Saturday, February 8, 2014

Saturday Night Videos

The Epic Land Part 1 - New Zealand Landscapes Timelapse from Bevan Percival on Vimeo.
Kangaroos can't jump backwards from motiphe on Vimeo.
TRUTH. BEAUTY. BAILEY. from J A M I E R O B E R T S on Vimeo.

The Journey Begins from Johnny Kelly on Vimeo.

LOT254 from Toby Meakins on Vimeo.

JUNKYARD - Hisko Hulsing from il Luster on Vimeo.

Walking City from Universal Everything on Vimeo.

Video: Apollo VII Astronaut Walt Cunningham takes on global warming in Poland









There are few people on Earth as carefully vetted, as rigorously trained and as highly respected as America’s Apollo astronauts.  They risked their lives in advance of science on behalf of all mankind.
CFACT organized an all day global warming conference at Warsaw’s Cardinal Stefan WyszyƄski University, together with some fantastic partners from Poland and Germany, which ran parallel to the UN’s COP 19.  CFACT provided headsets for simultaneous translation for the more than 250 Poles who attended with our international delegation to the global warming summit.
Colonel Walt Cunningham was lunar module pilot on Apollo VII, the first manned Apollo flight to space.  Colonel Cunningham explains why America’s space pioneers are shocked and dismayed by today’s politicization of science to serve the global warming agenda.  They call for the elimination of bias from scientific inquiry and a return to the rigorous application of the scientific method.
_______________________________

A "Transit Village" in Thailand connects People, Shopping and Transportation

Reagan Vs. Obama - Social Economics 101

Friday, February 7, 2014

Photos from a wet protest in front of "CorteMazilla" high density apartments on February 7, 2014






For the full Story see the Marin IJ HERE

Marin County Democratic and Republicans on Plan Bay Area on February 5, 2014

Dick Spotswood, Marin IJ Political Columnists asks the Marin County Democratic Chair, Paul Cohen and Republican Chair, Kevin Krick about Plan Bay Area at the Marin Coalition meeting held on February 5, 2014 in San Rafael, CA

Get Your FREE hard copy of Plan bay Area

EDITOR'S NOTE : Just got my hard copy of the Plan Bay Area and recommend everyone get one.  It's free and you merely have to request it via email below.   It spells out in great marketing hype all of the "wonderful" plans they have for us.   Most notably,  Marinwood, Tam Valley and the Civic Center in San Rafael still appear as Potential PDAs.  So despite all this nonsense about "local control", apparently the bureaucrats at ABAG did not get the memo that planning should be local.

It is definitely worth putting in a time capsule.
Get Your FREE hard copy of Plan bay Area
(You paid for it and you will continue to pay for it, in more ways than you can imagine)



Plan Bay Area, adopted by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), lays out a 25-year vision for transportation and housing to sustain our communities, environment and economy. The plan is available online and a limited number of printed copies are available via the MTC-ABAG Library. To request a printed copy, please email library@mtc.ca.gov or call (510) 817-5836.


The long-range plan, which includes $292 billion in transportation investments through the year 2040, was developed over three years in collaboration with thousands of Bay Area residents and local government partners, as well as with a range of interested stakeholder organizations. Plan Bay Area is the nine-county region's first Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) to meet the requirements of California's landmark 2008 Senate Bill 375, which calls on each of the state's 18 metropolitan areas to include in the RTP a Sustainable Communities Strategy to accommodate future population growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks. Working in collaboration with cities and counties, Plan Bay Area advances initiatives to expand housing and transportation choices, create healthier communities and build a stronger regional economy.

MTC Public Information
January 21, 2014
DIGITAL VERSION 

(for those who want to save paper)
Entire Plan Bay Area (PDF 125 MB)
Chapters (PDF):
Appendices (35 MB)
Related Documents:


No One Bay Area 



Thursday, February 6, 2014

Apartment Over Crowding in the Canal District



The more the merrier.

From Wikipedia on the Canal District


Demographics and housing



The above two apartment complexes (55 Fairfax and 162 Belvedere St) in the Canal District are owned by Bridge Housing.  see related stories in Apartment Overcrowding

