Hi Marcy! If you listened to it for 6 hours yourself, that's pretty good dedication on your part! I would have thought my public comment was more like around 11:30, but after several hours one's memory becomes fuzzy. I didn't think it was one of my better public comments, and I wasn't that pleased with it--and afterwards I was trying to remember what I said and couldn't really remember it too clearly. They warned us from the beginning that there were over 150 speakers, so we would be limited to 1 minute each and then the mike would be cut off. One minute is incredibly short when you get going, and it seemed some of our (the oppositions of the plan) best speakers were also not at their best last night, yet some folks managed to say something interesting and significant in 60 seconds. Not easy!
At least the venue was decent for a change (Oakland Marriott) so one could be seated the whole time. To me it looked like there were more of "us" than "them," but judging by the applause after the speakers, I would say it was pretty even or maybe 55/45 in our favor. The opposition was a little better behaved than us, but since this was their evening to shine since PBA would be adopted, they could afford to be gracious. Our side was generally well behaved, but there was an occasional catcall or outburst from the back--sorry, we did heckle and boo a bit, but not too bad. I guess the original ideas for the cowbells and hazardous waste suits went by the wayside, since I saw none of that, and everyone looked pretty professional or at least in regular attire. Best sign of the evening went to the same young lady who Starchild shielded at the end of the June 20 meeting when the security guard tried to take the mike away from here when she started
singing "The Star Spangled Banner." Her sign read something like "Who Needs Sex When You Have ABAG and MTC to Screw You?" She also treated us to two more of her songs during the evening and actually has quite a decent voice. As far as the meeting went, when ABAG and MTC were conducting the business part of the meeting, it was fairly dry and boring, but as always the public comment portion was spirited, fun, and worthwhile. Kind of like reading the editorial section of the paper--editorials OK, but I always find the Letters to the Editor more interesting (they'd be even more interesting if they would print Les's "Magnus" letters!). As the evening wore on and folks gave their public comments, the room started to thin out, and only the hard core folks stayed to the end.
You won't believe this, but I did not move from my seat from before 6:30 PM until at least midnight when the board members were still discussing wording on some amendments thrown in at the last minute to appease the environmentalists and housing advocates who were not going to get the most radical (and worst) version of PBA. They were still hashing our some wording, and I knew that the final adoption of the plan was next, so I thought it would be a good time to visit the little boys room before the final vote, which I did not want to miss. I'm not kidding--I was gone from my seat for 1-2 minutes, and when I came back, the vote was already history! I checked with those around me and of course it passed as we all expected, but 4 members had voted NO and one had abstained. I hung around a little bit longer to watch the RHNA approval part of the meeting since there was some more public comment, but it was pretty subdued at this point, though the
singing sex lady managed to do another number--and she did finish it in a minute, just like she said she would.
So what does it all mean and was it worth it? There was a much smaller number of emails tonight from the coalition members, a welcome change from the scores of emails lately. Some found significance in the fact that Plan Bay Area was passed the same day that Detroit declared bankruptcy. Others were saddened but not shaken into bitterness because we all knew from the beginning of the "public input" that it was going to be enacted anyway. Personally I'm amazed that we convinced 4 members to vote against it and one to abstain. That Steve Haggerty, a Supervisor from Alameda County, was kind of like the Starchild of ABAG--if anyone was going to argue and question things and vote against the plan, it was him. I consider him a decent bureaucrat. Also Pat Ecklund, the Mayor of Novato and on the ABAG board, seemed to be another decent person, and I was told by one of the coalition organizers that the reason she abstained was because she
represents 4 cities in Marin, and two were for the plan and two were against it. (Starchild, that's the lady you tried to convert to Libertarianism at the end of the June 20 three-ring circus.) I will send an email of thank you to each of the 5 "good" ones. I think it's important to fight these flare-ups of statism (this was a pretty major one), and even though we lost, it's like that old cliché--lose the battle, win the war. I feel optimistic that, in the end, our point will be seen. Definitely worth the fight, and I have told the organizers of the coalition against PBA that we still want to be involved in the post plan adoption monitoring and battles. I hope you guys will agree with me on that. Let's keep the spotlight on their shenanigans and not let them off the hook!
P.S. Marcy, thanks for filing the complaint. When Heather took hers down to the Contra Costa Grand Jury, they told her that she was the first person ever to file a complaint in person. She thought that might have prompted some interest in her complaint. As for as the regionalism aspect of filing a county Grand Jury complaint, yes, I had problems with that too when I considered how to write my complaint--that's one of the reasons I mentioned Eric Mar (and the other was I particularly detest him after his NO vote on the feasibility of studying to bring PBA to a vote of the people). I look forward to reading your complaint this week-end.