Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"Twenty Somethings" find Affordable Housing and Self Reliance in the "Forbidden Lifestyle" of Plan Bay Area

One of the often repeated lies of the Pro High Density Housing folks (CALM, etc)  tell, is that "young people prefer to live in small apartments in urban environments". This is against every consumer survey done on home ownership among all classes of people over the last fifty years. According to industry groups, 80% of people prefer the "single family home" lifestyle over crowded urban conditions. 

 We are also told that there is "no affordable solutions" for young people.  This is simply not true.  Here are two examples of independent, creative twenty somethings who have figured out an affordable living solution.    Both of these solutions will be banned under the "urban corridor" ideal of Plan Bay Area. Single family living on a piece of land is termed  ugly "sprawl" and causes global warming.
  
To me these young folks represent the "California Dream" of creative independence that once was dominant in Marin County until some progressives aligned with developers and power hungry politicians to advocate for the urbanization of Marin.   


We will Save Marin Again!  



Once Upon A Time, Free Speech And Association Were Sacred To Liberals


Once Upon A Time, Free Speech And Association Were Sacred To Liberals


The old, classical idea of liberalism embraced freedom of speech. A commitment to liberty meant respecting the right of every person to speak, and it equally meant opposing the use of state power to censor or in any way “chill” freedom of speech.

By the same token, all people were free to associate for the purpose of advancing their peaceful interests and government had no right to interfere either directly or indirectly, such as by compelling the release of membership information.

The leading case in this regard is NAACP v. Alabama. Alabama’s segregationist officials, irked that the NAACP was working against their policies, wanted it silenced and ousted from the state. Toward that goal, it relied upon state law to compel the NAACP to disclose a list with the names and addresses of all its members and agents within the state.

In its brief, co-authored by Thurgood Marshall, the NAACP argued that Alabama was trying to violate constitutionally protected rights of free speech and association.

The case was decided in 1958. Unanimously, the Supreme Court held that the state could not require the NAACP to disclose such information. Writing the Court’s opinion, Justice Harlan said, “Inviolability of privacy in group association may in many circumstances be indispensable to preservation of freedom of association, particularly where a group espouses dissident beliefs.”

Alabama’s contempt citation and heavy fine against the NAACP for failure to comply with its demands were tossed out.

Joining Justice Harlan were famous liberals: Earl Warren, William O. Douglas, Hugo Black, William Brennan. You have to wonder what they would say about modern “liberals” who have no qualms about using the power of government to punish groups espousing dissident beliefs.

Today’s dissidents, groups such as Americans for Prosperity (AFP), no longer need to protest state segregation, but they protest the expansion and abuse of government power in many other respects. As Tim Phillips and David Spady of that organization write in an op-ed piece in the December 19thWall Street Journal, California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris is demanding that AFP disclose the names, addresses, and contribution levels of its supporters within the state.

Nothing in California law allows the attorney general to make that demand. But as we have seen over and over during the last several years, absence of legal justification doesn’t impede government officials who believe that “winning” is all that matters from doing whatever they want.

Attorney General Harris maintains that she would protect the confidentiality of AFP’s membership information, but we must take that with a shaker of salt. No one would have legal recourse if names and addresses somehow leaked to zealots who’d like to intimidate AFP supporters. In any event, California has no more a legitimate interest in knowing who the members and donors of AFP are than Alabama had in knowing who was supporting the NAACP.

AFP has been operating in California (and other states) for thirteen years and the government has never before seen any need to pry into its membership. Why now?

I think that Phillips and Spady are absolutely correct in writing, “Rather than debate the merits of their policies, many on the left responded with a coordinated campaign to suppress free speech – primarily by intimidating, demonizing and silencing the people who opposed and defeated them.”

Since most of the “progressive” agenda has been in place for years and many people are coming to doubt all the glowing promises made for it, we’re seeing the iron fist of statism emerge — abusive policies intended to intimidate and punish critics. Losing in the battle of ideas, progressivism desperately turns to raw power to maintain its grip on the country.

