Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dick Spotswood: Resolutions for Marin for 2013

Editor's Note: Dick Spotswood of the Marin IJ once again provides us with insightful commentary on the local political scene. 

Dick Spotswood: One man's resolutions to improve Marin's civic culture

Posted:   12/30/2012 05:00:00 AM PST

IT'S TIME FOR MY annual list of New Year's resolutions to improve Marin's civic culture.

Determine which agencies are true pension reformers. Despite conflicting claims, progress is difficult without knowing which local governments are engaged in meaningful public employee pension reforms and which are full of hot air. Marin's Grand Jury, the one institution with countywide credibility, should compare and contrast reforms now enacted by Marin's 11 cities, county government and special purpose districts.

Marinites need to find out which have made progress, the actual savings achieved, the remaining unfunded liability of each jurisdiction's public employee pension fund and the cost of their unfunded commitment for employee lifetime health care. Those who have accomplished little need to be spotlighted before November's municipal elections.

Eliminate the Board of Supervisors' slush fund. Kudos to Supervisor Steve Kinsey for proposing change that would, if adopted, eliminate from each of Marin's five supervisors the power to annually hand out a combined $500,000 in discretionary cash grants.

The current setup is a stunt old-time East Coast politicians would admire.

Each supervisor now plays Santa Claus, showering money on admittedly worthy projects. The practice creates political IOUs while fostering fear on the part of recipients.

Few who get the cash say they receive it from taxpayers. Invariably the reaction is, "Look what we got from, say, Supervisor Susan Adams. Better be nice and not cross her if we want to get the money again next year." This practice has no place in a county that prides itself on being a model of political rectitude.

Stand up to bullying regional governments. Agencies such as MTC, ABAG, HUD, Regional Air and Water Quality, famed for their large well-paid staffs and unaccountability, need to be tamed. Social engineering is a term often associated with the hysterical political right. It sometimes accurately describes these agencies.

Masked by well sounding but ultimately ambiguous terms such as "affordable housing" and "curbing global warming," regional agencies are essentially at war with middle class suburbia. Their utterly bogus occasional suggestion of "racism" is designed to terrorize white liberal politicians into submission. County and city governments should partner with municipalities in Santa Clara, San Mateo and eastern Alameda County that face similar threats to local planning authority and are ready to revolt.

Encourage good people to run for local office. November sees elections for seats on eight Marin city councils as well as school boards and boards of cash-rich fire and sanitary districts. Marin's political secret is that first-class people will no longer endure the dirty campaigns that are now common in some local politics. Finding second-rate candidates to run is never hard.

In years past, Marin was noted for competent business and professional men and women standing for local office. It's not that these upstanding folks no longer want to serve. The impressive list of applicants for appointment to San Rafael's vacant City Council seat is testimony to the desire of some to participate while avoiding the terror of campaigning.

Marin voters can do their duty by supporting intelligent, nonideological candidates while ostracizing those who debase good government by running or acquiescing to sleazy campaigning

Remind Marc Levine to remain the centrist Democrat who voters elected. Once settled in Sacramento it's easy for new legislators to be co-opted by their party's leadership. If Levine forgets the voters who helped him upset public employee union-oriented incumbent Assembly member Michael Allen, then independents, moderate Democrats and pragmatic Republicans will abandon him in 2014.

Columnist Dick Spotswood of Mill Valley now shares his views on local politics twice weekly in the IJ. His email address is

Krux('ns:centro', 'dataprovider.exelate');

Saturday, December 29, 2012

BOOK: The Best Laid Plans

Marin County Supervisors have big plans to urbanize Marin along the 101 Corridor-especially in the Marinwood Priority Development Area



The Best Laid Plans: Our Planning and Affordable Housing Challenges in Marin [Paperback]

The Best Laid Plans explores the often byzantine world of planning and affordable housing development, in simple, readable terms. It exposes the fallacies and examines the history and unintended consequences of an antiquated, "top down," decision-making process, largely controlled by unaccountable government bureaucracies, that produces outsized financial gains for the few at the expense of small communities. As we move into an era when sustainable solutions are no longer optional, the lessons of this book resonate far beyond the small towns of Marin County, California.


Friday, December 28, 2012

AUDIO: Vehicle Mileage Tax for everyone!

