Saturday, May 10, 2014

Saturday Night Videos

A Drop In The Ocean - Shortfilm from Kendy on Vimeo.

"I am a..." from Andy Martin on Vimeo.

Disclosure | Grab her from DIVISION on Vimeo.

RUDO Y NOBLE - LAS HACHAS / THE AXES from Rubén B on Vimeo.

JohnnyExpress from AlfredImageworks on Vimeo.

Reed from Dorian Warneck on Vimeo.

Steadfast Stanley from John Cody Kim on Vimeo.

Girls Like Us | Molly Perkins from Sing J. Lee on Vimeo.

Vienna waits for you from Glaciar Films on Vimeo.

Wonderful London 1924 & 2014 from Simon Smith on Vimeo.

Trigger Warnings, Campus Speech and the Right of Not to be Offended.

Saudi Arabia sentences political blogger to 1,000 lashes, 10 years in prison

Saudi Arabia sentences political blogger to 1,000 lashes, 10 years in prison

By Lewis Parker on May 08, 2014 Email

The victim is strapped to a vertical stake with his bare buttocks and back exposed. Then a member of the police or security services brings the lash down against the flesh. Typically five lashes breaks the skin and causes permanent tissue damage. It is possible to be flogged to death.

Often a rapist or a murder will be sentenced to a hundred or two hundred lashes in Saudi Arabia. Rape victims have also been flogged for adultery. This week, the Jeddah Criminal Court sentenced a political blogger to ten years in jail and 1,000 lashes.

Amnesty International has condemned the sentence given to Raif Badawi, co-founder of the “Saudi Arabian Liberals” website, as “outrageous.”

“He is a prisoner of conscience who is guilty of nothing more than daring to create a public forum for discussion and peacefully exercising the right to freedom of expression,” Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International, said in a statement.

On May 7, 2012, Badawi’s site declared a “day of liberalism,” and criticised the dominance of religion in public life. He fled the country and returned when the charges were dropped, reports RT. But in June 2012, he was arrested and charged with “apostasy,” punishable by death.

Badawi was sentenced to seven years and 600 lashes for “ridiculing Islam” and “going beyond the realm of obedience,” in June 2012. But in December, the sentence was overturned and passed to a different court, which increased it to ten years, a $266,000 fine, and a thousand-whip beating.

Rather than having to endure all 1,000 lashes in one sitting, Saudi Arabia allows severe beatings to be doled out over a number of sessions, often in batches of fifty.

Although, as this highly distressing video of a Saudi Arabian flogging shows, any amount of lashes is a heinous punishment.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday Night Music: George Formby

The Plan for the rest of your Life brought to you by the Central Planners of ABAG and Our local Politicians.

Read the whole Plan Bay Area for the next 25 years HERE

Susan Adams served on ABAG ten years before retiring as Vice President.
She helped shape the plan especially the part about giving
Marinwood-Lucas Valley 70% of the affordable housing
for unincorporated Marin

Judy Arnold, 74, has been in politics 42 years and happily helped create the 101 Highway Priority Development    Area for urbanization that runs from Sausalito to Novato Narrows .  High density Judy.

Steve Kinsey, MTC president, West Marin  District Supervisor, Coastal Commission Supervisor (the list goes on and on)  really doesn't care for public hearings.  He rarely looked up from his desk during the Strawberry PDA meeting in February. He was a big booster of Plan Bay Area and voted "YES" on your behalf. (It was too complicated for mere voters or even members of the general assembly to understand.  Thanks Steve!)

Rumor has it that Kate "no ears" Sears' spectacles rest on prosthesis ears.  She sure didn't hear the people of Strawberry that requested to hold a hearing on the Strawberry PDA 13 times before allowing it to be placed on the BOS agenda.
We will know for sure if she has ears in the next election.  

Katie Rice, former aide to Hal Brown, and now Supervisor is a Marin native.  She says she loves Marin and all the nature and what it represents, yet as one of our ABAG representatives, she voted for Plan Bay Area in August 2013.
She is a gifted writer and thoughtful person but does she have the courage to stand up and protect Marin from overdevelopment and exploitation? (We hope so.) 

