Plan Bay Area meetings are rigged, include Brown Act violations and violence against citizens

As a taxpayer and resident of the Bay Area, I object to regional planners such as ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) and MTC (Metropolitan Transportation Committee) planning where and how myself and 9 million other Bay Area residents will live, work, commute and recreate over the next 30 years. Under the guise of eliminating greenhouse gasses, these plans call for punitive actions against car owners and violate private property rights. These regional agencies are advocating for policies that would render the value of private property for many worthless.

Two favorite methods to violate private property rights by these unelected new bureaucratic overlords are to 1) advocate for the administrative taking of private property through shrinking urban growth boundaries; and 2) rezoning to open space as eminent domain is too obvious a measure.

These are administrative “takings” as they adversely affect private property use and values without the “physical” taking of the property. Administrative taking is worse than eminent domain because there is no just compensation to the land owner. The land owner is left with a property that is severely limited in its value and use.

This is all part of SB375 “Sustainable Communities Strategy”, which calls for regional planners to plan how and where we all will live over the next 30 years. This plan only allows for high density, stack-and-pack housing next to mass transit without regard for the current use, zoning, and ownership of the properties where these stack-and-pack villages will be located.

Land use and local policies are exclusively the responsibility of local and citizens and their legislators. This plan circumvents local planning and punishes local jurisdictions who do not adopt these policies by withholding desperately needed transportation funding.

This amounts to extortion! Local planning should be done locally without threat of funds being withheld by regional or state agencies. Not only that but, if local jurisdictions don’t identify PDA (Priority Development Areas) and rezone them to mixed multi-use they can be sued for non-compliance.

These are just a few of the tactics the regional planners don’t tell you and don’t want you to know. They say what’s the big deal? All we are doing is making a plan? Local jurisdictions will still be in charge of the local decisions…. Yes, but they know that all of these punitive measures will force local jurisdictions to cave to the pressure.

Local planning has completely been usurped along with our local redevelopment funds. State funding through IFDs (Infrastructure Finance Districts) will be the new funding stick… I mean arm to make sure local jurisdictions play ball. When will our local officials stand together against this takeover? Can’t they see that they have lost control?

The Plan/One Bay Area initiative is filled with false and inaccurate statistics and predictions regarding population growth, jobs, environmental impact, and more. Several local Bay Area jurisdictions have emphatically announced that ABAG and MTC’s data is highly inflated and not based on reality. This does not seem to dissuade the planners at MTC and ABAG. They continue to plan without real data to make meaningful decisions.

Extreme groups including Greenbelt Alliance and Transform are strategic partners with ABAG and MTC, and are conspiring to eliminate the public from discussions and forums on the Plan/One Bay Area initiative. MTC/ABAG and these groups are intent on eliminating concerned citizens from public meetings and stacking meetings with pro Plan Bay Area shills. In addition, these groups have been given inside information on the planning process while concerned citizens have been denied the information.

ABAG and MTC have violated the Brown Act open meetings law by requiring the public to pre-register for their “visioning meetings.” They also violated the Act by requiring registrants to designate their role, such as concerned citizen, small government advocate, social justice advocate, environmental justice advocate, and the like.

Labels are then used to prescreen attendees, with social justice and environmental advocates given immediate attendance confirmations, while concerned citizens and small government advocates were never given registration confirmations. The latter groups were ultimately advised that the meeting capacities were full and they could not attend.

These meetings are clearly stacked against the public. After numerous complaints to the DOT (Department of Transportation), FTA (Federal Transit Authority) and others, the concerned public was finally given registration confirmations. But meetings were restricted to 100 attendees and stacked with pro One Bay Area groups.

MTC and ABAG are misleading the public and are withholding relevant information. When pressed for details the public is told there is no specific plan. MTC and ABAG refuse to answer specific questions from concerned citizens about cost, jobs, what is social justice, and why developers will receive CEQA waivers.

They fill meeting time with ambiguous information and meaningless videos, and then claim they have insufficient time for questions and public input. Breakout meetings are segregated between pro Bay Area shills and concerned citizens. Without enough information to form a rational decision they ask attendees to vote.

Police are unwitting accomplices. They are falsely told that attendees opposing are violent and should be controlled. In fact, those who have experienced the violence inflicted on them are the concerned citizens seeking to have questions answered. At the Dublin meeting, an MTC staffer assaulted me while I was trying to ask a question. At the Santa Rosa meeting, a woman who was asking a question was repeatedly assaulted by a man with a chair. At the Contra Costa meeting, a woman came across the room and threatened to assault me with a cane after the meeting for speaking out against the plan.

MTC, ABAG and the police did not take any action against the perpetrators of this intimidation and battery. When a government employee can get away with assaulting a citizen with impunity you know things are way off the rails.

The entire process is rigged and should be STOPPED! This process does not allow for real public input into this initiative. We demand open, public and honest debate on this issue. STOP the Plan and investigate the Brown Act violations now. The 9 million citizens of the Bay Area deserve to have a voice.

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Comments

  1. Mary Eisenhour says

    There is an increase in crime from the PH Bart housing. It comes across the freeway overpass and down Oak Park Blvd.

  2. John Galt says

    It seems like you’re looking for a conspiracy where there is none. There are so many holes in your argument that you could use it for a screen door.
    First, Priority Development Areas (PDAs) are locally-identified (requested by your local elected officials), zones that are candidates for infill development within existing communities. They are generally areas of at least 100 acres where there is LOCAL commitment to developing more housing along with amenities and services to meet the day-to-day needs of residents in a pedestrian-friendly environment served by transit. To be eligible to become a PDA, an area HAS TO BE WITHIN AN EXISTING COMMUNITY, near existing or planned fixed transit or served by comparable bus service, and planned for more housing.
    Housing and retail will be similar to the character of the existing town areas, in other words, there are no plans to put 40-storey buildings in Concord, but there are certainly areas that infill housing and small business would vitalize the existing urban area. You have no doubt seen the infill housing near the Pleasant Hill BART station. I don’t think there has been an uptick of crime in nearby neighborhoods as a result of these developments.
    I’ve been to three One Bay Area meetings. While I don’t think they’re perfect, I didn’t feel disenfranchised at all, but then I didn’t bring a conspiracy theory into the room either. The most free-speech limiting thing I saw at a meeting was rude disruptions by Tea Party demonstrators who were shouting down others who wanted questions answered or had interesting input.
    The problem I had with these people were that they brought no ideas or answers into the discussion, just large amounts of unfounded fear that “big government” was taking over their lives, but no evidence that it was happening.
    I think that if you grew up in a single-family community (as I did) and value that sort of neighborhood, there is nothing to fear. If you want to live in a townhouse or an apartment nearer the city center, then you will have more opportunities to do so. A recent survey of gen X and Y working people suggested that a much higher percentage of them wish to live in denser, more walkable communities where driving is an option, but not a necessity. That’s what I define as freedom. It also indicated that there was more than enough existing inventory of suburban-style housing to fill the needs of the next generations of homeowners, but not nearly enough “town center” housing. The good news is that infill development needs much less “government-built” infrastructure: No new streets, sewers, water, electric wires, and all those other things that new suburban areas need. Building and maintaining this sort of infrastructure represents a huge tax burden for the whole community, so if you support less taxes, more compact communities are the way to go.