Don't Blink - Senate Bill 1 is Coming

Senate Bill 1 will give new unelected bodies powers of taxation and eminent domain. Suburban neighborhoods can be deemed blighted to be replaced by high density housing.

Don't blink, Senate Bill 1 is coming
Don't blink, Senate Bill 1 is coming
Last year many of us were shocked by the enactment of Plan Bay Area. Now we face an even greater threat - Senate Bill 1. In the excellent BBC TV show "Doctor Who" one of the doctor's most fiendish opponents are the "Weeping Angels" (pictured). Whenever you blink these fiendish stone statues creep up on you and send you to a different time period.  

Senate Bill 1, if enacted, could send us back to Dickensian London - dark days where those with lower incomes were relegated to living in crowded conditions in inner city high rises. Meanwhile the one percent, the only ones able to afford it, could escape to wealthy suburbs on trains.

Senate Bill 1 is just like the weeping angels. While none of us were looking on May 28th it was passed by the state senate. Then on September 9th it was passed by the state assembly. It lies on the Governor's desk - now all that remains is for Governor Brown to sign it into law.  If we blink - it will become law, unless we act. 

Senate Bill 1 is the work of State Senate leader Darrell Steinberg - you remember, the senate leader who receives campaign donations from the construction industry, developers, builders' unions, train manufacturers...

Senate Bill 1 has passed the State Assembly, all that remains for it to become enacted is for Governor Jerry Brown to sign and enact it. Senate Bill 1 is up there with Plan Bay Area. In fact I must correct myself, this is far, far worse than Plan Bay Area.

UPDATE (Jan 1st 8:50pm):
I've been reliably informed that SB1 was modified and consequently must be voted on by the state senate before it goes to Governor Browns desk for signature. This means we have an additional chance to stop SB1 if we contact State Senators - you can find links to all their contact forms here.

Simply send each senator an email using the form, clearly asking them to vote against Senate Bill 1 and explaining why. (Unelected bodies being given powers of eminent domain and taxation, vague definition of "blighted",  flawed assumptions that transit is greener than cars and light trucks...)

What's All the Fuss with Senate Bill 1?

Here is a picture of the future under Senate Bill 1... (warning, R rating!)

- A city mayor or county supervisor forms a new joint powers authority called a "Sustainable Communities Investment Authority" (SCIA), they appoint elected officials to serve on the SCIAs board.

- If you live within 1/2 mile of a bus that runs every 15 minutes during peak commutes, or the SMART train or Caltrain in a single family home neighborhood your neighborhood can be targeted by the SCIA as inefficient land use and "blighted" as it is not high density multi-family housing. Almost everyone reading this in Marin (apart from some Steve Kinsey constituents in Western Marin) is therefore affected - I have seen the map with these 1/2 mile radiuses and it covers almost all Marinites. 

- The SCIA can then wield the power of eminent domain to purchase unused, for sale or even occupied land in order to build high density multi-family housing - that it deems to be efficient land use. 

- The SCIA can then impose local taxes on us to pay not just for the eminent domain purchases but to help the land developer build by subsidizing the building of high density housing.

- In order to meet criteria in SB1 allowing imposition of local taxes the SCIA must impose"a sustainable parking standards ordinance that restricts parking in transit priority project areas to encourage transit use to the greatest extent feasible". Yes you read that right, "to the greatest extent feasible". This could mean anything from reducing available parking, to introducing parking permits and parking meters.

Are you outraged? Can you believe this is even being considered in 2014 America? Don't believe me - the read the full analysis of Senate Bill 1.

How Can You Help Stop Senate Bill 1?

Unfortunately our state legislators were asleep at the wheel and the State Assembly passed this bill. They blinked. The one remaining act able to preventing enactment is Governor Jerry Brown's veto. 

This means that in the next few days, if you object, you can do one of the following:

1) Most Effective - Write a Letter to Governor Brown
Take the copy of the letter that I wrote and adapt it. 

