Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hyundai Idea Festival 2012-Single Person mobility

The Late, Great American WASP

The Saturday Essay see

The Late, Great American WASP

The old U.S. ruling class had plenty of problems. But are we really better off with a country run by the self-involved, over-schooled products of modern meritocracy?

Dec. 20, 2013 7:44 p.m. ET

Thomas Fuchs

The U.S. once had an unofficial but nonetheless genuine ruling class, drawn from what came to be known as the WASP establishment. Members of this establishment dominated politics, economics and education, but they do so no longer. The WASPocracy, as I think of it, lost its confidence and, with it, the power and interest to lead. We are now without a ruling class, unless one includes the entity that has come to be known as the meritocracy—presumably an aristocracy of sheer intelligence, men and women trained in the nation's most prestigious schools.

The acronym WASP derives, of course, from White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, but as acronyms go, this one is more deficient than most. Lots of people, including powerful figures and some presidents, have been white, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant but were far from being WASPs. Neither Jimmy Carter nor Bill Clinton qualified.

WASPs were a caste, closed off to all not born within it, with the possible exception of those who crashed the barriers by marrying in. WASP credentials came with lineage, and lineage—that is, proper birth—automatically brought connections to the right institutions. Yale, Princeton and Harvard were the great WASP universities, backed up by Choate, Groton, Andover, Exeter and other prep schools. WASPs tended to live in exclusive neighborhoods: on upper Park and Fifth Avenues in New York, on the Main Line in Philadelphia, the Back Bay in Boston, Lake Forest and Winnetka in Chicago.

WASP life, though, was chiefly found on the eastern seaboard. WASPs had their own social clubs and did business with a small number of select investment and legal firms, such as Brown Brothers Harriman and Sullivan & Cromwell. Many lived on inherited money, soundly invested.

The State Department was once dominated by WASPs, and so, too, was the Supreme Court, with one seat traditionally left unoccupied for a Jewish jurist of proper mien. The House of Representatives was never preponderantly WASP, though a number of prominent senators— Henry Cabot Lodge and Leverett A. Saltonstall, both of Massachusetts, come to mind—have been WASPs. Looking down on the crudities of quotidian American politics, Henry Adams, a WASP to the highest power, called the dealings of Congress, the horse-trading and corruption and the rest of it, "the dance of democracy." In one of his short stories, Henry James has characters modeled on Adams and his wife Clover, planning a social evening, say, "Let us be vulgar and have some fun—let us invite the President."

So dominant was WASP culture that some wealthy families who didn't qualify by lineage attempted to imitate and live the WASP life. The Catholic Kennedys were the most notable example. The Kennedy compound at Hyannis Port—the sailing, the clothes, the touch football played on expansive green lawns—was pure WASP mimicry, all of it, except that true WASPs were too upstanding to go in for the unscrupulous business dealings of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. or the feckless philanderings of him and some of his sons.

That the Kennedys did their best to imitate WASP life is perhaps not surprising, for in their exclusion, the Irish may have felt the sting of envy for WASPocracy more than any others. The main literary chroniclers of WASP culture— F. Scott Fitzgerald, say, or John O'Hara—were Irish. (Both Fitzgerald and O'Hara tried to live their lives on the WASP model.) But the pangs weren't limited to the Irish alone. To this day, the designer Ralph Lauren (né Lifshitz) turns out clothes inspired by his notion of the WASP high life, lived on the gracious margins of expensive leisure.

BOOLA, BOOLA: George H.W. Bush in his baseball uniform as a Yale undergraduate, circa 1945-48 George Bush Presidential Library/MCT/Getty Images

The last WASP president was George H.W. Bush, but there is reason to believe he wasn't entirely proud of being a WASP. At any rate, he certainly wasn't featuring it. When running for office he made every attempt to pass himself off as a Texan, declaring a passion for pork rinds and a love for the music of the Oak Ridge Boys. (His son George W. Bush, even though he can claim impeccable WASP lineage and went to the right schools, seems otherwise to have shed all WASPish coloration and become an authentic Texan, happily married to a perfectly middle-class librarian.)