Although MTC postponed the idea of Vehicle Mileage Tax with GPS devices,  they have initiated metering lights at all freeway on ramps throughout the bay area which if coupled with fees will have exactly the same effect to increase transportation costs.  If implemented,  it would cripple economic growth ESPECIALLY in the small business sector which relies on direct customer contact for commerce, service and deliveries.

Not everyone commutes to large government offices every day.

It is impossible to run a modern economy with public transportation and bicycles alone.

VIDEO: Citizens propose options for a fair public hearing on Plan Bay Area

Frustrated Citizens are earnestly trying to get the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) to engage in a fair process to ensure all viewpoints are heard on the Plan Bay Area initiative. As usual, this speaker was simply allowed to speak and ignored by the ABAG politicians and bureaucrats.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Novato succeeds in reducing affordable housing density


Editor's note:  Citizens are making a difference in Novato.  This article was from 2011 asking for 20 units per acre in Novato.  This lessens the impact on the community.  Marin County is proposing for Marinwood/Lucas Valley 50% MORE DENSITY at Marinwood Village at 30 units per acre. 

We need you to voice your concern and join us.

Novato needs more answers

I need some answers about some of these affordable housing ground rules from the state.
I want clarification about building 30 units per acre of housing plus a bonus of 35 percent equaling 40 units to more than 100 units with few or no constraints. In addition, does the state require that 50 percent of the units be for market rate? Does that mean that 200 or more units will be developed on sites around Novato?

The state, high-density groups, plus supervisors, builders, and developers favor few or no constraints for traffic, design, or concern for impacts on schools, safety and infrastructure in Novato. “Build, Baby, Build” is their motto as long as there are federal and state tax dollars for their political and economical agendas.

Forget about the social impacts on the quality of life in Novato when the threshold of high density is paid by the next generations.

Forget about drought, earthquakes, water quality, community gardens, trees, deer, flowers, wildlife, wetlands, watersheds, shade, valleys, forests, red roses and blue skies, too
Forget about knowing your neighbors, your community and religious institutions.

Forget about the social, economical and environmental costs to the rural and suburban residents.

 One solution for the future is plan for 20 units per acre or less on some locations.
The city staff is apparently afraid or reluctant to do this without the Novato City Council saying the buck stops here (I am from Missouri, home state of Harry S. “Buck Stops Here” Truman, where conservation was ingrained into our souls in school). A solution of 20 units or less needs a feasibility study to show the state that the sites are buildable. Building 30-40-100 units per acre plus adding 50 percent market-rate units to the low-income units do not require any feasibility studies from cities and costs less for the city planners. For whom do they work?

  In addition, the county now wants the Atherton mobile Home park on the east side of 101 for multiple low-income housing. 300 or more units on that site plus additional 50 percent market rate units will wreak havoc on Novato’s vision of a small-town atmosphere.

Furthermore, the county has added back to their quota list the St. Vincent’s parcels near Marinwood, which would add another 1,200 units plus the 50 percent market rate units, plus cars in the future for the county’s quotas.

Examples of high density in our rural, suburban county are the Millworks/Whole Foods complex on De Long Avenue in downtown Novato and the large buildings in downtown San Rafael.
Moreover, massive high-density buildings and millions of dollars for a passenger train system deny respect for humans and our need for open spaces, fresh air, clean water, parks, uncrowded schools, safety and cultivated land. Will robots and politicians replace conservation?
Novato must be the poster child for common sense and 20 units or less per acre. Feasibility studies will show we can do this and have a community that thrives now and in the future.
No more passing the buck.



Nicely done Eleanor! Thank you

Bob Ratto

The whole things does make one's head spin...There are 10-12 people in the County that are the main "pushers" of this, and it does boggle the mind how far this all gets taken...using the income models proposed, most of Novato could qualify for this, and maybe that very same majority could come to their senses and decide what is appropriate for our community. Wishful?, maybe. The proposed sites just keep getting bigger and bigger.

janna nikkola

Well said, Eleanor! What bugs many of the taxpayers in Novato is how the entire concept is being shoved down our throats ("you have to build the number of units we tell you to build, but you can choose where to build"). What also grates is the number of people who are advocating this high density housing who don't even live in Novato or Marin County. They should have no say about where to build this high density housing and how many units "we the people" of Novato allow to be built. I'd like these people to be excluded from City Council meetings entirely. Let them do their politicking in their own communities. There's so much going on here that is not being made public. There are huge profits and tax incentives for the developers who build these projects and the number of units initially approved can be increased by the developers, all to the detriment of the neighborhoods where they're built and to the detriment of the Novato taxpayers and residents whose neighborhoods will change forever after the high density housing is built. Most people who live in Marin County moved here to escape overcrowded cities and to enjoy a bucolic, country-like lifestyle with a low crime rate and being surrounded by open space. The taxpayers, residents and homeowners of Novato have nothing to gain by these high density projects and much to lose. Why is no one defending our right to say "no" to these projects?

