Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Anti-NSA "Stop Watching us Rally"

Palo Alto says "No!" to ABAG Housing Quotas

Cities everywhere are saying "NO" to ABAG housing quotas.

Thank goodness some cities like Palo Alto and Corte Madera are standing up to their ridiculous housing quotas.  The ABAG housing quota would create a 25% growth in population (just like us in Marinwood-Lucas Valley) forcing the taxpayers to build new schools and expand local government services.  Affordable housing developers pay fewer development fees and mitigation costs.  Taxpayers will pay for infrastructure upgrades.  ABAG does not consider the community financial impact on schools, police, fire and other city services when assigning housing quotas.

Palo Alto says No to ABAG Quotas

Jake Shimabukuro plays ukulele

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Is International Common Core a Prelude to Communism?

[Editor's Note: Here is a provocative article from a group that opposes Common Core.  We don't necessarily agree with it's conclusions but think it worth considering some of it's points.  What do you think?]

A Global Monitoring Report From the International Bureau of Education 

The Parade of Common Core Supporters Stretches Around the World.

With all your free time this summer, here’s something fun. Study the reports of the global monitoring group at the U.N.’s International Bureau of Education, and see how much of what they say aligns with, or has inspired, Common Core.

No? Okay, fine. I’ll do it.

Here’s just a peek into the International Bureau of Education and the Global Monitoring Report. These sound like something from a horror movie or a chapter in Orwell’s 1984, I know. But they are actually real.

“Education for All” is a United Nations project that uses the same catch phrases used by Common Core proponents in the United States. For instance, the stated goals of the Global Monitoring Report (GMR) –which of course, sound good on the surface– mirror recent U.S. education reforms: Emphasizing equity. Emphasizing measurability. Emphasizing finance.

Click here: GMR Proposed post-2015 education goals: emphasizing equity, measurability and finance.

But what do those three concepts mean for U.S. citizens?

Equity – Education For All promotes the redistribution of world wealth so that ultimately, no locality or individual has ownership over his/her own earnings, and global government owns all, so that global government can ensure fair distribution to all. This is not voluntary sharing; this is punishable, forced redistribution– it is legalized stealing of local taxes, by governments abroad.

Measurability – this means increased surveillance and testing of all teachers and students so that all can be compared and controlled by the global governance.

Finance – In the powerpoint presentation that was given at a Brussels, Belgium meeting last month, ‘Education post-2015: Equity, measurability and finance’, you can see that it is the United States that is being told to “donate” to make this global educational governance possible. Annually, the U.S. should “donate” 53 billion, the powerpoint presentation states.

So when you watch this Global Monitoring Report video, you’ll hear the presenter describing the sad facts of poverty in foreign countries as if she were leading a fundraising effort for a charity.

But that’s not what it is. It is a justification for global communism, which religious leaders have been warning us about for many, many years; communism is, frankly, a captivating tool of evil. And many are falling for its lure because it beckons to the envious as well as the charitable. It asks both to give away self reliance, self respect and freedom– in favor of forced redistribution. 
[Editor's Note:  What do you think of this author's statement?]

My point today is that a Common Core of cookie-cutter education is not just an American phenomenon. Globalists want it, too. And they don’t care if some people lose academically or financially, so long as everyone ends up the same. The very same.

One particular character who reveals the Common Core / Global Core same-same connection is British globalist Sir Michael Barber, CEA of the world’s largest educational sales company, Pearson.

Barber praises and promotes nationalized educational systems in many countries, lumping Common Core in with the rest. Watch and listen to his interview.

Politics and Economic Realities for New York City Mayoral Candidate- Don't pay the crony capitalist builders, help the people in need first.

Bill’s affordable housing mistake 

He's out of touch with real estate realities

Mayor Michael Bloomberg Joins U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan for Ribbon Cutting at Grand Opening of Via Verde affordable housing development; 700 Brook Avenue between East 152nd Street and East 153rd Street in the Bronx.

Enid Alvarez/New York Daily News

Mayor Bloomberg joins U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan to cut the ribbon at the Via Verde affordable housing development.

"If you want the right to make a very tidy profit on land that we’re going to open up for development,” Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said during Tuesday’s mayoral debate, “we’re demanding affordable housing back in the name of the people.”

