Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Chinese Duck Farmer opposes the new "Transit oriented development" in his town.

Is this what the planners meant by living close to the transit hub?
Is everyone that disagrees with Government development policy a NIMBY?  

The above video and CBS story is self explanatory.   It shows one heroic struggle of a property owner against the tyranical government planners and the developers who would take his property. 

Unfortunately, the Marinwood Priority Development Area has already been created, signalling big changes to our community by ABAG/ Marin central planners.  Marinwood Plaza is the first of the developments to be attempted.  There are five in the 2012 Housing Element with other large developments  (Rocking H ranch and other parcels under informal consideration).  The current housing plans, if fullfilled, will increase our population 25% with low income, high density apartments.
Is this the future you want for our community?

Sometimes, it takes the simple act of defiance by a duck farmer in a Communist County to understand what freedom means.

The Twin Cities has their own "Plan Bay Area" Regional Power Grab

Editor's Note: Communities all across the country are having their local government and property rights radically altered by regional governments. This will cost the suburbs their independence and local democracy under the guise of "sustainable cities. Here is what is happening in Minnesota. Note how it is earily similar to Plan Bay Area.

Twin Cities suburbs should beware of the Met Council

  • Updated: August 3, 2013 - 4:48 PM
Crusaders for ‘regionalism’ want a more concentrated, centrally planned Twin Cities. Those who don’t may never know what hit them.

  • The Twin Cities of 2040 will likely be starkly different from the place you live now. People will increasingly live in dense, urban concentrations, even if they’d prefer a house with a yard outside the 494 beltway.
Government planners will have power to steer new jobs into central cities and first-ring suburbs, and to set what amounts to quotas for people of different incomes and races in neighborhoods and schools throughout the metro area. Outside the urban core, highway conditions will deteriorate and congestion — encouraged by government — will get worse.

As these changes unfold, you’ll never be sure how the freedom and quality of life you once took for granted slipped away. Plenty of elected officials will be as frustrated as you are. But mysteriously, they too will stand powerless as choices constrict.

What will be the engine of this transformation? An out-of-the-limelight agency we generally think of as running the buses and occasionally approving a new runway at the airport: the Metropolitan Council.
In coming months, the council will release a draft of “Thrive MSP 2040” — its comprehensive plan to shape development in the seven-county region over the next 30 years. Powerful forces are coalescing to use the document as a tool for social planners to use to design their vision of the perfect society — and to impose it on the rest of us.

A huge, unchecked power grab is about to take place beneath our noses. But mayors and city councils will find it hard to push back. That’s because the Met Council will increasingly wield the power to decide which municipalities thrive and which decline. It will both write the rules for development and hold the purse strings.
The Met Council was established in the mid-1960s at the behest of Republican-leaning policymakers, who believed regional planning of infrastructure could enhance efficiency. Its reach has grown dramatically, and today it allocates funds (state, federal and regional) among the region’s 187 municipalities for projects ranging from highway improvement to bridges to sewer lines. In the process, the council’s role has expanded well beyond its original mandate, as government so often does.

We can expect MSP 2040 to put this process on steroids, giving the agency a license, over time, to dramatically remake the entire region.

‘Equity,’ ‘sustainability’

The forces shaping MSP 2040 — whose final vision the council will approve in 2014 — are part of a growing nationwide movement called “regionalism.”

Regional planning of service delivery and infrastructure is important, of course. But “regionalism,” as an ideology, is not, as its name suggests, about promoting the good of a region as a whole. It’s about metro centers — the urban core and inner-ring suburbs — usurping control over outer-ring communities to advance their own interests and, in the process, effectively replacing local elected officials with a handful of regional governments.

In the case of the Twin Cities, the ramifications for democratic self-rule are profound. The Met Council’s 17 members are not elected. Though they come from different parts of the seven-county area, they don’t represent the needs and interests of voters there. They are all appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton, and they owe their allegiance to him.