Edwin Drake

Definitions of Metropolitan and suburban come from the US Census Bureau.
This needs to be changed at the federal level.
(Who's running to replace Woolsey?)
Please see parts of: California Government Code Section 65583.2
(d) For purposes of this section, metropolitan counties, nonmetropolitan counties, and nonmetropolitan counties with micropolitan areas are as determined by the United States Census Bureau. Nonmetropolitan counties with micropolitan areas include the following counties: Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada,
Tehama, and Tuolumne and such other counties as may be determined by the United States Census Bureau to be nonmetropolitan counties with micropolitan areas in the future.
(e) A jurisdiction is considered suburban if the jurisdiction does not meet the requirements of clauses (i) and (ii) of subparagraph (B) of paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) and is located in a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) of less than 2,000,000 in population, unless that jurisdiction's population is greater than 100,000, in which case it is considered metropolitan. Counties, not including the City and County of San Francisco, will be considered suburban unless they are in a MSA of 2,000,000 or greater in population in which case they are considered metropolitan.

Edwin Drake

Definitions of Metropolitan and suburban come from the US Census Bureau.
Please see parts of: California Government Code Section 65583.2 and nearby
(f) A jurisdiction is considered metropolitan if the jurisdiction does not meet the requirements for "suburban area" above and is located in a MSA of 2,000,000 or greater in population, unless that jurisdiction's population is less than 25,000 in which case it is considered suburban.

Bob Minkin

Thanks Eleanor. It's disgusting what these "housing advocates" and working groups are trying to ram down our throats and destroy Novato. The only people who stand to gain are the developers. It's all about money and not helping anybody truly in need.

Sylvia Barry

I was looking at the same section – I think the problem with Marin is it's part of San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area), which includes San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties The combined population is over 2,000,000 in 2014. Since Novato has over 50,000 populations, its designation is ‘Metropolitan’, same as San Rafael.
Petaluma is part of the Santa Rosa-Petaluma MSA, which includes Sonoma County with just over 480K population. Even though Petaluma's population is similar to Novato, due to different MSA it belongs to, it's designation is Suburban.
If what I interpreted is correct, Petaluma’s suburban designation allows them to have 20 units per acre, while Novato’s Metropolitan designation forced it to have 30 units per acre in the context of what we are talking about here.
Unfortunately, the removal of Jared Huffman’s AB1103 eliminated the part to “allow a local government to petition the regional governing body for a density designation that more appropriately reflects the area.” which affects Novato and San Rafael. The part about conversion of 2nd units help Southern Marin towns more than Novato (only 13 units projected for the next four years in Novato).


Didn't Katie Crecelius "work" with Huffman recently in Sacramento on AB1103? SUNN founders say they are in favor of the bill? They are in the pocket of the investors/developers......Marin Community Foundation- the bill works in their favor not Novato's.

Sylvia Barry

Hi Brenda - Politics is not my forte. I can only tell you what I learned as I research this. The original AB1103 did include the language but was stripped of that first item at the request of the Assembly HCD committee chair towards the end.

Austin Morris

Let us revert back to the basics of the matter and build the case from there. We first need to start with a level playing field. If ‘we Novato’ are being mandated, then so too all other communities in Marin bar none must take their share. We must not think of this as the community with open or buildable space; but assignment of x-number of Affordable Housing Units and obtain equity from that standpoint.
Novato must stand tough, hold the line and stop any further discussions until the County & 100% of the cities that comprise Marin County are onboard. Then and only then do we walk into the water holding hands. Sausalito, Mill Valley, Tiburon, Ross, to the north may claim they don’t have buildable space/acreage, that is not our problem find it, condemn it by ‘Imminent Domain’ if need be; but get those properties on the books and then Novato will take this matter into consideration.
They won’t, and thereby we should not be dictated to. Can you see some nice AH units being constructed on Belvedere Lagoon, I don’t think so, and that is what democracy is all about. We can not have voices in Belvedere, who won’t do their share, casting ballots to dictate to us within even the same County of Marin. Stop it here, and then widen the ring to the County, to ABAG (were they to be recognized) then to the State, when we have Representatives who know our voices.

