Saturday, March 23, 2013

VIDEO: Building an Equitable Bay Area

Building an Equitable Bay Area
Filmaker's comments:

To set the frame for 2008’s inaugural State of the Region, Urban Habitat conducted a series of filmed interviews with community leaders from across the Bay Area. In this 10 minute production, our interviewees highlight the region’s key opportunities for improving quality of life in low income communities and communities of color – and the central role that the Bay Area Social Equity Caucus plays in moving an equity agenda.
Editor's Note:

This clip has an appearance by Ericka Erickson, Grassroots Leadership Network of Marin .  She is our newest Planning Commission member and Marinwood Mom who will be voting on the Housing Element for Unincorporated Marin. We sincerely hope she will considers the impact on our community and schools to have 71% of all affordable housing situated within our borders and virtually no tax base to support these developments.

From the Urban Habitat website:

One Bay Area planning decisions under way now will determine how $240 billion of public transportation money is spent over 30 years. The process will also influence where the region’s new housing, including affordable homes, will be built. Taken together, One Bay Area plans have the potential to shape our lives and determine whether we will indeed be One Bay Area—equal in opportunity and health—or continue as many Bay Areas, segregated by unequal access to transit and housing options and subjected to unequal environmental and health burdens like air pollution and hazardous traffic levels


For more information on Social Equity see- Six wins for Social Equity: Urban Habitat

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Photos Low Income Housing Developers won't show you

"No, the new apartments won't be anything like the last ones" 

The celebrated Pruitt-Igoe housing project designed by famous architect Le Corbusier lasted only 18 years before it was abandoned and destroyed. 
To see what Bridge Housing wants to build in the Marinwood Plaza visit:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

News coverage of the Citizen Marin meeting.

Supervisor Steve Kinsey added to the chorus of voices denouncing us as "unwelcoming" to affordable housing and promised to lead the fight for more housing opportunities for the disadvantaged. He did not bother to find out what was being said or to speak in the open public forum. He left shortly after his TV interview.  We wished he would engage ordinary citizens who gathered to talk about the issues. Other politicians attended, listened and greeted the folks.

If Supervisor Kinsey wants more affordable housing he can start in his own district. His district includes the greatest geographic territory of all supervisors for unincorporated Marin and has a greater total population than Marinwood-Lucas Valley. Doesn't his district have a need for affordable housing  too?

Also see the story in today's Marin IJ

And on the San Rafael Patch

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Will you Help? Understanding the legal aspects of the Housing Element for Marinwood-Lucas Valley.

Marinwood-Lucas Valley in the 1930s by George Otis Dement
We have found the relevant Government Code Section for Affordable Housing and we need help understanding it.  If you are so inclined to help us understand how it may apply to our situation in Marinwood-Lucas Valley , here it is.

Over 71% of all affordable housing for unincorporated Marn has been identified for locations in Marinwood-Lucas Valley.  Despite our tiny size of 5.78 square mile we may be forced to take these non profit high density projects that contribute almost nothing to our tax base.

Unlike private developers who pay mitigation fees to the community for infrastructure upgrades, the taxpayers are asked to pay millions for the non-profits developer. 

If after reviewing this government code you have legal observations to share, we would like to hear them. We do not have much time. The Board of Supervisors may approve the 2012 Draft Housing Element soon. We are not so much seeking specific legal advice now as a better understanding of the law and how it may affect us.

Please email your thoughts to

Will we be taxed for a million dollar soundwall for Marinwood Village Sound Wall too?

 Will Marinwood Village be surrounded with a 16 foot soundwall like this? Who will pay for it?

 Will the 101 entrance to  Marinwood be surrounded with a soundwall like this?  Yes!  According to guidelines by Caltrans., just as soon as they have the time and money to build it. These soundwalls currently cost 2.4 million dollars per mile and paid for by funding from the state or LOCAL COMMUNITY*.  see  Cal Trans Soundwall guidelines and  Cost.

The website also specifies :

"Because the demand for soundwalls has far exceeded the funding to build them, a priority waiting list has been developed. This waiting list is based on a formula, which combines noise levels, number of living units and cost effectiveness to produce a ranking."

But soundwalls also kill retail business.  This will make it even more difficult for Marinwood Market to survive. San Juan Capistrano lost many successful businesses after a similar soundwall was built : Soundwall kills business

And what about Graffetti?  Although the Marinwood  sound wall surrounding Blackstone has stayed relatively clean, will the new soundwall create more opportunities for tagging as has been the problem in downtown San Rafael?

Freeway Soundwalls are frequently tagged with  graffetti.

*  From

Traditional Financing
The California Transportation Commission is the approving body for program and project level funding. Recent legislation (SB 45 - STIP Reform) may have an impact upon the programming of soundwalls. During the implementation of SB 45, Caltrans works closely with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) and the California Transportation Commission (CTC) to program soundwall projects along with various other transportation needs.

Soundwalls, which come under new or major reconstruction projects, are automatically included as a part of the project design. Soundwalls, which are retrofitted to existing freeways, fall under the Community Noise Abatement Program. Under Commission policy, this program is subject to available funding. Since funding is limited, a priority list has been developed to rank future projects.

Payback Option

State law allows cities or counties to construct eligible soundwalls ahead of the time that they would be built under traditional funding. Then, when the funding priority is eventually reached, CALTRANS would reimburse the local agency for the actual cost. Its important to note that reimbursement does not include interest.

Benefit Assessment District

Some local agencies are considering a benefit assessment district whereby residents in effect tax themselves under some formula to generate funding. Under this method bonding could be used for early construction at the expense of a longer payback.

Special Legislation

Soundwalls have occasionally been funded and constructed by Special State legislation. These have occurred outside of CALTRANS' and the California Transportation Commission's process.

Monday, March 18, 2013

More real Photos of Low Income Housing Living Conditions

Trenten Pool, 3 (center), is one of eight people who sleep in the living room of a trailer home on Bobs Lane in Troy, Mo., on Sept. 27, 2012. A total of 11 people live in the two-bedroom trailer, including nine who are either visiting or staying temporarily.
Editor's note:  Here is a striking photo essay of a low income family in Missouri. It is a testiment to the family bonds and will to survive through tough financial circumstance. It is quite common to have several families per dwelling unit.  Marinwood Village will likely house many more people than the average 2.4 people per apartment.  It is not unreasonable to expect an average of 6 people per apartment for a total of 400-600 people.

Photo Essay on the Webb family