The press for regionalism is coming from the highest power in the land: the Obama White House. The Obama administration’s campaign to build the regulatory framework to implement the movement’s agenda is documented in political analyst Stanley Kurtz’s 2012 book, “Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities.”

The Twin Cities may be a showcase for how far the regionalist crusade can go. Our Met Council is unique, and we already have regional tax-base sharing — one of the movement’s most sought-after tools.

An army of academics, environmental organizations, foundations, and transit advocacy and left-wing religious groups is working to ensure that MSP 2040 greatly expands the Met Council’s regulatory control. And there’s a movement underway to organize politicians from inner-ring suburbs and Minneapolis and St. Paul, with the goal of taking on the outer-ring suburbs and forging a permanent legislative majority for the regionalist agenda.

Regionalism is driven by a core ideological conviction: The cause of the poverty and social dysfunction that bedevil America’s cities is the greed and racial bigotry of suburbanites — especially those in prosperous, outer-ring suburbs, which are viewed as unjustly excluding the poor. Regionalists believe that financial aid for the inner ring won’t remedy this injustice. A profound change in governance is required.

What sort of change? The title of a book by regionalist guru David Rusk puts it bluntly: “Cities without Suburbs.” In regionalists’ view, suburbs with their own tax bases are, by definition, a menace to cities, and the distinctions between the two must be wiped out as completely as possible.

Regionalists’ strategy to effectively merge cities and suburbs turns on two ideologically freighted buzzwords: “equity” and “sustainability.” “Equity” is code for using public policy to redistribute wealth and to engineer economic equality among demographic groups.

Regionalists view metrowide “economic integration” as one of government’s primary responsibilities. Their plan to accomplish it is twofold: Disperse urban poverty throughout a metro area via low-income housing and make suburban life so inconvenient and expensive that suburbanites are pushed back into the city.

“Sustainability” means policies that would override market forces to ensure that in the future, the great majority of new jobs, economic development and public works projects are funneled into the metro area’s urban core and inner ring — where, not coincidentally, regionalists’ own political base is concentrated. “Sustainable” policies promote high-density, Manhattan-style living, and attempt to wean us away from our cars and push us to walk, bike or use public transit to get to work.

As one critic — speculating on MSP 2040’s likely outcome — lamented: “Do we all have to live in a 1,500-square-foot condo above a coffee shop on a transit line?”

Suburbanites will disproportionately shoulder the costs of this socially engineered transformation, paying more in taxes and getting less back in infrastructure and public services.

Purse strings
Regionalists’ strategy for imposing their agenda hinges on giving regional bodies like the Met Council the ultimate trump: the power of the checkbook. The Obama administration’s “Sustainable Communities Initiative” (SCI) provides a model. SCI channels federal funds for land use, transportation and housing projects through regional bodies. The catch is that, to participate, municipalities must embrace redistributive “equity” goals.

The Met Council already has announced that “equity” and “mitigating economic and social disparities through regional investments” will be top priorities of MSP 2040. This explicit embrace of social engineering goals appears to signal an intent to initiate what could be a virtually limitless remake of our metro area.

Special-interest groups are lining up to lobby for proposals to embed “equity” and “sustainability” criteria in Met Council plans and/or funding criteria. These proposals include creating one giant seven-county metro school district to facilitate apportionment of students by race and income, and ensuring that “at least 70 percent of projected growth in population and households” in the next 30 years takes place through “infill and redevelopment of already urbanized land.”

In the future, if Prior Lake or Anoka want to get a grant to expand a major regional highway, officials there may need to demonstrate that their city meets the council’s “equity” criteria on low-income housing and doesn’t allow “exclusionary” zoning, instead of just showing that the project would improve safety or reduce congestion.

