Saturday, August 17, 2013

How old were they really?

Young Men and Women lead the Revolution for Liberty!

Founding Fathers kinda denotes “older” but here’s a list from the Journal of the American Revolution that gives us the ages of those from our history and their ages on July 4, 1776 

Authors often reveal the age of a particular soldier, politician or other main character in books about the Revolution, but I routinely find myself wondering about their peers at the same time. As it turns out, many Founding Fathers were less than 40 years old in 1776 with several qualifying as Founding Teenagers and Twentysomethings. And though the average age of the signers of the Declaration of Independence was 44, more than a dozen of them were 35 or younger!
“We tend to see them as much older than they were,” said David McCullough in a 2005 speech. “Because we’re seeing them in portraits by Gilbert Stuart and others when they were truly the Founding Fathers — when they were president or chief justice of the Supreme Court and their hair, if it hadn’t turned white, was powdered white. We see the awkward teeth. We see the elder statesmen. At the time of the Revolution, they were all young. It was a young man’s–young woman’s cause.”
Signers of the Declaration up first and after the jump; some other “names” you might recognize after the jump.
  • Thomas Lynch, Jr., 26
  • Edward Rutledge, 26
  • George Walton, 27
  • Thomas Heyward, Jr., 29
  • Benjamin Rush, 30
  • Elbridge Gerry, 31
  • Thomas Jefferson, 33
  • Thomas Stone, 33
  • William Hooper, 34
  • Arthur Middleton, 34
  • James Wilson, 34
  • Samuel Chase, 35
  • William Paca, 35
  • John Penn, 35
  • George Clymer, 37
  • Thomas Nelson, Jr., 37
  • Charles Carroll, 38
  • Francis Hopkinson, 38
  • Carter Braxton, 39
  • John Hancock, 39
  • John Adams, 40

  • William Floyd, 41
  • Button Gwinnett, 41*
  • Francis Lightfoot Lee, 41
  • Robert Morris, 42
  • Thomas McKean, 42
  • George Read, 42
  • Samuel Huntington, 44
  • Richard Henry Lee, 44
  • Robert Treat Paine, 45
  • Richard Stockton, 45
  • William Williams, 45
  • Josiah Bartlett, 46
  • Joseph Hewes, 46
  • George Ross, 46
  • William Whipple, 46
  • Caesar Rodney, 47
  • William Ellery, 48
  • Oliver Wolcott, 49
  • Abraham Clark, 50
  • Benjamin Harrison, 50
  • Lewis Morris, 50
  • George Wythe, 50
  • John Morton, 51
  • Lyman Hall, 52
  • Samuel Adams, 53
  • John Witherspoon, 53
  • Roger Sherman, 55
  • James Smith, 56
  • Philip Livingston, 60
  • George Taylor, 60
  • Matthew Thornton, 62
  • Francis Lewis, 63
  • John Hart, 65
  • Stephen Hopkins, 69
  • Benjamin Franklin, 70
More names over at the Journal of the American Revolution, but here are some you might recognize

California Here They Come!

See the article in San Rafael Patch: California Here They Come!

Say "Sold Out" at the show and everybody else goes away.  What number does San Rafael have to reach before we too can say “Sold out?”

Talking about transit plans and suburb conversion is really the2nd question.  We skipped past the more important starting point:  Should we permit the market to determine how many more people we can and must house?

Supervisor Steve Kinsey recently wrote, "California Here I Come", gushing about Plan Bay Area’s goal to add 2,000,000 new residents to the Bay Area communities including our San Rafael.

It is as though Mr. Kinsey and friends think that once Lucy and Ricky and Fred and Ethel arrive, they will move into new apartments we are to build for them (well, we can't really imagine the Mertzes in a house), and then that is the end of it.

But it isn't.  Since Al Jolson sang "California Here I Come" 92 years ago, the human migration wave to California has not abated.  These two million proposed new residents are not a one-time “Katrina” displacement. Rather, they merely represent a snapshot of this ongoing century-long migration that has been limited only by the supply of housing.

Now, by substantially increasing that supply, we remove that safeguard and risk the overpopulation of our home town and California overall.

The housing proposed by our regional government in Oakland is reckless.  California is a desert reaching its tipping point where it barely sustains its vast population today. To add as many millions as choose to come...from New York, the Midwest, and foreign countries including a poor idea.

And when we rationally respond that San Rafael (and Marin) does not need all these newcomers, the Fast Growth lobby suddenly plays the affordable housing card.  They use the poor as a human shield to try to defend their plan, when in reality San Rafael's poor have merely a lottery chance to get some of this housing being built for the California-Here-I-Comes.