The devilishly handsome, nattily dressed and urbane (and highly paid) Brian Crawford has been instrumental in promoting high density affordable housing throughout the county.
Without his help, the Supervisors might have had to listen to the public.

Vote for Toni Shroyer and Damon Connolly JUNE 3rd!

Victory in Fairfax! Town to recind controversial zoning changes!

ABAG meeting in 2012 that brought "Plan Bay Area" to light after 15 years of closed door meetings with planners and politicians. Supervisor Susan Adams was it's Vice President.  It calls for a massive urbanization of Marin, creating high density housing throughout Marin and most especially the 101 Corridor.
The proposed Marin Trolley that will run from Fairfax to San Anselmo is
a scheme to qualify for development funds for high density housing.   

Fairfax council repeals ordinance that would have allowed more housing

Posted:   05/08/2014 03:03:02 PM PDT

A majority of the Fairfax Town Council has decided to dump a controversial zoning ordinance that paved the way for creation of 124 new housing units in town.

The council voted 3-2 to direct town staff to begin the process of repealing the ordinance, said Fairfax Town Manager Garrett Toy.

A group of Fairfax residents gathered more than 1,000 signatures to put a referendum on the ballot to force the council to repeal the ordinance. Fairfax's town clerk ruled, however, that the signatures were not gathered in compliance with state law, and this week the signature gatherers appealed to a Marin Superior Court judge to overturn that decision.

Former Fairfax councilman Frank Egger, one of the leaders of the petition drive, said, "I think it's a smart move for the Town Council. They totally underestimated the Fairfax community and how it responds to growth issues. Hopefully, this may be a step towards resolving this."

Council members Larry Bragman, John Reed and Barbara Coler voted to repeal; council members David Weinsoff and Renee Goddard cast dissenting votes.

The ordinance was adopted March 5 on a 3-1-1 vote. At that time, Bragman cast the dissenting vote, while Coler did not vote due to a potential conflict of interest involving property she owns.

Toy said, "Barbara had previously recused herself, but now she has a letter from the Fair Political Practices Commission that indicates she doesn't have a conflict."

Goddard said she would have supported repealing a section of the ordinance that contained some errors; but she couldn't support going back to the drawing board. Goddard said the ordinance was the product of 14 years of work.

"I really believe that due process was done," Goddard said. "I did not feel any justification for pulling the entire thing for review."

Toy said in order to repeal the ordinance the town will have to go through the process of adopting a new ordinance. The first step will be a public hearing before the town's Planning Commission.

The ordinance implements zoning changes necessary to bring the town into compliance with state housing law. Every county and municipality in California is required to design its zoning laws so as to encourage the creation of a certain number of housing units every seven years.

The areas affected by the rezoning are:

• 53 units in the second stories of buildings throughout the downtown.
• A minimum of 20 units per acre on 2 acres at the Christ Lutheran Church property on the west end of town.
• 22 units at the site of the former Mandarin Garden restaurant at 10 Olema Road.
• 9 units at School Street Plaza.

If Fairfax fails to meet the state mandate to foster housing creation, it could lose a $300,000 state grant to make improvements in its downtown Parkade. The grant is contingent on Fairfax conforming with the state housing mandate.

"There is always a risk," Toy said. "I don't know where the process is going to take us."
But Toy remains optimistic that town residents will be able to agree on an alternative plan for meeting its housing goals.

"We may end up in the same place," he said.

Contact Richard Halstead via e-mail at Follow him at

What's the Secret to Ending Poverty?

Marin County Supervisor Debate Susan Adams vs. Damon Connolly held in Marinwood, CA on May 8, 2014

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What is the SMART grid?

Technology brings many cool features. Check out this video explaining the SMART grid. Technology also can be creepy, too.  In the future, it will be possible for a technician in are far away power station to turn off your electrical appliances at will.  Hmm.  Sounds mighty big brother to me.   

I imagine the following:

"You there, sitting on your couch!" shouts the remote voice, " due to energy conservation measures and presidential fitness mandates, your air conditioner and television will be turned off until you earn today's fitness points"

It is the perfect tool for the nanny state.


