Saturday, August 3, 2013

"Dreamt I was an Eskimo..." sings Frank Zappa and speaks of Freedom

Frank Zappa sings about Nanook 

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.” ― Frank Zappa

Who needs the Marinwood PDA when you have Power of Eminent Domain?

Notice to the Public:

Proposed State Legislation




·        Gives the government taxing power without a vote of the people,
·        Allows government taking by eminent domain for "sustainable development" by  newly authorized "sustainable community investments areas".
·        Gives government authority to declare our suburbs as BLIGHT to take our property.
·        Sustainable development is a radical land use plan that seeks to change our current suburban, rural and urban land uses to urban, open space/agriculture and habitat.

Please contact your Assembly member and ask them to vote NO on SB1

Find the text of the bill here:

or do a web search for: Steinberg SB1

Find your Assembly member:

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is force. And force, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."  George Washington

Friday, August 2, 2013

Nanny of the Month July 2013

Stop Senate Bill SB1

Senate Bill #1 (Steinberg and DeSaulnier) is one of the most dangerous bills and must be stopped!
Please read this and forward to all your email lists. We need to stop this bill. It has already passed the Senate and is going to Assembly! Call your state Assembly member and ask them to oppose this bill! Here’s the full text of the bill


If Steinberg's SB 1 (Steinberg's Sustainable Communities Investment Authority) becomes law, what will the cost be to you and each and every one of us who own private property parcels? I believe this is one of the most dangerous bills and will be the worst abuse of power in California's history, if the Governor doesn't Veto this bill. Danger here is the Democrats may have super majority over the Governor's Veto Power. (SB 1 was Steinberg's SB 1156 last year and the resurrection of Statewide Redevelopment Agencies, but with a new credit card);

SB 1 includes Infrastructure Financing Districts (Senator Lois Wolk SB 33) and Transit Districts (Assemblywoman Ma or other authors). Are you 1/2 mile from a bus or transit stop? SB 1 allows high density 1/2 mile from a bus or transit stop;

No blight findings are required to take private property parcels by Eminent Domain, so the State is saying our private property parcels of all kinds belong to them;  Blight can now be Ineffecient land use patterns!

Property Tax Increments like Redevelopment Agencies would divert property taxes from within project area boundaries directly into the general fund of the new "Authority", "Agency", or government entity that's created, which means property taxes would not go to the City or County general funds to pay for public services, but would go directly to the new Authority or Agency and away from special districts like fire and police protection, parks, and libraries (schools would be exempt);

Projects would have to comply with Steinberg's SB 375, which connects land use to AB 32 Global Warming/Climate Change Implementation - (My older neighborhood with large lots does not comply with SB 375, so does that mean my neighborhood is not sustainable and blighted?);

The Governors's High Speed Rail is protected in this bill;

No Voter Approval to create more debt and to create new project boundaries, which could force residents to continually pay for new projects and improvements;

Only Union workers are hired, which would eliminate jobs to those who are not union paying members (Only Project Labor Agreements);

Cities, Counties, and Special Districts can create Joint Powers Agreements/Agencies/Authorities (JPA) and elect a Board that would consist of elected officials, who would than appoint a JPA Director. How many JPA's do you have in your City and/or County? Power would be power to a Director/Chair of a new Board, who is not elected by the people;

A real world look at the Future high density plans for Marin

The above video slide show is of high density housing in the Portland, Oregon area similar to what is being proposed by Plan Bay Area and the Marin County Housing Element.  Although Marinwood is nominated to be removed from the Priority Development Area,  the State and Local governments have not changed the underlying plans for intensive urban development along the 101 corridor.  The state is anticipated to pass SB-1 which provides local government to declare suburban tracts as "blight" if their development patterns are determined to be "inefficient".  This means your neighborhood could be converted to high density apartments as seen in this video.

We must Save Marinwood and our future.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Will HUD Force Zoning Changes on Marin County? This is what is going on in Westchester, NY


The Battle Over Affordable Housing Heats Up in Westchester

Posted: 05/02/2013 4:40 pm

Concerns about over development in Scarsdale could extend far beyond the shoehorning of oversized houses onto undersized lots or the destruction of heritage trees. If the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has it their way, villages like Scarsdale and Bronxville could find their local zoning ordinances under attack. These zoning ordinances ensure the unique character of these towns as they define minimum lot sizes, maximum height and bulk, residential vs. commercial zones and the siting of single-family vs. multi-family homes. Without these ordinances, apartment houses and town houses could spring up on 2-acre lots in Murray Hill, clogging residential streets with parked cars and straining the local infrastructure and educational system.

