The Marin Post
The Voice of the Community
On May 31, 2019, Community Venture Partners (CVP) and Livable California (LC) filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate and Complaint for Injunctive Relief and Declaratory Relief against the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) for violations of the Ralph M. Brown Act (California’s Open Meetings Law). After 2 ½ years of denial and obfuscation, ABAG surrendered to the inevitable. They had broken the law. That it took them all that time and likely hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees (paid for by taxpayers) to come to that point is astonishing. They could have avoided all of it with a simple mea culpa.
ABAG’s violation occurred at their January 2019 hearing when the Board of Directors met and voted to endorse the “Casa Compact,” a broad policy initiative driven by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s intention to standardize zoning across the region, strip cities and counties of local control, impose “regional” taxes, roll back environmental reviews, re-zone single-family neighborhoods for higher-density market-rate housing development, and more.
At that hearing, the Board voted their endorsement the but failed to “report out” the votes to the public; how each director had voted on the issue. The entire hearing was captured on video so there was no uncertainty about whether this reporting out occurred. Without question, this was a clear violation of the law. Full stop.