Here in San Rafael we’ve had no significant rainfall for nine months. We desperately hope the drought ends soon.  Otherwise, "ration" come into the dialogue.

Unsustainable sustainability is on the menu, cooked from the roadkill of Slow Growth.

Yes, suburban life is slated for extinction, and cheerleaders are waving pom-poms for Rampant Growth. 

Thank goodness we don't have a larger population today!  And thank goodness we still have time to turn back the thousands of new residents our regional government wants us to add to San Rafael.

Our schools are bursting at the seams.  How can we possibly add so much housing that San Rafael would need two new unfunded schools...just for starters? 

But that unelected entity in Oakland refuses to say, "Well, just make X thousands of homes and then you are done."  Quite the opposite:  Every four years they will assign us even more people to add, just like Catch-22's Colonel Cathcart increasing the number of missions that combat pilots had to fly…a target continually moved to make sure no pilot ever reaches it.

When ABAG assigns us people and jobs to add, they may as well assign us an amount of new rainfall we have to add.  It is just as practical.

We have no duty to increase our population.  We have nocapacity to do so in ABAG's breathtaking scale.  ABAG assures us that we still have local control.  We need to elect new leaders actually willing to use that local control.

San Rafael should say we don't want to take on thousands of newcomers, just as Capt. Yossarian said he did not want to fly anymore. 

Someone told Yossarian, "Just suppose everyone thought the same way you do."

Yossarian responded:  "Then I'd be a damn fool to think any different."

Friday, August 16, 2013

Don't Worry . Be Happy.

Half Moon Bay targeted for ABAG Priority Development Area

Compact housing like this apartment complex will replace the quaint cottages of Half Moon Bay if the ABAG Central Planners get their way.  Fortunately, ordinary citizens are resisting.

Editor's Note: As part of our ongoing commitment to help you understand what the 2012 Housing Element for Unincorporated Marin means to you,  I am providing you news of the challenges of other communities throughout the Bay Area. Marinwood has been declared a PRIORITY DEVELOPMENT AREA just like Half Moon Bay has in San Mateo County. Residents are fighting back with the support of the Sierra Club and Occupy Half Moon Bay.  The coalitions cross all traditional party lines since the loss of property rights affects us all.  The writer references U.N. Agenda 21 as the driving factor in their urbanization .   I have a simplier explanation.  Money and Power.  Make up your own mind.

Priority development areas part of wider outside influence

Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2012 6:36 pm

I am struck by recent articles in the Review outlining a plan called the “Highway 1 Safety and Mobility Study,” which includes Miramar, El Granada, Moss Beach and Montara. The study calls for six new speed limits on what is currently a designated expressway with planned speed limitations of 40 mph in most of Montara and Moss Beach, installation of medians, gateways, flashing lights in the road, roundabouts, divided medians, and possibly undoing the expressway designation to allow for even slower speeds and designs.There is also a planned commuter pedestrian and bike path parallel to and on the east side of Highway 1 and extending into our residential neighborhoods. This commuter path is intended to provide travel alternatives for Midcoast residents and is totally separate from the recreational Coastal Trail. 

Do the people designing these “improvements” really believe a commuter trail is a viable option for getting to work, taking our children to school or going shopping in Half Moon Bay? Do we really need a commuter trail that people will rarely use at the expense of slowing traffic? Coastside traffic issues impact everyone, but the solution is not to add more frustrations to our daily commutes. Or is it?

”Sustainable Development Agenda 21” is alive and well on the coast. It is also known as “smart growth,” “comprehensive planning” and “growth management” and has been a buzzword for a political agenda of the United Nations, rather than an objective and truly sustainable form of development. The fact is designing roads to make driving and commuting more difficult is the goal of sustainable development. Simply put, the plan is to remove cars and get people out of rural areas and into more densely populated zones near transit hubs.

Before the “Highway 1” study was presented and in advance of meetings and workshops, the Local Government Commission in Sacramento assembled and developed concepts and recommendations. Its advisory teams have sustainable development and smart growth as their mission with the goal to remove cars from the road. After these predetermined plans were initiated by this outside group, meetings were held in April 2011 and included, according to the Review, “stakeholders” and “Spanish-speaking residents of Half Moon Bay.” At these meetings, proponents of sustainable development promoted their own ideas and marginalized any local opposition, particularly those individuals who advocate the freedom to use and enjoy private property.

A typical meeting is run by trained facilitators guiding the participants to a predetermined plan by using fear tactics to portray a crisis, such as too many cars on a highway. Again, the agenda is to get cars off the road.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Affordable Housing Disaster in 2000 . Can Marinwood-Lucas Valley learn from mistakes of the past?

