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To Whom It May Concern

A July 9th letter from Senators Mike McGuire and Scott Wiener, Assembly member David Chiu, and others about the status of Assembly Bill 1487, is addressed “To Whom It May Concern.” The letter was written two days before the Senate Governance and Finance Committee was to vote on a bill that would create the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Housing Finance Act, estimated to operate with an annual budget of $2.5 billion dollars.

As the mechanism to raise and distribute housing funds, this bill is sometimes considered the lynch-pin of a package of 2019 bills known as the CASA Compact, because it would have the power to place new regional taxes and fees on a ballot. Fifty percent of the funds would go to housing production, 15 percent to preservation, and scant 5-10 percent to protection.

The “To Whom It May Concern” letter was in response to locally-elected officials and community leaders raising concerns about AB 1487.

For example, the Legislative Committee of the Marin County Council of Mayors and Councilmembers (MCCMC) sent a letter in notice of OPPOSITION.

MCCMC Chair Alice Fredericks, raised a question about the expense of a new bureaucracy, a concern raised by citizens throughout the nine-county Bay Area. Others have questioned whether a regional housing agency governed by the same board that governs MTC, a transportation agency, would provide trusted and reliable governance.

“To Whom It May Concern” hits home with MCCMC. Fredericks writes,

“Our opposition is firmly rooted in the lack of local control over the composition of the entity and the disposition of needed housing funds.”

She concludes with a concern that sounds alarms for many.

“Any regional ballot measure has the potential to compete with local school parcel taxes, pre-school measures, transportation sales taxes and other measures, fees, or funds crucial to the delivery of needed services to all local communities that will be providing them to the residents of existing and newly funded housing.”

We’re fortunate to have the strong leadership of the Legislative Committee and the dedicated work of Novato City Council member Pat Eklund, Marin’s rep, along with Dennis Rodoni, to ABAG’s Executive Committee.

If you are concerned, take appreciative action.

1) Call Senator McGuire’s office (415-479-6612) to thank him for the “To Whom It May Concern” letter. Urge making AB1487 a 2-year bill.

2) Send a thank you note to the Marin Legislative Committee c/o Alice Fredericks, MCCMC Tiburon Town Hall, 1505 Tiburon Blvd, Tiburon, CA 94920.

3) Send a thank you email to Pat Eklund at PatEklund@comcast.net.

Then stay tuned for upcoming action before the bill goes to the Appropriations Committee on August 12th.