County Executive Rob Astorino paid a visit to the Scarsdale Forum on Thursday night April 25 and presented his side of the county's battle with HUD to meet their obligations as stipulated in the 2009 Affordable Housing Settlement that Astorino inherited when he came into office. Among other remedies, the court mandated Westchester to build 750 units of affordable housing at a total cost of $51.6 million. Ironically the county is well ahead of schedule on construction of the units and plans to complete 305 by the end of 2013.

Building the required housing has not been the source of the clash between Astorino's office and the HUD Chair. Two additional requirements of the legislation have caused much consternation.
First, the settlement required Astorino to promote sources of income legislation that would bar landlords from discriminating against tenants who use Section 8 vouchers or other government income to pay their rent. Rather than advance this legislation, Astorino vetoed the bill when he came into office. After HUD threatened to penalize Westchester by reallocating $7.4 in Community Development Block Grants due to Westchester this month, Astorino has re-introduced legislation that bans discrimination against potential homeowners and renters based on their source of income and has vowed to sign it. Astorino has also appealed to Governor Cuomo to lobby for the HUD funds and administer them to Westchester.

However, he still faces another hurdle.

The most vexing portion of the settlement requires Westchester to submit a zoning analysis and a plan to overcome "exclusionary zoning practices." Specifically, the county was ordered to:

  • Identify local zoning practices that have exclusionary impact or fail to take into account regional need

  • Develop a process to notify municipalities of zoning issues that hinder the county's obligations and changes that must be made as well as consequences for failing to make them.

  • Identify types of zoning practices that would, if not remedied by the municipality lead the county to pursue legal action.

In a letter to the county dated March 13, 2013 the Federal Monitor, James Johnson, asks the county to assess the impact of restrictive zoning practices including:

  • Restrictions that limit or prohibit multifamily housing development;

  • Limitations on the size of a development;

  • Restrictions on lot size of density requirements that encourage single-family housing;

  • Limitations on townhouse development;

and "the impact such practices have on racial and ethnic composition."

Westchester County has submitted three such zoning analyses and failed to identify exclusionary zoning practices. According to Astorino, "The County has supplied volumes of data as well as a thorough legal analysis showing Westchester's zoning is not exclusionary." In comments at the Scarsdale Forum meeting, Astorino charged HUD with refusing to accept the county's zoning analyses because they did not reach HUD's conclusions -- not because the data was invalid or deficient.

Does HUD have the right to force municipalities to change their zoning codes? Professor John Nolon of the Pace University Law Land Use Center, who consulted on the case said in June, 2012, "Only towns, villages and cities have zoning power in New York. There is no constitutional or statutory definition of exclusionary zoning in New York to determine the obligations that these communities have to zone for housing that can be made affordable by housing developers." He cited the "Berenson" cases in New York which ruled on issues of affordable housing and said though these cases require the county to consider "regional needs," they did not define what region needed consideration. Is it Westchester County? New York City? The Tri-State Region? Connecticut? He concluded by saying that though the region's Economic Development Council has been charged by the state with developing plans, none of its current plans establish regional housing needs or a methodology for estimating them.

How to get beyond this impasse?

After HUD turned down all three analyses, James Johnson, who is the Federal Monitor assigned to the case, has now undertaken his own zoning analysis and sent letters to each of the municipalities with a report card for each showing their progress on meeting targets for the number of affordable units. Though Scarsdale has passed a model zoning ordinance that requires developers to build one affordable unit with each group of 10 market-rate units, the report says that the ordinance "provides no zoning incentives for affordable housing." The report notes that "the few areas in which multifamily housing is allowed as-of-right are "fully built out" and recommends that the village "provide density or other incentives for affordable housing, mapping additional areas where multifamily house is permitted as-of-right, and permitting accessory housing in "faux" garages as well as quadraplexes and cottage-style housing." It shows that as of the 2000 census only .4 percent of total village acreage is zoned for multi-family housing and that 4 percent of the population is Hispanic or Black -- the only two minority groups considered in the settlement.

