Monday, April 01, 2019

Marin Bicycle Coalition gets taxpayers to fight its battles

Bob Silvestri in the current edition of the Marin Post:

Having challenged the County of Marin in a number of legal proceedings over the past five years, we’ve come to expect that there are apparently no tactics too low for the County to stoop to.

Perhaps all’s fair in love and war and lawsuits, but what if I were to tell you that the Marin County Counsel worked behind the scenes to have an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief defending the County against CVP’s favorable lower court ruling, filed on behalf of your city by the League of California Cities without a single elected official or staff member in your city approving it or even knowing about it?

This question rises above the particulars of the case at hand. There are fundamental principles at stake here. We need to ask ourselves, should the League of California Cities, an organization that purports to represent the voices of locally elected government take sides in any legal matters without asking those cities most impacted by such matters for their consent? 

It would seem that for them to do otherwise constitutes an unethical appropriation of the self-determination and voice of our locally elected representatives.
The case CVP is making is very simple.

The specific facts and circumstances of the successful petition filed by Community Venture Partners against the County of Marin Open Space District, regarding the Bob Middagh Trial in the Alto Bowl Preserve, have been detailed in several articles on the Marin Post.

In short, Community Venture Partners' opposition to the Marin County Open Space District’s plan, as explained in Judge Haakenson's carefully worded opinion, had nothing to do with whether mountain biking was good or bad (it is not “anti-biking”). 

Rather, it was based on the argument that the County violated the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in making its decision to allow biking on the Bob Middagh Trail by failing to adequately assess the potential for significant unmitigated impacts of that decision.

There has been a great deal of hyperbole to suggest otherwise, but that is all that this legal dispute is about.

The County’s arguments to the Marin Superior Court and now to the State Court of Appeal continue to be filled with exaggerations about consequences of the County losing the case, and falsehoods belied by the evidence found in the Administrative Record of the case, which the County reviewed and approved.

But, since a legal appeal is a “de novo” hearing, the County continues to present the same distorted arguments that failed in the trial court...

Rob's comment:
I blogged about this issue last year. Like in San Francisco, the Marin Bicycle Coalition has enlisted the government to fight for projects favored by that special interest group. Why indulge in subterfuge and vandalism when you can get the taxpayers of Marin County to pay for litigation on behalf of projects you support? 

Like their counterparts in Marin, SF's Bicycle Coalition has always had a sketchy, self-serving understanding of CEQA.

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