That George H.W. Bush felt it strategic not to emphasize his WASP background was a strong sign that the decline of the WASP's prestige in American culture was well on its way. Other signs had arisen much earlier. During the late 1960s, some of the heirs of the Rockefeller clan openly admitted feeling guilty about their wealth and the way their ancestors came by it. By the 1970s, exclusive universities and prep schools began dropping their age-old quotas on Catholics and Jews, lessening the number of legacies automatically admitted, and using racial preferences to encourage the enrollment of blacks. The social cachet of the Episcopal Church, a major WASP institution, drained away as its clergy turned its major energies to leftish causes.

Calling something elite, which was how WASPs of an earlier era preferred to think of themselves, became a denunciation. Being a WASP was no longer a source of happy pride but something distasteful if not slightly disgraceful—the old privileges of membership now seeming unjust and therefore badly tainted. An old joke has one bee asking another bee why he is wearing a yarmulke. "Because," answers the second bee, "I don't want anyone to take me for a WASP."

The late 1960s put the first serious dent into the WASPs as untitled aristocrats and national leaders. For protesters of that generation, the word WASP didn't come into play so much as the word Establishment, heretofore chiefly an ecclesiastical term. The Establishment was the protesters' enemy and target. The Establishment was thought to have sent the country into Vietnam; it was perfectly content with the status quo, with all its restrictions on freedom and tolerance for unjust social arrangements; it stood for all that was uptight and generally repressive in American culture.

Political columnist Joseph Alsop at home, 1963 Associated Press

The Establishment took its place in a long tradition of enemies of American life. This list has included, at various times, Wall Street, Madison Avenue and the military-industrial complex—vague entities all. But there was nothing vague about the Establishment. They were alive and breathing, and they had such names as John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles, W. Averell Harriman, McGeorge Bundy, Dean Rusk, Joseph Alsop, C. Douglas Dillon, George F. Kennan and Robert McNamara. The WASPs ruled the country, and for those who didn't much like the country or the directions in which they saw it tending, the WASPs were a great and easily identifiable enemy.
The last unashamed WASP to live in the White House was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and he, with his penchant for the reform of American society, was considered by many a traitor to his social class. He is also likely to be the last to reside there. WASP culture, though it exists in pockets of private life—country clubs, neighborhoods, a few prep schools and law firms—is finished as a phenomenon of public significance.

Much can be—and has been—written about the shortcomings of the WASPocracy. As a class, it was exclusionary and hence tolerant of social prejudice, if not often downright snobbish. Tradition-minded, it tended to be dead to innovation and social change. Imagination wasn't high on its list of admired qualities.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Power of the Wind and Friday night Music

Automobile adventures

Google's WildCat, the world's fastest robot.

Penn Jillette on Presidential Power

New Yorker "State of Deception. Why won't the President rein in the intelligence community?"

The Political Scene

State of Deception

Why won’t the President rein in the intelligence community?

by December 16, 2013

A senator campaigning for reform says that the intelligence leadership drives “how decisions get made at the White House.”
A senator campaigning for reform says that the intelligence leadership drives “how decisions get made at the White House.” Illustration by the Heads of State.

“This hearing is really a unique opportunity to inform the American public to the extent we can about the threats we face as a nation, and worldwide,” Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and the committee’s chairman, said at one point. She asked committee members to “refrain from asking questions here that have classified answers.” Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican, asked about the lessons of the terrorist attack in Benghazi. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, asked about the dangers of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Toward the end of the hearing, Feinstein turned to Senator Ron Wyden, of Oregon, also a Democrat, who had a final question. The two senators have been friends. Feinstein held a baby shower for Wyden and his wife, Nancy Bass, before the birth of twins, in 2007. But, since then, their increasingly divergent views on intelligence policy have strained the relationship. “This is an issue where we just have a difference of opinion,” Wyden told me. Feinstein often uses the committee to bolster the tools that spy agencies say they need to protect the country, and Wyden has been increasingly concerned about privacy rights. For almost a decade, he has been trying to force intelligence officials like Clapper to be more forthcoming about spy programs that gather information about Americans who have no connection to terrorism.