Most of San Rafael's low-income residents live in the Canal Area, along with many affluent residents. There is at least one concern (on Harbor Way) that rents slips for boats that people can live aboard legally.
The more affluent residents live in the houses constructed in the 1960s right on the Canal and in two housing developments in the eastern part of the Canal's residential area: Baypoint Lagoons (constructed in the late 1990s) and Spinnaker Point (constructed earlier). Some real-estate agents refer to these two developments as being in "East San Rafael", to avoid the stigma of the name "Canal Area".
The low-income homes (almost all of which are apartments) are inhabited mainly by immigrants (documented and undocumented), from a variety of countries. Seventy percent are Hispanic, 11 percent Asian, 10 percent Caucasian, 5 percent African-American and 4 percent are of other ethnic groups.[citation needed] This area provides a location for workers who hold low-income jobs that are essential to the functioning of the community to live close to their place of employment.
Although the majority of residents in this area are low-income workers, most of the apartments in which they live are neither subsidized nor less expensive than comparable apartments elsewhare in San Rafael.
 In order to pay the relatively high rents, the residents resort to sharing their dwellings with many roommates, typically at least two persons per bedroom, plus one person in the living room. Often as many as eight or more persons, including children, will occupy a two-bedroom apartment

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Marin IJ: New Threat for Marin


All single family homes within 1/2 mile of the 101 Highway are part of the Urbanized 101 Priority Development Area and may be subject to Eminent Domain seizure for redevelopment under SB-1



Marin residents who fought tooth and nail against approval of Plan Bay Area have identified a new bete noire: proposed state legislation that would replace redevelopment agencies with "Sustainable Communities Investment Authorities."

Senate Bill 1, introduced by Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, would allow cities, counties and special districts to designate Sustainable Communities Investment areas in locations near transit corridors and to create Sustainable Communities Investment authorities to support development there.

"If you thought Plan Bay Area was bad, Senate Bill 1 is much more extreme," said Richard Hall, who led the fight to prevent his Civic Center neighborhood in San Rafael from participating in the Plan Bay Area scheme to reduce greenhouse gases by encouraging the building of denser housing close to transportation corridors.

In a recent column published on the Patch website, Hall wrote, "Senate Bill 1, if enacted, could send us back to Dickensian London — dark days where those with lower incomes were relegated to living in crowded conditions in inner city high rises."

Steve Shea, a policy consultant for Steinberg, said, "I read that article. It was humorous. I couldn't tell if it was tongue in cheek. The alarmist tone does not accurately reflect what is in the bill and what the bill would do."

Other local Plan Bay Area antagonists, however, share Hall's foreboding.
Peter Singleton of Larkspur, who co-founded Bay Area Citizens to oppose Plan Bay Area, said, "It's a really chilling, frightening piece of legislation. It has all the deficiencies of redevelopment agencies."

Susan Kirsch of Mill Valley, a co-founder of Citizen Marin, said, "SB 1 takes the inefficiencies of the dissolved redevelopment agencies and opens the doors to make the situation worse."

Under pressure to reduce the state budget deficit in 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature dissolved California's nearly 400 redevelopment agencies, giving the state access to $1.7 billion earmarked for projects to eradicate urban blight.

SB 1 would define blight in a new way: as inefficient land use patterns that result in increased greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, energy consumption, reduced farmland, habitat destruction and a lack of affordable housing.

Shea said, "The bill is attempting to build on the body of community redevelopment law. The redevelopment agencies have been eliminated but the community redevelopment law still exists."

SB 1 would harness the old financing model employed by redevelopment agencies to help finance the infrastructure needed for infill development and affordable housing. This model, often referred to as tax increment financing, involves the issuance of debt, usually in the form of bonds, to pay for new development. Increased property values result from the new development, which generates additional property tax revenue, and this incremental property tax revenue is then used to repay the initial debt.

The authority boards would be appointed by the city, county or special district that creates the Sustainable Communities Investment area. Hall sees this as an ominous trend.
"Unelected bodies are starting to control development, overriding local control," Hall said. "Cities and counties no longer have the ability to manage their own destiny."

But Rhys Williams, a spokesman for Steinberg, said, "The authorities will be managed by independent, citizen governing boards and will be required to comply with all state ethics and open government laws. No tax revenues would be diverted from the schools and the state general fund would be protected."

Like the old redevelopment agencies, the new authorities would have the power of eminent domain. And critics of the bill say under SB 1 the new authorities' eminent domain powers would be even greater. That is because the authorities would be allowed to rely on a legislative determination of blight and would not be required to conduct a survey of blight within the project area.

Shea, however, said that notwithstanding some of the rhetoric over the past issue of eminent domain, "There is not a lot of evidence it was abused on any widespread basis or even used very often.

"There are a lot of legal restrictions developed in case law that require a legitimate public use for any takings," Shea said. "So people can't necessarily come in and clear out residences and put in high-rise tenements as has been suggested."

One more vote by the state Senate is required before the bill can be sent to Gov. Brown for his signature. It is unclear, however, whether Brown will sign it.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Jerry Seinfeld on Diversity in Comedy: Who Cares?

Mark Luce, ABAG President doesn't want a Priority Development Area in HIS Backyard!