The liberals of old worried about preserving individual privacy in the face of government hostility. Justice Harlan pointed out in his opinion, “This Court has recognized the vital relationship between freedom to associate and privacy in one’s associations.” It is simply no rightful concern of government whether a person chooses to belong to or support a church, a social organization, an educational organization, an advocacy group, or anything else.

Privacy used to matter to liberals, who understood that neither “the public” nor state officials have any right to know such things about individuals.

It’s very revealing that today’s so-called liberals find the need to resort to the same tactics that defenders of segregation once used.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Philadelphia Artist Defeats Eminent Domain Land Grab, Will Keep His Studio


Philadelphia Artist Defeats Eminent Domain Land Grab, Will Keep His Studio


Nick Sibilla , Contributor


James Dupree, a world-renowned artist, has battled the City of Philadelphia for nearly two years to save his studio from a government land grab. Using the power of eminent domain, the citywanted to bulldoze Dupree’s studio and pave the way for a grocery store and a parking lot. His fight sparked nationwide outrage and galvanized thousands of supporters.
And he just beat City Hall.

In a statement released earlier this month, Brian Abernathy, executive director for the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA), announced that the “PRA will end condemnation proceedings enabling Mr. Dupree to keep his studio.”




James Dupree

Dupree has owned his studio in the West Philadelphia neighborhood of Mantua for almost a decade. Back in 2005, he purchased what was then a dilapidated car garage and poured considerable resources into renovating the 8,600-square-foot facility. His studio is just minutes away from Drexel University and some of Philadelphia’s finest museums, including the Barnes Foundation, the Rodin Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (which houses several pieces of Dupree’s work).

But on December 27, 2012, the city seized the deed to his studio, jeopardizing its future. Appallingly, the condemnation began just four days before an eminent-domain loophole was closed. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Kelo v. New Londonthat the government could use eminent domain to seize an entire neighborhood under the guise of “economic development.” Outraged, lawmakers in Pennsylvania and more than 40 other states curbed the use of eminent domain and passed new protections for property owners. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania’s reforms did not apply to Philadelphia and other cities until December 31, 2012.

Once appraised for over $2 million, Dupree’s studio is home to over 5,000 pieces of his oeuvre. It also doubles as both a museum and a loft space ready to rent on Airbnb. During his battle with the PRA, Dupree even painted the exterior as a visceral protest against eminent domain. “As an art studio, that thing is unique,” Dupree said in an interview.

Philadelphia thought differently. Initially, the city offered Dupree about $600,000 for the entire property. At one point, the PRA reportedly presented Dupree with another $40,000 to compensate him for all of the interior improvements and his art. Later on, Philadelphia proposed a land swap to Dupree. One of the properties was in complete disarray, with a dead cat on site.

But he wasn’t interested. “Getting my deed back was the only thing I ever wanted,” Dupree said.

Over the past year, the Institute for Justice worked tirelessly with Dupree to pressure the city to back down and respect his constitutional rights. In March, Dupree held “Stolen Dreams in the Promise Zone” at his gallery—probably the first-ever art show inspired by eminent-domain abuse. One month later, IJ, along with the ACLU of Philadelphia, organized an open-door event on location at his studio in Mantua to rally support. Concern over Dupree’s treatment catalyzed an unusual coalition, with ACLU chapters teaming up with Americans for Prosperity, the Commonwealth Foundation, the Mural Arts Program and a plethora of other local art groups.

Finally, after months of grassroots pressure, the PRA relented. Yet even in its announcement, the PRA continued to claim that Dupree was an obstacle: “In short, the inability to acquire Mr. Dupree’s property puts the prospect of bringing fresh food to this community at serious risk.”

But the city’s own redevelopment plans say otherwise. City agencies already own over 400 vacant lots—more than 40 percent of all vacant land in Mantua. In fact, government-owned vacant parcels make up roughly 15 percent of all parcels in the neighborhood. Philadelphia has plenty of land to build a supermarket; there was never a need to bulldoze Dupree Studios.

