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Letter To The Editor: Thoughts On Plan Bay Area

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Letter to the Editor

Two Orinda residents write with their thoughts about Plan Bay Area and current plans for future housing in Lamorinda.

Editor:

We are longtime Orinda residents who are dismayed at the deliberate misinformation, distortion and fear-mongering perpetrated by “Orinda Watch” and “Save Orinda” in regard to Plan Bay Area and the regional planning agencies ABAG (Assoc. of Bay Area Governments) and MTC (Metropolitan Transportation Commission).

Plan Bay Area is a long range regional plan that attempts to address the housing and transportation needs for future Bay Area residents. The plan encompasses the nine counties and 101 cities that make up the Bay Area. For more detailed information, go to www.onebayarea.org www.abag.ca.gov www.mtc.ca.gov.

The hostility by Orinda Watch and Save Orinda has resulted in wild speculative assertions at City Council meetings and through letters, flyers and robo-calls to residents warning of the loss of private property rights, the imminent destruction of downtown Orinda, and massive high rise apartments for low-income people foisted upon us by “unelected bureaucrats”. This is NOT true.

There is no housing plan or development currently being considered by the City Council. The City Council is not in the development business. It can only provide opportunities for development through zoning regulations. It is however mandatory for all local governments to have a Housing Element in their General Plan that adequately plans to meet the projected housing needs of ALL economic segments of the community.

There is no loss of local control to ABAG and MTC . These two agencies have no jurisdiction over Orinda land use policies. Plan Bay Area does not usurp local control of land use decisions.

Members of ABAG and MTC are not unelected bureaucrats. The membership is made up of officials who have been elected to office from their own communities throughout the Bay Area. Orinda Mayor Amy Worth is Chairwoman of the MTC.

If and when any developer wishes to build in Orinda they must go through the same lengthy and rigorous PUBLIC review as has always been the case. Residents of Orinda are the ones who will decide what their city will look like now and in the future.

Many of those behind Orinda Watch are trying to obstruct and prevent any actions by the City Council based on motivations that include reflexive anti-government and other fringe beliefs for which they are using Orinda as a convenient battleground.

There are some in the community that only want to build a wall around Orinda and pretend that we don’t live in a major metropolitan area. We believe regional planning for the future of our entire region is essential to our quality of life and economic well-being and residents of Orinda and future generations will be the beneficiaries of those efforts.

We call upon all concerned citizens to make their voices heard and to stand up to the obstructionists who represent an overly loud narrow point of view.

On Tues Aug 20 at 7pm there will be an opportunity for review and discussion of the Orinda Housing Element at the City Council Meeting at the Orinda Library Auditorium. We ask your attendance at this meeting and will be glad to answer your questions if you contact us at the numbers/emails listed below.

Eartha Newsong, enewsong@gmail.com, 925-528-8077

Valerie Sloven, vsloven@comcast.net, 925-209-4633