Stop the MTA CASA Compact

2019 is starting off busy with many proposals lining up in an attempt to trump local land use and zoning governance, all of which will further erode quality of life and deteriorate the uniqueness of our cities and character of our neighborhoods.
I particularly want to bring your attention to the MTC/ABAG CASA Compact and San Francisco’s Senator Scott Weiner’s Senate Bill 50 (his previous bill SB 827 was vetoed). I am writing about the CASA Compact because time is of the essence.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) adopted and approved a radical and aggressive plan to address housing in the Bay Area through a plan called the CASA Compact (https://mtc.ca.gov/sites/default/files/CASA_Compact.pdf).

The CASA Compact proposes ten “elements” for state legislation which supposedly, will solve the housing “crisis” by focusing on the 3 P's (Production, Preservation and Protection).  Recognize, this is going to be enforced by the State through a regional body which has appointed representatives, not elected officials.

The Compact Elements propose rules for Just Cause evictions, Rent Caps, Rent Assistance and Access to Counsel, removal of regulatory barriers to ADUs, increased density and height of buildings near transit, reduced parking requirements, streamline building approval process further, dictate the use of a cities’ public lands, enact taxes to generate funding for this Compact and create another bureaucratic agency to oversee this ONE-SIZE FIT ALL program.

Let me know say this… MTC has failed to solve traffic and congestion problems. Now they want to create housing policies. MTC fathered the CASA Compact, a blueprint for 2019 housing laws. The Compact is an umbrella for SF Senator Scott Wiener’s SB-50 (which re-introduces SB-827). It’s a top-down “permission slip” for developers to build massive high-rises in many single family neighborhoods. New laws in the CASA Compact will throw community and environmental laws under the bus. MTC member Matt Schwartz of the CA Housing Partnership Corp. stated "It will take voters in the Bay Area and elected officials being willing to give up some discretion over land use approvals, as well as providing the direct funding support." (MTC video)

See our brief Summary of the 10 Elements 

Essentially, the CASA Compact espouses a “one-size fits all” approach to address housing affordability by declaring repeatedly that there is a housing shortage or “crisis” without acknowledgment that the job growth in the Bay Area is relentless and highly encouraged by businesses, in particular tech, and developers, labor and organizations such as, Silicon Valley Leadership Group (https://svlg.org), Silicon Valley Joint Venture (https://jointventure.org), etc.

The CASA Compact treats small towns same as large cities without distinguishing the differences and uniqueness of each city. It does not identify the “root” causes of the problem, does not address enhancing and expanding transportation and does not acknowledge it would impact schools, services and infrastructure.

Even more egregious is that the CASA committee did not engage the 97+ cities in the Bay Area for an introduction to CASA which began 18 months ago with the Mayors of San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, developers housing advocates, business groups and labor groups. There are over 100 Bay Area cities and most were excluded from the conversation. The outreach to the 97 cities just recently started this month, but the committee has been meeting since June 2017.

Why is time of the essence?  MTC’s Executive Board has endorsed/approved the CASA Compact on December 19, 2018. Next, the ABAG Executive Board will vote to endorse or oppose on January 17, 2019. If endorsed, the Compact will be forwarded to Sacramento and it will be incorporated to many of the “ONE-SIZE FITS ALL” bills that are being proposed and will have huge ramifications for many cities.  I am asking for your help. we need 18 OPPOSE votes to make the biggest statement of opposition, laying the groundwork for going into the 2019 Legislative season.

Please take the following steps:

  1. Call or email Santa Clara County and City ABAG representatives on this list.

2. Ask if they've decided how they'll vote at the ABAG Board meeting on Thursday, Jan 17 at 7:00 pm. 

3. If they're leaning to OPPOSE, thank and commend them.  If they're uncertain, urge a vote to OPPOSE based on one or more of these reasons:

a. The CASA Compact is an unjust MTC/big business, real estate investor coup, designed by MTC's hand-picked, pro-growth, pro-regional bureaucrats.

b. The CASA Compact erodes local control and financial infrastructure without solving the affordable housing problem,.

c. The elected officials from small towns and the public have been excluded from the process.

d. The Regional Housing Enterprise creates privatized regional government; a blight on democracy.

4. Thank them for their time and say that you are looking forward to seeing them on January 17th.

If you reach someone in the "Uncertain" category who says they're leaning toward or intending to OPPOSE, please let me know. I'm keeping tabs of how we're working our way to the 18 votes we need to prevail and also how to tackle this on the upcoming proposal of legislative bills that continue to erode local governance of our own land use and zoning.

Here are some great articles detailing the CASA Compact masquerade for your reading pleasure:


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