Boisterous audience slams One Bay Area Plan
by Richard Colman on April 23, 2013
A wildly incensed audience on Monday night (April 22) vigorously protested plans to have regional bureaucracies determine land use and transportation plans for Bay Area cities. Over 300 people appeared at the Marriott Hotel in Walnut Creek to make statements about plans to force local governments to establish high-rise, high-density housing in Bay Area cities.
The gathering was sponsored by the Association of Bay Area Government (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). The purpose of the gathering was to allow local residents to comment on the activities of ABAG and MTC.
Approximately 60 speakers, many of them from Orinda, called for changes or outright abolition of ABAG and MTC. The respective boards of directors of ABAG and MTC are not directly elected by voters.
With a few exceptions, most speakers strongly opposed plans to have ABAG and MTC construct tall buildings near such transit hubs as BART stations.
Whenever a speaker criticized ABAG and MTC, wild applause and shouts of approval emanated from the audience.
One speaker complained that AGAB and MTC are depriving communities of the ability to control local matters. Another speaker said that the two regional agencies “want to get us out of our cars.”
A speaker said that high-rise housing will prevent the development of solar power. He said that solar power is easier to install on the roof of a single, detached family home.
Rosa Koire, an audience member, said that she is organizing efforts to sue ABAG and MTC over plans to mandate land-use patterns for Bay Area communities.
Mike Arata of Danville said that ABAG and MTC employees are overpaid. He said that these agencies operate by the following rule: “Play ball, or we break your kneecap.”
One speaker spoke in favor of MTC’s plans to create bicycle lanes. He received a smattering of applause.
One speaker quoted a line from the Declaration of Independence. In a criticism of King George III of England, the declaration says: “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.” The speaker said that ABAG and MTC were behaving like King George III and recommended abolition of ABAG and MTC.
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