Over time, demands could escalate. Eventually, for example, a municipality may have to meet onerous “carbon footprint” or “clean energy” requirements to get approval for a new sewer line. Pressure will mount to make state and federal aid of all kinds contingent on meeting Met Council social planning dictates.
Most likely, the council will continue to operate under the fiction that cities have a choice. Yet a city council or a county board that declines to comply with “regionalist” criteria — citing its citizens’ needs and preferences — would ensure that funds and approval for improvement would stop, and so would remain frozen in time.

Advocates insist that the Twin Cities must embrace regionalist policies to remain “economically competitive.” In fact, top-down planning by unaccountable bureaucrats that distorts market forces is likely to constrict overall prosperity and stymie development. Ironically, it’s also likely to increase “sprawl,” as people flee to cities like Delano or Elk River to get beyond the Met Council’s iron grip.

Most importantly, the direction the Met Council is heading is inconsistent with our deepest beliefs as a people. The American dream is about striving for a better life through economic growth, not redistribution of wealth. Regionalists’ Orwellian appeals to “equity” and “sustainability” are hostile to our cherished traditions of individual liberty, personal responsibility and local self-government.
Katherine Kersten is a senior fellow at the Center of the American Experiment. The views expressed here are her own. She is at

Thursday, October 1, 2015

School Expansion Costs Estimate $2.5- 3 Million Dollars,

According to Luke McCann, deputy Superintendent Marin County Office of Education, the cost to build a 6000 square foot modular addition is $2.5 - $3 million dollars. It is being built to accomodate the County Community School at the Las Gallinas campus. The school will house 40 students and instructors.  The amount does not include instructors, books, computers or furnishings.   Above is the budgeted cost estimate.  The structure is modular and built on a slab foundation.

The cost of portables can run around $170,000 installed each.  We will need 5-7 portables for a total cost of $1.5 million dollarsl

The Marinwood Village project by Bridge Housing was initially estimated to bring 150 students which will definitely trigger expansion of our schools. Through the  "magic" of statistics they revised their estimates to 60 students.  Bridge Housing "school impact fee" is estimated to be only $200,000 total.  

For this reason alone, the Marinwood Village project should be halted until an equitable financing scheme can be found that will not erode the funding of our Dixie School district.

We must insist that the supervisors get the math right on school funding when planning for non-profit developments. 

Our children's education, our community is not "for sale".

Save Marinwood. Our community. Our future.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Save Marin (again)

Tell Marin County: Let Tomales Bay Oyster Co Keep Their Picnic Area Open for Shucking!

Sign the Petition!
Tell Marin County: 

"Let Tomales Bay Oyster Co 
Keep Their Picnic Area Open for Shucking!"

On September 16, 2015 the Marin County Community Development Agency ordered that Tomales Bay Oyster Company remove its picnic tables and barbeque facilities, cut our hours of operation from seven days a week to only three days and additionally the total number of employees can be only eight for the entire operation including farming and retail sales which will eliminate several employee positions.

Marin County Community Development Agency Code Enforcement says, “all picnicking and barbeque facilities must be removed, there cannot be any special events and the business must operate with the 1987 approved retail hours [Friday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.]."

We would like to work with the Marin County Community Development Agency , The Marin County Planning Department and Marin County Board of Supervisors to find a solution where we can continue to support barbeque facilities, picnicking, and retail sales every day and keep the current employees. The CDA action is causing TBOC to lay several full time and numerous part time employees and will severely curb retail sales making the business less profitable.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The 'Affordable Housing' Fraud

Thomas Sowell
Nowhere has there been so much hand wringing over a lack of "affordable housing," as among politicians and others in coastal California. And nobody has done more to make housing unaffordable than those same politicians and their supporters.
A recent survey showed that the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco was just over $3,500. Some people are paying $1,800 a month just to rent a bunk bed in a San Francisco apartment.

It is not just in San Francisco that putting a roof over your head can take a big chunk out of your pay check. The whole Bay Area is like that. Thirty miles away, Palo Alto home prices are similarly unbelievable.

One house in Palo Alto, built more than 70 years ago, and just over one thousand square feet in size, was offered for sale at $1.5 million. And most asking prices are bid up further in such places.