See the article in the New Yorker HERE

Holding Border Patrol agents accountable

How YOU can stop SB-1

Governor Brown can veto SB-1.  You can call and write him.

This bill, known as California Senate Bill 1 (SB1), if passed, will give our government authority to:

 declare suburban and rural land uses as “inefficient” and therefore can be designated as “BLIGHT.” [Blight: serious property deterioration caused by long-term neglect.]

 set up joint powers authorities (JPAs) in the form of "sustainable community investment areas" thereby diminishing the authority of our city and county governments.

 deny the public a vote to influence or impact any of the decisions these “area” authority boards make.

These “areas” will have:

 authority to tax without a vote by the people

 appointed unelected boards which are not accountable to the public and cannot be recalled.

 authority to take our property through eminent domain with contrived criteria in support of "sustainable" land use.

Are you aware that your government wants to declare your suburban home as “BLIGHT?”

Please consider contacting your assembly member, and ask them to vote “NO” on SB1. Also contact your county supervisor and city council members and planning commissioners asking them to oppose this bill.

Regional government wants your land for "sustainable development."

Are you going to give it to them?

Are you going to let them take it from you?

Stop the government Land Grab!

Text from proposed Senate Bill 1 (SB1)

This designation of our suburban homes and rural properties as blight is an egregious abuse of government power.

The most objectionable aspects of this proposed bill are in bold.

34191.11. The Legislature further finds and declares that inefficient land use patterns cause an increased economic burden on taxpayers for the costs of an inefficient transportation infrastructure, and create a high combined economic cost of housing and transportation for California residents. These development patterns have also contributed to declining property values and foreclosures in many communities. They create further economic risks for the agricultural industry, the largest industry in California, through the loss of critical farmland. They also result in increased air pollution, energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions which impose additional costs on business and damage public health. They also lead to inefficient consumption of water, a critical resource for all of California.

34191.12. The Legislature finds and declares that the interrelated problems identified in this chapter are a form of blight that can be addressed through a new Sustainable Communities Investment Program.

34191.13. In order to more effectively address blight, the program shall be established to support development in transit priority project areas and small walkable communities and to support clean energy manufacturing through tax increment revenue. This new program shall use tax increment revenue to fight blight as it is understood in the contemporary setting without including those aspects of the former redevelopment program that created so much controversy, including the manipulation of the definition of blight and the use of the school share of tax increment revenue, such that it became a drain on the General Fund.

… the authority shall be able to exercise the powers of the former redevelopment agencies, but only as part of this newly created and reformed program.

(e) An authority may be created as follows:

(1) A city, county, city and county, or a special district may create an authority pursuant to this part by entering into a joint powers agreement under Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 6500) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code. The joint powers agreement shall establish a governing board and designate the Sustainable Communities Investment Area.

(c) An authority created pursuant to this part may rely on the legislative determination of blight and shall not be required to make a separate finding of blight or conduct a survey of blight within the project area.


California Governor Jerry Brown

State Capitol, 1st Fl., Sacramento, CA 95814

Ask the Governor to VETO SB1 

Contact your Senator Leno and Assembly Mark Levine ask them why they voted YES on SB1.

Complete list of all Senators and their contact info here:

 Contact your City Council members and let them know about this SB1 bill. Ask them to officially and vigorously oppose SB1. 

 Contact your City Planning Commissioners and let them know SB1 relates to Regional Planning and the One Bay Area Plan. Let them know you want to plan your City's future.

Contact your County Supervisors and ask them to officially and vigorously oppose SB1.

Here’s the full text of the SB1 bill:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bill Moyers Essay: The End Game for Democracy

The NSA is coming to Town!

Surveillance Camera at Las Gallinas and Lucas Valley Road

Home demolitions in single family neighborhoods to build apartments

see in the Oregonian:

Home demolitions skyrocket in Portland, neighbors demand advance warning

New homes are being built in established neighborhoods throughout Portland, particularly in the Southeast. Photographed here, a new home nearly four times the size of houses around it is being constructed in Mt. Scott-Arleta. (Melissa Binder/The Oregonian)
Melissa Binder | By Melissa Binder | The Oregonian
Email the author
on December 11, 2013 

Maria Baker got a call from a nervous neighbor one Friday morning: The house two doors down was about to be demolished. Did she know?