By all accounts, Mantua is in rough shape. Half of the neighborhood lives below the poverty line. Fifteen percent of homes are vacant—twice the city average. So it’s particularly galling that the city would choose to condemn one of the few vibrant properties in the neighborhood.

With the threat of condemnation gone, Dupree is keen on revitalizing the neighborhood through the power of art. With his studio, Dupree wants to return to teaching art classes and mentoring inner-city youth. As he put it, his studio “has the potential to be the lighthouse of the community.”


Since he fought condemnation and lived to tell the tale, Dupreehopes his victory “puts the use of eminent domain on notice: people are not going to allow their properties to be taken unjustly.”

“I didn’t just win. We all won. America wins with this.”

Segregation at All Costs: Bull Connor and the Civil Rights Movement



This is a 10 minute video of Bull Connor, one of the most reviled politicians of the Old South, who pandered to worse impulses of society to hold his political power.  Ironically,  he became a galvanizing symbol as a common enemy of the Civil Rights movement and decent people worldwide, and made full civil right reforms possible. 

Politicians long have known how to stir fear and division as a political tool of power.  Watch for politicians using code words to isolate and marginalize people as outsiders, coercion through guilt, emotions over reason.  This is the sign of a demagogue.

For more on Bull Connor HERE


1dem·a·gogue

 noun \ˈde-mə-ˌgäg\: a political leader who tries to get support by making false claims and promises and using arguments based on emotion rather than reason

   


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Marinwood Plaza is up for sale.


$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Just got this listing for Marinwood Plaza from a friend.  There was an announcement that Marinwood Plaza, LLC (Hoytt Enterprises) put the commercial portion of the property up for sale last month and Bridge made an offer for the whole property.  Now we see that the whole property is being offered to the general public.  Does this mean that the property has fallen out of escrow with Bridge Housing?
I suspect that the issues with the toxic waste cleanup are much more of a problem than previously disclosed. The toxic waste extends under 101 and threatens the Silveira Ranch drinking water supply for the dairy herd.  Geologica has been testing for contamination on the Silveira property for the last few weeks.  
And then there is the issue with the benzene gas contamination from the freeway at 4 times legally allowable limits and the neighboring microwave farm that will be blasting the apartments.  There are major environmental issues that may be difficult to re mediate.  In February 2014 the RWQCB (Regional Water Quality Control Board) issued a mandatory clean up order due to the severity of the toxic waste present.
Of course, the legal challenges to CEQA from our good friends at www.alliancemarin.org  also may be playing a significant role in having Bridge to reconsider developing the site.
Marinwood Plaza should be cleaned up no matter what development happens to it. The public health has been at risk too long.  It could be an expensive,lengthy process,taking years and millions of dollars to bring it into compliance.  
We will see what this all means soon.


$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Marinwood Plaza

121-197 Marinwood Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94903

Price Not Disclosed

33,514 SF | Retail

Retail Property For Sale


Price:
Price Not Disclosed
Gross Leasable Area:
33,514 SF
Property Type:
Retail
Property Sub-type:
Neighborhood Center
Additional Sub-types:
Government Subsidized
Retail (Other)
Specialty Center
Property Use Type:
Investment
Tenancy:
Multiple
Lot Size:
4.99 AC
Listing ID
18909320
Last Updated
24 days ago

Highlights

  • Rare Marin County Mixed-Use Redevelopment Opportunity
  • Tremendous Upside Through Redevelopment Of Site
  • Extremely Strong Apartment & For Sale Housing Market
  • Long-Term Triple Net Lease; Provides Stable Income Stream Through Redevelopment Process
  • General Commercial Mixed-Use Marin Countywide Plan Designation
  • Outstanding Demographics; Affluent Trade Area

Description

Marcus & Millichap as Exclusive Advisor is pleased to present the rare opportunity to acquire the fee-simple interest in the Marinwood Plaza ( Property ) located in Marin County, California. Marinwood Plaza is situated at the corner of Marinwood Avenue and Miller Creek Road with direct access and visibility to Highway 101.