Here's the letter that I sent to Governor Brown for you to adapt (Google Docs)

Don't send an identical version:
- put your address at the top
- rephrase it (we don't want dozens of cloned letters)
- shorten it
- be sure to sign it
- MAIL IT QUICKLY before the Governor signs SB1 into law.
 -mail it to:

Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

2) Next most Effective: Call Governor Brown's Office 
Here's the phone number: (916) 445-2841 

It would be good for the governor's office to be inundated with calls from concerned California voters. Explain your concerns. Ask him to veto the bill. Demand that this bill is better publicized and that there is proper public outreach.

3) Email - Easiest, but least Effective
Email Governor Brown. Leverage the content in my letter above.To email the governor use this form. Select "OTHER". Request a reply. Then in the subject put "Please Veto Senate Bill 1 (SCIA)" (or something to that effect). 

Alternatively instead of using the form you can email the governor at governor@governor.ca.gov .

Cc Your State Assemblyman
I would also encourage you to send a copy of your letter to your state assembly representative:
  • If you live in Marin or Sonoma this is Marc Levine - we need to ride Marc who actually voted for Senate Bill 1. My understanding is that he did not fully understand this bill. He is also under pressure to vote for this bill from his party's leader.  Use this form to contact Marc Levine.

  • If you live elsewhere find your state assembly representative using this map of state assembly districts which links you to your representative's website. Their website should have a contact form.

Why On Earth are they Pushing Senate Bill 1?

Senate Bill 1 is being pushed for a range of reasons:

1) To Fight Climate Change
Like other green legislation SB1 is based on the questionable, if not flawed concept of transit oriented development. This is flawed as it presumes transit creates less greenhouse gas emissions than cars and light trucks. However here is the real present day US emissions situation:

- transit achieves 36.2 passenger miles per gallon on average (assumes average vehicle occupancy of 1.67 passengers per vehicle  based on the National Household Travel Survey, 2009)
- cars and light trucks achieve 43.9 passenger miles per gallon

As you may know by now the higher the mpg or passenger mpg the lower the greenhouse gas emissions. So a higher mpg figure is better. 

What's even more important is that not only are cars and light trucks already cleaner than transit, they are getting cleaner at a much faster rate. In the San Francisco region (metropolitan area) Forbes reports that one in ten new cars sold is a hybrid so the emissions for cars are even better than portrayed by the national figures presented above.

2) To Help the Construction Industry
The construction industry is one of Darrell Steinberg's greatest campaign donators. Steinberg is the author of SB1. SB1 states:

"The construction industry has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the economic downturn of recent years. Creating incentives for construction can help restore construction and permanent jobs, which are essential for a restoration of prosperity."

But if one looks at the actual US Department of Labor state figures for California in 2013 now one can see that construction industry employment is growing at a near consistent 5% (year on year) - this seems very healthy. The Associated General Contractors of America 2013 report shows California as gaining the most construction industry jobs of any state.

3) Steinberg's Donors?
While one can never directly join the dots, here's a quick breakdown of Steinberg's donors:

- Public Sector Unions $587,585; this group benefits as public works helps build the infrastructure (roads, water mains, sewers...) for new high density housing
Railroads $45,000; this constituent group is achieving dividends through a major over-emphasis on rail instead of buses to serve Steinberg's new "sustainable communities". Includes BNSF Railway
Building Trade Unions $445,160; need I elaborate here?
Real Estate $201,929; likely developers
Finance - major donors include Citigroup, Deloitte and Touche, Price Waterhouse Coopers, KPMG

4) Reducing Commute Times for Employees
I have yet to figure out how flooding areas with high density housing, on flimsy evidence that there will be reduced auto usage, will in any way reduce commute times. It would seem that with the road system nearing capacity, and per capita transit ridership dropping despite massive investments in transit since the 1980s, that this is a recipe to really jam up the Bay Area.

5) More Affordable Housing & Transportation
We saw what happened with Plan Bay Area. That plan also sought to achieve the same savings.  However it actually increased the amount of income lower and lower-middle income workers needed to spend on transportation from 66% to 69%. 

It would seem that our legislators just want us to build until they deem housing to be  "affordable". They won't tell us where the finish line is - we should just keep building and building...like boiling the ocean.

A New Years Resolution

So as you and your children write thank you letters for what you received as gifts this year, why not add one more letter to your outbound mail: a letter to our state's governor that not only demonstrates how much value you place on where you live now, but seeks to preserve the quality of life for all of us and our children in the years to come. Perhaps you're already in front of a keyboard right now, start writing...

