The undersigned citizens and registered voters of the San Francisco Bay Area representing Alameda, ContraCosta, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Sonoma and SolanoCounties, find unacceptable the MTC-ABAG board’s attempts to manipulate public input through deceptive “visioning sessions” to “develop consensus.” The previous meetings were not designed to reflect public input. Instead, they were structured to encourage uninformed/misinformed citizens to select MTC-ABAG’s desired outcome with no ability to provide meaningful public input or the option to choose “none of the above.”
Board Member Ecklund expressed concerns that the process was not successful on July 19, 2012, listen here. The MTC-ABAG board discussed that the visioning sessions were “painful” on November 9, 2012, listen here . Both videos clearly acknowledge there were problems with the execution of the public outreach sessions.
The new format laid out by MTC-ABAG in the Plan Bay Area Public Engagement Letter dated December 7, 2012 is unacceptable in the following areas:
* Public comment is being limited to 2 hours per county. This arbitrarily chosen time frame limits meaningful public comment and input.
* Telephone surveys conducted in the last survey were misleading in their wording and did not accurately reflect what the One Bay Area Plan would accomplish. Furthermore MTC-ABAG indicated that public sentiment was in favor of the plan when, in fact, the opposite was the case. Taxpayers must review/approve any questions before a survey is conducted.
* Community-based focus groups are being chosen for collaboration based on discriminatory and unbalanced criteria such as race and income.
* Local elected-official briefings should include public notice to interested citizens as well as the presentation of any public comments in opposition to the plan, particularly as those comments relate to the county (and its cities) being presented with the Draft Plan.
* MTC-ABAG is proposing to hold only three meetings regarding the EIR in the Bay Area, yet there are 9 counties. This unnecessarily limits public comment and reduces accessibility for concerned citizens to participate in the planning of this important Bay Area-wide initiative.
MTC-ABAG needs to rethink its approach to public outreach or it will have another round of "painful" and discredited sessions.
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