Will Apodments Ruin Our Neighborhoods?

Are Apodments Ruining Seattle Neighborhoods?

Weighing the pros and cons of microhousing, the newest trend in affordable living in Seattle.
Maria Dolan  |   November 2012   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION

The street view of Emerald 10, which packs 36 units into a slim structure

Brent Gunning has something in common with Henry David Thoreau: Both have lived in dwellings so small they could open their front doors while sitting at their desks. Thoreau built his own 150-square-foot cabin, while Gunning, a 24-year-old Microsoft software engineer with close-cropped hair and a chill demeanor, has been living for several months in a Redmond micro-apartment, a 140-square-foot space the size of some walk-in closets.
He pays $807 a month (by bank transfer—no checks accepted) for the furnished room at the LEED Platinum–certified Tudor Manor development. That includes all utilities, a free laundry room, Wi-Fi and parking, an option Gunning chose that raised his rent by $60 monthly. His space is as tidily packed as a lunchbox, with the desk and chair, one window, one bed, wall-hung shelves holding clothing and books, and a “convenience center” with mini-refrigerator and microwave. There’s a bathroom with shower, but no closet or kitchen. (Gunning uses a small, shared kitchen, with a stove, down the hall, which he says is rarely in use.) Gunning’s Fender guitar fits in an upright stand beside the door, and so far, no one has complained about his evening strumming.
“I’m saving up to buy my own place,” he says, and this was the lowest-priced decent month-to-month rental Gunning found near his work. Nearby are transit, a gym, parks, restaurants, hair salons and city hall. “Hands down, this was the best deal by a lot,” says Josh Born, another young tenant in one of Tudor Manor’s 61 units (his is a comparatively luxurious 220 square feet for $875 a month). Born moved here from Washington, D.C., after getting a temporary contract at Microsoft. The first month he was here, he paid $1,650 to rent a Bellevue studio.