Since Scarsdale is already fully developed, the only way for the village to expand its inventory of affordable housing would be to change the zoning code, an idea that is unpopular with residents who are already up in arms about development and absorbing big annual tax increases to pay for schools and services.

The biggest surprise in the "report card" was the assertion that Scarsdale is targeted to build 160 AFFH units -- a number pulled from "The unadopted Affordable Housing Allocation Plan produced in 2005 by the county's planning department." The letter states that "none of which have been built in the interim."

According to Astorino, this same 2005 report called for the construction of 10,678 units county-wide, far beyond the scope of the 750 units mandated in the 2009 settlement.

In an April 15, 2013 response to the Federal Monitor, the Scarsdale Board of Trustees told Johnson that "the village has fundamental disagreements with the position taken in your letter... Specifically we note that the village in not a party to the litigation and settlement agreement referred to in the "report card. " Further, the "unadopted Affordable Housing Allocation Plan does not impose any obligation on the Village."

Astorino says that these new targets "expand the agreement beyond the four quarters of the settlement," and that HUD has taken a very aggressive stance, claiming that any restriction is a restrictive zoning practice that must be abolished. Saying "there is no rhyme or reason" for HUD's demands, he called on residents to contact their congressmen and senators to voice their concerns about HUD's demands.

As it stands today, $7.4 million in grant money could be lost for Westchester if the county fails to comply. HUD is also calling for Westchester municipalities to make fundamental changes to their zoning codes that would radically alter the character of the 31 municipalities who, according to the outdated 2000 census numbers, do not house adequate numbers of black and Hispanic residents. The zoning code HUD is challenging includes lot size, stipulations for single family housing and structure bulk and density, which is common among suburban communities across the country.
Many in Scarsdale are shocked and offended that HUD is charging the village with exclusionary zoning and racism. The population is a diverse mix of whites, blacks, Hispanics, Indians, Asians, and others who live together in harmony. As one 40-year resident said, "anyone who says Scarsdale is racist simply doesn't know the community."

Can a federal agency force a locality to change their zoning code? That's the battle that could be in the offing.

Dixie School District is forced to PAY THE STATE for educating our children.

Editors Note:  I could not believe it when I saw this piece in the San Rafael Patch .  Dixie school district actually must PAY THE STATE for each student. Marinwood Village is estimated to bring in 150 children and we will pay the state $22,050 yearly if I understand this correctly. Clearly the Marinwood Village Proposal cannot be approved under the current funding scheme.

Is Gov. Brown Right to Dole Out Money to Marin's Public Schools Unequally?
Compare per-student funding for Marin County schools. You may be surprised.
This is what California public education looks like after the Great Recession:
Between 2007 and 2010, the number of teachers in the state's K-12 classrooms shrunk by 11 percent. Reading specialists, librarians, and other school employees helping students learn declined by 14 percent. Front offices took the hardest blow, with the number of administrators dropping by 16 percent. All these cuts hit schools even as the total enrollment held steady at around 6.2 million students.

Now that California is looking at its first budget without a deficit in five years, Gov. Jerry Brown's budget calls for restoring some money to the state's public schools. But, he does not want to distribute the money equally.

[For differences in revenues between Marin County school districts during the 2010-11 school year, see the tables at the bottom of this article.]
"Aristotle said, 'Treating unequals equally is not justice.' And people are in different situations. Growing up in Compton or Richmond is not like it is to grow up in Los Gatos or Beverly Hills or Piedmont," Brown said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

There are already big differences in the sums school districts get from the state.

Consider two very different communities in Marin, Mill Valley and Novato. In
the 2010-11 school year, the Mill Valley School District received $10,895 for every student. The Novato Unified School District received $8,575 per student.

But while $3,908 of Novato's per-student funding came from the state, Mill Valley received negative-$25 per student due to so-called state "take-backs." That’s largely because of the different revenue structures for those two districts. As a basic aid district, Mill Valley receives the lion's share of its revenue, or $5,604 per student, from local property taxes. It also receive $4,443 per student from its annual parcel tax, which was increased by voters in the November 2012 election.

By contrast, Novato is a revenue limit district, receiving nearly half of its revenue from the state.
Under Gov. Brown's proposed budget, which has $3 billion more than last year for K-12 and community colleges, underprivileged schools would get more per-student funding than other schools. That means that funding would be weighted towards those schools with higher percentages of English language learners and the number of students who receive federally subsidized lunches for low-income residents, according to Marin County Office of Education officials.
The differences in those areas within Marin are stark.