Britton Courts will have 92 low-rise apartments.

The Affordable Housing Disaster

How a cozy alliance of government bureaucrats and nonprofit developers spends tens of millions of dollars building almost no housing for the poor

Editors Note: This is article was written in 2000, the second part is current apartment reviews from Apartment Ratings and the third part is a youtube video of a special program for the residents which I have attached to provide an insight to the current conditions.  It does not appear that they are the local police, firefighters and teachers we are told will be residents at Marinwood Village.

On May 16, 1998, the Federal government blew up the 576 apartments of the Geneva Towers public housing development, located in San Francisco's Visitacion Valley neighborhood. The dramatic implosion, broadcast on live television, symbolized what had long been recognized as a national public-policy failure: the cramming of poor people into high-rise public housing monoliths that became unlivable because of bad management and crime engendered by concentrated poverty.
The supposed cure for Geneva Towers also followed a national trend. To replace these two massive, crumbling, 20-story apartment towers, the federal and city governments entered partnerships with nonprofit developers, who were to build so-called "low-rise" developments -- two- and three-story complexes that would be less isolated from the neighborhoods around them and, therefore, easier to police than the towers that preceded them.
The 1998 implosion of Geneva Towers -- just before the implosion.

Two and a half years after the Geneva Towers failure fell in on itself, however, the proposed replacement for the towers has become its own kind of disaster:

Public records show that the government will ultimately spend $80 million on the three low-rise housing projects meant to replace Geneva Towers, making them some of the most expensive apartments built recently in the Bay Area. Upon completion, the average unit in one of these projects for poor people will have cost significantly more to build than a luxury loft of similar size.
  • The projects are millions of dollars over budget, more than a year behind schedule, and plagued by design and construction flaws.
  • Even as the projects have stumbled, the city has been called upon to repeatedly bail the two nonprofit developers managing them out of financial trouble, to the tune of millions of dollars.
  • Then again, the projects have raised conflict of interest questions, as city and federal officials have spun through the revolving door, drawing salaries from the very nonprofit development operations that the officials helped choose and fund.
  • And even when they are completed, the new projects will not be affordable to most of the poor people they were meant to serve. Because of high cost, construction delays and other reasons, very few of the 1,500 tenants evicted from Geneva Towers with promises of new public housing will be able to inhabit the public housing supposedly built to serve them.
During the last 10 years, as San Francisco was in increasingly dire need of cheap apartments, the nonprofit developers that the city chooses, almost exclusively, to build affordable housing have managed to complete just 350 units a year.

The failure to build low-income housing is not a money problem; a combination of federal grants and tax credits, local development fees, and municipal bonding authority have the city awash in affordable housing funds.

The affordable housing logjam is not a reflection of a space problem. Governmental studies have identified numerous sites in San Francisco that would support the construction of thousands upon thousands of units of affordable housing.
Britton Courts will have 92 low-rise apartments.
Britton Courts will have 92 low-rise apartments.

The problems endemic to building affordable housing in San Francisco are complex, but most of them seem to connect to an entrenched housing bureaucracy, a network of government agencies and favored nonprofit corporations allied in "public-private partnerships" that are studded with apparent conflicts of interest and seem consistently to labor long to produce housing mice.

Geneva Towers was a failure as a public housing project. What happened after Geneva Towers was blown up is a depressing case study in how San Francisco's affordable housing program serves housing bureaucrats rather than poor people who need homes.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development subsidized private investors to build Geneva Towers in the mid-1960s. It also subsidized rents for the impoverished tenants, 80 percent of whom were African-American. Through the years, HUD also loaned the not-so-impoverished landlords tens of millions of dollars for improvements to the towers, which the landlords duly failed to make.

With almost no maintenance being performed, the towers gradually fell apart. When the ventilation system stopped working, San Francisco's Department of Public Health put a happy face on the situation, saying the dead air was a good thing, because it kept tons of asbestos dust in the complex from finding its way into children's noses. When scalding water started to rise in toilet bowls, burning unsuspecting butts, tenants did not know whether to laugh, or stop paying rent.

In 1991, HUD kicked out the owners of the complex, who had reneged on paying back government loans, and hired a local property management firm, which promptly set about emptying the toxic towers of people, seemingly by any means necessary. Being a day late with the rent, or even sassing the managers, suddenly became grounds for instant eviction. There was no due process, and no appeal; federal property is not covered by local tenant law.

Two-hundred eighty apartments were speedily made vacant in this draconian manner. The Geneva Towers Tenants Association attempted to stop the evictions, with wide support from many sectors of the community. The association's grassroots struggle was featured on the MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour and 20/20 national news shows. HUD was mightily embarrassed. It summarily evicted the tenant leaders.

