Public Affairs and Advocacy

About This Project

Merry Ann has a record of success advocating for good public policy decisions that safeguard water resources, protect habitat of endangered and threatened species, preserve farmland and retain designated open space.

In Northern California, Merry Ann helped lead a task force to preserve federally endangered species habitat and a state park which were threatened by plans to build a four-lane bypass highway over Montara Mountain at Devil’s Slide. Her primary assignment was testifying before San Mateo County government bodies to gain endorsements of support for a tunnel solution. She also helped build momentum for a tunnel in her biweekly newspaper column and through media outreach, bumper stickers and letters to the editor.

The result was a huge win: State-of-the-art tunnels, the longest in California and the first built there in 50 years, opened in 2013. The old Highway 1 road is now a county park, open to hikers and cyclists, and part of the California Coastal Trail. Read more.

In Central Oregon, she

  • Testified before county and state officials on complex land use issues to assure developers complied with statutes and urban growth boundaries.
  • Organized informational town halls to build support or opposition for policies.
  • Led efforts to defeat special interest legislation proposed by a developer, which would have granted exemptions from county and state code for a pet project.
  • Helped defeat another project proposed by a developer that wanted to rezone farmland to housing tracts.

  • Advocated successfully for a new county policy that requires landowners to bring properties into code before getting a new building permit.
  • Was co-founder of a grassroots group rallying to uphold Oregon’s smart growth system in the face of strong pressure from resorts and the ag industry to weaken it.

Project Summary

A long-time activist on environmental issues, Merry Ann helped lead efforts in two states to protect natural resources by rallying public support and educating policymakers on the issues at stake.

Communication Strategy, Op-eds, Public Affairs, Public Relations
Communications Strategy, Grassroots organizing, Public Affairs