In a city where the average apartment goes for $3,000 a month, de Blasio may win votes by claiming he can score cheap apartments for cash-strapped New Yorkers. But if the de Blasio administration’s housing policies look anything like the candidate’s campaign promises, it will only constrict the supply of cheap apartments — while continuing to funnel tax dollars into the pockets of the affordable-housing industry.

The issue under debate is “mandatory inclusionary zoning,” a simple concept with a name only a housing wonk could have dreamed up. Over the past 12 years, the city has rezoned about one-third of its land area, enabling developers to build residential buildings in many neighborhoods once reserved for manufacturing.

Is this a giveaway? Sure is, says de Blasio, who cut his political teeth as a member of the City Council, which derives a good deal of its power from manipulating New York’s zoning code to reward friends and punish enemies.

In de Blasio’s worldview, allowing developers to make productive use of desolate land isn’t a worthwhile end in itself — unless some sort of concession is extracted. So the cornerstone of his housing plan is to require that developers who put up market-rate buildings in upzoned areas set aside a portion of them as “affordable.”

(Joe Lhota, de Blasio’s hapless GOP challenger, claims he’ll effectively do the same thing, but won’t make it mandatory on the dubious grounds that such a rule would be unconstitutional.)

"Invest, Inspire and Innovate" is our motto at Bridge Housing.
When you invest with us we will invite you to our cool parties like this one HERE

Here’s the problem: Affordable housing developers aren’t simply do-gooders or risk-taking Silicon Valley entrepreneurs; they’re expert crony capitalists. If they’re not going to make a lot of money, they’re not going to build. It’s that simple.

Staffed with an army of expert budget nerds with deep knowledge of the city’s red tape and its wide array of local and federal subsidy programs, the developers won’t under any circumstances be squeezed.

Over the years, and perhaps especially these past 12 years, New York City’s affordable housing industry has done a terrific job at earning itself boatloads of money while producing a relatively small number of cheap housing units.

Take Via Verde, an affordable housing development that opened last year in the South Bronx. The project, which was mostly financed by federal taxpayers, cost about $98 million and yielded just 220 below-market-rate apartments, translating to about $445,000 per unit. Next time, can we just give families $445,000 and let them buy buildings in the South Bronx?

Developer TF Cornerstone got permission to build its 24-story rental tower at 455 West 37th St. larger than the area’s zoning rules would have otherwise allowed in exchange for designating 20% of the units affordable. But the extra floor space was hardly enough enticement on its own.

As part of the deal, TF Cornerstone got $136 million in tax-exempt bonds, worth around $2 million a year in savings; federal taxpayers kicked in $10.7 million in cash paid out over a decade through a popular tax credit program, and over 20 years the developer is very likely to save at the very least $60 million off of the city’s brutally high real estate tax on rental properties.

De Blasio has promised that he’ll adhere to “real-life finances” when crafting his housing policy, but some of his campaign promises are based on research by the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, an advocacy group.

ANHD has put forth a “guaranteed inclusionary zoning” plan that would require developers to set aside about 20% of their units as affordable without tapping into any other public subsidy programs.

While we’re at it, why not also mandate that each affordable unit be outfitted with free HBO and a Sub-Zero fridge? The bottom line is that simply permitting developers to build big won’t cut it. Unless they’re making beaucoup bucks with minuscule risk, they won’t build. That’s why mandatory inclusionary zoning programs have been an abysmal failure in every city they’ve been tried.

In 2002, Denver passed a mandatory inclusionary zoning program that over the next decade produced a paltry 1,133 affordable units, and now the city is looking into adding more financial incentives for developers. Boston launched its own program in 2000, and 10 years later it had yielded on average just 80 units per year.

If our next mayor truly wants to make New York more affordable, he’ll pursue more upzonings with fewer strings attached, reform the city’s building’s code, and look into converting New York’s patchwork of affordable housing subsidies into voucher programs that put the money in the hands of the those they are supposed to benefit, all “in the name of the people.”

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Thousands Crowd Atlanta Area Housing Authority For Section 8 WAITING LIST, Fights Break Out (VIDEO)

Editor's Note: There is an insatiable demand for low cost housing everywhere.  This story from Atlanta could happen anywhere-even in Marin where there is long waiting list for affordable housing and section 8 housing.  The county of Marin recently passed a housing element that places 70% of all affordable housing for unincorporated Marin within Marinwood-Lucas Valley.  The non profit housing is TAX FREE but will bring hundreds of new students into the Dixie School district without additional funding. The need for government services, police, fire  and the expected traffic, pollution, crime and other problems with urban living will rise.  Susan Adams, County Supervisor was responsible for creating the Marinwood Priority Development Area in 2007.

