Lawsuit Against the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)


The plot to transform the San Francisco Bay Area into a political “Region” is largely unknown by the residents living there and overwhelmingly opposed by those who do know. The global boiler plate program called One Bay Area (OBA) or Plan Bay Area will roll out across the nation on a grand scale. OBA involves more than $250,000,000,000 (over a quarter of a trillion dollars). The plan destroys rural and suburban lifestyles and transforms areas into dense mega-cities where people are assessed, monitored and controlled. Sound extreme?

Regional government is promulgated through Councils of Governments (COGs) and serves to neuter local government through a federalized system of carrots and sticks. COGs are designed to be the primary engine in the United States to advance Agenda 21 at the local level. The Plan for the Bay Area is the prototype of what COGs throughout the country will commit to if the Plan is implemented in the Bay Area. Over time the Plan abolishes private property as a system of public private partnerships assume control of our economic future.

Michael Shaw of Freedom Advocates and Rosa Koire of The Post Sustainability Institute are spearheading a lawsuit to block the implementation of Plan Bay Area, an agenda created by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). The lawsuit challenges the Plan on the basis of Constitutional and/or statutory violations inherent in the Plan. These include state and federal equal protection violations, and violation of the state constitutional guarantee that each city and county has autonomy from coercive state control and regionalist philosophy. Article XI of the California State Constitution guarantees city and county autonomy, and the 14th Amendment of the Federal Constitution guarantees equal protection.

You Can Help!

Freedom Advocates has established a litigation fund to halt the One Bay Area Plan’s affront to the American system of government. You can participate in the effort to restore our historic local system of government by contributing to the legal action to stop ABAG’s One Bay Area program and ultimately abolish the COG system. Read the outstanding Opening Brief (below) written by attorney Timothy Kassouni and help us carry this lawsuit through to the finish! We need your financial help to avoid an administrative takeover of America including the restructure of your entire way of life. Go to the Donate page to make a contribution to support our litigation.

Freedom Advocates has recaptured its 501(c)(3) eligibility status, so your donations are tax deductible.


Amended Complaint Brief – March 6, 2014

Michael Shaw of Freedom Advocates, Rosa Koire, and The Post Sustainability Institute file Complaint seeking to negate ABAG’s One Bay Area Plan.

Read the Amended Complaint Brief here.


Opening Brief – Filed July 15, 2014

Kassouni Law files opening brief in case challenging Plan Bay Area’s Sustainable Communities Strategy

Today the land use law firm of Kassouni Law filed the opening brief in an important case challenging the Plan Bay Area’s Sustainable Communities Strategy adopted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).  Kassouni Law represents Michael Shaw of Freedom Advocates, Rosa Koire, and the Post-Sustainability Institute. MTC and ABAG were directed by law to craft a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state to 1990 levels by the year 2025. However, the end result is a 150 page manifesto of social engineering run amok which will fail to hit its greenhouse gas emissions target.

The plan over time will drastically reduce if not outright ban the development of many vacant parcels in the Bay Area, thereby forcing residents to work and live in small, high density Priority Development Areas (PDAs).  Not only that, important environmental protections provided by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) will be eliminated for favored developers who build in these PDAs, creating serious equal protection and environmental concerns. Federal transportation funds administered by MTC will be withheld from cities and counties unless they agree to the draconian land use restrictions imposed, bribery in common parlance.

An independent study prepared for the government by Economic Planning Systems, Inc. (EPS.) has concluded the Plan is infeasible, as it relies on a number of legislative and Constitutional changes, including the repeal of Proposition 13, which has helped keep property taxes in check for 40 years, and which has also restricted the state’s ability to raise taxes without a 2/3 super majority vote.

Even if the plan is adopted, any positive effects on the environment will be virtually nil according to studies performed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Further, given the CEQA modification for PDAs, the impact on the environment may be negative.

It is hoped that the Alameda County Superior Court, where the case has been filed, will see through the charade of sustainable development and restore common sense for the people of California.

Read the opening brief in its entirety here.

The Los Angeles and Sacramento land use lawyers at Kassouni Law can be reached at (877) 770-7379.

Read the Opening Brief here.


Response from ABAG – August 29, 2014

ABAG’s response to our Opening Brief was received on Friday, August 29, 2014. The government’s response demonstrates bureaucratic overload.

Read the Respondents’ Opposition Brief here.


Reply Brief – October 20, 2014

Petitioners’ Reply: How this bureaucracy has demonstrated its excess.

Read the Reply Brief here.


Hearing – November 10, 2014
Superior Court of the State of California
County of Alameda
Judge: Hon. Evelio M. Grillo


Tentative Ruling, Court Hearing, and Supplemental Briefing

On Friday November 7, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo issued a tentative ruling denying Petitioners’ request for the issuance of a writ of mandate halting implementation of the One Bay Area Plan in the matter of the Association of Bay Area Governments’ (ABAG) restructure of local government.

On Monday November 10, a hearing was held to discuss this tentative ruling. Petitioners’ counsel focused on the statutory requirement that the Sustainable Communities Strategy be “feasible.” The definition of feasible includes the requirement that greenhouse gas reduction be achieved within a reasonable period of time. In its briefing, ABAG never presented a feasible plan nor addressed the issue of the timing for their “Strategies” implementation. Currently, ABAG merely concludes the project is feasible despite the fact that their planning consultant offered no evidence to support ABAG’s conclusion. ABAG recites a number of new laws will have to be passed before the Plan can be fully implemented. This list includes gutting Proposition 13. Is that feasible? ABAG offers no timetable for a feasible plan designed to transform the Bay Area in accordance with the “Strategies” law itself.

