The Libertarian Party of San Francisco lost a friend. Sergio Klor de Alva, an enthusiastic and affable 24-year old already a veteran of political campaigns of several local office holders, was killed in a car accident on April 26. Several of us at the LPSF had the pleasure of knowing Sergio, and were uniformly impressed not only by his efficiency but also by his friendliness.
At the time of his death, Sergio was the campaign coordinator of Joel Engardio’s Board of Supervisor’s campaign. Engardio had the sad task of advising those of us involved with Sergio’s campaign work of the tragedy. He said, “I’m devastated to announce that Sergio Klor de Alva, our campaign coordinator, was killed early Tuesday morning in a car accident. This is a tragic loss for me personally and for our campaign.”
Indeed, a loss for all who knew Sergio. Friendship crosses political and partisanship boundaries. Our heartfelt sympathy goes to his family.
We have written a lot on this website about the incremental loss of control over our lives that comes with the rise in regionalism, when unelected bureaucrats take over the duties of elected officials. Voters are now being asked to give up control over their pocketbooks as well. On June 7, voters will decide the fate of Measure AA, the Clean Water, Pollution Prevention, and Habitat Restoration Measure, a proposal by the bureaucrat-let San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority. This measure is first of its kind not only because it will appear on the ballot of all nine Bay Area counties, but also because it establishes the precedent of a regional agency composed of unelected officials having the power to tax and spend.
Around 100 organizations purporting to be “saving the Bay” in one way or another stand to receive the largess flowing from the parcel tax Measure AA would implement. Thus we see much support for the proposal. However, opposition is rising from groups concerned about the spread of regionalism, opposing the ever growing implementation of parcel taxes, arguing against loss of local control over environmental challenges. Here is a sample of the opposition:
o 46-second video clip posted by Save Marinwood, in which Association of Bay Area Governments Executive Director Ezra Rapport speaks on April 6, 2016 to the ABAG Regional Planning Committee of how going to voters for tax money is “just not realistic,” so the idea of Measure AA is to “raise money regionally.” https://youtu.be/saving ABAG
o Article by Linda Koelling, former Foster City Mayor, Big Bay Area Government Costs Voters Big Money, explaining how Measure AA is “the camel in the tent.” Article is on a new website developed by Nine County Coalition. http://nine-county-coalition.squarespace.com
Gerald Cauthen and Thomas Rubin are fountains of knowledge and experience, and we are grateful that they gave so freely of their time and talent as our panelists. At this event, they also proved to be resourceful when the projector we were provided refused to work! Even though they had prepared PowerPoint presentations, they promptly switched to analog and gave excellent talks without a single prop. Speakers can only do that when they really know their stuff!
The panelists covered solid material on the subject of local transit systems.
Zelda Bronstein’s article on 48 Hills of March 29, When City Planners Treat Us Like Infants, gives an excellent account of the “public input” techniques trending with City planners. First, the fact that public engagement occurs after projects are significantly underway, puts the newly-advised and often surprised public at a disadvantage. Secondly what planners call public engagement amounts to a high-school-type science fair, where the public is invited to view pictures and graphs hanging on walls or propped on tables. A pat on the public’s head, a check mark where it says “public comments” and a project goes forward.
Those who opposed Plan Bay Area as presented, and tried to inject some accountability to voters in the Plan, were consistently met with either science fair-type events or City officials who could not have looked more bored. Plan Bay Area sailed through without ever appearing on any election ballot or carrying any future accountability to voters. (See,Plan Bay Area Adopted Under the Cloak of Midnight, Literally!)
Plan Bay Area seems to have established the precedent. Significant changes to our way of life are planned and implemented at the will of bureaucrats.
The “public engagement” offered by planners of one such change is discussed in the afore-mentioned article. Zelda Bronstein notes that the Railyard Alternatives and I-280 Feasibility Study (RAB) includes “a proposal to take down I-280 and re-route the former freeway traffic on a boulevard through the neighborhoods.” She points that although the infrastructure changes “are massive and controversial,” what is even more debatable is the manner in which public input has been sought. The community was offered a chance to comment on this infrastructure change two years into the planning, via the science-fair technique.
Although all these measures may have some beneficial impact, they also carry negative consequences that proponents wish voters to ignore. The LPSF has consistently served as the “loyal opposition,” ensuring that all sides of issues are examined. For example, in the case of Proposition AA, was the California Legislature even minding the state constitution when granting taxation power to an “authority” whose board members were not elected for their spot on that board? Are voters aware of the long list of “non-profits” related to “conservation” lined up to receive taxpayer cash if Proposition AA passes? Are voters aware that their taxes are already supporting several government agencies tasked with protecting the Bay and surrounding areas? Might it not be a better alternative to coordinate already existing agencies, rather than fund an additional layer of government?
Please stay tuned and hear the whole story. The LPSF will have recommendations, as always expressing not only positions but also the “why” behind the positions, closer to June 7th. For information on all the ballot measures, visit the S.F. Department of Elections at http://sfgov.org/elections/local-ballot-measure-status