A Response to Global Site Plans’ Nick Danty

Every  now and then an article is published by those advocating rapid growth that is so poorly grounded on facts that one almost hesitates to respond. One such article is “Social Equity Or NIMBYism? Marin County’s Battle With Affordable Housing” on Global Site Plans written by Nick Danty, a recent CSU Chico graduate. I’ve known of this post for a while, but it has almost not seemed worthwhile responding due to the nature of its inaccuracy and because it has slide down to the depths of ad hominem attacks – typically a strong indication of a lack of defensible arguments. Writer Nick Danty responds to one commenter: please keep your posts mature and without offensive language Yet his article sets the tone by descending to name calling – labeling opponents NIMBYs. I find this offensive as it falsely simplifies a wholly complex and nuanced topic with a smear intended to distance observers. Such readers might otherwise read up on the topic, become informed and discover that Danty’s arguments are completely misplaced.  Inaccuracies – Where to Start? Moving onto the topic of inaccuracy, where to start? I shall endeavor to be precise and include citations. First let’s get the most obvious, and blatant inaccurate statement by Danty out of the way: ultra right-wing community groups continue to believe that Plan Bay Area is the extension of a global agenda to rob Americans of their freedom. Groups such as Citizen Marin… Danty might be surprised to learn that Citizen Marin was co-founded by Marin Democratic Central Party committee member Susan Kirsch: http://citizenmarin.org/about-us/ Frank Egger, former seven time mayor of Fairfax –...

The Supervisors Priority of Convenience: Climate Change

On December 31st 2014 the Marin IJ posted an article: Starting 2015: A Chance to Reboot Priorities that shared that the Marin County supervisors have decided “Topping their list are local priorities aimed at climate change”. My response – how very very convenient for a group of people with an agenda of rapid development and pet transit projects such as extending SMART. I ask, why isn’t one of the following the #1 priority: Dealing with the unfunded pension crisis Dealing with increasing traffic & congestion (an issue affecting the most people, with SMART Sonoma County is planning 25,888 new housing units, placing even more burden on highway 101) Drought (we may have rain now, but we are in a long term extreme drought) Dealing with / helping the  homeless If the #1 Priority is Climate Change Why Don’t Agendas Align With This? If climate change is indeed the supervisors #1 priority then we should expect the Marin IJ article and the supervisor’s focus to be about the #1 method of abating greenhouse gases according to Marin County’s own Climate Action Plan Update: Promoting the use of solar panels. However far better to tie the #1 priority to a “sounds right” we have to fight climate change to save the planet policy, and not mention solar panels. Why? Because then the supervisors can tie their favorite projects du jeur to priority #1 – climate change – and many uninformed sheeple will go along with it. Just look at the county’s own draft climate action plan analysis of how we can make the biggest difference to climate change and assess if they are...
Disenfranchised by an Ecosystem

Disenfranchised by an Ecosystem

Many residents attend community meetings objecting to high density housing near transit – yet find themselves facing highly organized, well-funded opponents who have controlled the conversation for years – before the residents ever showed up. These groups helped usher in designations of many Bay Area neighborhoods as Priority Development Areas – hot-spots where 80% of new housing growth is targeted by Plan Bay Area. While residents would learn of neighbors wanting to build kitchen extensions, somehow our elected representatives overlooked telling us about far more radical development plans. Finally when residents did show up to voice their concerns they found themselves either dismissed as a nuisance as anything from “johnny come latelys”, to being labelled as NIMBYs and racists. The outcome despite a near 10 to 1 ratio of high density opponents to proponents is that fast growth and high density is going through in the Bay Area. In Marin, where the author lives, the following has occurred: Civic Center in San Rafael is going to be turned into a 5-story Northgate City metropolis. Its “Transit Town Center” PDA designation signals MTC’s target to pack in 7,000 housing units within ½ mile of the SMART train station where there are currently only 1,165 units. (Read this MTC guide to understand PDA designations). Update: Through a multi-year opposition by hundreds of residents, including the author, this Civic Center PDA designation was finally rescinded in September 2013. It will be revisited in 2016. Marinwood and Lucas Valley face absorbing 546 high density housing units. This has the potential to cause significant impact on schools – it is estimated to place a burden of...
Election Result: Support High Density – Lose Your Seat

Election Result: Support High Density – Lose Your Seat

Tuesday’s election results sent some major signals. Slow growth candidates dominated, even the one loss demonstrated a campaign donation multiplier effect. Tuesday’s election results echoed Marinites resounding opposition to high density housing. Fast growth candidates suffered losses: – Bruce Anderson, Marinwood CSD incumbent (supporter of Marinwood Plaza) – David Kunhardt, promoted density in Corte Madera – Steve Burdo of San Anselmo, formerly of Marin Grassroots, a group that advocated for Plan Bay Area and that tried to declare a state of emergency due to opposition to urbanization Meanwhile slow growth candidates suffered major, sometimes surprising, wins: – Justin Kai, a complete unknown before, won the race in Marinwood CSD – Diane Furst and Carla Condon won in Corte Madera – Doug Kelly in San Anselmo – Kevin Haroff in Larkspur San Rafael – the Donation Multiplier Effect In San Rafael Randy Warren came a respectable fourth in a race for two seats by four candidates. But his loss merits closer inspection. Compared to other Marin cities, San Rafael represents a fortress protected by the old guard and special interests. The electorate were bombarded by the following messaging: – Colin and Bushey Lang, the likely election winners, boasted a long list of endorsers from the old guard; they talked of their resumes which were essentially hibernation grounds for old guard candidates – the planning commission. They received considerable assistance from Chamber of Commerce members (signage placement, campaign donations). They shared endorsements from the IJ, planning commissioners, mayor and former mayor, Police and fire unions. For an apathetic voter skim reading and feeling San Rafael was being well run, but unaware of the pensions and creeping...