Thousands Crowd Atlanta Area Housing Authority For Section 8 WAITING LIST, Fights Break Out  August 12, 2010

UPDATE (11:24 PM Eastern): Officials now estimatethat a crowd of 30,000 turned out, three times what they had originally anticipated. Some in attendance may have been accompanying actual applicants even if they were not applying themselves. 13,000 applications were handed out.
The large numbers indicate a huge demand, but there is literally no supply. The housing agency director "stressed that none of her agency's 455 housing aid vouchers is available at the moment."
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Concern is rising that a similar scene could occur Thursday when the housing authority of this small city begins accepting the completed applications. Wednesday's event was only to hand out the paperwork. The housing authority will begin accepting applications at 9 a.m."
More than a thousand people gathered Wednesday outside a metro-Atlanta shopping mall in hopes of being placed on a waiting list for federal housing assistance.
Fights broke out, children were reportedly trampled, and police had to stop the crowd from storming a nightclub being used by the East Point Housing Authority in East Point, Ga, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Television station 11Alive reports that the line for Section 8 housing vouchers formed two days ago and grew into the hundreds Tuesday night. People even slept outside the nightclub despite repeated assertions from the housing officials that the line was unnecessary and everyone would receive an application.
By Wednesday morning, the crowd had grown so large that East Point police began patrolling the area in riot gear and first responders were tending to people who were overheating in the sun.
People became frustrated when officials, feeling overwhelmed, did not open the doors at 9 a.m. as they had planned, reports CBS Atlanta. Those waiting in line were told by officials to move from one location to another before riot gear-clad police and housing officials handed out applications.
"I find this amazing," Ed Schultz said on "The Ed Show" Wednesday night. "One can only imagine watching this videotape ... how many other cities have it like this across America. And I think we have to ask ourselves the moral question, aren't we better than this?"
East Point's approximately 200 public housing units are full, according to 11Alive, and more than 400 Section 8 vouchers are already in use. It is unlikely that many of those waiting for the applications would ever receive the housing funds.
"A lot of these folks will never get off that waitlist, and the executive director of the housing authority acknowledged that today," NBC reporter Ron Mott told Schultz. "Dozens upon dozens of people passing out from the heat, standing in the heat just to apply for public housing. ... I've got to tell you, the first thought that I had when we pulled up on the scene here was whether we were in America."
According to the most recent data, the unemployment rate in Fulton County where East Point is located is 10.8 percent. The national average is 9.5 percent.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Plan Bay Area - A theory of Bootleggers and Baptists

Near the Rails but On the Road

see article in LA Times:Near the rails but on the road

Billions have been spent on transit-friendly housing, but it appears people aren't leaving their cars behind.

June 30, 2007|Sharon Bernstein and Francisco Vara-Orta | Times Staff Writers
TV cameras in tow and champagne at the ready, a dozen of the county's most powerful civic leaders -- including the mayor of Los Angeles, L.A. City Council members and county supervisors -- touted the latest and glitziest new development in Hollywood: the planned W Hotel and apartments at the storied corner of Hollywood and Vine.

This project, they pledged at the groundbreaking earlier this year, would restore a sagging neighborhood while also minimizing traffic -- an important promise in increasingly gridlocked Hollywood.
Trains reduce Green House Gases ONLY if they run at 100% capacity and people don't take connecting transportation.
"People could live here and never use their cars," declared MTA Chief Executive Roger Snoble at the February event.

It's a vision expressed frequently by local government officials, who see building large mixed-use developments next to mass transit lines as a key solution for not just the region's traffic congestion but also its spread-out geography and reputation for being unfriendly to pedestrians.
In Los Angeles alone, billions of public and private dollars have been lavished on transit-oriented projects such as Hollywood & Vine, with more than 20,000 residential units approved within a quarter mile of transit stations between 2001 and 2005.

But there is little research to back up the rosy predictions. Among the few academic studies of the subject, one that looked at buildings in the Los Angeles area showed that transit-based development successfully weaned relatively few residents from their cars. It also found that, over time, no more people in the buildings studied were taking transit 10 years after a project opened than when it was first built.