Marinwood Plaza is comprised of four separate contiguous parcels totaling 4.99-acres (217,573 SF) with a 33,514-square foot existing improvement. The northern most 15,190-square foot portion of the existing improvement is leased to Marinwood Market under a long-term lease.

Marinwood Market is operating under a 15-year triple net lease that commenced on August 1, 2011 and runs through July 31, 2026. The lease incorporates annual consumer price index increases capped at 6.0% per annum throughout the base term and the first 10-year option and second 9-year option periods. Marinwood Market is required to pay as percentage rent 2.0% of gross sales in excess of the minimum monthly base rent.
The Property is zoned CP- Planned Commercial and has a GC- General Commercial/Mixed Use countywide plan designation. In addition, the countywide plan designated the Property as an HOD- Housing Overlay District.
Marinwood Plaza has been the subject of an ongoing redevelopment project ( Marinwood Village ) that incorporates the enclosed guiding principles that were previously approved by the Marin County Board of Supervisors several years ago.

The site boasts outstanding trade area demographics with approximately 5,298 residents with an average household income of $119,609 within a one-mile radius and approximately 116,135 residents with an average household income of $121,549 within a five-mile radius.

Happy Holidays to you!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

It's a Transit Oriented Christmas

It's a Transit Oriented Christmas

As we all know greenhouse gas emissions from livestock are higher than all transportation combined - so now in moves to be more sustainable Santa has had to switch from his lightning quick reindeer powered sleigh to public transit.

Santa's new transport mode is slower than his sleigh
Santa's new transport mode is slower than his sleigh

In moves to reduce carbon emissions, and under pressure from sustainability groups, Santa has been forced to abandon his lightning-fast sleigh. As we all know emissions from livestock are  higher than all transportation combined (see Wikipedia entry) so Rudolph and his reindeer friends have been forced to go.

Santa will now be taking transit to conduct all of his deliveries in a move to reduce his excessively large emissions footprint. With the substantial amount of travel that he performs - delivering to every address once a year using a livestock powered vehicle - sustainability groups and transit advocates successfully won a lawsuit requiring Santa to switch to alternate green transportation methods such as transit. Consideration of emissions of alternative transportation methods, even though lower in emissions than transit, was not allowed under California Senate Bill 375 - as this bill focuses emissions reductions exclusively on cars and light trucks.

Santa's New Delivery Schedule


Due to connection times, weather delays and limited night bus and train schedules this now means that the following changes are effective immediately, starting Christmas 2013:

- package deliveries to children will now occur once every 100 years. Regretfully  this means four out of five children will not experience a single gift delivery at Christmas. Parents have been instructed to explain to their children that this is for the greater good to save the planet, and to reminisce with their memories of Christmases past.

- Darrell Steinberg, leader of the California State Senate has succeeded in passing new legislation in Senate Bill 666 whereupon children living in high density housing near transit will still receive annual deliveries. He expressed that this is to help the building industry and denied his legislation having any relationship with his substantial campaign donations from builders, building unions and train manufacturers.

- Santa will now only deliver extremely lightweight and small presents as he cannot carry his sack in his sleigh's capacious trunk. He can only carry a small and light load on transit.

Christmas Present Blacklist


All gift lists will now be monitored and any gifts that encourage or induce emissions have now been blacklisted. Known blacklisted items include:

     - Any Lego model depicting a single family home
    - Racing cars or models of cars that achieve under 50mpg (children may pick between the Prius, Civic  and Focus hybrid)
    - all livestock including dogs, cats, hamsters and especially ponies
    - model or toy space rockets and aircraft
    - any video game, DVD or Blu-Ray disc movie glorifying or even depicting a car, spacecraft or aircraft using a propulsion system known to emit carbon
    - any electrical device that may utilize electricity from a non-renewable power source such as coal
    - any device using batteries which are not renewable and bad for the environment

A list of acceptable presents is being prepared to help children with appropriate gift selection. Any reports of the bankruptcy of Toys-R-Us, FAO Schwarz and Walmart are alarmist and entirely premature.

