Saturday, May 21, 2016

Attention America’s Suburbs: You Have Just Been Annexed

Attention America’s Suburbs: You Have Just Been Annexed
By Stanley Kurtz — July 20, 2015

Fascist Nanny State Watch: Berlin Is Creating a 'Driver's License for Dogs'

Berlin Is Creating a 'Driver's License for Dogs'

Is the plan a bureaucratic nightmare or an overdue clean-up?

Image Robert Agthe/Flickr
Soon, this Berlin dog will need a license. (Robert Agthe/Flickr)

The title of Berlin’s new “driver’s license for dogs” admittedly sounds a bit misleading. The new permit, whose draft was approved Wednesday, doesn’t actually allow canines to get behind the wheel of a car, it’s a license without which dog owners will not be allowed to walk their pets leash-free. The crazy name aside (the German’s genuinely call it a Hundef├╝hrerschein or “dog’s driver’s license”), the plan sounds quite sensible. It is still controversial with the owners of the city’s 100,000-odd dogs, who over the coming decades will come to be regulated like never before.
To get the license, which will only be required for new dogs, owners will need to demonstrate that their pet has basic training and is essentially manageable. If the dog passes the test, which costs €100 ($112), it will be largely exempt from a list of new laws restricting canine behavior and access. The most important of these makes leashes compulsory for dogs taller than 30 centimeters. That’s roughly 12 inches, which means the average Corgi, Jack Russell or Miniature Schnauzer should still be all right un-tethered. Leash-free larger dogs will from now on be restricted to dog parks. Meanwhile, in a move that will no doubt prove popular with dog-less Berliners, owners that don’t take their dogs into Berlin’s streets armed with a poop bag risk a fine.
The reaction to the new rules has been tetchy. Some media have damned it a“bureaucratic monster” while many owners feel put upon. Last year, dogs were already barred from a few city beauty spots, typically around lakes (such asSchlachtensee) where humans bathe in summer, and there’s a fear that for the four-legged, the walls are closing in. Some people have also highlighted the apparent randomness of the rules, given that a dog of less than 12 inches in height can still pose a danger to a small child.

And finally, there’s the cost. On top of the €100 fee, there’s an annual €40 ($45) dog tax, the extra expense of which could mean posh pooches get to roam free while their proletarian siblings stay shackled.
The kickback is somewhat strong. Germany is a dog-obsessed country—arguably without parallel in Europe—and the idea of forcing four legged citizens through the same levels of regulation that their biped companions face has raised a few hackles. So is this a negative case of Germans regulating everything into oblivion?
Not necessarily. If anything, the German capital’s dogs have got off lightly in the past. Even large Berlin dogs go pretty much anywhere (cafes, bars, subway trains). That in itself isn’t a problem. More egregious is that some owners can be so slack about cleaning up after them that, in a few soiled streets, you might wonder if the dogs are staging some form of mute fecal protest. Such unusual laxity seems out of whack in a city where, as a human, crossing the street somewhere other than a crosswalk can get you hissed at by strangers. Berlin’s dogs may end up on a tighter rein, but making their owners more careful is unlikely to do them good in the long run.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Northgate Walk, The Developers proposal for Four Points Sheraton site in Terra Linda.

Marinwood CSD "Censorship by Procedure" May 10, 2016

May 10, 2016 Marinwood CSD Directors Jeff Naylor and Justin Kai justify their new speech policy that forces the public to speak on agenda items BEFORE they are discussed. Since the Marinwood CSD does not produce detailed reports in the board packet the public has no way of knowing what is to be discussed. Items in the agenda are usually vague descriptions meant to obscure the topic of discussion. For example, in January 2015, a new dog leash law was described as "changes in park policies."

The new Marinwood CSD board members are hostile to public participation in "their" meetings and have found ways to censor the public through procedure. We are not fooled.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Robert Moses Vs. Jane Jacobs, The Central Drama Of Urban Planning, Will Be An Opera

Robert Moses Vs. Jane Jacobs, The Central Drama Of Urban Planning, Will Be An Opera

New York City's seminal 1960s urban design battle will be turned into an opera, with a libretto by Pulitzer Prize-winner poet Tracy K. Smith. Here's why that is not such a weird thing.

SHAUNACY FERRO 04.21.14 12:00 PM

A legendary 1960s battle over the urban design of New York City is getting its dramatic due. The struggle between urban planner Robert Moses and journalist/activist Jane Jacobs over Moses's proposed Lower Manhattan Expressway will become an opera, thanks to composer Judd Greenstein and director Joshua Frankel.

Moses and Jacobs had deeply divergent visions of New York City's future. Moses was the powerful planner behind a swath of New York City expressways that displaced half a million people during his reign as the city's master builder. He envisioned a city built for easy driving. Jacobs, who popularized the idea of eyes on the street—the notion that streets are safer and more vibrant when there are pedestrians on them—vehemently opposed Moses's plans to raze Washington Square Park and much of Greenwich Village, where she lived, to build yet more miles of highway.