With the opposition leadership essentially guillotined, HUD unveiled a plan to demolish the towers and build replacement units (even if those units would offer housing for just half the number of people served by Geneva Towers). The agency signed a contract with the city promising that the former residents -- excluding the evicted ones -- would be able to return to the new housing and, eventually, own it.

As 1995 drew to a close, HUD handed out "vouchers" entitling 276 Geneva Towers families to subsidized housing, anywhere in the country. Many left San Francisco at once; others hung on for a while. But rising rents and delays in building replacement housing presumably drove almost all of them out of town. No one is certain how many left. The developers of the replacement housing have lost track of all but 50 of the previous Geneva Towers tenants.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Crime comes with Low Income Housing in Novato

High density housing will bring"high density problems" to Marinwood
Editor's Note: The 100% low income housing model was abandoned years ago in favor of mixed developments with 20% low income with market rate housing.  Lower densities and mixed housing promotes greater social stability.  The large 100% Affordable housing developments tend to become islands of social problems and isolated from the rest of the community.  The proposed Marinwood Village Plaza is 100% affordable housing.  5 other developments representing 83% of all very low to low income housing in the county is planned for Marinwood-Lucas Valley.  It will increase our population by 25%.  Clearly, statistically at least, we will see an increase in all social problems with our increased population.   The Wyndover and Hamilton's Bay Vista project are still experiencing high crime since this article was written.  It is reasonable to expect similar results in Marinwood-Lucas Valley with the proposed housing developments.

High-density, low-income projects are a failed model for many reasons, one of which is crime. They have failed in the past, they are currently failing in Novato, and they will fail in the future. Crime in high-density, low-income projects is something you will not hear housing advocates talk about, but it appears the scholars are willing to address the issue.

Thomas Stucky and John Ottensmann are two professors in the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University — Purdue University, Indianapolis. Both found that rates of violent crime are generally higher in areas with high-density residential developments. See report: Land Use and Violent Crime

“There seems to be something about (high-density residential) units that is associated with all types of serious violent crime, even controlling for the other factors in the model. Apparently, high-density housing units promote serious violent crime,” their report stated.
Hanna Rosin in an article in the July/August 2008 edition of Atlantic Monthly, titled “American Murder Mystery,” writes about high-density, low-income projects that do not cure poverty, or cure crime, but move both the poverty and the crime to a new location, where the poverty will continue and the crime will flourish.
It is my opinion that Wyndover Apartments and Hamilton’s Bay Vista are Novato’s poster children of low-income housing gone bad.
Wyndover Apartments and Hamilton’s Bay Vista are not considered affordable housing, or workforce, handicapped or senior housing, they are low-income housing.

