Sunday, June 26, 2016

Homeless Shelter is being pushed for North San Rafael


Homeless services advocates seek support for North San Rafael center


This vacant building at 67 Mark Drive in San Rafael is being considered as a year-round emergency shelter for homeless.
This vacant building at 67 Mark Drive in San Rafael is being considered as a year-round emergency shelter for homeless. Alan Dep — Marin Independent Journal

Cia Byrnes, executive director of Ritter Center, stands at the nonprofit’s building in downtown San Rafael. Ritter Center might move with other programs for the homeless to a vacant building at 67 Mark Drive in San Rafael.
Cia Byrnes, executive director of Ritter Center, stands at the nonprofit’s building in downtown San Rafael. Ritter Center might move with other programs for the homeless to a vacant building at 67 Mark Drive in San Rafael.Alan Dep — Marin Independent Journal
Promoters of a plan to consolidate some of Marin’s homeless services are launching a public effort to gather support for a homeless multi-service center in North San Rafael.
“This offers the possibility of connecting people sleeping on floors with showers and other services that could get them to be housed,” said Cia Byrnes, executive director of the Ritter Center, a nonprofit that serves the poor.
The idea is to move the Ritter Center from its downtown San Rafael site to a vacant building in an industrial area south of Smith Ranch Road.
Under the proposal, the organization would not be the only one relocating to the 24,000-square-foot building at 67 Mark Drive.
St. Vincent de Paul Society would move some services to the site, excluding its dining room. The REST program, the county’s rotating emergency shelter program now operated by volunteers only during the winter, would also call the site home.
The goal is to establish a year-round emergency shelter there that would replace the REST program’s rotating shelter staged at churches and synagogues during cold months. See full article in the Marin IJ

Editor's Note:  A few years back, then CSD Board President Bruce Anderson  (currently the moderator for NextDoor/Lucas Valley) proposed that Marinwood Community Center become a "Temporary Homeless Shelter" if needed.  The board consisting of Cyane Dandridge, Leah Kleinman-Green, Tarey Reed, and Bill Hansel   approved unanimously.  Ir never was adopted because of the distance from downtown.  If the shelter comes to North San Rafael,  it is likely that a "temporary" homeless shelter may be located in our neighborhoods at Marinwood Plaza, Big Rock Deli or the Marinwood Community Center.  I believe these voluntary agreements are valid for ten years.  Lucas Valley Community Church at the corner of Lucas Valley Road and Las Gallinas also participates in homeless services.   

FABLE: Two Ducks and the Fox




Once there were two ducks that always walked along the same road each day to go to the pond. As they went along, one of the ducks quacked to the other, " Why don't we go on a different path today. There are lots of other roads that lead to the pond?"

      "No, no, no. I have always gone this way and I am not about to change my ways," said the biggest duck.

      As the ducks walked along they came upon a very sly fox. "Hello ladies, how are you doing?"

      "Oh we are just on our way to the pond." The ducks continued to waddled quickly to the pond.

      The next day the duck that had wanted to go to the pond another way said, "Please, lets go the other way. If we go the same way that fox will surely eat us."

      "Oh don't be such a worry wart," snapped the biggest duck.

      So they both had gone the same way that they always had, and there was the fox waiting for them with a sack in his paw. As soon as the ducks walked by the fox pounced on them. The ducks ran screaming back to their house.


      The next day the ducks took another road to the pond because they were both still in shock over what the fox did to them the day before.

Moral: Sometimes it is best to change your ways

When ‘sustainability’ is code for bigger government

see Article in Washington Times:

DRIESSEN: When ‘sustainability’ is code for bigger government


More regulation won’t save the planet


Real sustainable development uses steadily improving technologies and practices to leave the world better than we found it. It conserves resources and is more efficient, it is responsible, it maintains profitability and keeps employees employed. It tunes up cars, keeps tires inflated and improves light sequencing to move traffic along, increase gas mileage and reduce pollution.

The public relations variety of sustainable development promotes corporate images and inspires flattering press releases, but it is often devoid of real substance.

