Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Citizen strikes back at the Bay Area Council demand for a Regional Power

Bay Area needs powerful regional government to keep economy vibrant, study says

By Andrew McGall

Posted:   11/06/2015 02:32:23 PM PST

Nowhere in this article is there any mention of climate change, green house gas emission reductions, carbon or the State legislation that addresses this issue (AB32, SB375). What does that tell you about how the "climate imperative" is being viewed by this organization? Climate change appears to be a means to an end, which apparently has nothing to do with the issues raised in this article.
Lack of inclusion of climate change looks like a duplicitous narrative on the topic of regionalism.

The use (or misuse) of language is the most significant aspect of the regionalism issue. Do not be deceived by language. Your ignorance and apathy are the keys to the success of this regionalism effort.

The Bay Area generates one of the brightest sparks in the nation's recovering economy, but feeding its vitality means residents will have to give up some local control, dig deeper into their wallets, and make room for tens of thousands of new neighbors, according to study released Friday.

Creating the artificial trade off to advance an agenda. Give up your freedom, your money and your lifestyle because we want control over you.  Corporate America will run things from now on.

Keeping on prosperity's path requires a regional government with power to overcome local obstacles, money from new taxes and tolls, and opening the doors to housing closed by local growth controls and state environmental red tape, according to "A Roadmap for Economic Resilience," an in-depth study done by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.

The Bay Area Economic Institute is the Bay Area Council is the corporate control of our nine counties, our state, possibly our nation and one of many implementing sustainable development.

Without action, the Bay Area's highways choked with commuters, its fragmented transit systems, and anti-growth attitudes will choke the boom times, the report says.

More doomsday scenarios to use as the basis for taking control of our government and everything associated with it.

The Bay Area may have 101 cities, "but it is one economy with more than 7 million people," says Bay Area Council President Jim Wunderman.

Telling that he left out the nine counties which are the dependent political subdivisions of our State.

"No city can perceive itself as an island. It's time for policymakers and business leaders to think and act with a regional perspective ... to maximize our many assets and keep the economy growing," he says.

All general statements that have no actual meaning, yet are used to advance this agenda.

The Bay Area Council is a business-sponsored public policy advocacy group.

The name for such a group in history is called fascism, corporatism, crony capitalism. This is undue influence on our government.

A key concept is the creation of a powerful regional government -- "a regional planning, finance and management" agency -- funded by tolls on bridges, highways and express lanes and a regional sales tax, gas tax, or vehicle license fee.

A key concept is turning taxpayers into rate payers, pricing drivers off their roads, limiting the public's right of way in their right of way and imposing a top down, Soviet style planned economy on the people.  The toll money will likely be added to the transportation funding that is now supporting buying our land. It's about taking our land, our wealth, our freedom.

According to the study, the regional agency would develop "a stronger regional approach to addressing critical needs (of) infrastructure, housing, workforce training, and economic development."

This is a fundamental change in our form of government. There is no elected representative who can uphold their oath of office and participate in this regionalism.

(Late last month, an attempt to expand one regional agency's powers in this direction resulted in a pact to study merging the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments.)

MTC appears to have its roots in unconstitutional Congressional legislation from 1959 which consolidated all levels of government under the concept of "intergovernmental relations". The three levels of government (federal, state, county) were set up to operate independently from each other,  as are the three branches (legislative, executive, judicial) within each of those levels of government. This regional,  top down, one branch, specialty government is problematic in many ways. Government intervention into the operations of society needs to be reversed if we are to maintain anything but a totalitarian government.

Loss of local control, a new layer of government and more taxes are warning words for groups that monitor taxpayer burdens.

"Why do they need additional revenue?" asked Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation. "If some functions shift to a regional government, shouldn't the revenue stream follow?

Regional government is uncontrollable and no revenue should support such a government. This government needs to be absorbed into our State executive branch agency and Counties if we are to maintain a government that is accountable to we the people.

"California remains a very, very overtaxed state," he said. "It has the highest sales tax and highest gas tax ... and a great deal of mismanaged tax revenue."

Good point. Need to get some numbers to show this reality.

