Be part of ‘One Bay’
You might remember reading about One Bay’s Reality Check exercises, in which 300 hand-picked invitees, rushing against a 90-minute time limit, hurriedly heaped Legos on maps to depict their ideas for the 7-county region’s development over the next 50 years. When selecting the participants, One Bay had set an artificial ratio of 1/3 citizens to 2/3 business and government, which doesn’t reflect the ratio of unaffiliated citizens to moneyed interests in our community.
The exercise was just over a year ago, and at that time I encouraged you to claim a stake in this planning process by joining their mailing list.
The results of this exercise are now being called “data,” and this “data” is being used to inform the next stage of this visioning process. The One Bay Tech Team used this “data” to create 4 scenarios upon which you are now invited to comment.
We’ll get to those scenarios in a moment, but first, take a look at the makeup of the One Bay Tech Team which created the 4 scenarios:
10 Development Industry
4 Economic Development
3 Private Consultants to Government
1 Event Facilitator
Notice there are NO unaffiliated citizens, but plenty of developers. Despite my requests to see the scenarios earlier, they’ve been kept a secret from citizens like you and I up until now. Meanwhile development industry insiders have been helping to shape those scenarios before we get our say.
But wait, there’s more insider influence. Recently, One Bay’s project manager was forced to resign due to serious conflicts of interest. While guiding our region’s vision for growth, Amy Maguire was also working for a coalition of large landowners in south Hillsborough pushing for a mega-development on 5,500 acres of rural farmland; she was an advocate of our detested Green-Swath-Sprawlway; and an employee of John Thrasher’s powerful lobbying company that represents giant developers and other special interests across the state.
Now, One Bay is finally inviting everyone to participate in shaping the vision for our region. The invitation proclaims
“One Bay is powered by the voice of the citizens who want to be heard and keep our region sustainable and an attractive place to live, work and play…”
Let’s make sure this comes true. As warped as all this has been so far, I strongly encourage you to participate in One Bay’s visioning process. One Bay is being embraced by our county commission, TBARTA, and other political and business leaders across the 7-county region. It will have great influence over the future of our region—right down to our neighborhoods and our daily quality of life—whether we participate or not.
Keep in mind that while the Tampa Bay Partnership and other One Bay partners are paying for the visioning process, we taxpayers will pay for the growth that is envisioned, and its infrastructure. Yes, new growth pays some impact fees, and the new residents pay new taxes, but that doesn’t begin to cover all the costs that we taxpayers must shell out. We pay even more when poorly planned growth lowers our quality of life, destroys our natural resources, and sucks our free time into the black hole of time wasted in traffic jams.
Citizens must demand—not just a seat at the table—enough seats to represent our numbers and our taxes. If there are 1,000 butchers, bakers & candlestick makers for every developer in this region, then we should have 1,000 seats at the table for every developer seat. After all, it’s our table.
We have 6 weeks, starting with the June 2 kickoff event, to make an honest program out of One Bay, and help make its claims of citizen participation come true. In the next post, I’ll spell out some details on the four scenarios, and how you can make a difference, but for now, PLEASE give serious consideration to taking an ACTIVE role in this.