Bay Area Citizens update

by Bay Area Citizens

Bay Area Citizens update


Dear Friends,


I -  2013 achievements


We had an extraordinary year in 2013, thanks to the support of our donors and volunteers—quite an achievement for a new grassroots citizens organization, all of us volunteers. 


Bay Area Citizens made a substantive and material contribution on the debate over Plan Bay Area, in part through funding top national experts in land use and transportation planning.  These experts submitted empirically-based, analytically-sound comments on the Plan and its draft EIR. These reports were funded with mostly small and mid-sized donations—and we received a lot of them, thanks to you. Many of our volunteers submitted substantive comments of considerable merit as well.  We also networked with many of the other great citizens and citizen groups throughout the Bay Area who submitted substantive comments.


When the agencies completely rejected all of the citizens’ comments--in many cases failing to respond entirely, in other cases dismissing the comments with perfunctory and insufficient responses--we filed suit against ABAG and MTC for their certification of Plan Bay Area’s final EIR and adoption of the Plan itself.  Our suit, filed on August 6, 2013 in Alameda County Superior Court, asks the judge to vacate the adoption of the Plan and certification of the final EIR, and require the agencies to start again.  The Plan and its EIR’s flaws are that pervasive, and that material.



II -  Bay Area Citizens v. ABAG and MTC update


After what we consider to have been blatant attempts at bullying from the agencies--for example, sending us a letter on August 26, 2013 notifying us that we would incur $129,863 in costs for the preparation of the administrative record--we’ve been able to resolve those issues.  We have completed preparation of the administrative record and filed it with the court, and briefing has begun.  We filed our opening brief on March 10, 2013.  The agencies’ responsive brief is due on April 11, 2014, and our hearing on the merits of our suit is June 12, 2014.


You can follow the progress of the suit from the perspective of our pro bono litigation counsel, Pacific Legal Foundation, on their website here.   And, for our perspective, please join our email list by becoming an associate member by making a modest donation to Bay Area Citizens here, or simply sending us an email at requesting to be added to our email newsletter.  Our most detailed discussions of issues are provided in our emailnewsletter (more below).



III -  2014 initiatives


We are committed to the programs that we have planned for 2014 as these have considerable leverage in meeting the specific purposes of Bay Area Citizens.  We seek to make a difference in critical areas in the public debate over issues of land use, local control, property rights, and the environment.  Our organization and volunteers seek to support the great work of the citizen groups and individual citizens in the Bay Area and throughout California.  We also take on essential portions of those efforts that otherwise may not get done if we do not do so. 


Our 2014 initiatives include:


{C}-       Plan Bay Area II.  Regardless of the disposition of our lawsuit against Plan Bay Area I, the planners at ABAG and MTC and the powerful political and financial interests behind them, will continue their efforts to reengineer our lives in ways that will sharply limit where and how we can live, and how we can travel—with substantial costs to the public as well.  And the comments submitted on Plan Bay Area established conclusively that these heavy handed policies will do almost nothing to achieve the Plan’s stated goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 


Notwithstanding, ABAG and MTC, and their ecosystem of nongovernmental organizations, aligned developers, and state agencies will be back soon arguing that their Plan Bay Area I has failed because it lacks sufficient resources and sufficient coercion, and ask for more resources and coercion in Plan Bay Area II scheduled for adoption in 2017.  We expect to work with individuals and citizen groups in the Bay Area to make the case, again, as to the grave flaws of this Plan and this kind of planning.


{C}-       Rural Counties Initiative.  During the past two years, we have traveled extensively throughout the rural areas of our great state, meeting with folks in California’s rural counties, learning about the onslaught of initiatives on the part of state and federal agencies and associated nongovernmental organizations that are dramatically impairing our rural way of life.  Bay Area Citizens is partnering with organizations and individuals with expertise in these issues, and will be supporting citizens and local citizen groups in helping them preserve their ability to live and thrive in the rural areas of California.



IV -  Contribute to Bay Area Citizens


While there is much we can and are doing through the work of our volunteers, there is so much more that we can do with your support financially, as we found during 2013 as we were able to fund our expert reports, the costs of our Plan Bay Area lawsuit, and certain other essential expenses related to delivering our programs. 


To donate Bay Area Citizens, you can do so online via credit card here, or send your check made out to Bay Area Citizens to:


3527 Mt. Diablo Blvd #358

Lafayette, CA  94549


Your contributions to Bay Area Citizens are not tax deductible at this time.



V -  Join our email list


We only want to be sending our email newsletters to folks who would like to receive them.  We only sent these out occasionally thus far.  In our email newsletters, we talk in some detail about our current and future activities, and how we see things, and share information about what some of the great citizens and citizen groups in California are doing.  So please join our email list and be part of this important dialogue with us.


Folks can join Bay Area Citizens as an associate member by making a modest donation here—and our associate members receive our email newsletter:


In addition, you can also simply send an email to and ask to be added to the email list--please include first and last name, and city--and your state if not from CA.  While donations of any amount are always greatly appreciated as we use your contributions to support our programs, there's no requirement that you donate to be added to our newsletter list.