Further, consider:  ABAG’s judicially relevant assertion that their funding of One Bay Area (OBA) is 5% of federal funding issued to this geographic area. This perspective misleads the relevant fact that ABAG funding of OBA totals 50% off all discretionary federal payments to this area! As a consequence, Cities and Counties are coerced into participation by the force of these lost dollars.

There are more issues raised on the record linked below.

The Court asked Mr. Kassouni to further brief the issues presented that day. (Read Brief here)

It was an interesting Hearing!


Tentative Ruling

Hearing Transcript

Supplemental Briefing by Attorney Kassouni (Petitioners’ Objections and Comments Brief)


Final Ruling

In a result oriented decision, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo ruled against the Plaintiffs in the war over protecting Cities and Counties from a transformation of local government (One Bay Area). The new form of government in the San Francisco Bay Area is run by ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments). ABAG has jammed a $300 billion national taxpayers funding program that extorts all 101 cities and 9 counties in the Bay Area. ABAG is a COG (Council of Governments). COGs are directed and funded by the federal government and are extra-Constitutional. Total transformation is the Agenda – including massive stack and pack housing on 3% of the area’s land mass, abolition of private property, public transportation in replacement of private auto use and attacks on rural housing – pure Agenda 21 and “justified” on the basis of ‘climate change.’ A convenient excuse for restructuring government! As the Bay Area goes, so will Los Angeles and then San Diego. The Bay Area cities have been lured to remake their zoning ordinances in order to qualify for receipt of a share of One Bay Area’s $16 billion ‘start up’ fund to be distributed soon by ABAG, unless there is Court intervention.

The One Bay Area Plan intends for the San Francisco Bay Area to become the first American City-State (see video here). Newspapers in the Bay Area essentially do not report on the transformation. The public is unaware. COGs came to California by decree of then Governor Ronald Reagan, who declared as justification: “The era of horse and buggy government is over.” Liberal politicians + Conservative politicians = Globalists. The real battle is Globalism vs. America. Where do you stand?

Read the Final Ruling here.


Opening Brief – Filed October 9, 2015

On October 9, 2015, the Plaintiffs/Appellants filed the Appeal Opening Brief in the One Bay Area/Plan Bay Area lawsuit against the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), thanks to the financial contributions and pledges of funds necessary to enable this litigation to continue.

Read the Opening Brief here.


Response from ABAG – November 23, 2015

ABAG’s response to our Appeal Opening Brief was received on November 23, 2015.

Read the Respondents’ Brief here.

Read the Respondents’ Request for Judicial Notice here.
(The California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) assessment of the factors they believe necessitate a One Bay Area Plan.)


Reply Brief – February 16, 2016

The Reply Brief, the third and final document in the One Bay Area/Plan Bay Area Lawsuit Appeal was filed in the California Appellate Court on February 16, 2016. The Brief lays out several powerful arguments that dismantle ABAG’s response and demonstrate that Plan Bay Area is in fact, infeasible. In conclusion, we request that the trial court judgment be reversed, and that a peremptory writ of mandate be issued directing ABAG to rescind their approval of Plan Bay Area.

Below are two key points from the Reply Brief:

  1. The mandates of S.B. 375 are clear and unambiguous:
    California S.B. 375 unequivocally requires ABAG to adopt a plan that “will reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles and light trucks….” The Legislative mandate of S.B. 375 is plain and unambiguous, yet the trial court effectively rewrote this Legislative mandate to require only that the Plan can be reasonably expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to CARB’s (California Air Resources Board) targets. This reinterpretation of the direct language of S.B. 375 allows something closer to what ABAG has actually adopted. However, ABAG tacitly admits that Plan Bay Area will not meet the reduction targets. ABAG engaged the services of an independent consultant, Economic & Planning Services, Inc. (EPS), to assess the feasibility of Plan Bay Area. According to the Feasibility Report produced by EPS, Plan Bay area falls well short of the statutorily required CARB greenhouse gas emission targets.
  2. The Court is not in the business of fortune telling:
    The myriad political, legislative and financing assumptions built into Plan Bay Area render it infeasible as the mechanism to achieve CARB’s greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Plan Bay Area rests on assumptions about future legislative actions and cannot succeed without seismic shifts in California’s political and economic landscape, including the repeal of Proposition 13. [California Proposition 13 is an amendment to the California Constitution enacted in 1978 that reduced property tax rates and restricted annual increases of the assessed value of real property.] The EPS Feasibility Report commissioned by ABAG documents that Plan Bay Area cannot achieve the emissions reduction required by S.B. 375 unless redevelopment agencies or their equivalent are reinstituted; Proposition 13 is repealed or substantially weakened; and new statewide infrastructure financing is provided. ABAG fails to acknowledge that, as is highlighted in the Feasibility Report, the existence of Proposition 13 is not just an obstacle to the Plan’s achievement of its objectives, it is a “major” obstacle. Any assertion that the Plan is “likely” to achieve its objectives, or “can reasonably be expected” to do so rests on a major upheaval in California’s long-standing property tax structure occurring in the foreseeable future. ABAG provides no evidence to support their assumption that the “major obstacle” presented by Proposition 13 will go away, and thus fail to demonstrate that Plan Bay Area will achieve the objectives required for compliance with S.B. 375.

The Plaintiffs/Appellants evaluate 5 other reasons why the Appellate Court should reverse the Trial Court’s ruling. 

Read the Reply Brief here.


Seven Reasons Why Plan Bay Area is Illegal & Bad Policy for California

by Timothy Kassouni

Plan Bay Area is a monumental land use document prepared by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), for the ostensible purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by the year 2035, as required by former Governor Schwarzenegger’s Senate Bill 375. Kassouni Law is currently litigating the legality of this plan in Alameda County Superior Court, and a final decision is expected within the next several weeks. These are the top seven reasons why the plan is a bad idea:

Continue reading here


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