The Eastmoreland resident did not. She screamed and ran outside.

“I marched over there and I stood between the tractor and the house,” she said.

Baker couldn’t stop the demolition, and now two new homes are being built on the property.
Cases such as Baker’s lie at the heart of a fight arising in some of Portland’s most established close-in neighborhoods.

The number of single-family home demolitions has skyrocketed since the end of the recession. City regulators have approved more than 230 demolitions so far this year, up 40 percent from all of 2011.

Now neighbors are pushing back, arguing they deserve ample advance warning when a house is about to come down.

“The whole permitting process is set up for developers,” Baker said. “There is no protection for us.”

Increasingly unaware

Neighbors say knowing about a tear down ahead of time allows them to prepare.

Some want to keep an eye on developers to ensure they’re following environmental rules; others just want to cover their plants or move their cars.

But the number of demolitions approved without prior notification to neighbors is rapidly increasing as infill – the process of replacing an older home, often with more than one – spreads.

Demolitions require a permit; city code mandates that neighbors be notified before one is issued, and says a permit cannot happen until 35 days after application. The Bureau of Development Services, the city agency that regulates construction, must notify the neighborhood association, and the property owner must put up a prominent orange sign announcing that the structure will be demolished.

There is, however, an exception: If a property owner applies and pays for a new building permit at the same time as the demolition permit, that notification requirement can be waived.

Developers are taking advantage of the waiver more and more. This year, about a quarter of approved demolitions required notification, down from more than 70 percent in 2006 and 2007.

Builders say home buyers are eager to live close-in, but want newer, larger houses. They’re ready to build, and they’re ready to do it quickly.

Neighbor concerns

The increased frequency of demolitions — particularly those that aren’t prefaced by a notification — hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Florida Seven50 Bureaucrats: Fools in Denial

Seven50 Bureaucrats: Blinded by Paternalism

Much like Seven50 denies the existence of economic law, the benefits of voluntary exchange, property rights without interference and the desire of people to plan for themselves it is now apparent that Seven50 denies reality.

When it took them 5 weeks to spin the rejection of the Seven50 plan in Saint Lucie I assumed they were ignoring reality.

Today it is apparent they are in denial of reality. Denying that because Martin County set a date to no longer be involved in the plan that coincided with the dates of the current grant funding the organization that Martin County did not get out of the plan.

Notice the tone of the rebuttal by Seven50.  They apologize because you are dumb and may have misunderstood the news account and the intent of the motion which passed on 4 to 1 vote in front of a packed local county commission chambers.

We regret that inaccurate, misleading articles have been published online in a local newspaper about the Martin County Commission’s vote today regarding Seven50. These articles have created a lot of unnecessary confusion, and we are working to have this misinformation corrected.
To clarify: Martin County commissioners did not vote to “pull out of” or “ditch” Seven50 or “join other dissenting counties.” According to the motion, the commissioners voted to continue to participate in Seven50 and fulfill all contractual obligations until February, when the grant period ends, and to not re-engage in the Seven50 process unless there is board discussion and a vote to that effect. Re-engaging in the Seven50 process after the end of the grant, much like engaging with any other process, would require a standard commission vote.
We are pleased that the commission will continue to engage with Seven50 in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding.
MOTION:  That we opt out of Seven50 effective February 22, 2014 and that we engage in no further commitment unless deliberated by the County Commission.Moved by Haddox, seconded by Heard, carried 4-1, with Smith dissenting.
So much for the Seven50 bureaucrat’s lies of the plan being voluntary.  What part of “no further commitment did they not understand?
Martin County just said after this year’s grant runs out we are out yet Seven50 says they are looked in by a Memorandum of Understanding.
Seven50 has said it will not interfere with local control yet this is precisely what it has just attempted to do.
Congratulation folks.  These Memorandum of Understanding’s signed by the counties weren’t even publicized at the time.  Yet the area residents educated themselves on the issue and have acted.
Seven50 St. LucieSeven50 had been sent reeling by Indian River and Saint Lucie when they prepared the working draft for the plan before each county and had it soundly rejected by overwhelming majorities.
Now when Martin County does the same they react and expose their intent for what is, to gain control of your community and your life for they know what is best to do with it.
It wouldn’t have happened with you. Isn’t it amazing what an informed public can do?

