The Marin Post

The Voice of the Community

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Comments on the Horizon 2050 Bay Area Plan

The following letter has been sent to the Board of Directors of the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM).

Dear TAM Board:

Thank you for sending me an email notice about the special 5 pm TAM Board Meeting to hear the MTC report about Horizon 2050.

In my search for a contact email address (which I never discovered), I saw that TAM didn't post notice of the MTC report on the TAM calendar. Nor does it seem TAM has plans to videotape the MTC report. This present a problem for citizens who would care about Horizon 2050 if they knew about it. By not making information readily available to the public, you're not keeping constituents informed about the scope and timing of Horizon 2050. I urge you to correct this problem.

My goal to contact the TAM Board is to describe the MTC Horizon public outreach event of March 16. I assume the MTC presentation will include glowing words about the success of the public outreach events, including the one in Petaluma on March 16 and other Bay Area cities.

I didn't see any of you there. Remembering that a picture is worth 1,000 words, I am sharing pictures, captions, and comments about the event.

Photo #1: 9:50 am - 6 MTC staff (more who were not in the picture), 3-4 public (me and a friend);

Photo #2: 10:15 am - A few more people; mostly staff standing around in front of poster boards;

Photo #3 & #4: MTC's version of "post-it note" problem solving around complicated issues with unexamined assumptions and disregard for critical thinking;

Photo #5: 11:35 am - the busiest time of the day; mostly staff in blue t-shirts and a few members of the public;

Photo #6: 11:35 am - Another picture of a failure to communicate;

Photo #7 - 11:37 am - Neither the bountiful coffee and refreshments at the beginning of the morning, nor the T-shirts and tote bag giveaways, nor farewell nuts and sandwiches drew a crowd.


1. MTC is repeating the manipulative dog-and-pony show of 2008 when it rolled out Plan Bay Area 2013. Remember how the community rose up against PDAs, TODs and other objectionable transportation plans? Like then, elected officials have a responsibility now to be informed about MTC's plans and to inform your constituents.

2. MTC is not demonstrating skills for engaging public participation. To educate and engage about plans for 2050 without including a presentation with Q&A is either irresponsible or incompetent. You, as our elected representatives, would provide a valuable service to insist MTC provide adequate information in a format for sincere discussion and deliberation.

3. MTC is not spending our tax money wisely. When I asked for a printed copy of the recently released Horizon 2050 report, I was told they didn't have copies for the public. It was too expensive. Yet MTC provided coffee, refreshments, t-shirts and tot-bags in a callous display of arrogance and manipulation.

4. MTC has its own powerful agenda to dominate planning and decision making. We need only recall MTC's take-over of ABAG, which diminishes local voices in solving regional problems. We should be mindful of the push to replace locally-elected representatives with regional bureaucrats.

5. MTC, as convener of the CASA compact, is complicit in intentionally excluding the voices of 97 of the 101 cities. The 2019 housing legislation growing out of the CASA compact, promised to solve a problem, will ultimately have long-term negative impact on housing, costs, gentrification and displacement. The CASA compact, with bills like SB-50, SB-330, and AB-1487 will have significant impact on residents of Marin and throughout the 9-county San Francisco Bay Area.

6. MTC, in the same way it shaped CASA to reflect the needs of the Bay Area Council and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, is likely to shape Horizon 2050 to fit the needs of corporations, developers, national and global investors while ignoring and worsening the conditions of the greatest number of citizens.

I urge you not to be asleep at the wheel and neglect your responsibilities as elected officials as these long-term, monumental decisions are being considered. You have a strong community of smart and interested citizens who are eager to deliberate with you. Be the leaders you were elected to be.


Susan Kirsch, President

Livable California