Small spaces—with matching rents—are the big appeal of micro-apartments such as this one at Emerald 10 on Seattle’s First Hill.
Gunning and Born are early adopters of a new housing trend: extra-small apartments with a shared kitchen down the hall—modern versions of the rooming houses of the past, which best suit one busy, budget-minded person who doesn’t have much stuff. Bellevue-based developer Jim Potter was part of a group that built the first modern micro-apartments in the Seattle area under the name “aPodments” on Capitol Hill in 2008. Since then, he and other developers, including Seattle-based Calhoun Properties and Bellevue-based Kauri Investments (the latter is also the developer of Tudor Manor), have built or are planning several more such buildings. Bryan Stevens, spokesperson for Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD), estimates there are currently 10 micro-housing proposals under review. (Since these are reviewed in the same way as are apartment projects, the department doesn’t officially single out these proposals.)
The trend is driven by the need for cheaper single living spaces, and it is evident in other cities as well. In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg held a contest this summer for new micro-apartment building designs. San Francisco is currently considering whether to reduce minimum apartment sizes to 150 square feet to make room for micro-housing by the bay.
“People who came to capitol hill and started raising families recognized they were living in a dense environment,” says Cummings, “But They didn’t expect the city to upzone without any process.”
Developers here didn’t have to wait for a vote. “Existing codes have allowed this housing option based on the current definitions for a ‘dwelling unit’ and ‘household,’” says Stevens. “A single dwelling unit can house up to eight unrelated people utilizing a single kitchen and common space.” Rents for the smallest rooms start at around $495 a month without parking, and include utilities, Wi-Fi and, usually, furniture.
The buildings have a fan base. Redmond’s Tudor Manor project helped the city win a Governor’s Smart Communities Award as an example of “smart growth.” Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn blogged his approval of the micro-apartment concept this January as an “affordable, transit-friendly option.”
A.P. Hurd, vice president at Touchstone, a Seattle-based commercial real estate development firm, and co-author of the recently published book The Carbon Efficient City, lived in an apartment of less than 300 square feet for three years in New York City, and supports the buildings. “Finding ways we can house people in more compact environments that are a good deal for them…is a good thing,” she says. “The less space you build, the less space you have to heat and cool—that reduces the amount of energy you use.” Even better, the buildings, situated in walkable neighborhoods near transit, accommodate—and even reward, with lower rents and sometimes transit credits—the carless.
Demand is driven partly by demographics. “We’re more and more of a singles society,” says Jim Potter, chair of Kauri Investments. Potter said his typical renters are in their early 30s and earn between $2,000 and $3,000 a month. Some tenants have a single-family home outside the city, and rent to avoid a daily commute. Potter describes his customers as “busy and active,” and in need of a place to sleep and shower.
But while shrinking digs might please politicians and some budget-minded renters, some neighbors, even those who support the idea of density, aren’t thrilled with the new buildings.
One objection is that here in Seattle, unlike in San Francisco or New York, the process of creating code to allow such buildings isn’t currently up for review—it’s old code. So micro-apartments pop up, sometimes with little warning, in places where neighbors have been expecting traditional four- to six-unit buildings. With micro-apartments, “unit” is likely redefined to mean an entire floor of eight tiny apartments with locking doors and bathrooms, plus one kitchen and one common area.
Ed Cummings is a business strategy consultant who has lived on Capitol Hill with his family for nine years, on a street of primarily single-family homes. He says he and his neighbors understood that they had moved into a multifamily zone, but were surprised to learn that a nearby single-family house was being torn down to build micro-apartments. It wasn’t evident from the building plans, and only came to light because the developer inquired about piggybacking on a neighbor’s sewer line to accommodate the large number of individual bathrooms. “People who came to Capitol Hill and fixed up old houses and started raising families recognized they were living in a dense environment,” says Cummings, “but they didn’t expect the city to upzone without any process.” He would like to see the city assess where such buildings are most appropriate. “There’s no valve controlling how many of these there are,” he says. “They should have a set of indicated and non-indicated conditions, public notice and a public comment period. I own a multifamily property myself,” he says. “Apparently I could go from four to 24 units, and tough luck on my neighbors.”
Cummings thinks this project is a bad fit for several reasons, including the lack of transit on the street, and increased traffic and parking demand in a noncommercial area—most of these buildings offer little to no parking for residents, and if it exists, it costs extra. (Potter claims only about 10 percent of his tenants typically have cars. The DPD’s Stevens says a series of code changes over the last 10 years means parking is not currently required for many apartments in most city neighborhoods.) Cummings also points out that the adjacent elementary school is an amenity that won’t be used by singles in micro-apartments, but could have been used by people in single or multifamily homes. Stevens responds, “Everyone needs housing, and our policy is to focus growth in areas that have the infrastructure to support it (i.e. parks, public transit, access to goods and services).”
But that policy, too, is causing some resentment. “I’m living in a neighborhood that’s already met its density goal,” says Patrick Tompkins, a Capitol Hill resident and former building contractor. He isn’t specifically against micro-apartments; his broader concern is that such buildings are being concentrated in neighborhoods like his, a block east of Group Health, where traffic is already a “circus.” “How much density are we supposed to take?” he asks. “If density is such an important goal, then why aren’t we pursuing it citywide?” During a recent kerfuffle over another longstanding zoning loophole that is allowing developers to wedge second homes onto single-family properties in neighborhoods such as Green Lake and Queen Anne, Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin took the side of neighbors who objected, and said he’d work to close the loophole, but he’s made no such moves to change micro-apartment codes. “We’re getting the sense that we’re being treated like second-class citizens,” says Tompkins of his neighborhood.
The city has no plans to change the codes, but it is “tracking complaints,” says Stevens. “We are watching to see if there are any unintended consequences from such micro-units.” Tompkins has another suggestion. “If they’d like do an experiment and build some of these in Madrona on Richard Conlin’s street, I’d be happy with that.”
[ Editor's Note:  We can expect to see similar attempts to upzone Marinwood like this.  See related post where Planning Commissioner Ericka Erickson advocates multifamilies in single family neighborhoods HERE.  While Marinwood lost the Priority Development Area status, it is still targeted for urbanization.  We must save our beautiful neighborhood!]