Panorama of the City of New York, a scale model of NYC conceived by Moses to celebrate municipal infrastructure. Photo of the model by Joshua Frankel.

Greenstein and Frankel decided to collaborate on an opera after working on Plan of the City, their 2011 animated short film depicting the architecture of New York City blasting off to Mars. Both grew up in New York City and have personal connections with the spaces Jacobs and Moses clashed over, places that would have been radically altered if history had gone differently.It's very much a 20th-century story.

"It's very much a 20th-century story," Greenstein explained at a recent panel discussion that was organized by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

The opera grapples with opposing visions of what a city should be. Moses's ideals of a clean, orderly city where cars took priority was not unlike the model many American suburbs were built upon. Jacobs, on the other hand, embraced the messiness of urban life, preaching density and diversity of neighborhoods and arguing against top-down, high-handed methods of city planning.

It was an epic David and Goliath struggle and is certainly ripe fodder for the stage. Moses was one of the most influential men in New York. Jacobs was dismissed as a simple housewife who didn't have a college degree. "Robert Moses wasn't a person who really lost very often," Greenstein noted at the panel. Jane Jacobs wasn't the only person to best him, but "she was one of the first."Robert Moses wasn't a person who really lost very often.

"But the main character of our opera is New York City itself," the creators explain on their website, "represented through a combination of the nameless people who make up the bulk of history, telling its truest stories, and a visual palette of found and designed images, turned into animation and incorporated into a three-dimensional set that will bring the transformations of New York to life.

The project is still very much in the initial planning stages—Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith has come on board as the librettist—but the piece is still referred to as an "Untitled Opera about Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs. It will likely be a few years before it premieres. Until then, urban design aficionados will just have to be content with the Broadway interpretation of city planning.

The Government’s War on Affordable Housing

The Government’s War on Affordable Housing

In the current political climate, we hear again and again that the key to lessening the prevalence and effects of poverty is to raise nominal incomes. We hear it repeatedly in calls for a “living wage” and calls for a minimum wage. It is further promoted in debates over a “minimum basic income,” Social Security, and other types of taxpayer-funded social benefits.
Historically, however, the poor themselves understood that the most effective way to reduce poverty was to reduce the cost of living, and thus to increase real wages.
This strategy has long been apparent in the use of the extended family as a means of pooling resources. It’s why households historically included grandparents and other unmarried relatives within the household who could exchange domestic services for the benefit of a lower cost of living. When this strategy is not used or is unavailable, there is no Plan B, and the risk of increased poverty goes up. We find, not surprisingly, that households with single-parents — including single fathers — are worse off than two parent households. As a strategy in keeping living costs low, having multiple workers under one room — whether they work for wages or not — works.

The Economic Benefits of Rooming Houses

This also works on the commercial level, and historically, many Americans helped themselves make ends meet by either owning or renting a boarding house. This phenomenon also included “residential hotels” which were typically small no-frills operations that catered to low-income permanent residents.
A boarding house or a “rooming house” was a type of housing, popular during the nineteenth century and before, in which the owners would rent out rooms of the house to people unrelated to the owners. Residents of the house often shared bathroom facilities.
In his history of residential hotels, Living Downtown, historian Paul Groth notes that as much as half the urban population in the United States lived under these conditions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries:
Especially before the 1920s, the lines were hazy between a private family house and a commercial rooming house because so many people boarded or lodged with private families. Boarders slept in the house and also took their means with a family; lodgers slept in the house but took their meals elsewhere. Entire families boarded — often parents or single mothers in their late twenties — but the most common boarders were young unmarried men or women with slim financial resources. Boarding and lodging so pervaded American family life (along with the presence of servants and live-in relatives) that throughout the nineteenth century and early twentieth century, use of the term “single-family house” is misleading. In a conservative estimate for those years, one-third to one-half of all urban Americans either boarded or took boarders at some time in their lives.
An additional benefit of these living arrangements was safety. Within less formalized housing, there was “safety in numbers” for lodgers and boarders who preferred to live among people with whom they were familiar and who were likely to notice if other tenants were in danger from outsiders or other boarders. More formal arrangements, such as in small residential hotels, safety was even more institutionalized with desk clerks keeping an eye on entrances while, in some cases, security guards roamed the halls.