Trish Boorstein

Thank you Eleanor for your Op-ed piece and to everyone else who has been participating in this forum to educate our community. Thank you everyone for your cheers of support during the Parade today! Let's stay active this summer in any way possible and be ready to organize petitions or any other necessary action. Way back when I attended an ABAG meeting in San Rafael one of the Reps said something about every jurisdiction should just turn in a housing element and show good intent. I agree Lloyd, Novato has probably done more than any other Marin jurisdiction in putting together a community involved Housing Element. That's why I asked Tina if all the cities in CA that have been sued have actually submitted a City approved Housing Element. We have to convince the City Council to accept the lower densities and Working Group Sites and deal with the fall out afterwards. Novato has demonstrated good intent over and beyond.

Edwin Drake

An idea occurs: The "metropolitan" designation does somewhat rely on population. Let's split Novato into two cities, that would drop us below the threshold. I know it's crazy but, as always, trying to think outside the box here to get fresh perspective.

Trish Boorstein

Edwin, Lloyd had also mentioned this same idea some time ago. If we ultimately can't change our designation then I think this needs to be looked at. Keep thinking outside the box!

Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr

Please, please, browse Palo Alto Patch for the article about housing requirements. The Palo Alto city council and staff have taken a stand against Sacramento leftists and told them "this is our town, we are going to plan for our future". Why not Novato? Because the Novato City Council uses sanctuary social engineering as a tool against their own constituents. Vote the bums out. Screw leftist "affordable housing" social engineering mandates.



Movie Recommendation: Les Miserables

Les Miserables, The people's barricade against injustice.

Les Miserables

We recommend Les Miserables  now showing at Smith Ranch Road Theaters.  It surely will receive Oscar nominations for set design and performances.  It also provides good reminders about how social change is brought about through determination, moral courage and the willingness to stand up against injustice.

VIDEO: San Carlos says "No!" to transit village like Marinwood Priority Development Area


San Carlos objects to ABAG Mandates.
Citizens everywhere are waking up to massive high density housing developments being forced on their community. San Carlos, CA is the latest community to join the protest.


Video: Public Unhappy and Ignored with Plan Bay Area

If you haven't been to a public meeting recently, you are in for a surprise.  The Association of Bay Area Governments pay lip service to the public but routinely ignore average homeowner's  concerns in favor for big development and activist organizations.  We homeowners will be paying for the folly of the One Bay Area plan for decades.
Most homeowners affected have no idea the extent of the huge changes coming as a result of Plan Bay Area.  Only a handful of people have been following and have been able to attend the weekday meetings. The above is a comment from a frustrated homeowner that is simply trying to get earnest dialogue about the plans. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pleasanton Changes High-Density Housing Plans After Residents Protest

It is possible for citizens to fight high density housing proposals for more appropriate development.

 Ideas for what to build on vacant piece of land, dubbed "Area 15," now range from houses to a school or a park
Ideas of what to do with a vacant plot of land are swirling after residents rallied to defeat a plan to build high-density housing on the site.

The piece of land, known as Area 15 by Pleasanton’s Housing Element Update Task Force, is in the Valley Trails development, between Hopyard Road and Interstate 680 and along Valley Trails Drive.
Residents packed City Hall during a recent meeting to protest plans for high-density housing, prompting the city to change course. Now ideas include everything from single-family houses to schools to parks.

The site is one of several empty pieces of property the city is looking at for future housing after it lost a lawsuit last year to Urban Habitat, an Oakland-based social justice advocacy organization, which challenged the city’s growth cap. The final plan must be approved by the state.

“There will always be speculation (about what is built) as long as that area isn’t developed,” said Pleasanton Planning Manager Janice Stern.

Residents submitted their ideas and thoughts on the property to the task force and city by mail, comment cards at meetings, by addressing the city council and by e-mail.  The land is owned by the Evangelical Free Church on Valley Trails.

The ideas have run the gamut — from adding housing that fits in with the one-story residences, or again, adding parks or a school. Concerns about adding housing or a school ranged from the impacts on housing values, traffic, noise, pollution and other negative effects.