Los Angeles, with its huge geographic footprint and its limited public transportation system, can't offer residents of these developments the kinds of sophisticated transit networks available in cities like Washington, D.C. -- or even smaller ones like Portland -- where transit-oriented projects are believed by many to be working.

The Times decided to examine driving habits at four apartment and condominium complexes that have already been built at or near transit stations in South Pasadena, North Hollywood, Pasadena and Hollywood.

Reporters spent two months interviewing residents, counting cars going out of and into the buildings and counting pedestrians walking from the projects to the nearby train stations.

The reporting showed that only a small fraction of residents shunned their cars during morning rush hour. Most people said that even though they lived close to transit stations, the trains weren't convenient enough, taking too long to arrive at destinations and lacking stops near their workplaces. Many complained that they didn't feel comfortable riding the MTA's crowded, often slow-moving buses from transit terminals to their jobs.

Moreover, the attraction of shops and cafes that are often built into developments at transit stations can actually draw more cars to neighborhoods, putting an additional traffic burden on areas that had been promised relief.

Harry Cosmatos, a Kaiser Permanente radiation oncologist, is exactly the type of educated, upscale commuter that planners and transportation experts want to draw via transit-oriented developments.
In 2005, he purchased a townhouse in a project built partly atop the Mission Meridian Gold Line station in South Pasadena.

He works at Kaiser Sunset, which is at a Red Line stop in Hollywood.

He loves his new home, with its craftsman touches and picturesque South Pasadena setting, in arguably the best-designed transit-oriented development in the region.

Cosmatos also likes the Gold Line -- it reminds him of the village train near where he went to medical school on Long Island.

But the 36-year-old physician nevertheless drives to work.
The train?

"It's not for me," he said. "Maybe for other people, but not for me."
The lies manufactured by rail advocates are relentless.

It takes two trains and at least 45 minutes to get to work on the Gold and Red lines, Cosmatos said.
Driving is 15 minutes faster, he said, and more convenient.

The problem -- reluctantly recognized by some of transit-based development's most influential boosters -- is that public transportation in Southern California is simply not convenient enough: Either it takes too long to get places or, more important, doesn't take people where they want to go.

The region's transit system is limited, experts say, because it was built on two assumptions that have since proved untrue: that most traffic was generated by commuting trips and that most people worked downtown.
Nowadays, people nationwide are driving so much to take their children to school, run errands and engage in other activities that these trips far outstrip commuting, according to federal transportation statistics.
To make matters worse, almost all of the transit-oriented construction that has so far been approved in the L.A. area is for housing rather than job centers or the village-style shopping areas that planners had originally envisioned.

Barring significant changes, this could mean that tens of thousands of residents will be clustered near train stations they only occasionally use. For most shopping, schools and jobs, they'll still get in their cars.
Film student Isaiah Eller is a good example of the quandary.

The 21-year-old left two cars behind in Michigan, figuring he wouldn't need them when he moved to the Mark apartment building in Hollywood last year.

Just two blocks away from the Hollywood and Vine Red Line station in a neighborhood with plenty of restaurants and shops, Eller considered the vintage building of 101 units a perfect place to live without a car.
But after just a few months, he says he's so frustrated trying to get around Los Angeles on public transportation that he's thinking of bringing both vehicles out from the Midwest.

Using the system here took too long, didn't go where he needed and was unpleasant, he said.
"I've only ridden the bus three times, and that was enough," Eller said.

He's not alone. Although several residents of his building said they had given up their cars, about 30 of the 54 cars in the garage pulled out during morning rush hour.

But such realities haven't stopped or even slowed the wave of projects planned or under construction.
Huge developments in the pipeline include the L.A. Live and Grand Avenue projects downtown and hundreds of units around Metro stations in Hollywood, North Hollywood and the Mid-Wilshire areas.
Countywide, massive apartment and condominium complexes have been developed in Pasadena, South Pasadena, Long Beach and elsewhere.

Backers -- who include planners, elected officials and builders -- say such development is the best way to avoid a traffic meltdown as 6.3 million anticipated new residents crowd Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties over the next 30 years.