The developers win (and homeowners like you lose) Lessons for Marin from Seattle, WA

Lot splitting and building tall apartment buildings is one way Marin
 will increase density in your single family neighborhood.

Editor's Note: This is an email that comes to us from our "comrades in arms" against Stupid planning that destroy single family neighborhoods.  In Seattle, "Smart Growth" planners and politicians have allowed "sideyard" houses and apartments in the formerly sylvan, historic neighborhoods.  In Marin, we are facing the same future if our "smart growth" mafia is allowed to wreck neighborhoods by upzoning to allow lot splits and multifamily homes.  To see what they are objecting too check out their photo essay on 122 obnoxious homes that have been crowded into their neighborhoods destroying backyards, sunlight and privacy, while increasing traffic, pollution and destroying the fabric of the neighborhoods.  We have seen the bold vision of ABAG to urbanize Marin.  We must Save Marin again!
Sorry, supporters, homeowners and citizens. We tried, but the developers won.

At yesterday's Planning, Land Use and Sustainability committee meeting, the council members voted on the most controversial aspects of the new building codes for backyard / side yard houses and demonstrated that they want this kind of development to continue unabated.

Council member Mike O'Brien -- the head of the PLUS committee -- pushed hard on all the other committee members to vote in favor of the Smart Growth Seattle pro-developer issues. He's eager to wrap this up, end the moratorium and let the developers start building in backyards and side yards again.

Council member Sally Clark -- who has been invisible for the last 19 months that this issue was being discussed -- showed up today to cast her votes in favor of the Smart Growth Seattle pro-developer issues, as well. She's an alternative member of the committee. If she had not showed up to support the developers, the outcome of yesterday's voting would have been very different.

During the committee's discussion period, O'Brien claimed to be aware of a few bad examples of backyard / side yard houses, but said he'd also seen many that were really good for their neighborhoods. Really?

- It sounds like Mr. O'Brien missed these photos and addresses for 122 backyard / side yard houses that are driving neighborhoods all across the city nuts.

- He must have also missed the last two years of media coverage showing homeowner after homeowner forced to live in the shadows of backyard / side yard houses.

- Somehow he also missed the petition signed by 760 Seattleites who are furious about backyard / side yard houses.

- Maybe he's forgotten about the hundreds of angry citizens who called, wrote letters, and took time off work to personally testify about this issue in front of him and the rest of the city council over the last 19 months.


It seems all that's really sticking with him at this point is the private tour that the developers took him on last month to show off the few backyard / side yard houses that they want the public to see.

Council members Nick Licata and Tim Burgess tried to make a stand on a few of the uglier amendments voted on yesterday but were unsuccessful.

The only issue the committee wasn't able to resolve is the developers' dream of getting The 100 Percent Rule passed. Both O'Brien and Clark argued that the rule would be good for the city, or at least not terribly bad. Clark even tried to convince the other council members that it would replace the existing 75/80 Rule (not true). But Licata and Burgess know better. They held their ground and said they were opposed. Burgess said he thought The 100 Percent Rule would be something the city would later regret (and he's right). So that amendment will be debated, and potentially voted on, by the entire city council at the city council's May 19 meeting.

Here's a summary of what the future in Seattle looks like for backyard / side yard houses (and the homeowners who have to live around them):


Build more towering three-story houses -- The old height limit for the smallest of backyard / side yard lots was 30 feet. The new height limit is 27 feet. Requiring backyard / side yard houses to be just three feet shorter isn't going to provide any relief for the surrounding neighborhood. It's a slap in the face to everyone (that's all 750-plus of you) who complained that these giant boxes are ruining the neighborhood dynamic

Turn existing small-lot homes into skinny neighborhood skyscrapers -- The developers at Smart Growth Seattle lobbied council member O'Brien aggressively over the last six weeks to make it easier for them to also turn existing small homes on small lots into three-story skinny towers. Smart

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fairfax Town Clerk, Michelle Gardner, "I have my ministerial duties to perform"

Fairfax Town Clerk, Michelle Gardner,  "I have my ministerial duties to perform"

Fairfax petition gatherers will ask judge to certify housing referendum signatures see in the Marin IJ.