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mimi Steel January 01, 2014 at 05:04 PM
I agree with everything that Richard says with one minor exception. Before this bill goes to the Governor, it has to pass the STATE SENATE. What happened last year was that the bill was passed by the State Senate and sent to the Assembly. The Assembly made some significant modifications and they ran out of time to reconsider in 2013. So the first step is to CALL YOUR STATE SENATOR and tell them to vote NO. Hopefully we can head this off at the pass.
Tina McMillan January 01, 2014 at 07:16 PM
It looks like the authors moved the bill to the Inactive File. I believe due to redistricting Noreen Evans is our current representative and that there will be an election this fall to replace her. http://sd02.senate.ca.gov/ ========================================== "INACTIVE FILE The portion of the Daily File containing legislation that is ready for floor consideration, but, for a variety of reasons, is dormant. An author may move a bill to the inactive file if he or she wishes to take it up at a later date. Once a bill is on the inactive file, one day’s public notice is needed to place it back on the agenda." ========================================== It may be worth writing to Brown, Evans and Levine to once again make clear that creating yet another government agency that will make land use and planning decisions for communities that will result in taxes being used to pay for these decisions is simply a recreation of the RDA with more power. DeSaulnier and Steinberg tried the same thing in 2012 and its likely they will keep trying. Levine and Leno both voted for this bill when it went through the first time. We need to ask ourselves why Levine is voting against the platform he ran under and who will run against him that actually is capable of independent thought.
Mimi Steel January 01, 2014 at 07:56 PM
Tina, Several people from Contra Costa County presented Gov Brown with a letter entitled "Declaration of Opposition to Stop SB1", signed by over 700 people from all around the State. As a followup to that letter, we are requesting that everyone call their State Senator starting Jan 6. Here is the like to the State Senators. Call as many as you can. Let them know that there is serious objection to this bill and we don't want it to go to the Governor. KILL THE BILL, NOW http://senate.ca.gov/senators?sort=party-a
Roger January 02, 2014 at 12:11 PM
Tina: It is nice to see you commenting on the San Rafael Patch. Were you kicked off the Novato Patch or did you just decide to leave due to the rude personal attacks?
novato 3per January 02, 2014 at 12:21 PM
Tina McMillan January 02, 2014 at 01:12 PM
Roger: Good to see you too. Without Brent it seemed like the distinction between passionate debate and personal attacks got buried. =========================================== I think its best to write your own blogs with the new format. Richard's apply to all of us. Land use legislation and the ability to generate tax revenue to recreate the RDA's is what they have been trying to do since Gov Brown closed them. ============================================================================== Novato is in a precarious position because our tax base is not covering costs. Did you get a chance to attend the North Redwood Charettes and read the retail leakage study? It's the first time in many years that the city has focused on our commercial development. I think we need to keep the momentum up. SB1 would shift it into housing rather than commercial retail.
johnlweber January 02, 2014 at 04:15 PM
Great job!!!! Except, we have to play the "Name That Political Party" game. I wonder which political party the players are in? Hmmm Since there's no mention of it, they must be Democrats. And what do you know? I'm right. The "Always Out for The Little Guy"..."Against Special Interests" Democrats. Great to live in a one party state!!!
Tina McMillan January 02, 2014 at 07:48 PM
DeSaulnier started out as a Republican when Pete Wilson appointed him to the Contra Costa county board of Supervisors in 1994 and over time became a Democrat. I think political party is less important than the division between the fanatical TOD/One Bay Area proponents and the more moderate advocates of an approach to land use that incorporates conservation and a balance between preserving the environment and creating jobs. The real danger is that both DeSaulnier and Steinberg keep authoring bills that will divert tax dollars into what will become the new RDA. Brown can only veto these bills for so long but if any were to get through it would have the same impact as SB375. If you get a chance read SB1. It has so many different things in it that it looks more like pork barrel legislation.
Stephen Nestel January 03, 2014 at 02:07 AM
Plan Bay Area is all about Money and Power. SB-1 gives these creeps unlimited power to make money off the taxpayers back with absolute authority and ability to redevelop with little oversight. It is not "if" corruption will happen again in the "new and improved" redevelopment agencies, it is how much will happen before we stop it. No government should have tyrannical rule over the citizens.
