If you ever wondered about the agendas of regional quasi public planning agencies like ABAG and MTC please read a new book claims that regional bureaucracies are tying to steal the wealth of suburban communities. The book, “Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities,” (Penguin Group, 2012) claims that the Obama Administration is covertly trying to divert wealth from suburban communities and direct that wealth to urban areas.
The book’s author is Stanley Kurtz, who holds a doctorate in social anthropology from Harvard.
Kurtz claims that an Obama Administration goal is to limit suburban housing growth so that suburban populations cannot grow.
Kurtz also claims that the Administration wants to take money from suburban schools and give that money to inner-city schools.
In his book, Kurtz mentions Michael Kruglik, who was a mentor to a young Barack Obama when Obama was a community organizer in Chicago.
Kruglik now is president of Building One America, which, according to the organization’s Web site, seeks to “reinvigorate local economies.”
Kurtz claims that the organization’s real purpose is to redistribute wealth from the suburbs to the cities.
Echoes of Building One American can be found in the Bay Area, where an organization called One Bay Area, has, according to the One Bay Area’s Web site, the goal of developing a “long-range plan for sustainable land use.”
Opponents of One Bay Area claim that the organization wants to get suburbanites out of their cars and into high-rise, high density housing near BART (Bay Areas Rapid Transit) stations.
The Bay Area has two regional bureaucracies that are trying to reconfigure suburban living. One bureaucracy is the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC); the other is the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).
The MTC and ABAG have been accused of sponsoring “transit villages,” areas containing high-rise, high-density housing.
Walnut Creek has a transit village near Treat Boulevard and Buskirk Avenue.
The MTC and ABAG boards of directors are not elected to their positions. Board members are elected to local city councils and then appointed to the MTC or ABAG. An example is Amy Worth, who is an elected member of the Orinda City Council.
Worth also serves as vice chairperson of the MTC. Worth was not elected to her MTC position.
In recent months, the MTC decided to spend $170 million on new headquarters in San Francisco.
A few weeks ago, the MTC was linked to a proposal to impose a vehicle mileage tax — a tax on the miles driven by an individual’s personal car.
The mileage tax would, in effect, make taxicab passengers out of all drivers of private vehicles.
Contra Costa County has a “green belt,” a zone in which real estate development is prohibited. The green belt covers about one-third of the county’s land.
Ostensibly, the green belt was established to preserve the environment.
However, according the ideas advanced in Kurtz’s book, the real purpose of the green belt may be to limit suburban population growth.
Bay Area suburbanites might want to examine more carefully the activities of One Bay Area, the MTC, and ABAG.