For instance, while the Ross Valley Elementary School District recorded 3.1 percent English Learners in the 2009-2010, the San Rafael City Elementary District recorded 51.5 percent English Learners.

"Our future depends not on across-the-board funding, but disproportionately funding those schools that have disproportionate challenges," Brown said in a press conference last week.

Will Gov. Brown's proposed shift in funding be enough to bridge the economic gap that contributes to the achievement gap? Does more money improve student performance?

Dixie (San Rafael) Elementary SD Revenue for 2010-11
Source$ Amount per student% Statewide average for elementary school districts
State Aid-$1470%
Local Property Taxes$6,273317%
Federal Revenue$37340%
Other State Revenue$80154%
Other Local Revenue (includes parcel taxes)$2,100286%
Mill Valley Elementary School District Revenue for 2010-11
Source$ Amount per student% Statewide average for elementary school districts
State Aid-$250%
Local Property Taxes$5,604283%
Federal Revenue$31634%
Other State Revenue$55638%
Other Local Revenue (includes parcel taxes)$4,443605%
Novato USD Revenue for 2010-11
Source$ Amount per student% Statewide average for unified school districts
State Aid$3,908114%
Local Property Taxes$1,37871%
Federal Revenue$55049%
Other State Revenue$1,18760%
Other Local Revenue (includes parcel taxes)$1,552292%
Ross Valley Elementary SD Revenue for 2010-2011
Source$ Amount per student% Statewide average for elementary school district
State Aid$3,672110%
Local Property Taxes$1,53978%
Federal Revenue$28731%
Other State Revenue$96565%
Other Local Revenue (includes parcel taxes)$2,197299%
San Rafael City Elementary SD Revenue for 2010-11
Source $ Amount per student% Statewide average for elementary school districts
State Aid$3,474104%
Local Property Taxes$1,59481%
Federal Revenue$89496%
Other State Revenue$1,660112%
Other Local Revenue (includes parcel taxes)$1,665227%
San Rafael City High School District Revenue for 2010-11
Source$ Amount per student% Statewide average for high school districts
State Aid$602%
Local Property Taxes$9,702308%
Federal Revenue$57865%
Other State Revenue$37025%
Other Local Revenue (includes parcel taxes)$2,092295%
Tamalpais Union High SD Revenue for 2010-11
Source$ Amount per student% Statewide average for high school districts
State Aid-$690%
Local Property Taxes$11,792374%
Federal Revenue$39544%
Other State Revenue$52935%
Other Local Revenue (includes parcel taxes)$3,595507%
Source: California Department of Education, Ed-Data

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Regionalism: Obama’s Quiet Anti-Suburban Revolution

see Regionalism: Obama’s Quiet Anti-Suburban Revolution

The consensus response to President Obama’s Knox College speech on the economy is that the administration has been reduced to pushing a menu of stale and timid policies that, in any case, won’t be enacted. But what if the administration isn’t actually out of ideas? What if Obama’s boldest policy initiative is merely something he’d rather not discuss? And what if that initiative is being enacted right now?

A year ago, I published Spreading the Wealth: How Obama Is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities. There I described the president’s second-term plan to press a transformative “regionalist” agenda on the country. Early but unmistakable signs indicate that Obama’s regionalist push is well underway. Yet the president doesn’t discuss his regionalist moves and the press does not report them.

The most obvious new element of the president’s regionalist policy initiative is the July 19 publication of a Department of Housing and Urban Development regulation broadening the obligation of recipients of federal aid to “affirmatively further fair housing.” The apparent purpose of this rule change is to force suburban neighborhoods with no record of housing discrimination to build more public housing targeted to ethnic and racial minorities. Several administration critics noticed the change and challenged it, while the mainstream press has simply declined to cover the story.

Yet even critics have missed the real thrust of HUD’s revolutionary rule change. That’s understandable, since the Obama administration is at pains to downplay the regionalist philosophy behind its new directive. The truth is, HUD’s new rule is about a great deal more than forcing racial and ethnic diversity on the suburbs. (Regionalism, by the way, is actually highly controversial among minority groups. There are many ways in which both middle-class minorities in suburbs, and less well-off minorities in cities, can be hurt by regionalist policies–another reason those plans are seldom discussed.)

