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TODCO Sues Over Plan Bay Area, Arguing It Will Displace Working Class People

"The 30-year roadmap for the Bay would result in the disappearance of the Bay Area’s working-class communities of color, and displace hundreds of thousands of long-term residents -- including the essential workers who are vital to the region’s economy -- from their homes."

SAN FRANCISCO -- TODCO’s Yerba Buena Neighborhood Consortium filed suit, November 22 2012, against the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) over its 2050 Plan Bay Area (PBA 2050), a roadmap for long-term changes to the region’s economy, environment, housing, and transportation.

TODCO is represented by attorney Susan Brandt-Hawley of the Brandt-Hawley Group. The plan, re-issued every five years, is designed to lay out major structural changes to the nine counties in the Bay, and to make the area more equitable and affordable -- the kind of place where people of every race, class, and background can carve out a happy life for their families.

The suit argues that the plan fails to adequately address the chief crises facing the region: homelessness, housing, and protecting the frontline communities of color most at risk of climate change-related displacement. The plan similarly fails to identify vulnerable communities as such -- instead referring to them as “equity priority communities."

“PBA 2050 completely misses the mark,” said John Elberling, the president of Tenants and Owners Development Corp. (TODCO). “It fails to include protection for vulnerable inner-city communities and offers no substantive strategy to invest in our affordable housing stock. If adopted as written, the plan will almost certainly result in the disappearance of the Bay Area’s working class communities of color, and displace hundreds of thousands of long-term residents from their homes.”

The lack of protections for working people in PBA 2050 is especially stark given that the 2040 iteration of the plan explicitly planned for significant displacement impacts on surrounding areas -- including Stockton, Modesto, and Davis.

“PBA2050 is stuck in 1981, and relies on a wildly outdated form of magical thinking called trickle-down economics to justify its endorsement of for-profit private sector development,” said Bobbi Lopez, Policy Director for Build Affordable Faster California. “ABAG and MTC have clearly turned a blind eye to the real estate developers who have spent decades gentrifying our neighborhoods, forcing working families out of their homes, and replacing them with fancy condominiums that only the very rich can afford.”

TODCO has outlined a series of addenda that would help the plan deliver on its promise to build social equity, pursue social justice, deliver smart growth, and invest in environmental sustainability, including:

The inclusion of a detailed strategy to fund tens of thousands of housing units and temporary facilities that are essential to end homelessness in the Bay Area within the decade.

The inclusion of clear land use policies that would protect “communities of concern” from being forced from their homes and a mandate that at least 50 percent of new housing developed on publicly-owned property be affordable for lower and middle-income households.

The large-scale transformation of hundreds of square miles of parking lots for office parks and shopping malls that sit empty day after day, transforming the wasted black tops could into new, market-rate apartment buildings, parks, and small businesses -- without displacing a soul.

About the Yerba Buena Neighborhood Consortium

The Yerba Buena Neighborhood Consortium which has convened YBC residents and stakeholders regularly since 1980 to learn about and address the never-ending complex issues facing the pivotal heart of South of Market, especially those impacting the 2000 senior housing residents of this neighborhood, such as pedestrian safety.