Elven Population Moved to TOD Housing North of Greenland


Due to the greatly reduced delivery abilities 98% of north pole Elves have been given pink slips. Their services to wrap many numerous, large gifts are no longer needed. This population will be moved into an extensive series of large apartment complexes just north of Greenland to be served exclusively by transit. Some population attrition is anticipated due to excessive wait times for buses in sub-zero temperatures causing rapid onset of hypothermia.

Crack Sustainability Team to Educate Children


Highly trained sustainability educators from a newly formed team will explain the new policy to children. The team will be called "Green Regulations are Important for the New Chistmas Holiday". A committee is working hard on an acronym for the new group and a press conference announcement is expected shortly.

New Assembly Formed to Coordinate Efforts

A newly formed association of governments has been formed to coordinate the new system. This new authority will be paid for by a new "Christmas tax" imposed as a 10% increment in sales tax on all gift related items purchased between November and December.

This group has scheduled over 250 public outreach meetings to collect public input on the new Christmas delivery system. The schedule of these meetings has been delivered in advance to sustainability groups who have been contracted to publicize these meetings. Adults over 18 will be able to attend outreach meetings for liability reasons to protect minors. Attendance and feedback sent by minors who are under 18 years of age are not accepted.

The cooperation of you and your children in this important matter is appreciated. We have to save the planet for our children!

What do the Supervisors want for Christmas this year from YOU?



What presents do the Supervisors want from YOU this year?

4882 doll houses.

14,000 new dolls- 2 whole cities worth!

A 38 mile diesel train set.

An electric company with wind turbines 
and solar panels.

New transit villages all over Marin with people 
living in cute, tiny apartments.

Bike paths with cool bridges and tunnels.

A streetcar with clanking bells with happy people going to work between San Anselmo and Fairfax.

A desalination water plant to make fresh water 
for more houses and people.

A hospital with free healthcare.

Spending money for architects, 
planners, consultants, and more.

Money to buy lots of farms.

Even more money to buy more stuff 
to make our cities grow in urban centers.

A sign for our playhouse that sez,

" Private. No stinky voters allowed!" 


And World Peace.

Politicians prey on fear and ignorance in the Old South and in Marin today.


In this scene from "Brother Where Art Thou?" the Southern politician tries to stir up fear and ignorance to get re-elected. Playing on our worst natures is the oldest trick in the politician's play book. 

In educated, liberal Marin County today, we can see how this is played by our local politicians against us.   Opponents to the urbanization of Marin, are termed racist NIMBYs while the politicians fight for developers and special interests.    Supervisors Kinsey, Rice and Sears are up for re-election in 2016.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas, Steve Kinsey shows his "love for fellow man"




No, Mr Kinsey, people who object to high density housing are not NIMBY, Racists, but you have a bit of explaining to do. Why you are refusing housing in YOUR backyard?

Steve Kinsey is a resident of Forest Knolls in West Marin, ten miles from the "low income project" of two units at the Grandi Building which he expects will never be built.

Steve Kinsey is up for re-election in 2016.

Quick Guide to "Kinseyspeak"  Flagwaver = Tea Party, Against Diversity = Racist, Unwelcoming = NIMBY, Contribution, Revenue enhancement, community support, investment = taxes,  Opposed to "community ideals" = Republican, "capitalism doesn't work"= "give me power to spend your money on solutions I think will work",  Community rights = elimination of private property rights

How is it that Man is always Bad and Government is always Good?


Monday, December 22, 2014

Supervisors Kinsey and BOS unanimously support Marinwood Village without hearing from the people

Get Microsoft Silverlight


The Marin Board of Supervisors unequivocally support Marinwood Village without consulting Marinwood.

