Moore, Esparza, Su: Why Measure S is vital for clean water, quality of life
A flooded homeless encampment near Coyote Creek at Roosevelt Park. File photo.

The pandemic has taught us the importance and the need for public services. To keep our safe, reliable drinking water, it’s incumbent upon us to not take risks now or into the future.

Safe, reliable water supply is crucial to sustaining our economy and quality of life, and because of that we are urging your Yes vote for the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program (Measure S).

Measure S was developed by the entire community — in an open and inclusive process. More than 21,000 of us gave our direct input on the kind of programs and projects we wanted Valley Water to put on the ballot for our community to benefit from.

Measure S is the exact program we all built for our community needs. It was this same kind of community input process that led to 74% of the voters supporting the current Safe, Clean Water program when it was last renewed in 2012.

Also, renewing Measure S does not increase taxes; it simply renews the existing Safe, Clean Water parcel tax that voters approved in 2012.

We know there is a lot of concern, and desire, to address the growing homeless encampments along the creeks, waterways, and in our neighborhoods. Did you know that the dollars in the last tax which were allocated to address homeless issues completely ran out in the first five years of the program?

That’s how large the homeless issue is in our creeks is. Measure S fixes this problem and provides continued, long-term funding to work with other agencies to support the social services programs to help people out of these homeless camps, and provide the removal of homeless encampments that threaten our water quality and public safety, trails, and neighborhoods.

Measure S will help improve the safety and reliability of our water supply by fixing Anderson Dam to protect it from earthquakes, and fix outdated, seismically-unsafe pipelines that deliver water countywide, and strengthen a water supply system that is vulnerable to earthquakes and drought.

Measure S removes toxins, pollutants and contaminants that threaten our creeks, streams and local water supply.  Measure S also provides natural flood protection badly-needed in flood-prone areas.

We can’t get these services without Measure S. We shouldn’t pay attention to the few critics who suggest that we should all wait four or even eight years for Measure S. Our homes are flooding now, the homeless problem is growing and flowing into our neighborhoods now, our water infrastructure and supply are aging now. We are facing the impact of climate change now. The longer we wait, the greater our risk, and the more the projects and programs will cost.

Measure S also includes vital benefits for our county’s disadvantaged communities, who tend to suffer more from the impacts of flooding and climate change. We need Measure S to help protect our county’s most vulnerable residents.

Measure S doesn’t increase taxes — it simply renews existing local funding we’ve relied on for 20 years. Threats of drought, earthquake, flooding and climate change are permanent threats. Measure S is a long-term solution for projects we desperately need.

We ask you to Vote Yes on Measure S for safe, clean water. We need these programs and projects. To learn more about Measure S, visit yesons-safecleanwater.org

Rev. Jethroe Moore III is president of San Jose/Silicon Valley NAACP. Maya Esparza represents District 7 on the San Jose City Council. Jason Su is executive director of Guadalupe River Park Conservancy.

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