Another city in the Bay Area with astronomical housing prices, San Mateo, recently held a public meeting and appointed a task force to look into the issue of "affordable housing."

Public meetings, task forces and political hand-wringing about a need for "affordable housing" occur all up and down the San Francisco peninsula, because this is supposed to be such a "complex" issue.

Someone once told President Ronald Reagan that a solution to some controversial issue was "complex." President Reagan replied that the issue was in fact simple, "but it is not easy."

Is the solution to unaffordable housing prices in parts of California simple? Yes. It is as simple as supply and demand. What gets complicated is evading the obvious, because it is politically painful.

One of the first things taught in an introductory economics course is supply and demand. When a growing population creates a growing demand for housing, and the government blocks housing from being built, the price of existing housing goes up.

This is not a breakthrough on the frontiers of knowledge. Economists have understood supply and demand for centuries -- and so have many other people who never studied economics.

Housing prices in San Francisco, and in many other communities for miles around, were once no higher than in the rest of the United States. But, beginning in the 1970s, housing prices in these communities skyrocketed to three or four times the national average.

Why? Because local government laws and policies severely restricted, or banned outright, the building of anything on vast areas of land. This is called preserving "open space," and "open space" has become almost a cult obsession among self-righteous environmental activists, many of whom are sufficiently affluent that they don't have to worry about housing prices.

Some others have bought the argument that there is just very little land left in coastal California, on which to build homes. But anyone who drives down Highway 280 for thirty miles or so from San Francisco to Palo Alto, will see mile after mile of vast areas of land with not a building or a house in sight.

How "complex" is it to figure out that letting people build homes in some of that vast expanse of "open space" would keep housing from becoming "unaffordable"?

Was it just a big coincidence that housing prices in coastal California began skyrocketing in the 1970s, when building bans spread like wildfire under the banner of "open space," "saving farmland," or whatever other slogans would impress the gullible?

When more than half the land in San Mateo County is legally off-limits to building, how surprised should we be that housing prices in the city of San Mateo are now so high that politically appointed task forces have to be formed to solve the "complex" question of how things got to be the way they are and what to do about it?

However simple the answer, it will not be easy to go against the organized, self-righteous activists for whom "open space" is a sacred cause, automatically overriding the interests of everybody else.

Was it just a coincidence that some other parts of the country saw skyrocketing housing prices when similar severe restrictions on building went into effect? Or that similar policies in other countries have had the same effect? How "complex" is that?

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is

Monday, September 28, 2015

Redevelopment agencies return, in new guise, to California

Well, it was nice while it lasted. In 2011 Gov. Jerry Brown abolished the hundreds of redevelopment agencies in the state, and for four years property owners did not have to fear that an unaccountable local agency would abuse its eminent domain powers to take their property and give it to a politically connected developer for his private gain. Now, regrettably, the governor has reversed course by signing Assembly Bill 2, which will usher in the return of redevelopment agencies under the friendlier-sounding name “Community Revitalization and Investment Authorities.”
The new law strips away the few protections property owners had under the old redevelopment law, such as the elimination of a blight study, which required at least some objective evidence and documentation of blight in an area targeted for redevelopment.
Under AB2, properties may be redeveloped if, for 80 percent of the redevelopment area, the annual median income is less than 80 percent of the statewide median, and other conditions are met, such as: The unemployment rate is at least 3 percentage points higher than the statewide rate, the crime rate is at least 5 percentage points higher than the statewide rate, and municipal infrastructure, such as streets, sidewalks and parks, is “deteriorated.”
But as the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public-interest law firm that has fought numerous instances of eminent domain abuse, including the infamous Kelo v. City of New London Supreme Court case in 2005, notes: “These criteria punish property owners for things they are powerless to change: unemployment, crime and poor infrastructure. Furthermore, the bill would allow, and actually incentivizes CRIAs to target the most vulnerable populations: those with lower incomes and fewer resources to fight to keep what they have worked so hard to own.”
Research cited by the Legislative Analyst’s Office showed redevelopment agencies do not create any net economic benefit but, at best, merely shift development from one part of the state to another, and that most of the growth that occurs in such areas would have happened with or without RDAs.
Redevelopment agencies were notorious for their corruption, cronyism, mounting debts and abuses of property rights. Property owners in California should brace for more of the same – and then some – from the new Community Revitalization and Investment Authorities.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The United Nations has a radical, dangerous vision for the future of the Web