“I don’t think it is a good place for high density,” said Vice Mayor Cheryl Cook-Kallio, who is one of two council members on the task force.

“I think lower-density senior housing could go there. I think you could put single-family homes, but it should match the neighborhood.”

Valley Trails resident Carl Pretzel favors the idea of putting a school, church or other public or institution on the site. The city’s general plan calls for such a use, but it is currently zoned for single-family residential housing.

“A small school would probably be acceptable. The hope is they will rezone the land public-institutional,” Pretzel said.

But a church or other religious institution would be an ideal use, Pretzel said.
Single-family homes would number 20 to 30 homes and wouldn’t impact traffic horribly, long-time Valley Trails resident Bob Gallagher said.

“If anything, they will be nice new homes," he said. "It blends in with the neighborhood.
“Schools and daycare people are picking up and dropping off kids at the same time the commuters are trying leave,” Gallagher added.

Valley Trails resident David Pastor said the uncertainty about the site, along with failed past attempts to develop, is cause for concern.

“This is the fourth time the hornets (nest) has been disturbed,” Pastor said. “We would love to see it made a park, but we know that isn’t going to happen.

“What would probably fit in there would be maybe senior housing, but we are not talking multiple-story senior housing and 30 units per acre," he said.

"Maybe duplexes, smaller buildings with open spaces and parking instead of senior housing that would require an elevator."

The City Council will ultimately decide how to rezone the site after hearing the task force and planning commission’s recommendations this summer, but after months of examination, Cook-Kallio said the choice is pretty clear.

“From my perspective, it will not be on the list for high-density," she said. "If there were to be any building there, it would have to be consistent with the single-family homes."

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays to Everyone

Be Sure to check out the Bear House on Quietwood Dr. and the Mickey Mouse house on Blackstone Canyon Rd.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Novato Citizens fight to retain control of local planning

"I bought my home. I pay my taxes. I vote in local elections.  Now they tell me that ABAG is in charge?"

Editor's Note: This is from a May 2011 opinion piece in the Novato Patch.  The grassroots citizens who sought reasonable growth plans for Novato were met with a massive "astroturf" campaign of professional activists, advertising and marketing consultants with the financial backing of the Marin Community Foundation. There is something unseamly about outside money trying to buy public sympathies to influence local development.  Who are these elitists of the democratic process and what is their REAL agenda?  Do  Novato citizens have a right to manage growth in their own community?

Unfortunately Marinwood/Lucas Valley will be visited by the same activists intent on squelching local voices for the "public" good of big box affordable housing complexes.


Op-Ed: We're Losing Local Control on Affordable Housing Issue

Reader Eleanor Sluis says the nonprofit Stand Up For Neighborly Novato is pushing the city in the wrong direction.

Three Marin County supervisors are endorsing a density of 30 to 50-plus units per parcel and/or acre for housing advocated by the new nonprofit group Stand Up for Neighborly Novato, and it makes one think about losing local control.

Local control for housing drives Novato's general plan, a document that must be updated every seven years by state law. It is statistically better for schools, crime control, integration into neighborhoods, infrastructure and taxation purposes if the smaller contractors, builders and bankers help to provide quality housing for low-income people.  A 2008 transportation survey shows that most families want homes with a yard. I will add that families also want good schools and safe neighborhoods as essential qualities for building a community for our children, so they may reach their potential in this world.

The $75,000-$80,000 SUNN recently received from the Marin Community Foundation would be better spent on cooperating with the other housing groups of diverse neighborhoods and the city manager’s ad hoc working group on affordable housing in working toward a goal of building 20-25 units in certain areas rather than building in the higher numbers, which the SUNN group advocates.

It is time to work for Novato and its budget deficits in the city, schools, parks, safety personnel, maintenance and environmental issues. Unsubstantiated needs of a 15 percent more or less decrease in gas emissions costing the public more than what was voted for (SMART train) and increasing more housing than needed is not equitable nor financially feasible.

Buses and low-emission cars and trucks will substantially help more than 2,100 new low- income, non-taxpaying, subsidized units to Novato in the coming years. Seven hundred units is a more reasonable number to build according to some residents.

Soliciting support from outside big labor unions, big-buck developers, big banks, big government organizations to get subsidies and politicize the issues is not the answer to Novato's budgetary deficits. The sanctions for SUNN from the supervisors, League of Women Voters, Buck Trust/Marin Community Foundation and the Novato Democratic Club would be more appropriate if they worked toward what is needed in Novato. And what is needed here? A highly educated public to provide technological, environmental, educational and financial skills for correcting the errors of overpopulation and project-dense building.