Then there is the United Nations, environmental activist brand of sustainability. It says we may meet the needs of current generations only to the extent that doing so “will not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”

At first blush, this sounds logical, even ethical. In reality it is unworkable, inequitable and a pathway to more government control.

Indeed, we cannot talk about sustainability, President Obama’s science advisor John Holdren has said, without talking about politics, power and control.

“Sustainability” has thus become yet another justification for bigger government, in the battle over centralized power versus independent states and sovereign nations, statism versus individual rights and liberties, and the power and influence of activist nongovernmental organizations.

The outcome of this battle will determine who is to be master: those who must live with the consequences of their personal choices, or unaccountable politicians and bureaucrats who force people to live with the policies, regulations, decisions and consequences they impose on others.

No one predicted that a Wisconsin home would suddenly be lit with hydroelectric power in 1887, or that electricity would safeguard and enhance our lives in the numerous ways it does today. No one foresaw widespread natural gas use for electricity generation and home heating – or fiber optic cables replacing copper and mobile phones with more computing power than a 1990 desktop.

Today, the pace of technological change is mind-numbing. Yet under sustainability precepts, we are supposed to predict future technologies – and ensure that today’s development activities will somehow not compromise those technologies’ unpredictable energy and raw material requirements.

Sustainability dogma also demands that we base policies on knowing how many years energy and metal deposits will last, and determine whether using them will be sustainable.

The reality is, 3-D and HD seismic, deepwater drilling and production, hydraulic fracturing and other new technologies enable us to find and develop new deposits, and make existing deposits last decades longer. How long must those expanded reserves last, before using them won’t be sustainable? And who decides?

How can politicians, regulators and environmental activists decree that oil and gas are not sustainable – even as these technologies unlock a century of new deposits? What’s more, how can they then insist that corn ethanol is sustainable, even though this year’s U.S. ethanol quota requires 40 percent of our corn, cropland the size of Iowa, billions of gallons of water and enormous quantities of pesticides, fertilizers, tractor fuel and natural gas, to produce a fuel that drives up food prices and gets one-third less mileage per gallon than gasoline?

How can they decree that wind energy is sustainable, despite the need to blanket wildlife habitats with turbines and transmission lines that kill millions of birds and bats every year — and duplicate their electricity generation with fossil fuel power plants that produce 80 percent of the electricity attributed to “renewable, sustainable” wind power?

How is it sustainable, ethical or “environmental justice” for the United States to use so many of the world’s oil, gas, rare earth and other resources – because we refuse to allow development of our own vast energy, metallic and other deposits?

How is it ethical to focus on the needs of future generations, even if it means compromising the needs of current generations – including the aspirations, health and welfare of Earth’s most impoverished people? How much longer must 1.4 billion people continue to live without electricity and its blessings, because eco-activists obsess about global warming and oppose coal, gas, nuclear and hydroelectric power plants?

How long must billions of people remain malnourished, because environmental activists and UN bureaucrats don’t like insecticides, high yield farming or biotechnology?

The fundamental problem with UN/activist/EPA “sustainability” is that it is infinitely elastic and malleable. Whatever these organizations support is sustainable; whatever they oppose is unsustainable.

Worst of all, this version of sustainable development gives unelected regulators increasing control over energy use, economic growth, wealth redistribution and people’s lives, living standards, health and well-being. It does so without the essential safeguards, checks and balances of robust science, independent courts, democracy, transparency, honesty and accountability. [editor's note: just like Plan Bay Area].

We should strive to conserve energy, water and other resources, when it makes economic, technological, ecological and ethical sense to do so. We should reduce air and water pollutants that actually endanger human health and welfare.

Yet we cannot afford to let “sustainable development” become yet another justification for ceding still more power to unelected, non-transparent, unaccountable overseers.

Paul Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow and author of “Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death” (Merril Press, 2012).

