How to Rig the Community Input Process

How to Rig the Community Input Process

Plans are meant to incorporate community input – the experience in San Rafael made remarkable leaps of logic – arriving at a pre-ordained outcome of a future that had already been decided before us. I never used to pay any attention to local politics – I was too busy with my family, job and the busy day to day and trusted our elected officials and taxpayer paid employees of public agencies to do the right thing. But in August last year I had a sobering awakening into how our future gets chosen for us – and it doesn’t matter if or when you show up. Public input was carefully controlled, and input that diverged from the desired outcome was somehow conveniently disregarded. Now with Plan Bay Area the stakes are much higher – a “mega-plan” will see regional agencies MTC and ABAG place significant pressure on target areas -Primary Development Areas (PDAs) – to plan for very high numbers of new residents which must be housed in high density housing near transit. The $528,000 Carrot Our local planners and elected officials must respond to this need with plans – plans that should align with the communities they represent – but how can this work if trust has broken down? How can we buy into a plan if we cannot even trust the local process that executes on the plan to respect community input?  The MTC $528,000 Contract with the City of San Rafael Back in May 2010 Mayor Boro (since replaced by Mayor Phillips), Barbara Heller (still a serving councilor) and Greg Brockbank (now running to get back onto...