Wyndover low income apartments has been plagued with criminal activity
Wyndover Apartment Homes on Diablo Avenue Novato is a 136-unit, high-density, low-income project that has been riddled with crime. The Novato police incident reports at Wyndover Apartments from June, 2009 to October, 2010 include, but are not limited to the following matters and allegations: child sexual abuse, child abuse, warrants, fraud, welfare checks, battery, burglary, sexual-related cases, a dead body, subpoenas served, domestic violence, disturbances by juveniles, extra patrol required, animal disturbances, school resource officer reports, restraining orders, assault, trespassing, drunk in public, probation violations, and drugs
From Oct. 1, 2010, to Oct. 21, 2010, there have been 22 police calls to the Wyndover Apartments. These calls have ranged from another child abuse report, to a woman intoxicated and on drugs wielding a deadly weapon — an axe.
The Novato police incident reports across the street from Wyndover, at the 7-Eleven convenience store, aren’t pretty either.
Eden Housing has chosen to build a 61-unit low-income senior citizens complex across the street from Wyndover apartments. The people of Novato have grave concerns about our seniors being put at risk at only a “stone’s throw” from so much crime. I, and many other like-minded people in Novato, hope that Eden Housing will warn future residents about the violence and crime across the street. Hopefully, Eden Housing will prudently hire a security guard 24/7 and have a state-of-the-art security system implemented at its future complex to protect the residents there.
low income senior complex across the street
Of the 708 Section 8 tenants in Novato, 83 live in the Wyndover Apartments. Novato does not receive any credit for the Section 8 tenants toward the city’s ABAG housing requirements, as the vouchers are tied to the person, not to the actual housing unit.
Fairfield Wyndover LLC, the owner of record for Wyndover, received a 55-year tax credit for low-income housing from the city of Novato. In addition, in 2004, Fairfield Wyndover LLC received a $21 million CSCDA (California Statewide Communities Development Authority) bond to rehabilitate the units.
The contract with Fairfield Wyndover LLC was requested in order to find out if there is anything that can be done to keep the investors accountable. Although the Novato City Council approved the tax incentives and bonds for Fairfield Wyndover LLC, the city of Novato staff does not have a copy of the contract and said the state has it. Currently, the state of California doesn’t know where the contract is. The California Tax Credit Allocation Committee monitors compliance for rental housing with tax-credit financing; yet it appears the agency only monitors the income levels of residents and the physical condition of the facility. Who monitors the crime?
We see the tax breaks and incentives and the consistent guaranteed Section 8 income the investors of Fairfield Wyndover LLC get for having this low-income project, yet the surrounding community has suffered. What are the incentives now for the investors of Wyndover to consistently upgrade their units in the next 55 years, now that they have gotten all of the perks up front?
When I asked the Novato Police Department about declaring Wyndover a public nuisance because of all the crime, they referred me to the city of Novato’s Code Enforcement Division. When I called the city’s code enforcement personnel, they referred me to the NPD.
Bay Vista in Hamilton on Hutchins Way
Novato’s Bay Vista low-income, medium-density housing in Hamilton is another failed project subsidized by the people’s tax dollars. I have been told that residents from Bay Vista have been recruited from Marin City, east Oakland and Richmond. This 220-unit complex is rippled with crime like Wyndover and has similar police incident reports. The 2007-2008 Marin County Civil Grand Jury reports, “(gang) activity (is) increasing in Novato and Marin City”, the report found the gang, “The Surenos (who are more numerous in Novato than the Nortenos) live in a few small neighborhoods of densely compacted apartments in the southern half of the city — Bay Vista, the northern end of Alameda del Prado, and the Leafwood complex ….”
What has happened at Wyndover Apartments and Bay Vista is what could happen all over Novato — if sky-scraper, high-density, low-income units are imposed on our community by the state’s housing mandates.
The people of Novato have no control over who will oversee the McMonster low-income projects once they are built, nor of the management. In my opinion, Wyndover Apartments and Bay Vista clearly do not screen tenants appropriately — and look what has happened.
The law-abiding residents of Wyndover Apartments and Bay Vista deserve to live safely in their complex. The children who live at Wyndover and Bay Vista deserve to be safe. The neighborhoods surrounding Wyndover Apartments and Bay Vista deserve to be safe. The people of Novato deserve to be safe. Are we?
I asked Novato City Manager Michael Frank if we could fix the problems that Novato has with the current crime in our low-income housing before we move forward on bringing more low-income housing into Novato.
He stated, “Any issues with Bay Vista (and Wyndover) are unrelated in my mind to the process of the housing element.”
Novato hasn’t fixed the problems we have from these projects, yet Novato is currently being required by the state to move forward to bring more low-income housing in.
I do understand and acknowledge there are wonderful affordable and low-income housing projects. For example, Edgewater housing in Larkspur is a successful model. This is the example the housing advocates use on many of their flyers and speeches. I agree that it is a successful model. It is also 28 units on 4.25 acres and is low-density. Nova-Ro’s senior housing, run by the Rotary Club of Novato, is another successful model. Fortunately, Rotary is private, and the complex is not run by the state.
I believe in helping with the legitimate needs of those who are less fortunate. I support low-income; low-density housing that is well managed. Perhaps the housing advocates can help me, the NPD and the people of Novato by cleaning up the crime in Wyndover Apartments and in Hamilton’s Bay Vista.
The vast majority of the people of Novato want low-density housing. High-density, low-income projects — sticking the disadvantaged residents on top of each other like chickens in cages, which stigmatizes them — is prejudiced and a failed model. The people of Novato deserve balanced housing.c

Full article Crime in Low Income Housing       For Crime Reports in Marin see

To compare crime rates in various neighborhoods see

Sunday, August 11, 2013


A CERTAIN Father had a family of Sons, who were forever quarreling among themselves. No words he could say did the least good, so he cast about in his mind for some very striking example that should make them see that discord would lead them to misfortune.

One day when the quarreling had been much more violent than usual and each of the Sons was moping in a surly manner, he asked one of them to bring him a bundle of sticks. Then handing the bundle to each of his Sons in turn he told them to try to break it. But although each one tried his best, none was able to do so.

The Father then untied the bundle and gave the sticks to his Sons to break one by one. This they did very easily.

"My Sons," said the Father, "do you not see how certain it is that if you agree with each other and help each other, it will be impossible for your enemies to injure you? But if you are divided among yourselves, you will be no stronger than a single stick in that bundle."

In unity is strength.

Unitarian Church leads NSA Lawsuit