Moreover, the developments are appealing to young people and empty nesters because they have a neighborhood feel that traditional sprawling subdivisions often lack, said Gail Goldberg, planning director for the city of Los Angeles.

"You're seeing in California a whole trend toward moving into more urban settings," she said. "People like to walk around and go to a coffee shop, go to the movies. That is a very desirable way to live."
But does that mean people will stop using their cars?

Two related studies, both conducted by UC Berkeley and Cal Poly Pomona, show that people who live near transit tend to use it more than people who don't. But the number is still minuscule compared with the number who drive.

Residents were more likely to use transit only if it took less time than driving, if they could walk to their destinations from the transit stop when they arrived, if they had flexible work hours and if they had limited access to a car.

Otherwise, researchers said, most people tend to drive -- particularly if they get free parking at their workplaces.

At the Pacific Court and Bellamar apartments in Long Beach, researchers found, just 6.3% of residents said they used the Metro Blue Line to go to work in 2003. More than 78% of the residents of the transit-based projects said they never used the line.

"The dilemma we have is the destinations," said Robert Cervero, a UC Berkeley urban planning professor who is coauthor of the two studies of transit-oriented developments. Even though more people are living near transit stations, he said, in Southern California work and school sites are not necessarily near train and bus stops. That's different from the older East Coast cities, where the urban grid is closely connected to the local transit system.

"That to me is the big difference as to why transit-oriented housing works a lot better in other parts of the world," Cervero said. In other words, he and others said, in Southern California, the new, denser transit-based housing projects could actually lead to more congestion rather than less.Take the development where Cosmatos, the cancer doctor, lives. Before the 67-unit project was built, the land on which it stands held two bungalows, according to South Pasadena officials. If each household had two cars, that would mean a maximum of four cars going in and out each day.
Doesn't this beat traffic?

But on the four days The Times counted cars entering and leaving the complex, the picture was quite different. From 6 to 9 a.m. on four weekdays earlier this year, 50 to 60 cars left the residents' parking lot. An additional 75 pulled into the streets around the development on each of the mornings so their drivers could patronize the coffee shop that is built into the project. Still more vehicles -- about 50 by 9 a.m. -- pulled into a parking lot at the development for people who drive there to use the nearby Gold Line station.
There is another issue facing transit-oriented development: Regional statistics gathered by the Southern California Assn. of Governments show that job centers are moving away from transit lines rather than toward them.
That's exactly what happened for construction industry worker Eric Johnson, who moved to South Pasadena's Mission Meridian project with the intention of taking the Gold Line to his job downtown.
But a few months ago, his company moved to Sun Valley -- far from a transit line. So now Johnson drives.

The Times found similar results at the other locations surveyed.

At Academy Village in North Hollywood, which sits about a third of a mile from the North Hollywood transit station, about 120 cars left the building each morning, while fewer than half a dozen residents set off on foot.

In Pasadena, a 350-unit building sits directly over the Del Mar Gold Line station; it was two-thirds leased when The Times did its survey. Of 225 people who got off the train on a recent evening, just one, Cheanell Henderson, headed toward the apartment complex.

She loves the convenience of taking the Gold Line. But she's not so sure about her fellow tenants. "I save a lot of money on car expenses," Henderson said. "But I haven't met any neighbors on the train yet."

Who will I be voting for in the local elections?

Signs in front of 200 Miller Creek Road, Marinwood, CA

Marinwood CSD:  
Justin Kai, Bill Shea, and Deana Dearborn

Dixie School District
Lisa Culberton Simmons, Bruce Abbott and Brad Honsberger

Las Gallinas Sanitary District:
Rabi Elias, Russ Greenfield, and (?)

I have concerns about Marnie Glickman, a Green Party candidate, political fundraiser, and lawyer.  It has been reported that she raised an unprecedented $16,000 to win a seat on the Sewer Board where most candidates spend less than one thousand dollars.  Why does she want it so bad? 
see the Marin IJ recommendations HERE

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Short History of the Highrise

This beautiful series of photos makes me appreciate my life in the suburbs.  I can lie peacefully on my lawn, have space and privacy to create,  observe nature and my children can have a place to play.  While life in the big city has it's attractions,  I find these images suffocating. I notice everyone is at peace looking outward, finding meaning in the rhythms of the natural world.

Why must the suburbs in Marin be destroyed for urban living?

Save Marin (again).