Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Did Marinwood get off the Target List for HUD (What about Marin Supervisors?)

Dick Spotswood: Trump’s election could take Marin off HUD’s target list

Dick Spotswood, seen on Tuesday, Jan. 05, 2016, in San Rafael, Calif. (Frankie Frost/Marin Independent Journal)
Dick Spotswood, seen on Tuesday, Jan. 05, 2016, in San Rafael, Calif. (Frankie Frost/Marin Independent Journal) 
Donald Trump’s upset presidential victory coupled with a Republican majority Congress will have significant Marin implications.
A major change will come with the expected shake-up of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Marin has been under intense pressure from HUD, not only to develop more affordable housing, but to “affirmatively further fair housing.”
That’s HUD 2015 rule utilizing quotas by ZIP code to guarantee that sufficient affordable housing is provided in each city, town and village for “underserved” African-American and non-white Hispanic households.
HUD’s first test case was New York City’s prosperous suburb, Westchester County. That’s where HUD pursued litigation linked to a compact similar to the compliance agreement Marin’s Board of Supervisors signed under pressure with HUD in 2011. HUD’s goal was to bring the reluctant county into compliance with strict federal diversity guidelines.
Westchester is said to be New York’s Marin and Marin was widely expected to be HUD’s second test case in 2017.
Westchester was a reliably blue county until HUD pushed hard. The upshot was a voter revolt that elected a Republican county executive, Rob Astorino. The county’s elected combined mayor and chief executive, Astorino is a bantam-weight street fighter who consistently fought a rear guard action against the determined federal agency.
With Trump’s victory, the housing activist concept of “affirmatively furthering fair housing” is likely one of the new administration’s first casualties. Trump is expected to gut HUD’s headcount. That’s a strategy Republican administrations use to dispose of career bureaucrats perceived as being in their opponents’ ideological camp.
New York-area rumors are that Astorino, in other matters a moderate suburban Republican, is on Trump’s short list to be HUD secretary. Trump, who owns a golf course in Westchester, knows Astorino. The county’s top honcho supported Trump, despite the usual reservations.
With federal pressure likely trailing off in coming months, Marin’s commitment to provide a more diverse community will be tested. Many Marinites opposing HUD’s strong-arm tactics pleaded that the county was willing and able to move diversity forward on its own initiative.
Diversity is an overdue goal that can be achieved without blockbuster developments, but only if the political will is strong enough.
While local control is far superior to Uncle Sam calling the shots, the challenge now is for Marin to keep its promise absent threats of federal intervention. See Full Article HERE

Editor's Note:  Marinwood has been the target for the Board of Supervisor for massive HUD affordable housing projects for decades.  Susan Adams silently lobbied her fellow supervisors and the Association of Bay Area Governments to make Marinwood a "priority development area" which would mean massive subsidies for low income housing developers.  She beamed with pride in her skill at political manipulation of the local community to make Marinwood Plaza a shining example. Bridge Housing was lured with massive subsidies.  When her plans finally were revealed to the community,  she denied any knowledge.  One deception lead to another and finally led to her political defeat in 2014.  The affordable housing lobby only is profitable (and hugely so) when it has access to massive government subsidies.  This is very likely to change under a Trump administration.   Sensible development that takes community infrastructure, traffic and need for new schools will be welcomed.  Massive crony development that places great tax burden on our community will not have an easy path to development.   

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