Tax increases might result in improvements, but much of the money will go to fund public employee pensions, he predicted.

Need to address pension crisis.

But he also sees a need to protect the area's economy. "Most of the major chip manufacturers have left California," he said. "A lot of high tech is moving to Denver and Salt Lake City, and a lot of biotech is moving to Salt Lake."

Companies move all the time. Others will take their place. There is nothing static about the economy. The problem is government policy that drives these companies out of our State. The government should not be put in the position of solving a problem it created.

Housing, a key to developing the workforce and easing commute strains, is in crisis: There's too little of it and it costs too much, the report finds. The Bay Area needs nearly 1.3 million housing units built by 2040 to meet demand, and there should be consequences when cities fail to meet state-mandated housing goals, such as loss of local authority to approve housing, the report advises.

This long term planning is used as justification that may or may not be correct or relevant. These generalities are also misleading. Developing the workforce is ominous use of technocratic language.  The State does not need to mandate housing which supports sustainable development, a social engineering plan that limits freedom and choice of we the people. No one I know voted for this plan nor supports this ill conceived plan.

The plan includes the long-sought goal of easing environmental protection laws that hinder speedy construction or block building entirely.

This is a half truth. CEQA "streamlines" development that supports sustainable development and makes it more difficult to get environmental clearance for new development outside of urban centers. CEQA is another law that has been incrementally changed to support implementation of sustainable development.  

"It shouldn't be read as the region vs. cities," said report co-author Micah Weinberg, a council senior policy adviser. "It should be 'How can we make it easier for cities to do the right thing by residents of the region?'"

What is the "right thing"? This is another generalized fallacy in that cities elect city council members who answer to we the people. The omission of Counties is very problematic in that Counties are part of our State. The idea seems to be to eliminate the States thereby eliminating the very reason our federal government exists so top down control can be expanded across our country and across the world.

Reducing construction costs would be packaged with quicker approvals for lower-cost construction and new building technologies, and capping fees throughout the region.

Coupal called the state's building permits and mandates absurd.

Well put.

The housing crisis is a "self-inflicted wound," he said. The report does not consider actions suggested by other factions in the Bay Area's growth debates, such as making businesses that rely on commuters help pay for their transportation and housing needs.

Well put.

That's a nonstarter for Weinberg and Wunderman.

"When you start to pick off individual businesses, it does not scale," Weinberg said. "You need the scale of a state or region to make the investment you need in transportation."

More general statements that have no meaning. We have a State transportation agency, we used to have a County transportation agency, now VTA.

Wunderman said the world economy is too dynamic to risk the Bay Area's momentum.

More general statements that have no meaning. Need to ask the who, what, where, when, why and how questions to get to the necessary specifics to advance the conversation.

"If you have jobs, you can solve problems. ... The last thing you want to do is put the brakes on the economy."

Yet more general statements that have no meaning.

Contact Andrew McGall at 925-945-4703. Follow him at

Economic resilience

"A Roadmap for Economic Resilience" sets six actions needed to sustain the Bay Area's economic growth and to prepare it for natural disasters.
Create a regional infrastructure financing authority with the power to play a stronger role in regional transportation finance and planning.

This gives authority for unlimited borrowing which obligates the public to pay debt that would then be supported by combining public money across all nine counties. The State has already passed many ill conceived bills that support borrowing that is not approved by the voters. Our elected representatives have a fiduciary duty to keep the taxpayers solvent whether they are driving or developing or anything else. This is irresponsible action that implements sustainable development.

Give the regional authority enhanced power to acquire funding.

Power, power, power, it's all about power.

Coordinate the building of large-scale water recycling, desalination, and storage infrastructure through a regional entity.

We have a State, we don't need regional agency to coordinate across counties.

Lower the voter threshold for county infrastructure taxes to 55 percent.

This is a way to take decision making out of the hands of voters. There is a reason for a high threshold for taking people's money. Need to explore other sources of money for support of public projects.

Establish a separate environmental review process for infrastructure.
Plan for resiliency in all infrastructure decisions (to prepare for and react to natural disasters)

The implementation of sustainable development appears to be included in every aspect of our society. This is a very dangerous situation.

The full report is online at

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