See Steve Kinsey explain that 100% of the  Board of Supervisors support the Marinwood Village Site,  unequivocally    at the November 29, 2012 TAM meeting before ALL THE FACTS are IN.

The have all ready given Marinwood Village project $460,000 in HIPE funds and are seeking another $696,000 or roughly $1.02 million dollars to steal part of Marinwood Ave to make parking for affordable developer Bridge Housing' plans for 85 low income housing units.

Gee,  it's great to be an affordable housing developer,  isn't it?

Our entire Marinwood CSD budget is $4.2 million dollar and the Board of Supervisors is giving over a million dollars to aid Bridge Housing before a shovel hits the dirt on the housing development. 

Some people get rich. Some people get subsidized rents. We get taxed.

How dare they rip off the only asset that our community will have to build a vibrant commercial hub.  Once our neighbor's move their families into the "stack and pack" housing moves into their tiny apartments,  we will have to build more class rooms, hire more teachers, cops and firefighters.

The Marinwood Village development won't begin to pay it's fair share to the community .  In addition, we may also have to upgrade our fire station and water and sewer. Higher taxes for us. Free stuff for them.

How many of us moved into the neighborhood to have our community stolen from us by bureaucrats and politicians?

Even our new neighbors have to eat.  Do you think they will be picking up $7.32 cent  a gallon organic milk at the market? What will happen when the market's rent subsidy disappears?

If you are sick and tired of all this crony capitalism and silly land use,  I urge you to join us in fighting the Marinwood Plaza project. 

If  you are sick of secret planning sessions behind closed doors with hand picked "neighborhood leaders" I urge you to join us.

If you are sick of hearing the lie that "the community decided" on a mixed use project in 2006 and your vote doesn't count, I urge you to join us.  

The first and only "public" meeting on the Marinwood Village project was on October 27th, 2012.  Over 43% of us are new to the community since 2007. The 2006 project was a private development that actually would have contributed to our tax base.

The "leaders" must know that we will not follow the destuction of our community to fulfill their vain ambitions.  Let the crony developers know, that they will only be welcome if they come through the front door and reveal their intentions first.

We are not opposed to all affordable housing.  We are opposed to the taking of our rights to manage our own community. 




Saturday, December 20, 2014

Residents live in filth, fear in mismanaged Bay Area public housing

Residents live in filth, fear in mismanaged Bay Area public housing see Center for Investigative Reporting

Editor's Note: The New HUD financed affordable housing in Marinwood like the proposed Marinwood Village will import out of county residents from East Bay Cities to fill them just like Hamilton's Bay Vista and Wyndover projects. Marinwood-Lucas Valley has been given 70% of all affordable housing in the 2012 Housing Element for unincorporated Marin. Supervisor Susan Adams was a prime advocate of placing housing here.
For months, Geneva Eaton woke to handfuls of half-dead mice wriggling in her glue traps.