The new HUD rule is really about changing the way Americans live. It is part of a broader suite of initiatives designed to block suburban development, press Americans into hyper-dense cities, and force us out of our cars. Government-mandated ethnic and racial diversification plays a role in this scheme, yet the broader goal is forced “economic integration.” The ultimate vision is to make all neighborhoods more or less alike, turning traditional cities into ultra-dense Manhattans, while making suburbs look more like cities do now. In this centrally-planned utopia, steadily increasing numbers will live cheek-by-jowl in “stack and pack” high-rises close to public transportation, while automobiles fall into relative disuse. To understand how HUD’s new rule will help enact this vision, we need to turn to a less-well-known example of the Obama administration’s regionalist interventionism.

In the face of heated public protest, on July 18, two local agencies in metropolitan San Francisco approved “Plan Bay Area,” a region-wide blueprint designed to control development in the nine-county, 101-town region around San Francisco for the next 30 years. The creation of a region-wide development plan–although it flies in the face of America’s core democratic commitment to local control–is mandated by California’s SB 375, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008. The ostensible purpose of this law is to combat global warming through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. That is supposedly why California’s legislature empowered regional planning commissions to override local governments and press development away from suburbs into densely-packed urban areas. In fact, the reduction of greenhouse gases (which Plan Bay Area does little to secure) largely serves as a pretext for undercutting the political and economic independence of California suburbs.

Essentially, Plan Bay Area attempts to block the development of any new suburbs, forcing all population growth over the next three decades into the existing “urban footprint” of the region. The plan presses 70-80 percent of all new housing and 66 percent of all business expansion into 150 or so “priority development areas” (PDAs), select neighborhoods near subway stations and other public transportation facilities. This scheme will turn up to a quarter of the region’s existing neighborhoods–many now dotted with San Francisco’s famously picturesque, Victorian-style single-family homes–into mini-Manhattans jammed with high-rises and tiny apartments. The densest PDAs will be many times denser than Manhattan. (See the powerful ten-minute audio-visual assault on Plan Bay Area at the 45-55 minute mark of this debate.)

In effect, by preventing the development of new suburbs, and reducing traditional single-family home development in existing suburbs, Plan Bay Area will squeeze 30 years worth of in-migrating population into a few small urban enclaves, and force most new businesses into the same tight quarters. The result will be a steep increase in the Bay Area’s already out-of-control housing prices. This will hit the poor and middle class the hardest. While some poor and minority families will receive tiny subsidized apartments in the high-rise PDAs, many others will find themselves displaced by the new development, or priced out of the local housing market altogether.

A regional plan that blocks traditional suburban development, densifies cities, and urbanizes suburbs on this scale is virtually unprecedented. That’s why the Obama administration awarded the agencies behind Plan Bay Area its second-highest “Sustainable Communities Grant” in 2012. Indeed, the terms of the administration’s grant reinforce the pressure for density. The official rationale behind the federal award is “encouraging connections” between jobs, housing, and transportation.

That sounds like a directive to locate new residents–poor and minorities included–in existing prosperous communities. In fact, HUD’s new emphasis on “connecting” jobs housing and transportation does more. In practice, bland bureaucratic language about blending jobs, housing, and transportation pressures localities to create Manhattan-style “priority development areas.” The San Francisco case reveals the administration’s broader intentions. Soon HUD and other agencies will begin to press localities directly, rather than through the medium of California’s new regionalist scheme. Replicating Plan Bay Area nationwide is the Obama administration’s goal.

The Enactment of Plan Bay Area was wildly controversial among those who managed to learn about it, yet went largely unnoticed in the region as a whole. One of the chief complaints of the plan’s opponents was the relative lack of publicity accorded a decision with such transformative implications. Critics called for a public vote, and complained that the bureaucrats in charge hadn’t been elected.

Another theme of critics was that “the fix” seemed to be in from the start. Input was largely ignored, opponents claimed, and public forums offered only the illusion of consultation. Although it’s gone largely unreported, that accusation is far truer than even the opponents of Plan Bay Area realize.

Here’s where the Obama administration comes in. Not only does acceptance of the administration’s $5 million grant make it next-to-impossible to de-densify Plan Bay Area, but the grant itself helps to fund “grassroots” supporters of the plan–leftist groups dedicated to radicalizing the scheme still further.

