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Transbay JPA CAC – Neutered?

My buddy Jake in Michigan.

I was underwhelmed with this evening’s Transbay JPA Citizens Advisory Committee meeting. It is starting to make sense to me why I’m always getting meeting cancellation notices from the Redevelopment Agency’s flavor of a Transbay Citizens Advisory Committee (a separate group from the TJPA CAC that focuses more on the housing redevelopment on parcels of land surrounding the Transbay Transit Center). It would appear that the Transbay JPA CAC is neutered.

Let me explain what I mean.

If you’ve read my past posts about CACs in general, I’ve criticized them as being rubber stamps for the agencies they’re supposed to be questioning and observing (see my rants about the Rincon Park restaurants earlier in the year). In this case, it does not appear as though the Transbay JPA CAC even has the entitlement to rubber stamp or offer an opinion in any way more influential than what you and I can submit with a prayer to the D&DComment@Transbaycenter.org email address about our recommendations on the three Transbay Transit Center designs.

The CAC is made up of folks who have dedicated time to meeting once a month with the notion that they would help shape the Transbay Transit Center as it develops over the next 7 or more years. When the group’s Chair and Vice Chair inquired about this CAC’s role in the Transbay Design & Development (D&D) competition, the answer was something along the lines of none – it is in the hands of the D&D Competition Jury (7 folks from God only knows where as far as I’m concerned) and the TJPA Board (who will make a decision in the safety of City Hall’s Room 416 at 9am on a Thursday, September 20th).

It is little wonder, assuming the CAC members are also getting this notion that the group’s purpose is minimal by design of the TJPA Board, that they had a tough time waiting for enough members to show up tonight for a quorum. You would think the meeting that showed the three Transbay Transit Center designs would be well-attended by the TJPA CAC members and even more members of the public (I think I was one of six members of the public there tonight).

This is just my opinion formed by the two TJPA CAC meetings I’ve attended thus far. I did offer my comment that I liked the Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects design because it offered the 5.4 acre park space, providing the Rincon Hill neighborhood a BADLY needed public area for the informal interactions between neighbors (and visitors) that are so important in making sure we have a neighborhood of friends and acquaintances instead of a region of the City filled with vertical, gated communities where we’re practically all strangers.

I will continue attending the meetings when I can, but it will be interesting to see how interested the current TJPA CAC members remain if they continue to be discounted by their parent board, the TJPA Board.

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