The method hasn't worked in Oakland, San Jose, Richmond, San Rafael and Petaluma in fixing their city budgets. Remodeling homes and building units that fit into neighborhoods is favored by most of Novato residents.

Say yes to Balanced Housing, the Novato Community Alliance, San Marin Housing, Pacheco Valle housing, Hamilton Housing and Neighbors 4 Novato. Say yes to the small contractors, builders, laborers, remodelers, small lumber and supply businesses.

Stand Up for Neighborly Novato is against all of these groups by wanting only big-buck money for development of 40-50 or more units/project housing for renters instead of working to build smaller rental properties in appropriate places for our children. They need a better future than living in big project-oriented boxes, unsafe neighborhoods and crowded schools.

Please write to the Marin County supervisors, the Marin Community Foundation, the League of Women Voters and Novato Democratic Club saying that you support affordable housing in appropriate places and want support for all groups. Please ask the supervisors to rescind their vote on support of only one developer, SUNN, and that supporting affordable housing of all the aforementioned groups works better for quality living. Also, write to SUNN to not break the nonprofit rules of soliciting political support for their campaign of divisiveness in not supporting lower housing densities that fit into existing neighborhoods and provides quality living in Novato.

Another perspective on Novato Housing


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Volunteers wanted to Save Marinwood

Relax.  We are not asking anyone to fight a 7 headed hydra monster.    We just need a little help with our web-based communications. 

We are currently seeking advice on web design,  social media strategies, public relations, videography, advertising, event planning,  flier distribution,  community based meetings, legal,  financial and political advice.

In other words,  we need your help.  What can you offer in service of your community?   The 2012 Housing Element IS being down on us like the fabled 7 headed hydra.  If we do not respond quickly,  The politicians and political insiders will have conquered Lucas Valley with their affordable housing schemes.  In the process our Dixie Schools will be severely impacted threatening their  very independence and standards of excellence. 

If you never have been involved in any political event in your life,  now is the time to consider it.  We need to get the word out to the neighbors and educate the community. 

If you would like to find more, how you can participate email us at 

One Bay Area and Board of Supervisor's are planning massive growth for Marinwood/Lucas Valley

Editor's note: This came to us from an East Bay group called Bay Area Liberty

Could DESTROY The Character of Your Town
(the purpose of RHNA is 175% income redistribution, see MTC quote below in
“Why RNA?” paragraph)

No One Bay Area
Dictate Housing Numbers**!!
Cities must object by September 10

(officially by Sept 18 but ABAG told us they would probably ignore comments after Sept 10)
 How could these numbers destroy the character of your town?
1.  There is no funding for schools and other services. Local taxpayers will have to bear that burden
(Pleasanton braces for 3X student population-view video here)
 2.  Numbers REQUIRE a ‘fair share” of low income, very low income people in stack and pack housing near transit.  How will that affect the character of your town?
Things You Can Do
Tell your city council to send letter to ABAG protesting the allocation.
Hold a Townhall Meeting to Educate your neighbors 
 Start a petition in your town and send a citizens petition directly to ABAG.
**Bureaucrats in Sacramento at the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) have dictated to each region in the State how much housing they must accomodate.
MTC-ABAG took this number and used a computer model that compared housing value, household income, and school scores to determine the
that each community must take
(failure to comply means loss of road repair funds)
The Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) Methodology specifies how all cities and counties in the Bay Area work to provide a fair share or proportion of the region s total and affordable housing need, which is a core requirement of the Housing Element Law.
“ (One Bay Area)…..adopts a Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) methodology …known as the “175 percent income redistribution”. .. The Complete Community framework, along with the affordable housing strategy of RHNA, is the primary method by which social equity is built into the land use scenarios.”…. Proposed Alternatives Letter  to the One Bay Area Plan dated June 16, 2011 , Steve Heminger, Exec Director, MTC

(numbers are listed by income group, each city MUST take it’s share of very low, low, moderate and above moderate income families, there is a column for each in the document and then a column with the total number the city must accomodate)
Cities that have pushed back have had their allocation reduced. 
You CAN make a difference

Monday, December 17, 2012

The State Mandates are not Real - Elk Grove, Ca discovers the Lies

Much of what we are told about "Housing Mandates"  deserves further review.
Editors Note: Communities are fighting back all over California at new housing mandates that are forcing development in their community.  I received the following communication with comments as I received it:


Comment from Concord, CA:

This came from a friend in Elk Grove,

As I keep stating. AB32 and SB375 are NOT mandatory for local municipalities. We can say NO and we should! Do not let your local officials lie to you about this being a mandate! The mandates only call for state or regional bodies to perform these functions and clearly state that local jurisdictions are not compelled to adopt these in their general plans!