The administration’s “sustainable communities” grants generally require recipients to “partner” with local leftist community organizations. Opponents of Plan Bay Area often outnumber supporters at public meetings. Yet such supporters as are present–groups like TransForm, the Greenbelt Alliance, Marin Grassroots, and East Bay Housing Organization–are funded (or slated to be funded)with the help of the same federal grant that backs up the bureaucrats in charge.

Press accounts of the Plan Bay Area controversy generally say nothing about the financial interest that “non-profit” “grassroots” organizations have in passage of the plan, or about pressures on the bureaucrats in charge to maintain their government-mandated “partnerships” with these community organizations. So when opponents of Plan Bay Area complain about officials simply going through the motions of public consultation, they’re right. The deck is stacked, the fix is in. By way of the federal grant, many of the “grassroots” groups that support Plan Bay Area are actually partners of the decision makers (the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments). The Obama administration’s role in all this, while generally unnoticed, is substantial.

If you complain that the regional bureaucracy behind Plan Bay Area undercuts democracy and local control, you’ll be told that local governments retain full authority over land-use within their jurisdictions. In reality, Plan Bay Area subverts that control, and the Obama administration plays a role here as well. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (one of the two agencies in charge of Plan Bay Area) doles out state and federal transportation assistance. Now that Plan Bay Area has been formally approved, MTC can withhold billions of dollars in federal aid from suburban jurisdictions that refuse to densify, leaving local bridges and highways in disrepair. One of the core goals of the Obama administration’s Sustainable Communities Initiative is to use federal transportation aid as a stick to force regionalist planning on unwilling suburbs.

Recalcitrant suburbs can also be brought to heel by lawsuits claiming violations of federal fair housing law. California’s SB375 facilitates such suits by placing the burden of proof on local jurisdictions accused of housing discrimination. Such legal claims are often brought by leftist community organizations of the type currently funded through the Obama administration’s grant.
When criticism of Plan Bay Area reached a crescendo in suburban Marin County–the center of public opposition to the plan–the bureaucrats pared back their demands for densification in a few resistant municipalities. Obama’s HUD responded by charging that failure to assign more multifamily housing to suburban jurisdictions could violate federal fair housing law. So what looks like a softening of Plan Bay Area’s demands on a few suburban municipalities may ultimately be reversed. By publicly declaring suburban non-cooperation with Plan Bay Area a potential violation of federal housing law, and by funding organizations that could sue to bring resistant suburbs into compliance, the Obama administration is serving as a key enforcer of this controversial scheme.

All of which returns us to HUD’s controversial new regulation expanding the obligation of recipients of federal aid to “affirmatively further fair housing.” When HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that rule change, he acknowledged that it wasn’t really focused on preventing “outright discrimination and access to the housing itself.” The Obama administration is using traditional anti-discrimination language as a cover for a re-engineering the way we live. The real goal is to Manhattanize America, and force us out of our cars.

The Plan Bay Area precedent makes it clear that HUD will use data on access to housing, jobs, and transportation to press densification on both urban and suburban jurisdictions. With the new HUD rule in place, municipalities will be under heavy pressure to allow multifamily developments in areas previously zoned for single-family housing. The new counting scheme, which measures access to housing, jobs, and transportation, will simultaneously create pressures to push businesses into the newly densified areas, and to locate those centers near transportation hubs. In effect, HUD’s new rule gives the federal government a tool to press ultra-dense Plan Bay Area-style “priority development areas” on regions across the country.

HUD’s new rule also allows the creation of regional housing consortia. Although the choice to join such regional housing partnerships would technically be voluntary, the administration will be able to use the same combination of legal threats and funding leverage we’ve seen in San Francisco to pressure municipalities to join the consortia.

Over the next few years, select Regional Planning Grants funded under the Obama administration’s Sustainable Communities Initiative will be issuing regional development plans guided by the same philosophy that informs Plan Bay Area. So even in states without California-style regionalist legislation in place, a federally-funded structure with the potential to override local control, block suburban development, and force densification will be created. The Obama administration’s goal is to use legal and financial carrots and sticks to press Plan Bay Area clones on regions across the country through its federally-funded Regional Planning Grant program. The new HUD rule will be folded into this broader strategy. (I lay out the structure, philosophy, and history of that strategy in Spreading the Wealth.)

