Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Marin City Fights Back! Marin city meeting about the PDA redevelopment

Here is the unedited version of the Marin City residents meetings to discuss the redevelopment of Golden Gate villages. Emotions were heated as residents fought for fairness.

I am reminded of the Vietnam era military expression, "You've got to destroy a village to save it".  

Marin city is perhaps the most deep rooted community of all in Marin.  It's residents go back generations to the WWII shipbuilding industry and the Deep South where many of the original workers came from.

The meeting begins with the consultant from EMG describing the millions of dollars of deferred maintenance and expected future capital costs.  His eighty page report is meant to lay the groundwork for the NEED of replacement housing.  (As an aside, the consultant had no idea what EMG stood for.  I think it means "Evil Money Grubbers".  He also referred to Marin City as "Marina City". Perhaps this is the new name planners have for the area just as "Hunters Point" in SF has been rechristened as "Hunters View" to attract new residents.)

Residents have pointed out that deferred maintenance has going on for decades.  Repair the buildings and leave us alone.  Please do not destroy this vibrant community that we love.

Lewis Jordan, Marin Housing Authority director fended off sharp criticism.  I was impressed with his ability to stay cool.  He came from Cabrini Green in Chicago that was dismantled in favor of smaller "smart growth" developments. Residents have reason to be concerned about the future of their community.

The future of public housing according to the facilitator is with "public-private partnerships" with companies like Bridge Housing that is the suitor for the Marinwood Plaza housing project.  They make money for their non profit by selling tax advantaged investments to Wall Street and huge management fees to run the facilities often taking 60% or more of the rents in "fees".  They also receive millions in public funds and donations to their non profit.  Nice work if you can get it.

The "Marina City PDA" is going to be a gold mine for consultants, developers, builders and politicians. Residents have every reason to be concerned.  

Planners and Politicians need to stop talking about "housing" and start talking about "community".  We shouldn't be destroying villages to save them.

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