A group of Fairfax residents upset about a zoning change to permit 124 new housing units in town said Tuesday they will ask a judge to rule on whether the signatures they gathered for a referendum were collected legally.
Last week, Fairfax Town Clerk Michele Gardner notified the group that she couldn't certify the petitions because they lacked a written declaration that the people who gathered the 1,015 signatures were 18 or older.

"I have a ministerial duty to reject a petition that doesn't meet the statutory requirements, and I have no discretion," Gardner said. "I can't decide which of the state laws to disregard. I've tried to explain that to people."

On Tuesday, former Fairfax councilman Niccolo Caldararo said that he and former councilman Frank Egger would file a peremptory writ of mandate no later than Wednesday morning.

"We made sure that all of our signature gatherers were registered voters," Caldararo said, "and you can't be a registered voter unless you're over 18, so it seems absurd."

Caldararo said all of the petition gatherers are now signing declarations that they were 18 or older when they collected the signatures.

"So we can present them to the judge," Caldararo said. "Then it will be up to the judge to decide whether the letter of the law has been accomplished."

If the referendum is certified, it will be up to the Fairfax Town Council whether to put the matter to a vote or rescind the ordinance. If it were put to a vote, the council could either place the referendum on the November ballot or hold a special election next year.

The controversial zoning ordinance was adopted March 5 on a 3-1-1 vote. Councilman Larry Bragman cast the dissenting vote, while Councilwoman Barbara Coler was prevented from voting due to a conflict of interest.

The ordinance implements zoning changes necessary to bring the town into compliance with state housing law. Every county and municipality in California is required to design its zoning laws so as to encourage the creation of a certain number of housing units every seven years.
The areas affected by the rezoning are:

• 53 units in the second stories of buildings throughout the downtown;
• a minimum of 20 units per acre on two acres at the Christ Lutheran Church property on the west end of town;
• 22 units at the site of the former Mandarin Garden restaurant at 10 Olema Road;
• 9 units at School Street Plaza.

Contact Richard Halstead via e-mail at Follow him at

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Proof that Susan Adams and Judy Arnold created the Marinwood Priority Development Area on August 7, 2007

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Susan Adams is currently claiming that she does not know about the Marinwood Priority Development Area.   It was presented as all land with 1/2 mile of the 101 corridor which includes all land east of Sepulveda as the map below.  This includes all of the "stones" north of Miller Creek Rd.

Does Supervisor Susan Adams deny this Marinwood Priority Development Area that she created
on August 7, 2006?  Judy Arnold seconded the motion and joked that Tam Almonte is next.

Save your Community. Save your Future. Speak Up!

See the full August 7, 2007 Board of Supervisors meeting here

2012 Distribution of new low income housing in Unincorporated Marin

Fairfax Town Clerk to Citizens, "Your petition is Illegal!"

