The Post Sustainability Institute strongly objects to the tremendous overreach of Plan Bay Area in the imposition of regional governance over the voters and their elected representatives in the nine county, 101 city San Francisco Bay Area. The elevation of an unelected, unrepresentative body over the people of these municipalities is a violation of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the US and California constitutions. We assert that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments have taken SB 375 and used it to impose an aggressive ideology of land use restrictions and regionalization. Regional governance inserts a layer of unelected boards between local government and the federal and state grant makers/funders. This regional layer (MTC/ABAG), unaccountable to the electorate, sets up de facto mandates for local government--effectively using money as a lure and a bludgeon to cities and counties desperate for funds. As more and more regions are created and imposed on local and state governments across the nation there will be less local control. Local government will exist solely to implement regional regulations administratively without meaningful input from the voters.
The necessity for government subsidies or changes to Proposition 13 (California property tax) to implement this Plan is clearly stated in the Plan itself on nearly every page. Restricting development of both residential and commercial uses primarily to highly urbanized city centers even when the real estate and economic markets do not support it is a recipe for failure and debt. The entire plan is a house of cards based on a financing scheme that does not exist in California: Redevelopment. Redevelopment debt has had a crippling impact on California; bonded debt for redevelopment in our state had reached $81 billion by 2007 and was doubling every 10 years. (Redevelopment: The Unknown Government, Municipal Officials for Redevelopment Reform, 2007). The reinstatement or reinvention of tax increment financing for private development imposes a generational debt requiring 20-40 years of payments to bond brokers. Schemes for assembling and acquiring privately owned fully-developed land parcels in the Priority Development Areas will, as stated in the Plan, require eminent domain. Eminent domain is intended for public use only, and the perversion of the concept of public use to acquire land for private benefit will not be tolerated in California. In any case, at the time that Plan Bay Area is scheduled for adoption (July 18, 2013) none of these potential funding schemes is in effect, therefore the Plan fails the feasibility requirement of SB 375.
Plan Bay Area and SB 375 are predicated on the implementation of Sustainable Development. Sustainable Development was formally defined in the 1987 United Nations publication Our Common Future written by the UN World Commission on Environment and Development (referred to as the Brundtland Commission). Sustainable Development is defined as:
Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
All that remained was to state that our current activities and means of living were ‘compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ and then decide what to do about it.
After Our Common Future was presented to the UN General Assembly in 1987 the World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission) was tasked with designing strategies for achieving Sustainable Development by the year 2000. At the Rio Earth Summit in June, 1992, the Brundtland Commission came back with the action plan for implementing Sustainable Development globally: Agenda 21. Referred to as the Agenda for the 21st Century, this document was agreed to by 179 nations, including President George H.W. Bush.
William Clinton was elected President in November, 1992, and six months later he issued Executive Order #12852 which created the President’s Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD). It first met in the summer of 1993; and continued until 1999. The members of the PCSD included Cabinet Secretaries for Transportation, Agriculture, Education, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Environmental Protection Agency, Small Business Administration, Energy, Interior, and Defense. Representing business were CEOs for Pacific Gas and Electric, Enron (Ken Lay), BP Amoco, and Dow Chemical, among others. Environmental organizations rounded out the balance with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, World Resources Institute, the Nature Conservancy, and the Environmental Defense Fund being the most notable.
The PCSD immediately began laying the groundwork for implementing Agenda 21 in the United States. The goal was to change public policy to bring it into alignment with the new agenda for the 21st century. The PCSD formalized its recommendations in ‘Sustainable America—A New Consensus.’
In the PCSD’s list of vital elements to incorporate into their recommendations they included this statement:
‘We need a new collaborative decision process that leads to better decisions, more rapid change, and more sensible use of human, natural, and financial resources in achieving our goals.’
A new collaborative decision process. The new definition for consensus is the neutralization of expressed opposition.
In the old way of doing things, the democratic way, an issue is put before the voters and they vote on it directly, or they have a representative who reviews the issues, debates them publicly, and then votes. If the voters are not satisfied with the outcome, they can initiate a referendum or vote out the representative.
‘Sustainable America—A New Consensus’ does not allow for actual dissent. There can be no opportunity for failure in implementing Agenda 21. In fact the Cabinet Secretaries reported that they could implement approximately two thirds of the PCSD’s recommendations administratively. However, it is not desirable that citizens notice that they are not being given a choice in the most important issues of their lives, so they are given the illusion that they are making decisions for themselves. The real meaning of consensus is to take away your voice and leave you feeling as if you are the only one who has some problem with the results. The President’s Council on Sustainable Development incorporated the Delphi Technique into its recommendations so that ‘more rapid change’ could be imposed on us through clever manipulation. The Delphi Technique was used by MTC/ABAG and their consultants in their ‘visioning meetings’ in order to manipulate the outcome. Although they will say that they have never heard of the Delphi Technique they are in fact using it to direct public opinion, ignore or marginalize dissent, and declare ‘consensus’ on their preferred alternative.
Sustainable Development/UN Agenda 21 is exemplified in the Plan Bay Area documents by the push for high density urban development in city centers by any means necessary while starving the rural and suburban areas for funds and development. Using tactics better suited to criminal gangs, MTC/ABAG is hoping to slam through the most aggressive regional plan in the United States. UN Agenda 21 is a global plan implemented locally, and this is the Plan for the SF Bay Area. Similar plans can be found throughout the United States and the world with names like Envision Utah, Imagine Calgary, Granite State Future, PlaNY, One Valley One Vision, Horizon 2025 (Ontario, Canada), and Hanoi (Viet Nam) Regional Center 2030 Plan. All of these plans are the same plan with the same goal: move people out of the rural and suburban areas into the city centers where they can be more easily managed, controlled, and surveilled. This is not a conspiracy theory, it is a conspiracy fact. No amount of government-sponsored shaming, mocking, marginalizing, or lying about those of us speaking the truth can change this fact. The people of the United States of America and of the State of California will not be a party to this plan to destroy private property and civil rights. We intend to fight Plan Bay Area and we intend to win.