MORE Exciting Wins-Florida-3 Counties Withdraw from 7 County Regional Plan

South Florida's "Plan Bay Area" equivalent is
SEVEN 50 Plan
(7 Counties 50 Years)

3 Counties have
from this plan
Here is a video of the arrogant
presentation of the architect of this plan,
Andres Duany, saying
"fascism is efficient" 
...quite astounding !! 
Regional Planning--Seven50-Fascism Is Efficient
Regional Planning--Seven50-Fascism Is Efficient

Congrats to the Counties that  Withdrew
Martin County is the THIRD county to withdraw from Seven 50.

The County  Supervisors
voted 4 to 1 against the Plan.
"That's (Seven50 plan) not how we want to plan," said Commissioner John Haddox, who made the motion to opt out of Seven50. "I will not encourage top-down control government planning by applying for grants that accomplish nothing but filling planners' pockets with taxpayers' dollars."

Here is a video of the testimony at the
St Luce County hearing on Seven 50. 
St Luce was the 2nd county to withdraw
The County Supervisors voted 4 to 1 against the Plan  
Saint Lucie Votes Out Seven50 4-1
Saint Lucie Votes Out Seven50   

Sometimes it seems we are jousting at windmills.
Don't get discouraged.  There are people in the fight all around the country and we can only get stronger.  Let's keep the momentum going and keep the pressure up.

No One Bay Area

from reckless urbanization, traffic and spoiling our landscape.

Mother's passionate testimony against the Common Core.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Marinwood CSD directors discuss participation in legal action against 2012 housing element for Marin

On December 10, 2013, the Marinwood CSD directors heard testimony from Marin Community Alliance and invitation to participate in legal action. 

The 2012 Marin County Housing Element  places 70% of all affordable housing sites for the 750 square miles of unincorporated Marin within our 5.78 square miles.  The new non profit housing will expand our community by at least 25% yet the non profit developments pay no taxes to support government services.  

The Marinwood CSD provides Fire, Park and Recreation and Street Lighting.   The current Marinwood Village proposal may require a new ladder truck, trained personnel and housing at a cost of millions of dollars.  The Dixie school district is independent and will also suffer million dollar financial impacts from development.

The question is, "does the Marinwood CSD have the jurisdiction to participate in a legal action to defend itself against financial injury?"   Marinwood CSD members Bill Hansell and Tarey Reed say no and do not want to waste money consulting the district's lawyer and Director's Justin Kai, Deana Dearborn and Bill Shea vote to seek legal advice.  Marinwood CSD manager (employee), Tom Horne, opines that the action is political and the money used on a lawyer is the improper use of district funds.

It would be great if the Supervisors represent us instead of exploit us.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Marin Voice: Is Marin's soul being sold?

Marin Voice: Is Marin's soul being sold?

Posted:   12/12/2013 11:02:11 PM PST

Click photo to enlarge
Al Dugan of Novato, an opponent of Plan Bay Area's push for high-density housing. 
This Corte Madera Development is the opening salvo to Save Marin (again).

TAKE A CAREFUL LOOK at the Corte Madera WinCup massive development that is 40 units per acre. It towers next to Highway 101 in Corte Madera; you cannot miss it. This is what the Marin supervisors and the Association of Bay Area Governments have done to sell out the soul of Marin in the future.

This is only the beginning, the opening salvo.

On Nov. 14, a conference was sponsored by Institutional Property Advisors Marcus and Millichap entitled, "How Will Plan Bay Area Affect Your Development Plans?"

ABAG president Mark Luce, the keynote speaker, told an audience of more than 400 investors, brokers, developers and property managers, "Plan Bay Area — the Priority Development Areas and Transit-Oriented Development — are what local jurisdictions have asked for."

