Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Marin IJ on 2/11/13 Planning Meeting and my response

The Marin IJ covered the Planning Meeting about the Housing that is coming to unincorporated Marin.  It is worth a quick read here  .  For an in depth understanding  of the meeting,  I recommend you review the tape when I publish it later this week.

I felt the Marin IJ story was generally accurate but left out some key facts.   Here was my letter to the journalist Megan Hansen:



Thank you for covering the Housing Element meeting for unincorporated Marin yesterday.  It is great to inform the public about the big change to our community.  Without the your coverage and the MarinIJ,  it would be like a tree falling in the forest with no one around.  No one will hear it. Local journalism protects our democracy . 

Your story while generally accurate, did miss out on a few points.

First, you quoted me  speaking about Grady Ranch.  I spoke for all the housing  in Marinwood Lucas Valley. 

My key points were:

1.)    71% of all affordable housing for Unincorporated Marin is concentrated in just 5.78 square miles in Marinwood- Lucas Valley.  This will grow our community by at least 25%.   We occupy just 0.6 percent of the land mass and only 2% of the population.  Does it make sense to concentrate all this housing in a single community? 

2.)    How can the goal of diversity be achieved when Marin is simply locating all of the “diversity” in high density housing in a single community?

3.)     Isn’t the rest of Marin NIMBY when they shove most of the housing into a small, powerless community?


Contrary to your inference that most speakers were against  affordable housing,  most expressed support  and willingness to accept a fair proportion but were concerned about the impact to the schools and social services and the inevitable tax burden to pay for the huge population increase.  Please review the tape. 

Lastly,  I understand that the Marin IJ has received a lot of readership over the George Lucas Grady Ranch vs LVHOA by portraying them as NIMBYs.  The real reason that LucasFilms withdrew was due to State, and Federal regulators, the upcoming Disney deal.  No reasonable person thinks that a neighborhood asking for a stop light and other minor mitigations  would have stop multibillionaire George Lucas. Nels Johnson covered this a month after the original story broke.

It is important that the Marin IJ cover this story fairly.  Community members have received death threats.  (One of which was actually published on the Marin IJ website.  How would you like someone to threaten to burn down your home?) It is causing unnecessary division in the community and the anger is based on a falsehood.

Keep up the coverage. This is an unfolding drama that is not likely to end soon.  Feel free to contact me.



Stephen Nestel

www.savemarinwood.org Our Community, Our future


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