Fairfax petition for a referendum on housing rejected on a technicality

The Marin housing revolt has suffered a setback in Fairfax.
Opponents of a zoning change approved by the Town Council that would allow 172 new housing units were stunned when Town Clerk Michele Gardner rejected their 1,000-signature petition for a referendum on the housing issue on the November ballot.
"They don't want it to be put to a vote of the people," said opposition leader Frank Egger, a former mayor and councilman.
On Thursday, Gardner said in a letter to Egger that she would not certify the petition because it lacked a written declaration that the people circulating it are at least 18 years old. She cited a change in the California elections code that went into effect in January. Formerly, those circulating referendum petitions had only be registered voters. Now they have to say they are 18 or older.
Egger, who says he was not aware that the code had been changed four months ago, sees the unprecedented rejection of an otherwise legal referendum as a petty reaction to the growing "Marin Against Density" movement opposed to long-range housing plans proposed by the Association of Bay Area Governments.
"What we're seeing in Marin is an ABAG rebellion," Egger said. "That's what's going on. It's not just Fairfax."
Egger said neither the town clerk nor the town attorney said anything about the new requirement after they reviewed the petition when he turned it in at Town Hall on April 2.
"If they had told us when we turned it in we could have corrected it," he said. "I personally know all 42 of the circulators and not only are they all 18 years of age or older but 39 of them are registered voters and Fairfax residents."
On March 5, the Town Council, on a three-vote majority, adopted a change in zoning that ostensibly brought the town into compliance with state housing requirements.
"The action was the first step in implementing the general plan on housing," said Town Manager Garrett Toy.
Saying the additional housing will lead to traffic, parking and other problems from more people in town, opponents gathered 1,015 signatures for a referendum on the zoning change. If certified, it would have forced the Town Council to rescind its action or put it on the ballot for voters to decide. A total of 524 valid signatures were required. On April 10, Marin County Registrar of Voters Elaine Ginnold said a random sample of the petition showed that the referendum effort had "plenty of signatures."
Under the zoning change, the housing plan calls for 53 units in the second stories of buildings throughout downtown, 20 units per acre on the two-acre Christ Lutheran Church property in west Fairfax, 22 units on the former Mandarin Garden restaurant site at 10 Olema Road and nine units at School Street Plaza near downtown.
The town manager said only the town clerk and her designated representatives were legally allowed to review the referendum petition after it was turned in.
Her letter to reject it came after the Town Council met in closed session on Tuesday evening for what was announced as "a conference with legal counsel on anticipated litigation."
"I can't tell you whether they met about this or something else," the town manager said. "I can't share with you what the topic was."
Mayor David Weinsoff, who voted for the zoning change, was asked to comment on the issue. He referred the request to the town manager. The Town Council will discuss the issue at its meeting on Wednesday night.

Monday, May 5, 2014

China's Smart Growth is Dumb according to Western Planner.

China's Mega-Cities Are Combining Into Mega-Regions, but They're Doing It Wrong

AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan

Editor's Note: ABAG with Plan Bay Area ( ) hopes to urbanize the entire San Francisco Bay Region into a Mega-City like Chongqing.  It is the latest fad and ultimate aim of Smart Growth, that claims to create a more efficient, environmentally sustainable human habitation. This is despite the facts that intensive growth, intensifies pollution, traffic, crime, social ills and every negative metric for "human scale livability". 

I had to chuckle at the hubris of the western planner Eric Marcusson with Aecom in this article who thinks that Chongqing is doing it "all wrong" because it isn't developing the way he'd like.  It is little surprise to me, that the economy and people move in the direction of economic advantage and unexpected patterns of growth.  It turns out the self proclaimed "smart growth geniuses" don't have all the answers.  If a command economy like China can't make "smart growth" work, what chance do you think it has for success in the San Francisco Bay Area?

You may never have heard of the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing, but by some measures it is one of the largest and fastest-growing cities in the world, with an official population of 29 million—about the same as Saudi Arabia—and an unofficial population of 32 million or more.

The city center of Chongqing boasts a mere 9 million people, but dozens of satellite districts such as Fuling (population 1 million) and Wanzhou (1.6 million) are each major cities in their own right. In total, Chongqing covers an area the size of Austria, and it’s about to become part of a mega-region that is even larger, part of a move in China to create the biggest urban municipalities on Earth.

Chongqing, for example, will be part of the even larger Chuanyu mega-region, which also includes the major city of Chengdu and 13 cities from Sichuan province. The Capital Economic Zone encompasses Beijing and Tianjin; the Pearl River Delta region includes Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong; and the Yangtze River Delta region is centered around Shanghai.

China isn’t alone in the development of mega-regions—greater Tokyo and the Washington, D.C.-Boston corridor also have similarly huge populations and geographies—but China’s ongoing urbanization and rapid growth is making it something of a laboratory for urban planning on a massive scale. The theoretical appeal of ever-larger municipal areas is that they will create efficiencies in the delivery of services like transport and sanitation, while knitting together a thriving urban ecosystem.