Sylvia Lacock Marino January 03, 2014 at 11:17 AM
State Senator deferred to cover the southern portion of Marin appears to be Noreen Evans http://sd02.senate.ca.gov/ Sacramento office - 916-651-4002 San Rafael office - 415-479-6612
Patti January 04, 2014 at 01:37 AM
thanks for posting this
CQ January 04, 2014 at 10:56 PM
Thanks, Richard, for posting this horrible, proposed legislation that almost passed but still could. It was just posted on the Pacifica (San Mateo Co.) Patch website today. I've already sent my feelings to Jerry Brown, our State Sen. Jerry Hill, and State Assemblymember Kevin Mullin.
Kim January 05, 2014 at 01:48 AM
I have only lived in the area for almost 8 yrs, but I am horrified by the changes this state is making. Just because you call a turd "green", doesn't change the fact it is still a turd. All these sort of bills do is take away from the real issue & supporters of climate change. And the real issues are with other countries (China, India) and Big Ag in this country. Yet I don't see bills being drafted to bring them in line....just the American Taxpayer...and why?....because THEY CAN.
Pekupandropov January 06, 2014 at 12:17 AM
This is the full employment act for lawyers. One might think the Bar Association set in motion. The arrogance to think they can take private property because it doesn't align with the current desires of the political class. What country is this?
Dean Harris January 06, 2014 at 05:53 PM
This SB1 is another way of the pushers of Agenda 21 (united commie nations, sustainable development push, to take property away form American citizens). Many people listening to the lies of the leftists and enviro left make money at pushing their agenda. Comes out of the London banksters (those who own the federal reserve and would love to make everyone a financial slave). I many would take the time especially the uninformed, listen, read or watch youie tubie Eustice Mullins who wrote and explains the corruption of the banksters. "The Curse of Canaan", "Agenda Grinding Down America" by Curtis Bowers, info FreedomAdvocates, and democratsagainstunagenda21 and start connecting the dots you can see there is a consorted effort to destroy the liberty and freedom of America!
Dean Harris January 06, 2014 at 05:57 PM
green is the new communism!
George Stewart January 16, 2014 at 01:25 PM
Nevada George A letter to friends: This is a revisit to the ongoing activities of the UN Agenda 21 advocates ardently working throughout the United States to accomplish their goal. Trying to abolish personal property rights... as this is not sustainable according to their Ideology. I have previously sent out (twice) a Documentary on UN Agenda 21... how it was established, how it became a Hard Treaty in the US, and how it has become incorporated in our Federal Agencies... and how ICLEI was established to act as a spearhead for this movement. Recap: In a Nut Shell the final objective of the UN Agenda 21 in the United States is to have most of the US as a "no go zone" for Human Habitat. The desired result is to have the populace living in high density housing connected by a mass transit system. The Orchestrators deem this as Sustainable Living and Social Justice. ICLEI and other Marxist advocates accomplish this by setting up an office in your area, have public meetings and get a "consensus" from the attendees that support their objectives. There may be only a small percentage of the community that is aware and attends these meetings. The items that are voted on do not allow for dissention or opposition to their stated goal. Thus, this is a false consensus. This consensus is then presented to the local government as the desired wishes of the entire community. In the meetings they use the "Delphi Technique" to ensure the consensus is in their favor. They may place shills in the audience. This activity has been going on for several years. The result being that many have lost their properties or the right to use their property the way that they want. Thus, there has become a large Anti-Agenda 21 movement in the United States that opposes and disseminates information on the true objectives of the Agenda 21 advocates. So... the Un Agenda 21 advocates have changed their strategy. Now, and this will be a hard one to fight, the strategy is to use the Federal Government Agencies, such as the EPA, to put pressure on the Individual State Governments to accomplish their goals. This strategy is taking a foothold. State laws are being passed that expand eminent domain rights, limit land use, prohibit building, attack water rights, tax improvements on the land such as using a rain tax, etc., etc. My sympathy goes out to all these people around the country that have been effected by this land grab. Northern California was one of the first areas to be attacked. I feel sad for the liberal minded citizens that were environmentally conscious that didn't realize that sustainability and social justice themes were ploys to eliminate their personal property rights. Keep aware of any attempt by your City, County or State government to enact laws that will affect land use, private property rights, water rights, or establish predatory taxes on your private property. Just My Opinion.....