Mark Luce, Association of Bay Area Governments, President and Napa County Supervisor

 see the Napa County Register:

City, Luce settle ABAG flap

July 11, 2012 6:20 pm  • 





After more than a month of sparring with city of Napa officials over the city’s pursuit to become a priority development area, Napa County Supervisor Mark Luce said he’s backing off pledges to fight the city’s application at the Association of Bay Area Governments.

At the suggestion of ABAG staff, the Napa City Council voted Tuesday night to revise the city’s application for downtown and the Soscol Gateway Corridor, shifting from a request to become a “transit town center” priority development area to a “transit neighborhood” designation.
The transit town center designation has a guideline of 3,000 to 7,500 housing units, while transit neighborhood has a guideline of 1,500 to 4,000 units. [Editor's note: Marinwood Priority Development Area is designated as a "transit neighborhood.  Can you imagine 4000 units of housing east of Las Gallinas?see PDA to Urbanize Marinwood-Lucas Valley ]

Luce, the president of ABAG, said Wednesday the revision was enough to placate some of his concerns, and he’s removing his opposition to the application before it goes before ABAG’s executive board for a decision on July 19.

“I personally don’t like a PDA in the city of Napa,” Luce said. “But that’s just my opinion. I will remove my opposition and respect the council’s wish.”

Luce’s change of opinion also comes on the heels of ABAG staff affirming support for the city’s application this week. Because the city meets the criteria for a PDA, it should be approved, ABAG Principal Planner Miriam Chion has said. [Editor's Note: Is this the "local control" that ABAG president Luce said we will have at "the great debate". It sounds like coercion to me]

City officials have rejected Luce’s argument that becoming a priority development area would require the city to assume a greater ABAG housing allocation in the future.

“That’s a fear tactic,” said City Councilman Mark van Gorder, who’s running to unseat Luce in the Board of Supervisors’ 2nd District.

Dozens of Bay Area cities have had the transit town center designation approved, ranging from areas of San Francisco to cities as small as Cotati in Sonoma County, whose population is approximately 7,000 residents.

City officials and ABAG staff said that housing guidelines don’t carry much weight when designating priority development areas. The only basis for approving a transit PDA is whether the town is in an urban area, has a density of 20-units per acre, and a transit service comes every 20 minutes, they have said.[Editor's Note:  Is this the real reason Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams has insists on running empty buses through our neighborhood?]

The city contended throughout the dispute that it’s only planning for 1,300 housing units in downtown and along Soscol Avenue, which is fewer than either of the transit designation’s guidelines.

The city easily met the PDA criteria, but was the only town to meet the criteria and have its application blocked. At a regional planning committee meeting June 6, Luce moved to block the request.



“It appears, as the president of ABAG, (Luce is) not a fan of it for Napa, but didn’t have a problem with it for Cotati?” van Gorder asked Wednesday. “He didn’t block Cotati. It feels like political gamesmanship to me.”

Van Gorder said at Tuesday’s council meeting that he preferred the city not revise its application from “transit town center” priority development area to a “transit neighborhood” designation.
“I think we had a very good application in place,” van Gorder said. “I see no reason to change our application.”

The change to a transit neighborhood designation doesn’t change the amount of money the city stands to receive if the application is approved.

From 2012 to 2015, Napa County has been allocated to receive $2.6 million in grant funding through ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Half of that, or $1.3 million, has been earmarked for priority development areas, meaning only American Canyon, currently the county’s only PDA, could lay claim to that money.

City Councilwoman Juliana Inman said Tuesday she favored changing the application because it would better secure access to transportation funding, which could be used to pay for planning along the Highway 29 corridor between American Canyon and Napa.

“Let’s see if we can get some grant funding to help with that process,” Inman said. “I think this would be a good direction.”

While the showdown between Napa and Luce likely won’t materialize at the July 19 ABAG meeting, van Gorder said he doesn’t expect the issue to go away.

“I think the issue’s going to come up in the campaign,” said van Gorder. Luce’s earlier stance at ABAG could have cost the city major transportation funding, he said.
Luce said he didn’t believe the issue would resurface in the campaign, but it could remind voters of how he’s representing them in regional government.

“I think what it has brought home is that my role as ABAG president is relevant,” Luce said. “It’s not just housing. There’s a lot of regional government issues.”


Marin's Population Growth expected to Remain Flat.

Marin Growing Slightly- Population rise is smallest in region


Posted:   01/02/2014 04:45:22 PM PST




After a dip, Marin's population is increasing again, but it is last among Bay Area counties in terms of percentage growth, according to a new state report.
The county grew by 1,896 people between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013, according to a new report from the state Department of Finance. That increased Marin's population by .75 percent, bringing the total number of residents to 255,887.

