Monday, January 5, 2015

Housing Activist promotes Smart Growth and Plan Bay Area to Google Employees

Here is a slick presentation by a leading Housing Activist group, SPUR.  Egon Terplan makes a persuasive appeal to the employees at Google.  He speaks of high density development in urban settings as the acme of living.  I expect many of these young employees will discover that life is not so grand in a small apartment with young children who need to play.  

A Citizen Marin member makes a cameo appearance at 9:40.   He concludes his message about 40:00 with "solutions".

One of the "solutions" is to create changes to zoning and regulations BEFORE the project stage so citizens will not have a chance to challenge questionable development with concerns about traffic, parking, impacts on schools, tax burden on the community, etc.  He views all of us as NIMBYS and anti-growth and dismisses our concerns as superfluous .  He also suggests that local government should be replaced with appointed regional authorities like ABAG, MTC, and others.

In my experience, most members of Citizen Marin support thoughtful growth and local democracy as opposed to the rapid high density growth advocated by SPUR.  

Clearly they are worried about the growing unrest as people learn of Plan Bay Area.  Palo Alto successfully defeated a monster development in a residential area and elected council people who will represent local interests.

Comments from a Viewer:

Implementation of Sustainable Development: don't give away your political power

*Affordable housing (below market rate) as 30% of income all income levels in high density stack and pack, no one owns property nor will they have the chance to own property nor will they have equity in their house from which to borrow on to start a business. Breaks the free market for housing. Government assignment of housing through public private partnerships of tax exempt housing organizations. Small space limits your ability to own stuff, have children and organize politically.

Federal housing plans encroach on States rights and rights of we the people to make our own decisions. If the government decided you're a problem, they can reassign you to another house and maybe another job.
Housing would be affordable if government policy did not take land off the market. PDA's of Plan Bay Area limit growth to high density.

Government regulation makes building more expensive. Regional housing needs are associated with "policy based" population projections. Who is making the policy?

*TOD/Active transportation: walk, bike, mass transit: carbon cap and trade gas tax, regional road pricing, vehicle miles traveled, automated collection of fees via fastrak for highways and bridges amounts to public surveillance. Tax payer to rate payer. Limits your mobility and distance as well as takes more of your time. Congestion robs you of minutes, "active transportation" robs you of hours and days. GAO report states goal is to reduce miles traveled not help people get to where they want to go. 

*Governance: regionalism is about breaking jurisdictional boundaries and bypassing the democratic process. No one in regional government is elected to that regional government board that they sit on. The MTC board includes State and Federal agency staff. MTC is an MPO (metropolitan planning organization) a federal register construct to funnel federal transportation funds to regions not state's to implement sustainable development.
*Public participation is a governance mechanism to give the public a chance to speak while taking their real legal political power away from them. This process is about manipulation of the public and shows a profound lack of respect for both our government process and the rights of the public to self govern.

*Stakeholders/public private partnerships are about special interests corrupting our government denying people the equal justice under the law that is our founding tradition.

*Our city > County > State > federal government jurisdictions become local > regional > global governance non-jurisdictions.

No jurisdiction means we the people have no legal political power. If we the people don't have the legal political power, then who does and to what end?

Our government is being expanded, boundaries dissolved, replaced, infiltrated, overlain, bypassed and sliced and diced in so many ways, it looks like a divide and conquer strategy to me. If we are to maintain any semblance of a government of the people, by the people and for the people we need to separate/consolidate/limit government and return to the three branch government structures and systems that are constitutional, representative and democratic and leave the rest to society to figure out.

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -Frederick Douglass

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