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The false promise of regional governance

May 13, 2015

By Zelda Bronstein : 48hills – except

Unless the elites change their ways, centralized planning is never going to work

There’s a push on by Bay Area elites to centralize the region’s governance. When the SF Business Times recently asked Emmett Carson, the CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the nation’s largest foundation of its kind ($6.5 billion assets), what organizational goal he has yet to achieve, Carson replied:

Creating a regional conversation from south of Market Street in San Francisco to Market Street
in San Jose that results in action to address our community’s growing income inequality,
affordable housing crisis, transportation gridlock and the dismal reading scores of our third
graders.

That reply echoes the call that’s being issued almost weekly by the editors of the Biz Times themselves. Their counterparts at the San Francisco Chronicle follow suit, regularly citing Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman and SPUR Executive Director Gabriel Metcalf on the need to address the region’s most urgent issues by consolidating the region’s fragmented public agencies into an overarching authority.

As 48 hills reported, such consolidation is a major theme of the HUD-funded Economic Prosperity Strategy that was posted last October on SPUR’s website….

SB 375, Plan Bay Area, and the festering controversy over big growth, big bucks, and local control

After the plan’s approval, the regional agencies faced four CEQA lawsuits:

Plaintiff Basic argument
Earthjustice, Communities for a Better Environment, the Sierra Club PBA does too little reduce GHG emissions, spends too much on new roads, and will displace low-income residents and communities of color living near major transportation hubs
Building Industry Association of the Bay Area PBA’s “PDA-centric nature” violates SB 375, because it does not provide enough housing to accommodate the region’s projected population growth
Bay Area Citizens/Pacific Legal Foundation PBA failed to consider reasonable alternatives to high-density housing and transit-oriented development, which the public does not want
The Post Sustainability Institute, Rosa Koire, and Michael Shaw PBA’s focus on high-density development violates the Fourth and Fifth Amendments by depriving private property owners of the right to use their property as they choose (also claimed that PBA amounts to a taking); the plan is part of a UN scheme

In a modest effort to redress this neglect, 48 hills will follow and assess both tracks of the Plan Bay Area 2017 update.

For starters: Tonight (Wednesday) evening, MTC and ABAG will hold the first San Francisco County open house on the PBA update at Hotel Whitcomb, 1231 Market at 8th Street, right across from Civic Center BART. You’ve been forewarned… (more)

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