While that increase was the smallest among all Bay Area counties, it was an increase over the previous year when Marin's population dipped by 319 people, a .13 percent drop. Marin now ranks 26th in population among the 58 counties in the state, behind Merced (263,026), and ahead of Butte (221, 955).

The Bay Area is the only region in California where more people are moving in from elsewhere in the United States than moving out, a sign of the economy's rebound and the creation of more jobs here.

"A better economy is generally the reason why you see these population increases," said Robert Eyler, CEO of the Marin Economic Forum — a public-private partnership that works to enhance the county's economic vitality. "But because housing prices in Marin are high, there is a natural barrier to larger population increases."

Eyler expects 2014 to be a good year for the economy, which should result in more people coming to the North Bay.

John Malson, a state demographer who helped produce the Department of Finance population report, also cited the rising Bay Area economy for the increases.

"It shows that, at least population wise, the recession is starting to dissipate, people are coming to employment areas and they're pretty obviously coming to the Bay Area and to some degree Southern California," he said.

Overall, California's population rose to 38.2 million people, an increase of 332,000 from July 2012 to July 2013, a .88 percent increase. While less than 1 percent increase, it is the highest gain for the state since 2003-2004, before the recession.

Much of the uptick was due to a "natural increase" of more births than deaths. In Marin there were 2,319 births in the county during the period and 1,904 deaths.

Foreign immigration to the Bay Area has remained strong, as it did throughout the recession years in the mid 2000s, adding 169,266 people to the state during the 12-month period. Marin saw 713 such immigrants move to the county.

The "domestic migration" numbers are the best indicators of a region's economic health. The statewide numbers continue to be negative, with 103,000 more people leaving California than coming here during the period — a downward trend that has continued since 2001.

Domestic migration within the Bay Area has bounced for the last few years and is now in positive territory, with some 4,800 more people moving in than moving out. In Marin, 768 people moved in. Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa and Santa Cruz counties also enjoyed gains during the 12-month period.

Alameda and Santa Clara counties, plus Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, account for more than half of the state's growth. Most of the growth was due to more births than deaths, but all have positive net migration as well.

Contact Mark Prado via email at mprado@marinij.com. The Bay Area News Group contributed to this report.
Population percent change among Bay Area counties, number of new residents:
Marin — .75 percent (1,896)
Napa — .77 percent (1,067)
Sonoma — .79 percent (3,850)
Solano — .93 percent (3,918)
San Mateo — .93 percent (6,837)
San Francisco — 1.08 percent (8,865)
Contra Costa — 1.19 percent (12,777)
Santa Clara — 1.47 percent (26,799)
Alameda — 1.68 percent (25,824)
Source: California Department of Finance.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Who lives in Marinwood-Lucas Valley now?

Characters in the cast of TV show, Modern Family


The old stereotypes of the suburban family of a Mom, Dad and two children no longer hold true in Marinwood-Lucas Valley.  We are as complex demographicly and socially as the greater Bay Area at large.  Our common feature, is a love of the peace and quiet of our neighborhoods,  pride in our schools and kindness of our neighbors.  We love our open space and the ability of our children to play outdoors among the trees and being able to walk our dog in the park.   Most of us would be considered middle income and have jobs in the public sector, corporations or small business. 

In 2010, our population was 6094 including CSA 13, Lucas Valley Homeowners Association. 

For more info see: Lucas_Valley-Marinwood,_California


The 2012 Housing Element may bring in 1500 more people into our district, causing a 25% net increase in population, forcing us to build more classrooms, hire more teachers, increase police and fire services.  The new affordable housing residents by definition, will be low income and therefore will not be contributing to the property tax base nor will the owners who have generous tax subsidies. New costs for infrastructure upgrade will be the responsibility of the current taxpayers.

Find out more about the 2012 Housing Element.  Talk with your neighbors.  Write to the local papers and our politicians.  This is your community.  What future do you want?



Proposed Tax on Road Mileage Crosses the Line

Your commute to work may get much more expensive.
Our regional governmental bodies have gone too far with this idea that we'd be charged up to 10 cents per mile as we travel our local roads.
By Tina McMillan

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments are studying a "tax on mileage" in order to generate upward of $15 million a day to fund roads and public transit and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.

Drivers would have to put GPS-like odometers in their cars that would track their mileage. Under a proposal, drivers could pay from less than a penny to as much as a dime for every mile driven, according to a story by the Associated Press. The idea could take a decade to be launched.

We are talking about both a travel tax and government-mandated tracking devices.  It sounds like something out of a science fiction novel.

for more: Proposed VMT tax goes too far