Credit: Lacy Atkins/San Francisco Chronicle

There were at least 16 life-threatening health and safety violations at the five public housing projects managed by the housing authority, according to the two most recent years of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports. Seniors and disabled residents lived amid exposed wiring and missing smoke detectors and fire alarms. Most well-kempt housing projects don’t have these major health and safety violations, HUD says.
Nearly 1 in 5 apartments in the Hacienda and Nevin Plaza complexes are infested with insects and cockroaches, inspection records show.
Then there are the indignities that don’t show up in formal government reports: A woman with no legs giving herself sponge baths from her bathroom sink because maintenance workers didn’t install a simple safety bar in her shower. The fire department rescuing a paralyzed veteran from his third-floor apartment because the elevators didn’t work for three days. A disabled man who watched in horror for nearly a month as raw sewage slowly dripped from the neighbor’s bathroom upstairs.
Residents say their pleas for basic maintenance are ignored by officials paid to provide services to the poor.
CIR also found a number of cases in which housing authority workers claimed in official documents to have fixed problems. But they hadn’t.
“It’s just continual chaos here,” said Everett Dennis Lewis, a disabled resident of Hacienda. “The housing authority doesn’t give a crap.”
There are 4,055 public housing agencies in the United States, all overseen by HUD. Last year, the federal government labeled 44 as “troubled” – housing authorities that had such severe problems with their finances, management or living conditions that the government was on the brink of shutting them down.
Richmond was one of them.
In the most recent federal assessment reports, released in 2013, Richmond received a score of 47 out of 100, one of the lowest rankings in the country. It received failing marks for running up debt and failing to track its finances. Its executive director was deemed ineffective.
Richmond managed to receive a passing grade for the condition of most of its apartments. For the most part, the projects in Richmond aren’t as dilapidated as those in Detroit and New Orleans. But the breakdown in finances and leadership manifests itself daily at Richmond’s two largest – and worst – complexes as residents struggle with rodents, filth and security problems.
“They are a dysfunctional organization,” said Gerard Windt, division director of the HUD office that oversees Richmond.
The Richmond Housing Authority got $26 million in 2013 from the federal government to provide safe and decent housing for the needy. Richmond has 715 units of public housing for the poor, elderly and disabled. It also gives out Section 8 vouchers to subsidize rent for an additional 1,750 residents on the private market.
Residents who end up in Richmond’s public housing are predominantly old or disabled African Americans. More than three-quarters of them make less than 30 percent of Contra Costa County’s median income, or $18,750 a year, according to HUD. Many of them used to have jobs as grocery baggers, janitors and food service workers until they got old or sick. Some lived on the streets, and others struggle with addiction.
Residents don’t get their apartments for free. Almost 90 percent pay between $200 and $500 a month in rent, according to HUD. Eaton pays $262 a month to the housing authority.
The authority’s executive director, Tim Jones, said he’s “running an operation on life support.” He blamed years of budget cuts from the federal government for the problems plaguing the housing authority and insisted that the agency is on the road to recovery. He said the problems come down to money.
All 4,000-plus housing authorities across America face these same slashed budgets. About 1 percent of those agencies find themselves on HUD’s troubled list.
Maintenance complaints neglected
When Juanita Hasnat moved into Nevin Plaza in 2011, the housing authority knew she was disabled. But her apartment didn’t have a simple disabled access fixture: a safety bar in the bathtub.
Hasnat told the housing authority about the oversight, thinking it would be a quick fix. But

Air Pollution linked to increased Autism risk

Living in high density development next to the freeway has significant health risks according to Harvard study

