Wednesday, September 19, 2012

True or False? The Affordable Housing Element for Marinwood-Lucas Valley


1.)     True or False: Affordable housing is scarce for Marin Residents.

TRUE:  Just like any service or commodity, there is high demand for low cost housing that out strips supply.  Most surprisingly, despite the demand for low cost housing, income restrictions often mean that tenants must be found from outside the county.

2.)    True or False: 60% of all workers in Marin commute from outside the County.

FALSE:  Data published in the Miles from Home Report, is often repeated as fact yet it was created by low income housing advocate groups to support questionable conclusions regarding housing needs in Marin.  They claim, for instance, that nearly 60% of the workforce is forced to live elsewhere due to the cost of the housing.  No where do they take account of people who may choose to live elsewhere due to  better housing values, family,  cultural amenities offered elsewhere.  This giant assumption is the basis of the false “need” of affordable housing.  Also, the study nowhere distinguishes part time from full time work.  How many of us “need “ an affordable apartment or house for our first entry level job.  The BIG DECEPTION of housing and job Census statistics is one reason you should question Marin affordable housing quotas.

3.)     True or False: The Marin Housing element is a vision, not a plan.  FALSE: The housing element identifies housing sites that are pre approved for affordable housing according to state criteria.  There are a virtual catalog of projects that developers can select and build on a fast track basis with streamlined approval process, fees waived, low interest loans, guarantees and tax credits for fifty years.

4.)     True or False: The Housing element was created by an open, democratic process. FALSE:  A handpicked selection of citizens, low income housing advocates, and activists decided for the rest of us on the sites that would be approved.  They were under no obligation to report back to the community.

5.)    True or False:  High Density affordable housing and increased crime are unrelated. FALSE:  Violent crime statistics show the highest crime in Marin occurs in Marin City and Hamilton.  Part of the reason for this is the high density of people living in a small area. Although per capita crime rates may be constant, increasing density increases overall crime. Senior/ disabled affordable housings obviously have a different demographic and thus do not have the same social problems.

6.)    True or False: High Density housing will reduce our carbon footprint.  FALSE:  How does adding thousands of people to our county actually reduce our carbon footprint?  Clearly more residents put more burdens on our infrastructure, local traffic, water use and more.

7.)     True or False:  Affordable Housing won’t be a financial burden on communities.  FALSE: Affordable housing pays minimal fees and mitigation.  The surrounding taxpaying citizens will have to pay for increased fire and safety, build new schools,  add more social services, and infrastructure.  Bonds for new infrastructure do not require a vote by taxpayers creating a burden for the next 40 years

8.)     True or False: Affordable housing is built for the poor. FALSE:  The prime beneficiaries are developers.  If it was all about affordable housing, why aren’t they buying existing housing stock for conversions?

9.)     True or False: Affordable housing won’t affect property values. FALSE:  It can change a suburban neighborhood to an urban high density neighborhood overnight, depressing housing values.  The free market prefers single family homes.

10.)  True or False: You can’t do anything about the affordable housing element.  It already has been decided. FALSE:  You can speak up, demand answers from our politicians, write letters, and protest.  Politicians need our public support to maintain their power.  Be certain your interests are being accurately represented.  Our great democracy demands active citizens.

Are you willing to stand up and be heard?

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