The Bay Area’s regional planning and transportation agencies, despite howls of protests by hundreds if not thousands of residents concerned about local control, passed the new growth plan for the nine counties that is dubbed Plan Bay Area.
It grows out of legislative action that required the regional agencies to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gases (a consequence of AB 32 signed by one of California’s worst governors, Arnold Schwarzenegger who now is back where he belongs making movies) that mandates a response to climate change regardless of the cost.
Building high density housing around transit lines, particularly BART stations, has been transportation policy for years, but residents are worried that higher density housing may be coming to their community or neighborhood. The law driving this is different than law that resulted in Pleasanton losing a law suit over its housing cap and its failure to zone for middle and lower income housing despite the abundance of jobs in the city.
Opponents fear that whatever local control exists will be lost by the big stick of cutting off transportation funds if a community is not in compliance. There certainly is a big government, big brother aspect to it, although there also is a simply logic to surrounding the huge investment in transit lines with housing nearby to encourage its use.
What’s notable is when the final votes were cast Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne and Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty were among the five No votes. To be fair, Senator Mark DeSaulnier, who represents the Livermore and San Ramon valleys, authored the legislation that required the plan.
Pleasanton turned loose a gas man on the infestation of ground squirrels on the Bernal property along the Marilyn Kane trail this month. The cute pests breed like rabbits and their burrows create substantial hazards for any person or animal walking or running off the paved path.
Initially, the city controlled the squirrels with poisoned bait, but has shifted to carbon monoxide, thus the four-wheeler that was towing around a gas tank with multiple hoses. The varmints simply go to sleep when burrows fill with the odorless gas. It is a humane solution to controlling pests.