The trouble is that China’s mega-cities and mega-regions aren’t being built with an eye toward maximizing the advantages and minimizing the downsides of creating these massive metropolises. Most importantly, the mega-regions are being built around a small number of city centers, many of which are surrounded by concentric circles of commuters and bedroom communities that makes traffic hellish and pollution even worse.

“Among the 10 developed and emerging mega-regions in China, only a limited number have exhibited a significant level of polycentricity,” concluded a report by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (PDF). “Around half of the 10 mega-regions are either dominated by a single major center, or by a limited number of major centers which are located closely to one another.”

This is a problem because it ultimately means everyone will want to work in close proximity to the city centers, which causes sky-high property prices and transportation headaches. Size doesn’t always have to be a negative, though.

“Mega-cities are a necessary step in the development of urban areas,” Eric Marcusson, a Chongqing-based urban planner at Aecom, told Quartz. “A city is just an urban area with one center, but to increase growth and productivity cities eventually need to encompass more, complimentary centers.”

Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that China is following the advice of urban planners like Marcusson. Take Beijing, a city of around 20 million residents with just one main center for commerce and productivity. It is surrounded by concentric ring roads that create heavy traffic, and even its very good subway system is hugely overcrowded. Nevertheless, the Chinese government seems determined to double-down on Beijing, combining it with the city of  Tianjin and parts of Hebei province into one huge megalopolis. But as Quartz has reported, while Hebei isn’t likely to attract workers away from Beijing, the other cities in the proposed “Jing-Jin-Ji” region are mostly suburbs, with no real urban centers of their own—precisely the opposite to what the specialists advise.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Susan Adams argues for subsidized "Servant's Quarters" for Marin Employers

Marin County Supervisor discusses the requirement to provide "affordable" housing (subsidized) so that employers could hire people who live close to work. Does that mean that government entities are selecting employees for businesses?

When we provide "workforce" housing under the guise reducing green house gases, will we then require that they remain employed in Marin?  What happens when the tenant finds a job in San Franscisco?  Will they be evicted? 

Isn't it better to have economic freedom and personal liberty?

We must Save Marin again.  Vote for Damon Connolly for District One Supervisor on June 3rd.

The Marin County Housing Element Show at the Pickleweed Community Center in San Rafael on May 3, 2014

The Community Development Department of Marin County brought their Housing Element roadshow to the Al Boro Pickleweed Community Center in the Canal District in San Rafael.

Less than forty people attended.  About half present were county employees either employed as facilitators or acting as "concerned citizens". About a quarter were paid housing activists, architects, tenant activists and builders who will financially benefit from taxpayer subsidized housing and a few regular citizens concerned about the  over development of Marin.

The event was staged to produce a predetermined outcome while creating the illusion of public participation, utilizing the Delphi Technique.  Participants were not allowed to question the data, the housing locations or the basic underpinnings of their methodology.

The video is just the introductory session and promotional video. The second part of the exercise is when everyone breaks out to small groups were the real manipulation happens.

With an overwhelming presence of housing planners and activists, there is certainty that the outcome will be for an aggressive campaign to build more tax payer subsidized affordable housing. (Wall street bankers and mega corporations purchasing the tax benefits are thrilled by our "generosity")

It is best that you review the Delphi Technique video/article to place the above video in context.

See related posts: 

How you will be manipulated at the Housing Element meetings using the Delphi Technique

and video

The Delphi Technique

Rob Astorino, Westchester County Chief Executive, explains HUD attack on the Nassau suburbs during campaign video

a Social Justice groups in Marin are threatening to sue Marin for "discriminatory zoning regulations" i.e. single family neighborhoods that don't allow high density housing.  Susan Adams, Judy Arnold, Steve Kinsey VOLUNTEERED Marin for HUD Housing programs to correct "disparate impacts" to "impacted classes" .  Marinwood has been volunteered to host HUD housing for this social engineering experiment by Susan Adams in 2012. 

We appreciate diversity but we don't think building "Big Box Apartments" next to the freeway, will do anything but create a socio-economic island of isolation in Marin.  We advocate smaller apartments in keeping with Marin's suburban character, scattered through out Marin.