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Opinion: Clarifying ABAG's Housing Role

Letter to the editor: Rezoning decisions rest with the city, town or county, says communications officer for the Association of Bay Area Governments.

By Kathleen Cha

In the writer has cited inaccurately the role and scope of authority related to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the Bay Area’s Council of Governments and regional planning agency. ABAG does not have the authority to rezone areas for higher density and low income housing. These are decisions held/made exclusively by the city/town/county.

What ABAG is involved in is a regionwide collaboration of regional agencies and the Bay Area’s 101 cities and towns and nine counties to plan for future housing needs. This Plan Bay Area partnership is about finding opportunities to better connect homes and jobs and strategizing about how to increase housing production and affordability, and transportation alternatives.

Kathleen Cha
ABAG Senior Communications Officer

Regular Guy November 11, 2012 at 10:56 PM
"ABAG does not have the authority to rezone areas for higher density and low income housing." That's not the whole truth. It's misleading. ABAG and other unelected agencies can and will hold funding from the state hostage until the city government rezones areas for higher density and low income housing. Our state representatives vested this power in ABAG and MTC in order to advance dense housing while minimizing political accountability. Cities need to refuse funding that has these strings attached. The funding would only be temporary, until the state government goes bankrupt. The extra housing density and the resulting crime and traffic would be forever. We should follow the lead of Corte Madera and tell the density advocates and developers to take a hike: http://www.marinscope.com/twin_cities_times/news/article_537382c0-a670-55d5-b3ef-1df681ea26a2.html
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop November 12, 2012 at 03:31 PM
I suggest ABAG fund a BART feeder spur to Moraga/St Mary's College before they dangle density money under our noses. Two two-lane roads in/out of this end-of-the-road (as in you do not go through Moraga to get anywhere else) community already makes the legacy commute a nightmare. How about we make the 'Rheem" commercial area a "business" center for Lamorinda, with startup incubators and technology companies proliferating. Then the half-dead Moraga center can thrive with retail enterprise. If you do not think out of the box, you are doomed to be buried in it.
Andrew November 12, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Regular Guy, how right you are ! ABAG is just another level theft of personal property rights and we actually pay for all of these bureaucrats or should I say Politburo ?
Andrew November 12, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Well, we certainly are leading the way with a 1% sales tax on commerce in Moraga. That should help encourage consumers to shop here.
Heather Gee November 12, 2012 at 04:32 PM
ABAG likes to pretend they can't force local municipalities to do anything and that the cities have complete control, but that is a lie! ABAG's One Bay Area Plan is being funded through a $277 billion dollar federal grant, which requires local municipalities to adopt or they will be denied transportation funds. ABAG holds the money and makes the plan..... If cities want the money they must comply by designating local areas as PDAs (Priority Development Areas). These areas MUST be rezoned to Mixed Multi Use and will be mostly low income section 8 housing! No funding will be given to the cities to support schools, fire, safety and other services for the influx of all these new units. If your city takes the money your town will over the next 30 years be transformed into a high density ghetto..... paid for by you! Don't believe their lies. Abolish ABAG now! Demand your City and County remove themselves as a dues paying member! This is a voluntary regional agency!
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop November 12, 2012 at 07:35 PM
That's what I meant to say!
KFrances November 12, 2012 at 08:38 PM
We don't have the money. We've been lied to enough. ABAG : We are sick of the Propoganda. This is Fascism.
Janet Maiorana November 13, 2012 at 02:52 AM
The last half of the Audio file of meeting shows MTC/ABAG Committee members discussing how painful it was to listen to public comment in the first round of public hearings when committee members had to hear citizens question substance & process. They do not want to allow that kind of disruptive citizen input at upcoming meetings. I guess we will learn how they are going to silence us at the Dec. 14 meeting. The meeting will probably be in the morning to discourage taxpayers working to pay their bills from attending. It would be helpful if people could attend these MTC/ABAG meetings to see what we are up against. http://mtcmedia.s3.amazonaws.com/audio/pc 2012-11-09.mp3
Janet Maiorana November 13, 2012 at 03:15 AM
http://mtcmedia.s3.amazonaws.com/audio/pc_2012-11-09.mp3 This should take you to the audio portion of the MTC/ABAG meeting which discusses public input in past visioning sessions.
Ray Earle November 13, 2012 at 08:27 AM
Kahleen Cha ignores the fact that ABAG dangles our tax money as bait. The temporary city and county leaders want to take the bait, to leave their mark on our towns. Like it or lump it...We never seem to dump these "leaders" when we have the chance. Orinda just sent the same people back to the city council. Shame on us.
Linda Delehunt November 13, 2012 at 08:07 PM
