Yesterday the Executive Board of ABAG voted to pursue a merger of agencies with MTC. This was done in spite of the overwhelming opposition of cities and counties around the SF Bay Area. The spineless ABAG leadership buckled to the demands of MTC in the eleventh hour. All their "protests" against the MTC takeover were shown to be hollow when push came to shove.
Why did this happen? From what I've learned in following all this it happened because at the end of the day all ABAG staff and its executive leadership care about is keeping their jobs. And the same is true for all the unionized workers on their Planning Staff. So they cut a deal, to avoid a nasty lawsuit, and let everyone else be damned.
Now Marc Levine's much needed legislation to disband MTC and reinvent it as an accountable publicly elected agency is stillborn because ABAG is voluntarily giving over its power to MTC.
Below is the letter that was sent out by ABAG President, Julie Pierce, filled with glowing praise for this pitiful agreement.
This adds ever more reason why Marin, Napa and Sonoma should for a North Bay Council of Governments to take back our own regional housing allocations, population and jobs growth evaluations and planning control.
From: Miriam Chion <MiriamC@abag.ca.gov>
Date: October 28, 2015 at 6:29:23 PM PDT
To: Miriam Chion <MiriamC@abag.ca.gov>
Subject: Message from Julie Pierce, ABAG President
Dear ABAG Board Members, Delegates and Alternates,
I am pleased to report that today, Wednesday October 28, 2015, our ABAG Administrative Committee and the MTC Commission voted unanimously to proceed with a study of a full comprehensive merger of our two regional agencies. The original MTC proposal has been put on hold and all energies will be dedicated to this effort. This is a major milestone in our regional planning efforts. I would like to thank Supervisor Dave Cortese, Chair of MTC and ABAG Executive Board member, for leading this effort.
Key points from the resolutions:
§ MTC shall provide the remaining six months of FY 2015-16 planning funds.
§ MTC and ABAG shall retain a consultant to conduct a merger study and a merger implementation plan of both agencies.
§ The study will be directed by the Joint ABAG Administrative Committee and MTC Planning Committee
§ Original proposal to transfer ABAG planners to MTC is put on hold during the merger study
This means that the hard work begins today, discussing and defining the relationship between the two agencies in a collaborative, positive manner. We have many issues of governance, planning tasks, and organization to define. We all need to be prepared for both challenges and opportunities that we will all face during the next eight months. This process will require not only MTC and ABAG Boards but local jurisdictions and stakeholders participation if we are to create an agency that can truly serve the Bay Area.
Thank you for your engagement and contributions that allowed us to come to this point. Your letters, statements and messages have created a strong voice on the value of local collaboration and dialogue. We are here because of your input.
READ MORE ABOUT THE MTC PLAN TO TAKEOVER SF BAY AREA PLANNING: