Thursday, November 15, 2012

VIDEO: The Who-Won't get Fooled Again

Editor's Note: The potential developer's of Marinwood Plaza finally got their website online this afternoon.  Bridge Housing Proposed Development at Marinwood Plaza.  This is just the first of what some hope are many developments in the Marinwood Priority Development Area.
We'll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgment of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
And I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again

Change it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fall that's all
But the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
'Cause the banners, they all flown in the last war

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
And I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again
No, no!

I'll move myself and my family aside
If we happen to be left half alive
I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky
For I know that the hypnotized never lie

Do ya?

There's nothing in the street
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Is now the parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again
No, no!


Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

Palo Alto says "NO" to ABAG's bitter housing medicine.

Editors Note: Cities all over the Bay Area are saying "NO" to the ABAG housing quotas which place tremendous financial burdens on the community.  The promise of state funding is not worth it.

Palo Alto and other cities shouldn't let regional agency dictate how many homes to produce
By Diana Diamond Daily News columnist San Jose Mercury News


For years I've wondered why Palo Alto and other Peninsula cities have allowed the Association of Bay Area Governments to dictate how many housing units they have to produce in the next two decades tocomp ly with its population growth projections.

The agency claims the Bay Area will need 903,000 more housing units and 1.2 million more jobs between 2010 and 2035 because of an influx of millions of new residents.
Now, however, Palo Alto is objecting to ABAG's requirement that it provide 2,500 new housing units, saying the agency's calculations are wrong. The council's stance may soon become an official protest.
ABAG is a regional authority with a board comprised of council members appointed to it by Bay Area cities. We didn't directly elect most of these housing deciders, nor can we get rid of them.

ABAG's demands for more and more housing have been ratcheting up, and cities are being told that if they don't comply they will lose state money for transportation and housing.

The state gave ABAG its housing allocation, and then a committee decided how many homes each city must produce based on the number of jobs in it. So the more jobs a city has the more housing units it must provide. (No one from Palo Alto was on that committee.)

I never thought the job allocation was fair because ABAG doesn't account for the number of jobs employers such as Stanford, HP or the Stanford Research Park provide for the region, not just Palo Alto.

The formula recently changed, much to Palo Alto's disadvantage. ABAG considers whether the city is contributing to greenhouse gases (if yes, more units) and whether there is public transit in town (yes in Palo Alto, along El Camino Real, Caltrain and University Avenue). ABAG's presumption is that if a city builds near public transit, housing dwellers will use public transit to commute to work and get around town.

No thorough studies have been conducted locally to see whether this premise is true. Reports I've seen say somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of transit-oriented housing dwellers actually use public transit for commutes. Most move in because we have good schools.

Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside are not impacted by ABAG's formula because they don't have many jobs. Council Member Greg Schmid has the strongest complaints about the growth projections.

Both ABAG and the state's Housing and Community Development agency, which do the number crunching, have "dramatically overstated the population forecast" for this area, he said. "The past decade, California's population growth has declined considerably from original predictions."

But ABAG stands by its numbers, claiming the slower growth is just a blip attributable to the recession.

The plot thickens. ABAG no longer is relying on projections from the state demographer, who lowered the projections, and instead is using federal figures from the Department of Labor. The federal department's growth projections are much higher than what the National Census Bureau predicts.

So I guess ABAG just wants a lot more housing, perhaps for political reasons. It gets its support from low income housing advocates, unions that want more jobs, and some environmental groups, said Schmid, who serves as an alternate member on the ABAG board.

Then there's that ABAG stick: If cities don't carry out its mandates, they could lose state funding. Palo Alto gets roughly $2 million a year in grants for transportation and housing needs, said Curtis

Williams, the city's director of planning. Schmid says he believes the city gets more than that, closer to $8 million to $10 million annually. That's money many in the city don't want to see go away. But if we change the character of our city and end up with more people and traffic and a need for more schools, that will cost us millions.

I say let the state keep its $10 million or whatever. We'll save money in the long run.

Diana Diamond is a columnist for the Daily News. Her email is

The previous Marinwood Plaza plan for private Development

Marinwood Plaza housing developers were here in 2006

Editor's note:  Here is the 2006 plan for Marinwood Plaza that was developed with a private developer.  It has many similarities to the current proposal that Bridge Housing hopes to build today with several notable exceptions.

1.) As a non-profit developer of low income housing, Bridge Housing win 50 years of tax breaks,  lowered development fees,  a waiver or "streamlining" of stringent environmental and design reviews,  few impact fees.

2.) Tax payers must pay for water and sewer upgrades and road improvements.  Build more classrooms, hire more teachers and after school care.  New police and fire staff may be needed and depending on height the design of the apartments,  a new fire truck and fire station.  For profit developers generally pay impact fees, development fees and pay full taxes to the community.

Do not let the promoters tell you that this old plan is same as the new one.  It is far more costly for the community to host a low income housing project than a private development. 

Do not let them tell you there was "consensus"  This plan too had many unanswered questions and elimated Marinwood's only viable retail location along 101.

Do not let them tell you that Marinwood Plaza cannot be made a profitable market and retail center.  It is conveniently located off 101 freeway where thousands of cars pass daily.  Marinwood Plaza lacks visibility and an imaginative and aggressive marketer.  It could be a great location once visibility is improved by cutting trees and installing a clock tower.  I'd love to see a Farm to Table Market similar to Oxbow market in Napa with Marinwood Market as the anchor tenant. 

But there is not room for a successful market and a housing development with 300 people at Marinwood Plaza.  Successful retail needs visibility and convenient parking.  A market will need at least 200 parking spaces available during market hours.   On the busiest times on the weekend there will be no spaces available since tenants will be home too and parking their cars in the same spaces.  No successful retailer would accept such meager parking provisions.  At their own admission, Bridge Housing is primarily a low income housing developer and doesn't have experience in retail.

Take your pick. Government housing and a convenience store or a modern Farm to Table Market and supporting retail.   You cannot have both at Marinwood Plaza.

We can have a beautiful and prosperous future in Marinwood Lucas Valley. Isn't that the future you want?



The conceptual design plan for the Marinwood Plaza property is the result of

a joint effort between the Marinwood community, the Marinwood Plaza

property owners and the County of Marin. These parties have worked

collaboratively during the planning process, and as the process moves

forward, will continue to work together to best assure that each party

achieves their goal.

A. Development Program

A preliminary development program for the project site has been developed,


90 to 100 residential units, with 20 to 50 of them affordable for low- or

very low-income families.

A grocery store of 20,000 square feet.

Ancillary retail of 4,000 to 12,000 square feet.

A plaza or community gathering area.

A redesign of Marinwood Avenue.

1. Grocery Store

The grocery store building will provide 20,000 square feet of space for a

full-service grocery store. If the property owner completes a lease with a

full-service grocery store prior to commencement of construction, and

the grocery store owner requires less than 20,000 square feet, then the

property owner can build the amount required by the grocery store

owner, provided the market is acceptable to the community.

The grocery store will be located at the north end of the site with an

adjoining parking lot.

The grocery store building will be built during the first phase of

construction. However, if the property owner does not have a grocery

store lease prior to commencement of construction, the property owner

may build a 20,000 square-foot grocery store shell.




D E S I G N , C O M M U N I T Y & E N V I R O N M E N T

2. Ancillary Retail

The project will include 12,000 square feet of ancillary retail space.

4,000 square feet of ancillary retail will be built during the first phase of


An additional 8,000 square feet of ancillary retail will be built after

sufficient interest is shown or pre-leasing is achieved.

The buildings that house the ancillary retail will help define the form of

the plaza.

3. Housing

90 to 100 housing units will be developed on the site.

50 housing units will be sold or rented at market rate.

The remaining housing units will be sold or rented as affordable to lower

and moderate income households.


At least 20 percent of the total units will be built to meet the County’s

inclusionary requirements.


The remaining affordable housing units will be built with assistance

from the County or an affordable housing developer, possibly as part

of a later phase of development.

4. Public Plaza Program

An outdoor public plaza will serve as the architectural/design focus of

the project and the gathering place for the larger Marinwood community.

The public plaza will be built to create a “place” with a village feel. This

will include a variety of features, such as a lawn area, shade trees, public

seating, a outdoor eating area and/or a public fountain.

For the complete plan: Marinwood Plaza Plan in July 2006

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Missing "Neighborhood Leaders" from the Marinwood Plaza meeting with Bridge Housing

"Neighborhood Leaders" that were missing at the Marinwood Plaza meeting October 27th.

A February 2012 press release by Supervisor Adams office claimed that "Neighborhood Leaders" are excited and approve of development of Low Income housing at Marinwood Plaza. They have been meeting behind closed doors and keeping mum about the proceeding for years.  Apparently they are near "consensus" yet most of these leaders have not bothered to make their participation public.     

The Bridge Housing representative tells us that these "stakeholders" have been meeting to sort out issues ranging from the number of units, parking and design of the plaza. We were assured that we would receive more information on their website  on October 29th.  Another general meeting with the full public will take place on December 4th to present a complete plan in preparation for the approval by the Marin Board of Supervisors.

As of today,  the website is not live.  Many questions concerning parking, taxes, infrastucture, impact of new students in Dixie schools, etc. have not been answered.  The community left the meeting more confused than ever.

The "public approval" process is a sham.  Our "neighborhood leaders" were never elected nor did they make proceedings public.  Some of them have been intimately involved in the process for years and claim that "we decided this development year's ago"  (referring to a much different private development plan offered in 2007).

It's as if a small minority of political insiders are presuming their voice is more important than the other 6000 people who live in the valley.

As I viewed the crowd of people in Mary Silvera's gym that morning seeking answers,   I saw the "real stakeholders" for the future of Marinwood.  We are the ones that will be paying for new schools, new water and sewer improvements,  more police and fire services.  We are the ones that do not have a vested financial, personal or political interest in building low income housing.  We want to develop Marinwood Plaza for the good of the whole community.

Some of the "neighborhood leaders" present and answering questions.  Of the four Marinwood CSD directors that were quietly meeting behind closed doors,  only Bruce Anderson appeared at this meeting.  He deserves our thanks for taking his public duty seriously.

All land east of Las Gallinas to the 101 freeway is the Marinwood Priority Development Area for fast track urbanization.  The objective of Plan Bay Area is to provide affordable housing and to intensify housing along the 101 corridor.  Large amounts of investment monies from HUD and other sources will be financing all kinds of high density housing in Marinwood-Lucas Valley. 

We can regain control of our community.  Learn more about the 2012 Housing Element. Contact our political leaders and let them know how you feel.  Tell others.  Sign our petition.  Come to a meeting.

Become a REAL "neighborhood leader" and protect our future.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Affordable Housing by Supervisor District in Unincorporated Marin

Editor's Note.  There are four classifications of affordable housing 1.) extremely low income 2.) very low income 3.) low income and 4.) moderate low income.  Marinwood-Lucas Valley has 83% of all extremely low to low income units in unincorporated Marin as well as the largest high density apartment complexs with 85, 220 and 230 units each. In addition there are other zoning changes for  several additional apartment complexes of upwards of 280 units each! 
Other incorporated towns have large housing quotas as well.  Many have successfully fought against forced development. Corte Madera, for example, withdrew from Association of Bay Area Governments and is dealing with the state directly.
If we say nothing to the Board of Supervisors, developers will assume they have a green light for exploiting our political weakness in Marinwood-Lucas Valley.  We must stand resolutely for sensible land use and considered development according to our needs and not some ABAG quota.
Learn more about the 2012 Housing Element.  Attend meetings.  Talk with your neighbors.  Contact your leaders.
It's your future and our community. Together we can make a difference.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Evolution of Urban Planning in 10 Diagrams

The role of people in the urban planners playbook

Le Corbusier’s plan may not have had such power if he hadn’t put it on paper. The French modernist architect wanted to reform the polluted industrial city by building “towers in a park” where workers might live high above the streets, surrounded by green space and far from their factories. His idea was radical for the 1930s, and it was his diagrams of it that really captured the imagination.

"It swept everyone along," says Benjamin Grant, the public realm and urban design program manager for the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association. "They were such compelling drawings of such a compelling idea."

Le Corbusier’s iconic plan for his "Ville Radieuse" was an obvious choice when Grant and SPUR began to curate a new exhibition, "Grand Reductions: Ten diagrams that changed urban planning." Le Corbusier's tidy scheme for "towers in a park," drawn as if on a blank slate, would influence planners for decades to come. Some of the other diagrams in this survey are a bit more surprising.

The exhibition’s title – Grand Reductions – suggests the simple illustration’s power to encapsulate complex ideas. And for that reason the medium has always been suited to the city, an intricate organism that has been re-imagined (with satellite towns! in rural grids! in megaregions!) by generations of architects, planners and idealists. In the urban context, diagrams can be powerful precisely because they make weighty questions of land use and design digestible in a single sweep of the eye. But as Le Corbusier’s plan illustrates, they can also seductively oversimplify the problems of cities. These 10 diagrams have been tremendously influential – not always for the good.

"The diagram can cut both ways: It can either be a distillation in the best sense of really taking a very complex set of issues and providing us with a very elegant communication of the solution," Grant says. "Or it can artificially simplify something that actually needs to be complex."

Over the years, some of these drawings have perhaps been taken too literally, while others likely lie behind some of your favorite spots in your city. "Even if you don’t know the diagram," Grant says, "you might know the places that the diagram inspired." SPUR shared these images from the exhibition, which opened this week.

If you happen to live in San Francisco, you can also visit the show in person at the SPUR Urban Center Gallery (654 Mission Street) through February (oh, and it’s free!).

Full Story:  Ten Diagrams showing the history of Urban Planning