Plan Bay Area – A Shocking Theft Of Our Democracy

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Our local media has been drop­ping broad, con­fus­ing hints about some­thing big, some­thing immi­nent, com­ing to the greater Bay Area.

A front page arti­cle in the San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle in March 2013, titled “Hard Choic­es for a grow­ing S.F.” begins, “San Fran­cis­co res­i­dents will be get­ting thou­sands of new neigh­bors in the next 30 years, and it’s time to start fig­ur­ing out where they will live and work. (??) The arti­cle goes on to say “Com­bined with the Asso­ci­a­tion of Bay Area Gov­ern­ments’ (ABAG) esti­mate that San Francisco’s pop­u­la­tion will soar from the cur­rent 812,000 to at least 964,000 by 2025 it’s clear great change is ahead for the city.”

Tim Red­mond, edi­tor of the San Fran­cis­co Bay Guardian, lays out sim­i­lar pre­dic­tions in his arti­cle, “The Zero-Sum Future”: “Streets may have to be torn up, and redi­rect­ed … ABAG, accord­ing to its most recent pro­jec­tions, would like to see some 90,000 new hous­ing units in S.F. That’s got plen­ty of prob­lems, par­tic­u­lar­ly the like­li­hood of the dis­place­ment of exist­ing res­i­dents.”

East Bay Express edi­tor, Robert Gam­mon, pulled out all the stops with his arti­cle, “How an Envi­ron­men­tal Law is harm­ing the Envi­ron­ment”, argu­ing that we need to gut the Cal­i­for­nia Envi­ron­men­tal Qual­i­ty Act (CEQA) because it gets in the way of “smart growth”.

So thou­sands of new neigh­bors are com­ing to our cities, even though there are nei­ther jobs nor hous­ing for them. Streets are going to be torn up and res­i­dents will be dis­placed. Thou­sands of new hous­ing “units” will be need­ed. CEQA will have to be revised to accom­mo­date “smart growth”.

What is going to cause all this upheaval? What are the media out­lets soft­en­ing up the pub­lic for? — It’s the Plan Bay Area due to be imple­ment­ed on July 18 of (2013).

Most peo­ple in Berke­ley and oth­er Bay Area cities have nev­er heard of Plan Bay Area and only a minis­cule per­cent­age of the sev­en mil­lion res­i­dents of the nine Bay Area coun­ties who will be affect­ed have had any part in the “plan­ning ses­sions.” But ABAG and the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Trans­porta­tion Com­mis­sion (MTC) who have designed it to address SB-375, the Cal­i­for­nia Sus­tain­able Com­mu­ni­ties and Cli­mate Pro­tec­tion Act of 2008, say they are respond­ing to the needs and desires of Bay Area res­i­dents. No vote of the peo­ple is planned.

Our Berke­ley May­or, Tom Bates (as an MTC com­mis­sion­er), along with may­ors and city and coun­ty elect­ed offi­cials of the Bay Area, has been attend­ing pub­lic-pri­vate meet­ings along­side non-prof­it groups who have alliances with cor­po­ra­tions, devel­op­ers, non-gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions and gov­ern­ment agen­cies. A con­glom­er­a­tion of local­ly elect­ed offi­cials should not con­sti­tute a legal gov­ern­ing body when they were not elect­ed for that pur­pose. ABAG and it’s part­ners have effec­tive­ly cre­at­ed an ille­git­i­mate region­al branch of gov­ern­ment that trumps city gov­ern­ment, dimin­ish­ing the rights of aver­age cit­i­zens to affect their local envi­ron­ment.

The prin­ci­ple behind the Plan is to restrict future devel­op­ment in the Bay Area region to rede­vel­op­ment areas and Pri­or­i­ty Devel­op­ment Areas (PDA) only. Increase pub­lic tran­sit to out­ly­ing areas? No. It’s a cru­el hard world now. By allo­cat­ing fed­er­al grant mon­ey through ABAG and the MTC, the idea is to starve rur­al and sub­ur­ban coun­ties of trans­porta­tion mon­ey and restrict land use of prop­er­ty own­ers in order to cause a migra­tion of peo­ple to des­ig­nat­ed city cen­ters close to mass tran­sit. Con­struc­tion in cities will be mixed-use, high den­si­ty “smart growth” build­ings. Wow! The cal­lous dis­re­gard for the aver­age person’s prop­er­ty rights, and rights in gen­er­al, is breath­tak­ing.

Oth­er poli­cies include a car­bon tax which will force us to install GPS mon­i­tor­ing devices on our cars, elim­i­nat­ing even more park­ing, and pay­ing for park­ing at night down­town. That will be great for local busi­ness.

Peo­ple in oth­er affect­ed Bay Area coun­ties are mighty upset. A Youtube videos of a hear­ings in Wal­nut Creek is avail­able on line at: youtube.com/watch?v=ZkqWvlabnpc.

Some Democ­rats would have us believe that only anti-gov­ern­ment Tea Par­ty types would object to a plan like this. I won­der if Democ­rats have lost their minds over cli­mate change. Is it real­ly envi­ron­men­tal­ism, or are the usu­al the mon­ey-bags and land grab­bers of the world sup­ply­ing self-enrich­ing “solu­tions”?

Democ­rats, includ­ing Loni Han­cock, are actu­al­ly work­ing to gut CEQA, some­thing devel­op­ers have only dreamed about until now. Only deep-pock­et­ed devel­op­ers have the where­with­al to build giant mul­ti-unit build­ings, and are get­ting rich off of fed­er­al tax dol­lars doing so. I doubt that our law­mak­ers will be mov­ing from their sin­gle fam­i­ly homes to stack and pack “smart growth” hous­ing units any time soon.

If we want to con­tin­ue to call this a democ­ra­cy, we in Berke­ley will have to join our com­pa­tri­ots in oth­er Bay Area cities and coun­ties to say “Hell No!” to the ille­git­i­mate, tyran­ni­cal Plan Bay Area.