Really? Plan Bay Area, created by ABAG, was massively flawed with over inflated population and job projections for Marin.

The ABAG population projection for Marin from 2010 to 2040 is 482 percent higher than the projection by the state Department of Finance Demographic Unit, the single source for planning and budgeting in California government planning.

What about the 400-plus comments pointing out massive flaws in Plan Bay Area and many asking for the plan to be scrapped and started over?

Mr. Luce went on to enthusiastically describe the rush of benefits that flow to developers with the passage of SB 743. That's the bill Gov. Jerry Brown signed in late September which eliminates the right of communities to stop development on the basis of impacts on parking, traffic, schools, adequate water supply or aesthetics.

The new proposed plan for Larkspur Landing is massive. There could be as many as 920 housing units. Yes, that number is correct. This is approximately 17 percent of the current population of Larkspur. 

Besides four times the number of residential units as are in the WinCup site development, the plan calls for 177,000 square feet of new retail, commercial and hotel space, resulting in an estimated 1,000 more cars on Highway 101 and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard during evening peak travel times.

The goal of the triad of developers, builders and institutional investors is to turn Marin into a highly urbanized transportation corridor, linking it to San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge and to the East Bay via the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

In a community that focuses on dwindling environmental resources, how can we suggest adding thousands of new homes to a county that doesn't have the water to support existing residents?

What could be more important than balancing 
environmental resources with city planning?

It is time to wake up, or find the place we love changed forever by the triad — for a profit. They will walk away with the profit while we have to live with the results.

How can you make a difference?

1.) Replace all the incumbent county supervisors. It is not too late for action.

2.) Speak out against development proposals not including a balance between resource, housing, jobs and realistic population growth, like the proposed Larkspur plan.

3.) This is your county. If you want a say in how it grows, then stand up and be counted.
ABAG's plan will be reviewed and revised in four years.

Marin is a pristine jewel of the Bay Area.
The Miwok people treasured Marin for thousands of generations.

This is not the first time Marin has needed protection.

In 1965, a small group of activists called the Golden Gate Headlands Committee stopped a massive development called Marincello, financed by Gulf Oil that wanted to add 30,000 people to the Marin Headlands.

This time around, we need to prevent the building of high-density housing up and down the 101 corridor.

The triad of developers, builders and institutional investors will not stop until Marin looks like the East Bay/Walnut Creek corridor.

See the related post and video "Marincello, the City that never was" 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

VIDEO: Who will be our next political leaders?

Political change is coming to Marin County District One and Five  

There are are big changes coming to Marinwood/Lucas Valley politics.  The huge push for affordable housing is creating an unsustainable pressure on our community already awash in debt from pension obligations, rising costs and declining real estate tax base.  Affordable housing may grow our population by 25% ,  consume services, yet contribute little tax revenue to the community.

Meanwhile in the last five years young families have moved in, bringing with them a whole new energy and liveliness to the community.  43% of us have moved into Marinwood/Lucas Valley since 2007.  The "old guard"  neighborhood leaders will soon be replaced by the energies and passions of a younger generation.

Young families moved into this community with the promise of good schools and a quiet suburban life.  Many of them left crowded urban conditions to raise their families.  The don't want the urban experience.  They want quiet enjoyment and space for their kids to grow. 

Marinwood/Lucas Valley has always been a special place with open space and cozy neighborhoods.  It is our special appeal.   It is why most of us moved here.

The "old guard"  is pushing for housing to fullfill their ABAG mission of urbanization the 101 corridor. The are completely ignorng the clear majority of citizens who are saying , "No!".

Ultimately, the current conflict will resolve and a new Marinwood/Lucas Valley will emerge. 

Who will win?

Will the "old guard" who's only vision for the future is a valley full of government subsidized housing, no commerce and crowded schools?  Or will the young families who want to improve the community with good schools, clean parks and open space and a vibrant shopping area at Marinwood Plaza win?

 In 2014 Supervisors Susan Adams in District One and Judy Arnold in District Five will be up for election. 

Who is representing you?

Corporatism is not Capitalism