MTC's Power Grab of ABAG

A pricey palace, huge losses in risky investments, a busted bridge — and now the agency responsible wants more power

Behind the power grab by the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission
MTC Executive Director Steve Heminger wants to take over all regional planning
MTC Executive Director Steve Heminger wants to take over all regional planning
By Zelda Bronstein
OCTOBER 11, 2015 — It now looks as if the open power struggle between the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission will persist for at least a few more weeks.
At MTC’s standing-room-only meeting on September 23, Executive Director Steve Heminger laid out his controversial proposal for his agency to absorb ABAG’s land use planning staff—a shift whose implications for democratic governance and social justice in the Bay Area are vast and troubling. MTC commissioners paved the way for that shift on June 24, when they voted to fund ABAG’s planning staff for only the next six months instead of the customary full fiscal year.
No action could be taken on the 23rd, because the MTC chair, Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese, had placed consolidation on the agenda as an information item. MTC will act on Heminger’s proposal, detailed in a white paper dated September 18, at its October 28 meeting.
Opposition to both the truncated funding and the proposed consolidation has continued to mount.
Unionized ABAG workers aren't happy with the notion of being taken over by a non-union agency
Unionized ABAG workers aren’t happy with the notion of being taken over by a non-union agency
On September 17 the ABAG Executive Board voted to ask MTC to fund ABAG planning staff for the full FY 2015-16, to terminate the proposal for consolidation of the two agencies’ planning staffs, and to join ABAG in a discussion about a restructuring or merger.
On September 22 District 10 (Marin and southern Sonoma Counties) Assemblymember Marc Levine put out a scathing press release that assailed MTC as a publicly unresponsive and unaccountable board    READ MORE ON 48 Hills Online  HERE
Supervisor Steve Kinsey "listens intently" at a Supervisors Meeting.
Mr Kinsey is Marin's ONLY representative on the MTC.   A merger would concentrate all power in Marin in this one man who wants to urbanize Eastern/Southern Marin.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Stalinist Urbanism

One Bay Area Plan is coming to Marinwood-Lucas Valley 


[Editor's Note: The ideas of Smart Growth and the One Bay Area Plan are similiar to the autocratic land use planning under the Soviet power. The author of this article reaches many of the same conclusions that we have concerning Smart Growth.  Freedom and responsibility under democratic self rule are preferable bureaucratic oppression and tyranny.]

Excerpt from Urbanism under Stalin

Postwar development brought historicism to new extremes in the form of monumental plazas, dramatic statues, and seven famous "wedding cake" high-rises built throughout the city between 1947 and 1953. The largest and perhaps most extravagant is Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU), which includes a botanical garden and extensive landscaping connected to the park along the river at Lenin (currently Sparrow) Hills.


MSU today.


Fearful symmetry, 1949.


An earlier design, 1947.


Open land around the new building, 1954.


New development, 1957.


An older house prepared for demolition to accommodate the Universitet neighborhood along Leninsky Prospect, 1957.

Housing for everyday citizens remained terribly insufficient, as elites were given beautiful apartments in the city and cottages in the country. New residential development tended to follow a kvartal model, in which buildings of roughly 5-10 stories were bounded by a city block with shops at street level and shared interior courtyards. Today, at least in the more affluent neighborhoods of Moscow, these structures have aged well. They combine density with pleasant landscaping and easy access to amenities. This model influenced the development of larger apartment blocks in "microdistricts" after Stalin's rule. These places are generally not considered beautiful. Still, there is much to be said for the kvartal idea.


Kvartal-like courtyard at lower-right corner, beside the residential tower at Kudrinskaya Square, 1954.

Stalinist urbanism draws upon a number of ideas raised in the 1920s for the socialist city, including the modernization of infrastructure, communal housing, employment and amenities close to home, ubiquitous public transportation, and the integration of green space. However, basic human needs were neglected in favor of industrial development and an image of grandeur. Human rights were given even less concern. This abuse of power in the name of socialism is an enduring tragedy. Stalin's massive urban modernization projects made it possible for Moscow to accommodate a great influx of people. But I'm not sure if they improved living conditions on the whole, or if the ecological consequences can be justified.

Stalin surveying a construction site, followed by Voroshilov, a removed person, and an unidentified person, mid-1930s.