When Secretary Donovan announced the sweeping new HUD rule, he said: “Make no mistake: this is a big deal.” He’s right. Yet the mainstream press has ignored the change, as well as the broader story behind it. Recognizing the politically explosive nature of its regionalist plans, the Obama administration does little to connect the dots for the public at large. Above all, the president himself avoids this issue, although it’s deeply embedded in his administration’s policies.

Obama isn’t actually out of bold ideas. They’re simply too controversial for him to discuss. The time has come for a national debate on the Obama administration’s regionalist policies.

HUD Launches Scheme To Racially Diversify Suburbs

see article at Investors Business Daily:

HUD Launches Scheme To Racially Diversify Suburbs

Diversity: Now even ZIP codes are racist, and according to this race-obsessed administration, you're racist for living in a suburban area with little public housing. And it plans to change that.
In what may be the most ambitious social-engineering project undertaken by the federal government, the administration is mapping every neighborhood in America by race. The stated purpose is to use the data to compel local officials to loosen zoning laws and build more public housing, thereby offering more poor inner-city minorities better opportunities for housing and education.
But the unstated purpose is forced racial integration. The suburbs are just too white for Obama and his race-mongering social engineers. They think they "geospatially discriminate" against minorities, never mind that more and more middle-class blacks are flocking to them on their own.
The ham-handed government project is led by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Last week it proposed new rules requiring counties and other entities receiving federal grant dollars to "affirmatively further fair housing" in the suburbs for minorities. Grantees who fail to comply will be denied federal funding.
At the same time, HUD is pressuring suburban landlords to accept Section 8 housing vouchers.
The proposed regulation was issued just days after HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan addressed the NAACP at its annual convention in Florida, near the Orlando suburb where a neighborhood crime-watch captain fatally shot a black teen visiting the complex.
In his speech, Donovan vowed to help urban blacks relocate to suburban neighborhoods, where they can have access to "good schools, safe streets, jobs, grocery stores," among other things. He claimed suburban realtors and landlords still discriminate against blacks.
"African-Americans," Donovan said, "are being denied their freedom of choice."
He said the HUD database will detail by neighborhood what "access African-American families have to community assets — including jobs, schools and transit," which he added "is something the NAACP has long called for."
Once the data are collected, his diversity police will use it as a "tool" to ensure that "every American has the opportunity to live in the community of their choice without facing discrimination."
Earlier this year, HUD broadened the authority of two anti-discrimination laws — the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act — making illegal any housing or credit policy that results in disproportionately fewer blacks or Latinos receiving housing or home loans than whites, even if those policies are race-neutral and evenly applied across all groups.
Meanwhile, HUD is working with an army of new diversity cops at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to map the credit histories of every American by race to ensure credit reports and scores are racially balanced as well.
If there are racial disparities in housing or credit, there can't be any business reason for them. Personal habits are never a factor. To this administration, racism is the one and only explanation. Anywhere gaps exist. All the time.
Donovan promised the NAACP he'll "put an end to these disparities." His scheme to map "racist" suburbs for targeting by diversity cops is just the first step toward mass relocation of inner-city poverty and crime to the suburbs, a key tenet of radical icon and Barack Obama mentor Saul Alinsky organizing under the banner of ending "spatial segregation" and "suburban apartheid."
This project could degrade the lifestyles of tens of millions of Americans — including hard-working middle-class minorities — who moved to the suburbs to get away from crime and bad schools.
It's time Republican leaders in Congress train their sights on the race-mongering zealots running amok at HUD.

Read More At Investor's Business Daily:
Follow us: @IBDinvestors on Twitter | InvestorsBusinessDaily on Facebook

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Big Brother wants to know your Race for Social Equity Solutions in Marin

Editor's Note: We came across this article on and thought it may interest you.  We have neighborhood reports of census workers diligently trying to get ethnic data throughout our neighborhoods. We love diversity and feel that it adds to the variety and richness of our neighborhoods but abhor government social engineering mandates that reduce people to race and ethnic groups instead of their true uniqueness and individuality.  We support true integration that celebrates instead of divides people.

