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Bad, bad frog featured in East Bay Parks campaign brochure

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Friday, October 31st, 2008 at 11:51 am in 2008 November election, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics.

An astute reader points out that you would not want to find in East Bay streams the frog pictured in the lovely colored fold-out brochure promoting Measure WW, the East Bay Regional Park District’s $250 million bond measure.

Times animal columnist Gary Bogue confirms the photo is indeed of an African clawed frog, a non-native species that threatens indigenous frogs and small fish.

It’s a definite pest in California creeks, streams and ponds, Bogue says. He called it the “Frog from Hell.”

“You used to be able to buy them in pet stores back in the 1960s, then lots got released in local streams and away they went,” Bogue said. (Click here to read about the frog on Wikipedia.)

You can no longer buy these frogs in California but a batch of them still live in a lake in Golden Gate Park despite pleas to eradicate them.

East Bay Regional Parks, of course, has strict policies against the introduction of non-native species into its parks.

The Measure WW brochure picture was very likely an innocent mistake by a graphic designer who used  stock frog photo, said East Bay Regional Park District Trustee Doug Siden of Alameda.

What? Not everyone knows the difference between an African clawed frog and a California red-legged frog?

UPDATE:

Measure WW campaign consultant John Whitehurst takes responsibility for the “Frog from Hell” picture and promises he will take an amphibian identification class right after the election.

“I’m guilty, I confess,” he said. “Hey, I wanted to send a message to voters that if Measure WW doesn’t pass, the parks will croak!”

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  • http://www.arnesimonsen.com Arne Simonsen

    Well, we can only hope that the voters will understand what a “croak” Measure WW actually is and defeat it on Tuesday.

  • Zebulon

    To know the truth about measure WW, visit http://www.noonmeasureww.org

  • http://www.arnesimonsen.com Arne Simonsen

    Zebulon, thank you for sharing that website link with me. I’m going to share it with as many people as possible.

    As a member of the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association Executive Board, we also oppose Measure WW as it does not address any of the issues raised on that website. EBRPD can’t maintain the land it already has or make it accessible and open to the public.

  • Edward

    You got to love the “vote no on everything” crowd. They have great minds – for the 9th century. These taypayers groups oppose spending money on ANYTHING unless its either prisons or war. Hopefully, the voters will show more intelligence and vote to maintain one of the best urban parks systems in the world and vote YES on Measure WW.

  • http://www.arnesimonsen.com Arne Simonsen

    Edward, you made a wild assumption there! I personally will be voting YES on six of the statewide propositions!

  • Edward

    The No on Measure WW crowd a bunch of bike riders who are taking out their unhappiness that they can’t bike everywhere they want by opposing Measure WW which is a well crafted ballot measure designed to shepard and provide for the needs of the EBRPD for the 21st Century. If these bike riders are unappy with District policy then they should run for the SBRPD board instead of opposing this bond measure. If Measure WW does lose how will that help heir cause? The answer: It won’t. Opposing Measure WW because your unhappy with district policy reminds me of what they used to say during Vietnam: “We have to destory the village in order to save it.” Measure WW is needed to accomodate the projected recreational needs of residents in Contra Costa and Alameda counties when you factor in the population growth over the next 20 years. Without Measure WW, the park system will deteriorate. I fail to see how that benefits anybody, especially bike riders and taxpayers.

  • Zebulon

    I’d hate to see the other parks if the EBRPD parks were actually the best in the country… :) Truth is that I’ve hiked and biked quite a bit all around the bay area, and the east bay has some of the worst parks. Basically, we have public funded ranches masquerading as parks.

    As for the discrimination against cyclists, the EBRPD has one of the worst record in the region and the country. They could use a wake up call. The land will still be there in a few years, and that will give the district time to clean up its act.

  • k.linden

    I think it is important to focus on the small contribution that Measure WW is representing just for homeowners in the larger and longer picture of the value of open space in our region. It is not new funding, but rather an extension of existing funding-.01% per 100,000 of accessed home value, in other words: 20 dollars a year for 200,000 accessed home value. Our parks are magnificent, and to continue to contribute just a small amount, we have the opportunity to renew our commitment to ensure their beauty for the future. Please don’t let pictures of the ‘wrong frog’ be the centerpiece of the discussion, nor arguments which belittle the accomplishments of the people who have made it their priority to conserve these lands. A yes vote to Measure WW is a worthwhile vote. Please join us to say yes to continue this important funding for the future.

  • http://www.arnesimonsen.com Arne Simonsen

    Measure WW is not maintenance money, it is to acquire more park land.

    Since the EBRPD can’t maintain and open up to the public the land it already has, where does EBRPD think they are going to get the money to open up and operate any new park acquisitions?

    The answer is: They will come back to the voters (like they did with the failed Measure BB Benefit Assessment) for more money.

    When you look at the total population of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, EBRPD has plenty of existing parks for an increased population; particularly when you add in the State, county and city parks we have available.