In some ways Moscow's high-density living, extensive public transportation system, and accessible parks sound like a contemporary planner's dream. However, after reading about Stalin I've become more sympathetic to the flip side of this equation, the suburban house with a small park (ie, yard) of one's own, where we can adapt the environment on a smaller scale without imposing our will on others. Can urban condos and parks meet those kinds of needs?
"Increased public spending on health and physical education," a section from the Second Five Year Plan, 1934.

This might seem like a loss of faith in cities, but the real problem is abusive power. Stalin accomplished many things in Moscow that have proven of enduring value. But process is at least as important as results in this case. Great places can come about through autocratic, democratic, capitalist, and socialist means. But for the good of daily life in cities, a democratic socialism sounds preferable to autocratic socialism or democratic capitalism. Oppression and exploitation must give way to freedom and responsibility.

"Fascism Is Efficient" says Andres Duany, father of the New Urbanist movement


Andres Duany

Andres Duany is considered the father of New Urbanism that inspires Plan Bay Area.  He seeks to "repair Sprawl" by redeveloping places like Marin into Urban Centers along transportation Corridors.  All land within 1/2 mile of 101 is targeted.



Here is the full 2 hour video of the Seven50 conference which is even more chilling than the clips above. Seven50 is a regional economic/transportation and housing plan in Florida that is similar too Plan Bay Area on a smaller scale. Andres Duany reveals his plans, contempt for local democracy and unabased admiration for fascist government controls to achieve New Urbanist objectives of walkable, bikeable communities.


Mussolini called fascism "Corporatism"

Article from Independent Institute

Fascism Is Efficient, Says Andres Duany, Leading Proponent of “Sustainable Development”




Andres Duany (photo by Michigan Municipal League)
Andres Duany (photo by Michigan Municipal League, 2013)
It goes by many names: “sustainable development,” “smart growth,” “transit-oriented development,” to name a few. But development projects built under the banner of “sustainability” share the same elements: high-density residential housing and high-intensity commercial space (so-called mixed use) clustered near capital-intensive mass transit lines surrounded by government-owned “open space” and, increasingly, government-imposed “urban growth boundaries.” Regardless of where a sustainable-development project is located in the world, each tends to apply these elements.
There is nothing wrong with high-density housing or non-automobile mobility per se. The problem is that sustainability advocates use government to force their vision of tomorrow on others and, equally important, use government to restrict or eliminate alternative visions from being adopted. Individual private-property rights and local decision making give way to the priorities of international, national, state, and regional governmental bodies influenced by urban planners who believe their vision of the next 50 to 100 years is the correct vision and the only vision worth pursuing. Anyone who thinks differently, according to the planners, is wrong, selfish, wasteful, or all three, and must be silenced.
If you think this description is exaggerated, watch this chilling video of Andres Duany speaking to the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council on why it should support his Seven50 plan. Mr. Duany is the chief architect of Seven50, the proposed 50-year regional development plan for seven counties in Southeast Florida, including Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. Mr. Duany is a leading urban planner, author of The Smart Growth Manual, and a founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism, which seeks to end suburban sprawl. After watching this video ask yourself: Do I want to support the so-called “smart-growth” approach and empower Andres Duany and people like him to rule over me and my community using government force? Or do I want to strengthen my private property rights and ensure local control over housing, land use, and transportation issues?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Soviet-Style Governance In San Francisco Bay Area










See the article in Forbes: Soviet-Style Governance In San Francisco Bay Area




French battlefield, 1914. The guns of the Great War reverberate to this day.


One of the all too many examples of illegal government overreach is currently playing out in the San Francisco Bay area. Unaccountable bureaucrats are imposing a sweeping new regional plan there that reflects the antiprogress, antipeople predilections of today’s leftist regulatory elites. Under the plan most future business and residential developments will be packed, sardine-like, into approximately 5% of the land area of the 9-county, 101-city region. Residents of all political stripes are outraged. Landowners feel they are suffering a government “takings” without compensation. Some environmentalists object that the impact on some of the chosen areas will be detrimental.