I am of the opinion that not enough people are aware of the huge impact the City Council has over our way of life. With so many items and issues to consider on the ballot its no wonder that many folks just threw up their hands and threw incumbents back into the ring. From my perspective, as the candidate left behind, I was saddened that the celebratory clink of incumbents' wine glasses on election eve also seemed to salute the retreat of the large paving trucks that had been so diligently working on Orinda road repair just prior to the election. There is now silence but the potholes on my street live on. The city through its energized council will undoubtedly continue to add "ad hock" building all over town without the benefit of proper zoning and a city plan, and MOFD money that could be used for roads will undoubtedly continue down its path of mis-direction. If more people understood the importance of city government, they would be in a better position to make the very best choices. Linda Delehunt, the candidate left behind.
Linda Delehunt November 13, 2012 at 08:09 PM
And by the way, Kathleen is correct. The City Council rezones, not ABAG.
Ray Earle November 14, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Linda, the money is the bait to get the Council to rezone. i voted for you alone, but same "old council" .
Linda Delehunt November 14, 2012 at 05:54 AM
Ray, THANK YOU for your vote!! I really do appreciate your support and wish I could do more to fulfill the wishes of the good citizens in our small town.
KFrances November 14, 2012 at 09:35 PM
ICLEI (World Bank/United Nations) based in Oakland, partners with ABAG to regulate the Bay Area: http://www.abag.ca.gov/greencommunities/ABAG%20Local%20Gov%20Recruitment%20Announcement.pdf L.A. Transit Oriented Developer - Creative Housing Associates donates to local incumbent re-election campaigns (including Orinda Incumbent Glazer): http://www.challc.com/ I'm sure Ms. Cha and other ABAG employees have good intentions, but they don't seem to realize how dangerous the 'Sustainable' narrative is ...ie Monsanto's terminator seeds are 'sustainable' how exactly? Pay a price per seed. It's about money and control. We don't have the money - period, even if it is a Federal Grant - (not free money) We can not afford this right now and it shouldn't be used to blackmail Bay Area cities. I would debate of the 14 Fascist Charactersitics, the U.S. overtly has all but #5 and #11: http://rense.com/general37/char.htm We have spiraled into a very dangerous place - hybrid Fascist/Communitarianism. Respectfully, everyone at ABAG & MTC, we are scared because big controlling regulators have been very dangerous to populations of countries throughout history. Promising 'fairness' has never worked - Ask any Soviet Bloc citizen their thoughts on One Bay Area or Agenda 21 (Earth Charter - Gorbachev/Strong) Governments take power this way. Please, don't be part of the machine to take this country down that road. p.s.Linda Delehunt is a breath of fresh air.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop November 14, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Dear Ms. Delehunt, Ever consider moving to Moraga? We may have a vulnerable TC candidate in '14. I'm astonished that Orinda let you slip through their fingers. You seem a very bright light in a dimming future.
Janet Maiorana November 14, 2012 at 09:52 PM
K. Frances. I do not believe US has #10 (Labor Power is Suppressed). Labor power can't get much stronger in US. Agree it is important to call a spade a spade.
KFrances November 15, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Janet - you're right. I guess I'm seeing that living wages aren't keeping up with inflation & many individuals (88%+) of American Workforce are on their own with 'at will' employment, which means they can't get a living wage. In theory, Unions make sense, but of course in reality it interrupts the free-market. Labor Unions are still very powerful of course, with the stacked 'triple overtime' etc., with 11.8% of American Workers as part of a Labor Union in the U.S. in 2011* http://www.kansascity.com/2012/01/27/3395890/percentage-of-workforce-represented.html The International Banks now dictate and control this back door take over of regions of America. Centralization of Power does not work. Of course we have NO MONEY for any of this... One Bay Area Plan pays lip service to surveys (pre-determined outcome with survey format) and public input (just because you write it down and post it, doesn't mean it's processed AT ALL in your pre-determined decision ! ) and money isn't free ! Is ABAG listening? Is the Orinda City Council listening ? or accepting checks and finalizing an anti-American Agenda. We don't want to be lied to and we don't have the money. The Propoganda is False. I hope Orindans, Californians & Americans see The Truth. Please stop - put a moratorium on Government 'Projects' until we are in a Recovery.
Janet Maiorana November 15, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Politicians and Union leaders have a hay day spending other peoples' money, thereby making those who pay the bills hope that powerful, calling the shots unions, become obsolete...
Linda Delehunt November 16, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Thank you...You are very kind and I do appreciate your comment. I can assure you, my heart and brain are really in the right place. Perhaps my stars are simply not aligned right now :(
Chris Nicholson November 16, 2012 at 05:15 PM
When I contemplate the downward spiral in CA fueled by union influence, I get so worked up that I sometimes comfort myself in the guilty indulgence of the venerable Hostess Twinkie. What's that? Why are bakers and tobacco workers in the same union?
Nice and Rough November 16, 2012 at 05:30 PM
What will sympathetic Catholic juries and defense attorneys do without Twinkies? How will they let murderers go nearly unpunished? Bring back the Twinkies.
Nice and Rough November 16, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Well, at least, there's still Krispy Kreme.
Orinda Tax Payer & Registered Democrat June 16, 2013 at 01:31 AM
ABAG and MTC are extremely very bad news for small town and large alike. They are anything but collaborative - carrot and stick is too kind a way of expressing it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGNt48seCoQ

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