Oct 17

Umunhum Beginning

The Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) Board met tonight to determine the fate of the Cube on Mt. Umunhum.

Here’s the Mercury News article describing the results.

The bottom line is that the Board chose Option A … to preserve the Cube for 5 years, and to use that time to seek partnerships in the local community to help pay for the preservation of the Cube. MROSD will spend more than $400,000 to stabilize the Cube and make it safe for people to approach from outside, and for potential funding partners to visit.

This truly is a Beginning for Mt. Umunhum. We now have the opportunity to “put up or shut up” … to find funding sources and partnerships to make the Cube something that MROSD can afford to live with.

There’s plenty of work to do in the weeks and months to come. One or more groups need to take the lead in putting together “Friends of Mt. Umunhum” or “Umunhum Conservancy” non-profit organizations, which could then raise funds and figure out a larger plan for the Cube, working with MROSD. There was a lot of good discussion in the audience after the meeting, with ideas being swapped and contact info being exchanged. I’m sure we will see at least one such organization founded in short order.

Several of the MROSD Board members made it clear tonight that this is NOT the decision they expected they would make. They struggled with this decision for years … and some of them only recently came to accept that the Cube should remain. I’m grateful to the Board for their earnest attempt to balance their fiduciary responsibility to MROSD with the goals of the broader community.

And the MROSD Staff has been efficient and professional through the entire 2 year process that led to tonight’s decision. I’m sure they will be just as great in the 5 years to come.

Did we get everything I had hoped? No. I could list some things that I wish were different. But there’s really no point. As I noted to someone recently, “some times you have to just admit that you won and stop fighting”.

We won tonight. Now the work begins.



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  1. Basim Jaber

    And what a win it was. The efforts of all the public outreach, the online petition, and the media attention certainly was the biggest factor here. We have our marching orders…. so let’s do this and save the tower forever.

  2. Karl

    Excellent quote: “admit that you won”. (Despite the later trove of “hidden money” being found, the supporters of Henry Coe park did a good job of pulling together a foundation, with donor money and an agreement with the State. I look forward to similarly moving forward with a much more visible landmark! The Moffett hanger needs attention, too! The Googlers have offered a funded partnership and US Gov’t has not replied!)

  3. Joe

    Congratulations, Sam and Basim. Well done!

  4. Doug

    Not being a Valley resident, I really don’t have a solid opinion on this, but it does seem like the process worked here.

  5. Basim Jaber

    Thanks, Joe. And Doug, you are right. The process worked. Without the public support and tower proponents rallying to save the tower, there would easily been an “Option 1” (tower removal) vote last night. We bought 5 more years…for free. And that’s a victory.

  6. Chris

    That is great news! As I stated in my previous post, I would like to make a donation directly towards Mt. Umunhum. I also raise money for a particular charity every year at my Halloween Party, and this year will be raising money for the Mount Umunhum preservation.

    So, as many have pointed out, it is time to “put up”. First step I think is to start on setting up an official “Friends of Umunhum” organisation. I will lend my support, but unfortunately other commitments will prevent me from taking a lead role right now. I will hold my donations for now to see if such a thing can be set up. Has anyone spoken to Steve Schott as yet? I’m not sure if he committed his funds directly to POST, but if his money could go into a “Friends of Umunhum” trust instead, that would be a fantastic head start.


    1. Basim Jaber

      Thank you, Chris. We’ll be in touch on next steps. All the official avenues of donation and tracking needs to be set up. Stay tuned…

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