The mandate is being imposed ostensibly to reduce greenhouse gases. But that rationale is preposterous. U.S. emissions have already dropped to levels not seen since 1994, thanks, in no small part, to a surge in the production of natural gas, a truly clean source of energy. The other major reduction in omissions comes from better made trucks and cars, not from ant-hill-like residential/business clusters.

Citizen groups are protesting, and the Pacific Legal Foundation has now joined the fight, labeling this scheme illegal because bureaucrats have turned a blind eye to inconvenient data: “They studiously ignored facts showing that high-density development restrictions aren’t needed in order to meet the region’s targets for greenhouse gas reduction.” The foundation notes that this Big Brother-like plan “treats the law like a nuisance.”


The whole exercise displays a Soviet-style planning mentality. We should have learned the folly of treat ing people as if they were movable pawns, as happened in so many of post-WWII’s disastrous urban renewal projects, which did immense harm.

Nationally, be prepared to see a firestorm of opposition develop over the next few years against the plague of government lawlessness, at all levels.

Jacobean Tragedy



Jacobean Tragedy

The gross misinterpretation of an intellectual icon


Chattanooga is to urban planners what Cuba was to the '60s left: a junket, a model, and something likely to embarrass them 20 years later. The Tennessee town has become the Shangri-La of the sustainable development movement, that fractious coalition of policy makers, activists, and executives who hope to cure a host of ecological crises, real and imaginary, with more planning, more management, and more buzzwords. Foreign officials come calling, from Shanghai, Stockholm, Prague. Praise descends from the United Nations, federal agencies, and the Utne Reader(which recently named Chattanooga "one of the ten most enlightened towns in America"). With the possible exception of Portland, Oregon, Chattanooga is the Sustainables' favorite American city.



Now it plans to build an "eco-industrial park," an initiative it promises "will connect both industrial and non-industrial companies in a series of waste-becomes-raw-material feedback loops that will save money by keeping the material flows and energy flows within an industrial metabolism, rather than releasing waste into the environment." The President's Council on Sustainable Development has issued a grant to help build the park, and the city fathers rarely miss an opportunity to plug the project. It's a more moderate, mainstream version of environmental guru Herman Daly's "steady-state economy," defined as a "constant level of stocks maintained by minimal throughput of flows." That means you reuse almost all your waste and strictly limit growth.
Flash back three decades. In 1969, urbanologist Jane Jacobs suggested that recycling might become a solution to pollution. Cities, she wrote, are potential junk mines, waiting for entrepreneurs to extract useful material from household trash, industrial waste, even smokestacks. She devoted several pages of her classic The Economy of Cities to this idea, describing several ways one might transform waste into wealth. The cities of the future, she wrote, may "become huge, rich and diverse mines of raw materials. These mines will differ from any now to be found because they will become richer the more and the longer they are exploited."