Hysteria and Racist Screeds Over HUD Plans to Map Neighborhood Diversity

The federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 didn't simply prohibit discrimination in an era of starkly segregated cities. The law went one step more, requiring the government to also "affirmatively further" fair housing – to, in other words, proactively enable integration. In the four decades since, overt discrimination has clearly declined. But this second objective has remained much more elusive.
In part at least, the obstacles to integration are harder to detect than the culprits behind discrimination. They take the form not of malicious real estate agents or red-lining banks. Rather, integration is stalled or blocked today by exclusionary zoning that keeps lower-income people or new affordable housing out of many communities. This means that furthering the goals of the Fair Housing Act in 2013 is a complex problem of planning and land use that goes far beyond rebuking anyone who won't offer a black family a home.
Last week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development published a long-awaited proposed rule that it believes will bring the Fair Housing Act and this still unachieved promise "into the 21st century." Speaking earlier this month to the NAACP, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan admitted that the requirement to enable integration had "proven largely to be a meaningless paper exercise without any teeth."
To change that, the new rule refines what "affirmatively further fair housing" really means and how HUD grantees should document their progress to achieve it. The big news, however, is that HUD is now planning to help them do that by publishing extensive local data on patterns of integration and segregation, discrimination, poverty, access to good schools, jobs and transit, among other things. The tool will for the first time map all of this data for every neighborhood in the country. As Donovan put it to the NAACP:
Make no mistake: this is a big deal. With the HUD budget alone, we are talking about billions of dollars. And as you know, decades ago, these funds were used to support discrimination. Now, they will be used to expand opportunity and bring communities closer to the American Dream.
All that data is designed to make it possible for local communities to recognize obstacles and opportunities to fair housing in the planning process, while also arming families with the information to find the best places to live. But for some reason, the idea of the federal government mapping neighborhood diversity has been received by hysterical critics as something quite different: a renewed ploy for "forced racial integration," for "tyranny," for"social engineering coming to communities everywhere."
Or, as Investors Business Daily framed it in an editorial: "Now even ZIP codes are racist, and according to this race-obsessed administration, you're racist for living in a suburban area with little public housing. And it plans to change that."
The proposed rule is open to public comment through mid-September, and already it's a zoo. Granted, virtually any federal rulemaking public comments section tends to bring out the crazies, but even just a small sampling from this batch is disturbing:
... Unless the sole goal of this proposed rule is to completely and irreversibly destroy all of America and punish those who have worked hard for a better life then this is an extremely bad proposal.
...How is it fair for people like myself that worked hard all their lives to finally get into a neighborhood that they're proud of only to have someone else get a government subsidy that will allow them to buy into a more affluent neighborhood. I came from a lower income area in St. Louis, put myself through college, worked a full-time job and saved my money to buy a nice house in a neighborhood where there are good schools and I feel safe to let my kids run around. Now the government wants to subsidize housing in order to make my neighborhood more diverse in the name of fairness? What about fairness for me and my family?
This proposed rule should be removed, it is racist in nature and has no use in our society. Affirmative action along with Affirmative housing discriminates against the white people of America. You never hear of a black or spanish neighborhood needing 'diversity'. Whites never will move into those areas for the fact that it is dangerous. Fact is, and the truth of the matter, is when blacks/spanish move into white areas, property values go DOWN.
Of course, these people don't really have an issue with this new rule, which does nothing to change the core intent of the Fair Housing Act. Rather, they have an issue with the central idea behind the law as it was written 45 years ago. Fundamentally, they don't agree – or have different values – on the idea that equal access to housing also means equal access to everything that housing entails: good jobs, safe communities, quality education, healthy neighborhoods, nearby transit. The Fair Housing Act is not about, nor has it ever been about, forcing low-income black people on wealthy white enclaves. It's about enabling quality neighborhoods for everyone.
This means creating access to good neighborhoods for minorities. But it also means investing more in minority neighborhoods so that other people want to move in. The costs of the alternative are too high for everyone, even the people commenting above.
What's proposed in this new rule is actually a light-handed approach, one built on better data and smarter planning, not on the wholesale construction of new public housing in gated communities. And anyone who fears this kind of mapped data is ignoring that it already exists, in many forms. Real estate agents already know all of these things, from the demographics of a neighborhood to its access to quality schools. Predatory lenders certainly had maps like this, too.
What HUD has proposed is to give these same tools to low-income people that real estate agents and wealthy families already have. And exactly what's unfair about that?