The United Nations has a radical, dangerous vision for the future of the Web

By Caitlin Dewey September 24

(United Nations Broadband Commission for Digital Development)

It may not have intended to, precisely, but the United Nations just took sides in the Internet’s most brutal culture war.

On Thursday, the organization’s Broadband Commission for Digital Development released a damning “world-wide wake-up call” on what it calls “cyber VAWG,” or violence against women and girls. The report concludes that online harassment is “a problem of pandemic proportion” — which, nbd, we’ve all heard before.

But the United Nations then goes on to propose radical, proactive policy changes for both governments and social networks, effectively projecting a whole new vision for how the Internet could work.

Under U.S. law — the law that, not coincidentally, governs most of the world’s largest online platforms — intermediaries such as Twitter and Facebook generally can’t be held responsible for what people do on them. But the United Nations proposes both that social networks proactively police every profile and post, and that government agencies only “license” those who agree to do so.

“The respect for and security of girls and women must at all times be front and center,” the report reads, not only for those “producing and providing the content,” but also everyone with any role in shaping the “technical backbone and enabling environment of our digital society.”

How that would actually work, we don’t know; the report is light on concrete, actionable policy. But it repeatedly suggests both that social networks need to opt-in to stronger anti-harassment regimes and that governments need to enforce them proactively.

[Contrary Internet crybabies, online speech in the U.S. is really free, actually]

At one point toward the end of the paper, the U.N. panel concludes that “political and governmental bodies need to use their licensing prerogative” to better protect human and women’s rights, only granting licenses to “those Telecoms and search engines” that “supervise content and its dissemination.”

This question, of course, mirrors other, larger debates playing out across the culture, including tiffs over academic “trigger warnings” and debates about Reddit’s foggy future. Writing at Breitbart several weeks ago, the conservative columnist Allum Bokhari described a growing social movement that he dubs “cultural libertarianism”: the rejection of any and all limitations on absolute free expression.

It’s no coincidence that the “cultural libertarians” Bokhari cites are all leading figures in Gamergate, just as it’s no coincidence that the U.N. report references Zoe Quinn, the first victim of that movement. Well over a year after Quinn’s harassment became international news, we still haven’t answered these fundamental questions about what values the Internet should protect and who is responsible for it.

This U.N. report gets us no closer, alas: all but its most modest proposals are unfeasible. We can educate people about gender violence or teach “digital citizenship” in schools, but persuading social networks to police everything their users post is next to impossible. And even if it weren’t, there are serious implications for innovation and speech: According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, CDA 230 — the law that exempts online intermediaries from this kind of policing — is basically what allowed modern social networks (and blogs, and comments, and forums, etc.) to come into being.

As reports like this are making increasingly clear, however, these platforms were developed by people who never imagined the struggles that women face online. We’re using tools that weren’t designed for us; they had other people and values and priorities in mind.

Is a reckoning — or at least rebalancing — imminent? The United Nations suggests it has to be. But it certainly won’t look like the model dreamt up in this report. For better or worse, that’s several steps too revolutionary.
In other words, the United Nations believes that online platforms should be (a) generally responsible for the actions of their users and (b) specifically responsible for making sure those people aren’t harassers.

Regardless of whether you think those are worthwhile ends, the implications are huge: It’s an attempt to transform the Web from a libertarian free-for-all to some kind of enforced social commons.

Marinwood CSD reacts to letter about Creekside Park rentals

See my campaign website HERE