On a superficial level, it sounds like the Chattanooga project. But it's very different. And the distinctions between the two show a lot of what's wrong with the sustainable development movement. They also show how seriously some Sustainables have misappropriated Jacobs's work.
Jacobs is probably our greatest student of how cities work, how they grow, and how they die. Her The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) is one of the great books of the century--a book that undermined the idea that cities should be works of art, designed by enlightened planner-architects, insisting instead that they were living systems best understood from the ground, not the air. The book's success launched her first into activism, fighting to save her Greenwich Village home from the urban planners, and then into Toronto, a city whose leaders proved more sympathetic to her ideas. She also continued to write, deepening her study of city life and society.
One of her most important insights, enunciated in The Economy of Cities, is the way new work grows out of old: not by plan, as too many social engineers have assumed, and not by ever-finer division of labor, as Adam Smith asserted, but by serendipity. First, work is divided into smaller tasks, à la Smith, and then someone discovers that one of those smaller processes has other uses. The old enterprise then reinvents itself, or else someone breaks away from it to start a new operation. In this way, a sand mining company (3M) began to develop new forms of adhesive tape; a dress maker (Ida Rosenthal) invented, and turned to manufacturing, the brassiere; and--not an example of innovation, but an illustration of the same principle--many Japanese bicycle repair shops gradually moved into bicycle manufacturing.
Jacobs expected recycling to develop this way. To the extent that it's a viable concern, it has. (Think of the scrap industry, or of the savings glass manufacturers have realized from using recycled content.) Contrast that process with these words from business writer Paul Hawken's 1993 book The Ecology of Commerce--a passage the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce saw fit to quote in a portfolio sent to journalists interested in its eco-industrial park: "A prototype of industrial ecology and cooperation is in place right now in Kalundborg, Denmark. In Kalundborg, a coal-fired plant, an oil refinery, a pharmaceutical company specializing in biotechnology, a sheetrock plant, concrete producers, a producer of sulfuric acid, the municipal heating authority, a fish farm, some greenhouses, local farms and other enterprises work cooperatively together....This synergy is remarkable because it happened `spontaneously,' without governmental regulation or law as the prime motivating factor, and because some of the relationships between outputs and inputs were serendipitous or unplanned at the outset."
Here's the kicker: "Imagine what a team of designers could come up with if they were to start from scratch, locating and specifying industries and factories that had potentially synergistic and symbiotic relationships."
Jacobs expects chance and entrepreneurship to produce progress. Hawken seems surprised when they do. Jacobs distrusts planners. Hawken, in this passage, does not. Of course, it makes sense to expect industries to imitate success, the serendipity of the past giving way to the deliberate design of the present. And it makes sense for companies that might want to use one another's waste to plan their proximity to one another in advance. But that sort of decentralized, contractual imitation of what works elsewhere differs considerably from the plan the Chattanoogans are proposing. The latter is a demonstration project, not a living economy; government planners dreamed it up, and it will be financed, in large part, by federal dollars.
Companies still will make money off it, of course. How could they not? The risk will be socialized and the profits privatized; the industries will be serving not customers but an ideological agenda. (And a civic agenda. Chattanooga has been trying to reposition itself as an "environmental city" for years, hoping to draw in tourists and fat federal grants.) Small wonder sustainability is becoming a corporate buzzword: You don't have to buy Daly's crank economics to make some easy dough off his rhetoric.
Thankfully, most of us have little direct contact with raw industrial waste. When we think of recycling, we think of our domestic trash--and, perhaps, of a local compulsory recycling law. Such laws are just as misguided as Chattanooga's eco-industrial park, and for much the same reason. The value of the activity takes a back seat to its symbolism; planners forget that the recycling process also uses energy and sometimes is more wasteful than simply throwing things away. So separating trash becomes a sort of religious ritual, a tiresome procedure that citizens are put through (or environmental aesthetes put themselves through) to prove their fealty to Mother Earth, whether or not they're doing her any favors.
Contrast that with another passage from The Economy of Cities, describing a hapless household trying to recycle its junk: "Imagine that one serviceman calls who is interested only in old metal, another who is interested in waste paper, another in garbage, another in discarded wool furniture, another in used-up plastics, another who wants old books (but only if their bindings have gilt letters; another serviceman is interested in the others), and so on. A family would be driven crazy by this traffic, let alone by the necessity of separating and storing for various intervals the various wastes."
Jacobs did not then propose that the family be forced to separate its trash. Indeed, she implied that this would defeat the purpose of the enterprise. "The aim must be to get all the wastes possible into the system--not only those that are already valuable at a given stage of development, but also those that are only beginning to become useful and those that are not yet useful but may become so," she writes. "A type of work that does not now exist is thus necessary: services that collect all wastes, not for shunting into incinerators or gulches, but for distributing to various primary specialists from whom the materials will go to converters or reusers."
An interesting idea. But trying it means allowing the new work to grow from the old work. That cannot happen if garbage collection is socialized, or if the government contracts with a single private company to do the job. It canhappen if households hire people to haul away their refuse. At first, the private haulers might give the garbage to landfills; as opportunities to sell different sorts of trash develop, they'd diversify, much as homeless people collect cans for profit in places with deposit law. Except, of course, that the trash collectors would be responding to an actual market incentive, not one jerry-rigged by the state.
If recycling technology advances far enough, the haulers may find themselves paying for the garbage they collect, rather than getting paid to collect it. But even when opportunities to sell trash don't arise, there can still be a solid incentive to recycle: As landfill space grows scarce, limited by geography or by popular opposition, it will grow more expensive to dispose of trash. In some communities, this has already happened. In others, it hasn't, and that's fine; it just means recycling isn't necessary. There's nothing wrong with that. We're talking about a means of waste disposal, not a moral imperative.
So Jacobs's vision is open-ended and dynamic. The Sustainables, meanwhile, dream of closed systems. Jacobs thinks progress comes from small enterprises making incremental changes, with a healthy dose of trial and error. The Sustainables think it derives from design. In a Jacobean world, businesses make money by meeting consumers' needs. Under sustainable development, they follow government incentives, jump for federal subsidies, and participate in "public-private partnerships." Writes Jacobs, "Cities that take the lead in reclaiming their own wastes will have high rates of related development work; that is, many local firms will manufacture the necessary gathering and processing equipment and will export it to other cities and to towns." The sustainable agenda has no room for that kind of fluid, messy, uncontrolled, spontaneous growth.
The funny thing is, a lot of Sustainables think they're following in Jacobs's footsteps. Many of them read her damning indictment of city planners in The Death and Life of Great American Cities; many embraced its powerful assault on the freeway projects and urban renewal schemes that were wiping out living neighborhoods and replacing them with concrete.
Agreeing that those projects were awful, they added Jacobs to their pantheon--and proceeded to dream up a more "sustainable" set of transit projects and redevelopment plans. If it was wrong to wipe out high-density districts, they figured, they should go out to the suburbs and try to force high densities on a population that doesn't want them, in an economic landscape where they're inappropriate. If it was wrong to push freeways into pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, they should try to herd people into expensive, unpopular mass-transit systems. (They certainly wouldn't follow Jacobs's recent advice and allow jitneys to proliferate.)
You think I'm exaggerating? I've just described the official urban growth policies of Portland, Oregon, where more than a few municipal officials claim Jacobs as a forebear. Last year in Toronto, at a gathering held in Jacobs's honor, Brian Scott of the environmental group Livable Oregon repeated something a city hall worker once told him: "A lot of us got tired of protesting the Vietnam War, read Jane Jacobs, and decided to take over Portland." Evidently, they didn't read very carefully.