Fine particulate air pollution linked with increased autism risk

For immediate release: December 18, 2014
Boston, MA — Women exposed to high levels of fine particulate matter specifically during pregnancy—particularly during the third trimester—may face up to twice the risk of having a child with autism than mothers living in areas with low particulate matter, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The greater the exposure, the greater the risk, researchers found. It was the first U.S.-wide study exploring the link between airborne particulate matter and autism.
“Our data add additional important support to the hypothesis that maternal exposure to air pollution contributes to the risk of autism spectrum disorders,” said Marc Weisskopf, associate professor of environmental and occupational epidemiology and senior author of the study. “The specificity of our findings for the pregnancy period, and third trimester in particular, rules out many other possible explanations for these findings.”
The study appears online December 18, 2014 in Environmental Health Perspectives and is available at http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1408133.
Prior studies have suggested that, in addition to genetics, exposure to airborne environmental contaminants, particularly during pregnancy and early life, may affect risk of autism. This study focused specifically on the pregnancy period.
The study population included offspring of participants living in all 50 states in Nurses’ Health Study II, a cohort of more than 116,000 female U.S. nurses begun in 1989. The researchers collected data on where participants lived during their pregnancies as well as data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other sources on levels of fine particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5)—particles 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller—in locations across the U.S. The researchers identified 245 children who were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and a control group of 1,522 children without ASD during the time period studied.
The researchers explored the association between autism and exposure to PM2.5 before, during, and after pregnancy. They also calculated exposure to PM2.5 during each pregnancy trimester.
Exposure to PM2.5 was significantly associated with autism during pregnancy, but not before or after, the study found. And during the pregnancy, the third trimester specifically was significantly associated with an increased risk.  Little association was found between air pollution from larger-sized particles (PM10-2.5) and autism.
“The evidence base for a role for maternal exposure to air pollution increasing the risk of autism spectrum disorders is becoming quite strong,” said Weisskopf. “This not only gives us important insight as we continue to pursue the origins of autism spectrum disorders, but as a modifiable exposure, opens the door to thinking about possible preventative measures.”
Other HSPH authors of the study included lead author Raanan Raz, visiting scientist in the Department of Environmental HealthAndrea Roberts, research associate in the Department of Social and Behavioral SciencesKristen Lyall, visiting scientist; Jaime Hart, instructor, Department of Environmental Health andDepartment of Epidemiology at HSPH and assistant professor of medicine, Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Allan Just, research fellow in the Department of Environmental Health; and Francine Laden, Mark and Catherine Winkler Associate Professor of Environmental Epidemiology.
Funding for the study came from the Environment and Health Fund (Israel), NIH grants P30 ES000002, R01 ES017017, and UM1 CA176726, US Department of Defense grant W81XWH-08-1-0499, grant 1788 from the Autism Speaks Foundation.
“Autism Spectrum Disorder and Particulate Matter Air Pollution before, during, and after Pregnancy: A Nested Case-Control Analysis within the Nurses’ Health Study II Cohort,” Raanan Raz, Andrea L. Roberts, Kristen Lyall, Jaime E. Hart, Allan C. Just, Francine Laden, Marc G. Weisskopf, Environmental Health Perspectives, online December 18, 2014.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Susan Adams Final Sermon on Subsidized Housing


Susan Adams starts speaking at 10:00

Does having your heart in the right place count when you are housing people in environmentally hazardous locations (Marinwood Plaza) or concentrating it in one community who will bear all the costs?  Is it right to burden middle class homeowners who EARN LESS than the individuals who qualify for these subsidized housing units to PAY MORE TAXES to support wealthier neighbors?

Is it moral to ask that others pay for your favored charity while you escape the cost of your "kindness"?  




Two Perspectives on Marin's SMART Train




The SMART financial plan is built on a Mountain of "Ifs"



It’s spin and built on a mountain of “ifs”.

If sales tax revenues grow every year and never declines
If the unions agree to contracts where workers get no real pay increases for 14 years
If oil prices don’t return to higher levels.
If there is never a significant recession
If ridership doesn’t decline when there is a recession
If trains operate perfectly without delays
If they get federal funding to extend rail south of 3rd st (to larkspur)
If there is other funding available to move the transit center.
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In the land of SMART, revenues always grow and costs do not.  

We’ve got reserves to “shore up our budgets,” that is – if we don’t spend them on
a bike path, because after all, we promised the bikers we’d build one.

All in attendance blessed an incredibly optimistic financial plan
based on a mountain of ifs that are highly unlikely to occur.

No one, despite me giving them analyses raised a single issue
that was raised at Marin Coalition, like the contractual growth in
the debt service.  In fact, no one mentioned debt service.

Rabbitt at least mentioned operating expenses and then deferred
to Erin – who me worry – McGrath who babbled about controlling
expenses.   The labor unions are coming and do you really think
they’re going to sign up for NO REAL WAGE INCREASES OVER 14 Years?

But here’s the bottom line:  they don’t control sales taxes.  When
the recession hits, if they haven’t planned for it, the cuts in services
and loss of the tiny ridership they have will be even worse. 
Unless they can fight off the interest groups that want them to
expand north/south and complete the pathways, it’s hard to
see how they’ll make it without serious cuts in operations.

Funny, that’s what all the transit agencies do when recessions
hit.