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger February 25, 2014 at 01:56 AM
DOES ANYONE KNOW THE STATUS OF THE BILL RIGHT NOW? I never heard of it until today. ....This is agenda 21 without breaks.
Tina McMillan February 25, 2014 at 09:44 PM
http://legiscan.com/CA/bill/SB1/2013 Steinberg ordered it into the inactive file. I suspect he doesn't have the support to get it past the Governor who keeps vetoing Steinberg and DeSaulnier's attempts to resurrect the RDA and to create even more sources of tax revenue. ========================================== Take a look at Steinberg's newest bill: "State Senate leader proposes 'carbon tax' on motor vehicle fuels. Darrell Steinberg says California should junk its complex cap-and-trade system for pollution credits and replace it with a carbon tax on gasoline, diesel and other fossil fuels." ========================================== http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-carbon-tax-proposal-20140221,0,4320889.story#ixzz2uONI7TbO ========================================== "A carbon tax would add 15 cents to the price of a gallon of gas in 2015, Steinberg said, and go up after that." ========================================== "That's on top of the current state gasoline tax of 71.9 cents per gallon, the nation's highest, and the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon, plus a state sales tax levied on the total retail sale.' ========================================== "His proposed carbon tax would rise to an estimated 24 cents per gallon in 2020, which would keep total gas prices lower than they would be under cap-and-trade projections, Steinberg said." ========================================== "Steinberg, who will be termed out of the state Legislature at year's end, said he realizes that the carbon tax could be a tough sell. Nevertheless, he said he's eager to start a conversation on the best financial mechanism to help the state meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020."
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger February 25, 2014 at 09:53 PM
Tina, thank you very much for the info. I found so many different answer that I didn't believe the one that said inactive. Let me explain why I am both in shock, and concerned, as well as hopeful. The shock: I have been reading about agenda 21 for over a year, along with the whole AGW debate. However, with the hundreds of hours reading, somehow SB1 never crossed my path of reading. How can something with such a major change, be so unknown. Couple that with the advancement of agenda 21 in California. My "Hopeful" part is that with so few people aware of agenda 21, and the rest dismissing it as "tin foil hat" "flatearthers", the large groundswell of the general public has yet to be reached. When it does reach the general population, that is when the real revolt will take shape. How say you?
Mimi Steel February 25, 2014 at 10:24 PM
AKA eyecu, There are teams of people fighting these policies all around the Bay Area and in Marin. In Marin, you should check out "Citizen Marin" and "Save Marinwood". If you want to get some general information about all the things happening around the Bay Area sign up for my free emails at www.bayarealiberty.org Help us get the word out. We could use people like you to contact friends and neighbors and help wake them up. The Main Stream Media has been largely silent on this issue
Tina McMillan February 25, 2014 at 10:24 PM
Fortified: Don't breathe easy yet. Making it inactive can be a ploy to wait until the legislature thinks a new governor or pressures on the current one, will compel a different decision. ========================================== Please consider looking at all of DeSaulnier's and Steinberg's bills that create new funding for Transit Oriented Development. With Plan Bay Area in play that is the big push, combining low income housing with the development of public transit. Unfortunately in California public transit use has for thirty years continued to go down. Everyone is car dependent and housing will not change that fact. ========================================== AH developers not only get tax advantages when they develop property but they also want the purchase of the property and its development funded by the state. That is the basis for ongoing legislative attempts by DeSaulnier and Steinberg. They want to recreate a fund to make up for the lost RDA's which Governor Brown closed because the state is going bankrupt. ========================================== You have to remember that the way in which AH works is that property is owned by non profits so it pays no property taxes. Education is primarily funded through property taxes as are many services in our communities. It is much better to have property owned outright but sold at below market rates than to have property that does not actively contribute to the tax base. In suburban communities like Novato where one third of the public school population qualifies for free and reduced lunch, the lack of funding means private foundations have to supplement education dollars or home owners have to pay for parcel tax and bond measures. So much funding is tied to property taxes that unless we shift the focus away from non profits owning and supplying rental housing, the property tax base will have to be increased on the backs of middle income residents who can least afford it, to continue to provide services that increase as the population increases. ========================================== Agenda 21 is the least of our worries. Start with AB32 and SB375 and look at the domino effect on legislation.
