See the Full Article: Dick Spotswood: County supervisors should have told HUD to 'get lost'
ON TUESDAY, the Board of Supervisors approved a housing implementation plan demanded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that could significantly change Marin's landscape.
In a stealth mode, supervisors approved their "Analysis of Impediment to Fair Housing Choice and Implementation Plan" that binds the county and its cities to a process that irrationally meshes the concepts of "affordable housing" and "fair housing" and sets a slew of vague requirements with the force of law.
Out-of-control HUD staffers have decided that upper-middle class, predominately white suburbs are their new targets. They started with Westchester County, New York. Now it's Marin's turn.
Those areas which don't meet HUD's ideal of 1980s style of "diversity" will pay a price.
It's shocking and wrong that in 2011 anyone, much less a federal agency, is focusing on race-based policymaking. That they voice concern over "protected classes" doesn't make it right.
Pursuant to the "voluntary compliance agreement" signed with HUD last November and the new Implementation Plan, Marin agrees to "affirmatively further fair housing."
It then goes overboard by mandating that Marin must "go beyond the absence of illegal discrimination; there is also an obligation to take local action to change past patterns that emerge from historic inequalities."
This lingo means that Marin must satisfy federal racial and ethnic expectations or face sanctions.
Marin governments will now be subject to federal scrutiny to achieve an acceptable level of "diversity." If a jurisdiction's zoning doesn't allow more housing "opportunities," planning laws must be changed.
Even if Marin provides more housing, occupants must meet regional racial diversity guidelines.
Remember, the plan insists, never use the word "quotas" when referring to this process.
Most Marinites are not racists. They actively support nondiscrimination. That counts for little. The reality is that housing activists resent that upper-middle class whites and Asians can afford to live in attractive, crime-free communities.
HUD required the county prepare an "Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choices."
Staff chose Fair Housing of Marin to draft the all-important analysis. The Marin Community Foundation-funded nonprofit is an unabashed housing and diversity advocate. Choosing Fair Housing to perform an impartial housing study is akin to the Treasury hiring Goldman Sachs to determine if the financial services industry is taking undue risks.
MCF's hands are all over this process.
Once MCF began shifting from aiding nonprofits to shaping public policy to align with their agenda, it began funding advocates for its policies. Whether its Stand Up for Neighborly Novato, Fair Housing of Marin or Grassroots Leadership Committee, follow the money and you'll find MCF.
This "Implementation Plan" will ultimately increase high-density housing in all Marin towns. The county must recruit region-wide to fill that housing because Marin's current population isn't diverse enough.
Forget that affordable housing is supposedly for local cops, teachers and retail workers. Now it's aimed to satisfying HUD's racial diversity goals.
The supervisors weren't up-front about the plan's land-use implications. The Community Development Block Grant Committee, chaired by Supervisor Judy Arnold, held public hearings to obtain the input primarily from residents in Marin City, San Rafael's Canal and from housing activists.
There were no hearings in Novato, where housing is topic one.
HUD's jurisdiction is based on Marin's receipt of $2.4 million in federal affordable housing cash. That's small potatoes given high construction costs. Marin should have declined the money and told HUD to get lost.
Instead, with minimum notice, the Analysis and the Implementation Plan went to the Board last Tuesday.
Despite cries for a continuance to allow broad-based public input, supervisors barreled ahead and unanimously approved the package.
Columnist Dick Spotswood of Mill Valley shares his views on local politics every Sunday in the IJ. His email address is email@example.com. Read his musings at http://blogs.marinij.com/spotswood/