Hastings Law Journal


The San Francisco Bay Area and its six million people face an increasing number of urban problems that cannot be solved by its present form of government. Traffic congestion, ineffective public transportation, pollution, growing mounds of garbage, lack of affordable housing, decreasing open space, and dwindling water supplies are just some of the problems facing Bay Area residents. All of these problems are regional in nature and cannot be solved by individual cities or counties. Yet, the Bay Area has no governing body with the power to address the region's collective problems. Instead, the Bay Area continues to try to solve these problems locally, through its nine county governments, ninety-eight municipal governments, and a number of large special districts.

This Note argues that a limited form of regional government must be created to address the Bay Area's regional problems. It examines the Bay Area's past efforts to create a regional government and how these efforts have failed, largely for political reasons. The author then examines the various types of regional governments that exist, including those in Miami, Toronto, and Minneapolis-St. Paul, all of which have been largely successful. The author proposes that the state legislature create a federation type of regional government for the Bay Area, modeled after Metropolitan Toronto, and examines how the new government would survive a legal challenge under California's home rule doctrine.

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