Comment from private developer from Half Moon Bay:

Maybe our Board of Supervisors should take a lesson from Elk Grove.  We do not have to change our General Plan in order to comply with AB32.  Get it?  These are voluntary requirements.  The only reason a jurisdiction would straddle these requirements on their people is in order to make it easier for large developers to slide their projects through the process - without environmental review.  The more dense the easier to get through the process.  I just finished the plans for a building project in Half Moon Bay.  They have adopted these types of requirements.  It was a very small house.  It took 21 sheets to complete this project, not counting the fire and grading sheets.  (It is a flat lot and before Green it only took 9 to 12 sheets).  Since my client is along Highway 1 I told him that he should put a high rise on the parcel and he would not have to meet the same requirements. 

Welcome to the new world of Green.  It is not about saving the environment.  It is not about health and safety.  It is about putting the lobbyist's widget on every house in California - AND in El Dorado County it's called saddling the cost of high rises, hotels and box stores along our corridors on the back of the tax and rate payers.


Elk Grove says no to green....

Elk Grove rejects plan to cut greenhouse gases

Published: Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3B

The carbon footprint in Elk Grove will stay the same size, at least for now.
The Elk Grove City Council last week backed off on long-range plans to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, saying programs to encourage sustainability might hurt businesses and job creation.
The council put aside two plans crafted by city staff to reduce the city's emissions by about 15 percent by 2020. The plans promote green building, energy efficiency, alternative transportation and resource conservation. Council members, primarily concerned about the effects of green building requirements, unanimously voted instead to meet with business leaders and discuss how to soften any harmful effects of going green.
Key points of the plans called for:
• Requiring all new city and private developments to exceed state energy efficiency standards by 15 percent.
• Requiring large new commercial developments to have electric vehicle chargers and new residential homes to be pre-wired for plug-in vehicles. The proposal called for 300 charging stations citywide by 2025
• Tree planting programs.
• Expanding bicycle parking and storage.
• Converting the city's vehicle fleet to alternative fuels.
Elk Grove's plans were inspired by state Assembly Bill 32, which mandates the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, in an attempt to slow climate change.
A centerpiece of the state legislation is the "cap-and-trade" program, which began auctioning off carbon credits Wednesday.
Vice-Mayor Patrick Hume criticized the proposals, especially green building practices that exceed the state's standards, and pre-wiring homes for electric vehicle charging stations.
"What we have before us is not the right course of action today, if ever," Hume said at Wednesday's City Council meeting. "AB 32 is horrible legislation, and (its) carbon offset auction is a joke."
In 2009, the council directed city staff to draft an overarching 20-year "sustainability element" for the city's general plan, and a more short-term Climate Action Plan, which would focus on greenhouse gas reductions through 2020.
The city used federal dollars to pay for the draft proposals, and created a citizens advisory committee for input.
AB 32 doesn't require any local action, so technically the move toward cutting carbon emissions is voluntary, said Elk Grove planning director Taro Echiburu.
But having the plans in place could actually speed development by making the city eligible for certain types of funding, and streamlining environmental permitting on projects, he said.
Echiburu said a recent change in the California Environmental Quality Act requires analysis of greenhouse gas emissions as a condition of development.
"While a Climate Action Plan is not mandated, without it, we will have to comply with CEQA on a project-by-project basis, which adds time and costs to projects for developers and jurisdictions," Echiburu said, adding that projects challenged under CEQA could be delayed or halted. "With a Climate Action Plan in place, the chances of a challenge are low."
Many cities are struggling with whether and how to cut emissions. Because the state regulations are so new, there are no solid data showing they will spur development or save money, Echiburu said. While the city and county of Sacramento and Citrus Heights have adopted Climate Action Plans, the Lincoln City Council voted down its proposed plan.
Echiburu said the controversial green building standards will be needed for the city to meet its 15 percent emissions-reduction target. But it's not clear if there will be consequences for cities that don't meet AB 32 targets.
Like Hume, Elk Grove Mayor-elect Gary Davis opposed the proposed plan, expressing worry about saddling businesses with extra costs. He wants the city to shrink its carbon footprint by bringing in new businesses, particularly in an area slated for commercial development in the southern portion of the city, to allow residents to work closer to home.
"We need to be careful about putting financial burdens on businesses that ultimately prohibits our job growth, which ultimately will prohibit us from lowering our carbon footprint," he said.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It is ILLEGAL to dump low income housing in Marinwood/Lucas Valley