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger February 25, 2014 at 10:44 PM
TINA: "Agenda 21 is the least of our worries. Start with AB32 and SB375 and look at the domino effect on legislation." I believe you are stating to fight was has passed already, rather than what is coming, right? It looks to me like AB32 and SB375 are part of the larger Agenda 21. I will look at everything sent. It seems to me California is further down this path than the rest of the country. Do you know of any centralized movement dedicated to fighting Agenda 21 nationally? I would go full time at this if I hadn't lost a couple million in 2008.
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger February 25, 2014 at 10:45 PM
Mimi thanks for the links. Yes, I think getting the word out is key, and the MSM is clueless, and is the fourth arm of Obamas government.
Stephen Nestel February 25, 2014 at 10:59 PM
I second Tina's remarks. While many of us acknowledge the existence of Agenda 21, most of us think there is a simple explanation- "power and money". I believe the current planning fad of "Smart Growth" will flame out when the political and financial realities are realized. Stay focused on change that you can make locally.
Tina McMillan February 25, 2014 at 11:00 PM
Fortified: I actually believe in starting at the local level. If you look at Novato's work over the past three years to change both the approach to the Housing Element as well as the push from local residents to compel council members to ask for lower RHNA, Novato succeeded in getting an HE through HCD with half the RHNA from the previous cycle and with a density lower than the Metropolitan base. In the next cycle our RHNA is one third of the previous. While RHNA and the HE only denote zoning they have a huge impact on planning. If Novato can pull out of its structural deficit by bringing private sector jobs to the community and by balancing its budget then perhaps we can revisit the push to put in increasingly denser levels of housing throughout our business district and allow a more organic level of development to occur. Novato already is home to Marin Community Foundation, The Buck Center for Research on Aging and Homeward Bound. As a city we have managed to help the homeless and stay afloat. If you want to fight Agenda 21 then prove that it isn't the solution to developing sustainable communities. Instead work on making each community, whether its rural, suburban or metropolitan, become self supporting with a reasonable tax base that still allows people to define how they own property. Let private investors create developments using "tiny houses" adjacent to transit as well as larger homes that have nearby small shopping centers for basic goods and services. The more people shop local the more local businesses survive. if we let the free market create a variety of housing choices then we don't need "big brother" telling us how to live.
Mimi Steel February 25, 2014 at 11:04 PM
I have been on numerous radio shows across the country discussing this. I was on Glenn Beck's show in Nov 2012 on this topic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AhCMbfzmoU I along with many others have spoken out against Plan Bay Area (SB1 would be the funding mechanism for that). This is nothing but soviet style top down central planning. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0jGXBOFoa8 You can check out my YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/sfbaycapr You can email me directly at sfinfo@proprights.org CAPR stands for Citizens Alliance for Property Rights. We are HQ in Washington state but we have 5 chapters in CA You are welcome to learn more and see if you want to join the SFBay CAPR chapter
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger February 25, 2014 at 11:57 PM
Mimi, I will email you. I don't know how you feel about AGW, but I am a skeptic. Being at the first Earth day, and always thought of myself as an environmentalist, I see the alarmists as the opposing side. Most people who believe in it, would be on the same side as I. The alarmists are the ones polarizing. Who's going to believe them when something real comes along?
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger February 26, 2014 at 12:00 AM
And as I think Tina is talking about. No harm in building and expanding organically environmentally, and socially in better ways. But the extent, and control over every part of life, and property rights is the goal of Agenda 21. I have much homework here.
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger February 26, 2014 at 12:01 AM
What I should have written is ...."Most people who believe in it, would be on the same side as I"....in normal times, without the current alarmists


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