierra Club’s East Bay Public Lands Committee, “The Oakland Zoo is a beloved institution, but the current expansion plan just doesn’t line up with the values of Oakland voters who want to see our parks and open space areas protected – not paved over.”

This poll comes at a critical time as the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission (PRAC) and Oakland City Council consider final recommendations and approvals that could mean the loss of public access to even more of our beloved Knowland Park.

If approved, the project would develop or ban public access to 77 acres of publicly-owned, undeveloped open space, currently home to a wide array of wildlife.

Here’s the polling company’s summary memo and the top-line results.

The East Bay Express picked up the story first, and you can read it here where you can check out the top-line poll results. Please add your comments and share your thoughts with your City Councilmembers NOW. We need to keep the drumbeat going demanding that this plan be changed!

We HOPE that our City Council representatives will HEAR US NOW! With enough public pressure, the City Council may realize the change in political winds and refuse to approve the taking of more parkland. With enough public pressure, the zoo board of trustees may realize this plan isn’t going to enhance its reputation, and that a compromise plan could be a winner right about now. But they need to hear from YOU!

Please go to this web page where we have contact info for decision-makers in one place for you to send a letter, postcard or email or make a call.

Or if you simply have no time, use this quick, simple link from the Sierra Club’s action alert to add your voice to the many others calling for the Oakland City Council to push the re-set button and refuse to give the park more of our public parkland.

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