 Editor's Note: It is ILLEGAL to dump all the affordable housing in Marinwood/Lucas Valley according to state law.  This is the same state law that angry Novato citizen's used to repeal their aggressive housing quotas last year.  We have been targeted in Marinwood/Lucas Valley because we are politically weak and uninformed.  They are hoping no one notices until AFTER they break ground.  Over 83% of all AFFORDABLE HOUSING (extremely low to low income) is mandated for Marinwood/Lucas Valley.  This is illegal.  The state law requires housing to be spread EVENLY across unincorporated Marin.   (I wonder where the "extremely low income" housing will be built in Belvedere?) 


California Government Code Section 65584

Legal Research Home > California Laws > Government Code > California Government Code Section 65584

(a) (1) For the fourth and subsequent revisions of the
housing element pursuant to Section 65588, the department shall
determine the existing and projected need for housing for each region
pursuant to this article. For purposes of subdivision (a) of Section
65583, the share of a city or county of the regional housing need
shall include that share of the housing need of persons at all income
levels within the area significantly affected by the general plan of
the city or county.
   (2) While it is the intent of the Legislature that cities,
counties, and cities and counties should undertake all necessary
actions to encourage, promote, and facilitate the development of
housing to accommodate the entire regional housing need, it is
recognized, however, that future housing production may not equal the
regional housing need established for planning purposes.
   (b) The department, in consultation with each council of
governments, shall determine each region's existing and projected
housing need pursuant to Section 65584.01 at least two years prior to
the scheduled revision required pursuant to Section 65588. The
appropriate council of governments, or for cities and counties
without a council of governments, the department, shall adopt a final
regional housing need plan that allocates a share of the regional
housing need to each city, county, or city and county at least one
year prior to the scheduled revision for the region required by
Section 65588. The allocation plan prepared by a council of
governments shall be prepared pursuant to Sections 65584.04 and
65584.05 with the advice of the department.
   (c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the due dates for
the determinations of the department or for the council of
governments, respectively, regarding the regional housing need may be
extended by the department by not more than 60 days if the extension
will enable access to more recent critical population or housing
data from a pending or recent release of the United States Census
Bureau or the Department of Finance. If the due date for the
determination of the department or the council of governments is
extended for this reason, the department shall extend the
corresponding housing element revision deadline pursuant to Section
65588 by not more than 60 days.
   (d) The regional housing needs allocation plan shall be consistent
with all of the following objectives:
   (1) Increasing the housing supply and the mix of housing types,
tenure, and affordability in all cities and counties within the
region in an equitable manner, which shall result in each
jurisdiction receiving an allocation of units for low- and very low
income households.
   (2) Promoting infill development and socioeconomic equity, the
protection of environmental and agricultural resources, and the
encouragement of efficient development patterns.
   (3) Promoting an improved intraregional relationship between jobs
and housing.
   (4) Allocating a lower proportion of housing need to an income
category when a jurisdiction already has a disproportionately high
share of households in that income category, as compared to the
countywide distribution of households in that category from the most
recent decennial United States census.
   (e) For purposes of this section, "household income levels" are as
determined by the department as of the most recent decennial census
pursuant to the following code sections:
   (1) Very low incomes as defined by Section 50105 of the Health and
Safety Code.
   (2) Lower incomes, as defined by Section 50079.5 of the Health and
Safety Code.
   (3) Moderate incomes, as defined by Section 50093 of the Health
and Safety Code.
   (4) Above moderate incomes are those exceeding the moderate-income
level of Section 50093 of the Health and Safety Code.
   (f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, determinations
made by the department, a council of governments, or a city or county
pursuant to this section or Section 65584.01, 65584.02, 65584.03,
65584.04, 65584.05, 65584.06, 65584.07, or 65584.08 are exempt from
the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing
with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code).