The Sustainables' grossest misuse of Jacobs may be their approach to metropolitan government. They read Jacobs's principle, enunciated in 1984's Cities and the Wealth of Nations, that the most important economic unit is the city-anchored region, not the nation-state. Somehow, they interpreted this as an endorsement of regional governance--of creating governing superstructures able to override, and ideally eliminate, the competing jurisdictions that make up most metropolitan regions. Portland gave more and more planning power to a shadowy tri-county authority called Metro. Chattanooga merged its school system with that of the surrounding county, and has made noises about further consolidating the city and county governments. Whether or not those governments pointed to Jacobs as their inspiration, their boosters--such as columnist Neal Peirce, co-author of Citistates--somehow did.
But Jacobs has long believed government should be as local and as limited as possible, and has denounced regionalism as unworkable and undemocratic. "The voters sensibly decline to federate into a system where bigness means local helplessness, ruthless, oversimplified planning, and administrative chaos--for that is just what municipal bigness means today," she wrote in Death and Life. "How is helplessness against `conquering' planners an improvement over no planning? How is bigger administration, with labyrinths nobody can comprehend or navigate, an improvement over crazy-quilt township and suburban governments?" Last year, when Ontario wanted Toronto to merge with its environs into a giant, New York-style megalopolis, she was one of the plan's angriest opponents, at one point suggesting the city consider seceding from the province. "Separating power and responsibility doesn't make sense," she explained to a TV interviewer. The Sustainables would do well to listen.



But they won't. To the extent that they have digested Jacobs, they have romanticized her vision, bastardizing her empirical observations of how cities work into a formula they want to impose not just on cities but on suburbs and small towns as well. More often, however, they simply have not digested her at all. And it shows. Their vision is static, stagnant, and statist, everything that Jacobs's is not. The result will soon be on display in Chattanooga.