The End of the Rooming House Era

As middle-class prosperity increased over time, though, rooming houses and low-cost residential hotels became less essential to everyday life, and they became less common. As a larger percentage of the population ceased to need rooming houses, many voters then began to view rooming houses as more of a nuisance. Then came a trend in which local governments began to heavily regulate rooming houses, and in many areas they were simply outlawed, with never-before-seen regulations about how many unrelated persons could live within a single house.
This trend was also accompanied by a Progressive ideological war against rooming houses, which were branded by many Progressive reformers as “communistic.” Historian Stephanie Coontz explains in The Way We Never Were:
As a University of Chicago professor explained in 1902: “a communistic habitation forces the members of a family to conform insensibly to communistic forms of thought.” Commissioner of Labor Charles Neill declared in 1905: “There must be a separate house, and as far as possible, separate rooms, so that at an early period of life the idea of rights to property, the right to things, to privacy mall be instilled.”
For the Progressives, “private property” did not mean — as a libertarian might think today — the right to use one’s property as he or she sees fit. Obviously, if that were the case, people would be allowed to room together if they wished. Instead, the Progressives adhered to a normative vision of private-property use in which property must be used in a way that reflected the Progressive reformer’s notions of, as Coontz put it, “the Protestant, native-born, nineteenth-century middle class.”
Thus, given that “private property” did not actually mean a freedom to use property freely, the Progressives set to work tearing down boarding-house culture. Coontz goes on:
[R]eformers advocated state action ... to end the “promiscuous” socializing of the urban classes in urban tenements and streets. They grew hysterical about the dangers of boarding and lodging, once respectable middle class practices, and referred to the “street habit” as if it were a dangerous addiction, much like crack cocaine. To root out this addiction, Progressives promulgated new zoning laws and building codes prohibiting working-class families from sharing quarters.
Not surprisingly, this squeezing of the private-sector housing market led to a decline in the supply of low-cost housing in American cities, and forced many citizens to turn to government welfare programs instead. As Coontz notes, this was by design on the part of the Progressives who wanted more citizens on government assistance as a means of promoting the Progressive obsession with the one-family-per-home ideal:
[R]eformers abolished local informal institutions and agencies that had formerly been used by working class families to exercise a degree of cooperative self-regulation. Their advocacy of government aid to the poor stemmed partly from a desire to discourage social cooperation and economic pooling beyond the family.
In other words, the Progressives waged war against the market’s existing efforts to bring down the cost of living. As the cost of living rose, the Progressives substituted centralized government social benefits instead.
The destruction of rooming-house-based affordable housing was later made even more acute by the “urban renewal” movement in which Federal funds were used to promote the bulldozing and government-planned redevelopment of areas where cheap privately-owned housing still remained.

The Rediscovery of the Old Housing Models

Nowadays, with housing prices so often outpacing wages for middle-class families, even the most committed booster for “living wages” recognizes that old models of housing reform have failed to provide affordable housing for the working classes and low-income groups.
Although a large part of the answer lies simply in increased freedom for property owners, it is now usuallyleftists who promote an end to government regulations that make it legally onerous for a family to open a boarding house, or to even rent out a room in a suburban home.
This article by David Smith is a typical example, as is this article from Alan Durning at the Sightline Institute in which Durning writes:
A future unfettered by such rules [i.e., zoning against boarding houses] would see the re-emergence of inexpensive choices including rooming houses and other old residential forms. Such units will not satisfy those of greater means and the expectations that accompany them. They would not try to. But they can meet an urgent need for young people, some seniors, and for poor and working class people of all ages: the need for homes they can afford that are still, in UC professor Paul Groth’s phrase, “more luxuriant than those lived in by a third to a half of the population of the earth.”
Unfortunately, it will likely require a significant change in prevailing American ideologies before American voters will begin to allow basic freedoms to their neighbors who might need to rent out a few rooms to make ends meet. After all, why bother with increasing the supply of housing — and thus, lower the cost of housing — when some government program will simply subsidize rents for people who might have otherwise lived in one of those now-illegal boarding houses? The Progressive vision for housing reform lives on.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Government owned Autonomous Cars from our Technocratic Overlords are coming

The Technocrats are going to "take humans out of the loop" to improve our lives from driving decisions, controlled access, taxes per mile.  Government bureaucrats go wild.

It is easy to imagine that you could be assigned a quota of mileage based upon your "need" and that cars will not allow you to visit certain "off limits" areas.

These creepy bureaucrats are hostile to freedom.  Redefining mobility is THEIR CONTROL of your life.  A true dystopian nightmare.

Marinwood CSD "Censorship by Procedure" May 10, 2016


May 10, 2016 Marinwood CSD Directors Jeff Naylor and Justin Kai justify their new speech policy that forces the public to speak on agenda items BEFORE they are discussed.  Since the Marinwood CSD does not produce detailed reports in the board packet the public has no way of knowing what is to be discussed. Items in the agenda are usually vague descriptions meant to obscure the topic of discussion.  For example, in January 2015, a new dog leash law was described as "changes in park policies."  

The new Marinwood CSD board members are hostile to public participation in "their" meetings and have found ways to censor the public through procedure.  We are not fooled.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A regional-planning coup

A regional-planning coup

Bay Area could become the only region where unaccountable transit agency controls local planning policy
It’s more than a technical distinction: MTC, which would wind up with immensely expanded powers, has shown little or no interest in equity or the protection of economically vulnerable communities. It’s an unaccountable juggernaut that is poised to disrupt local planning policies with very little local input.
Here’s how this little-noticed but critical situation has come down:
See the story in the 48 Hills Blog HERE

Exploiting Prison Labor in Marin

Mr. Egger likes to boast of his "living wage ordinance" in Fairfax, yet he advocates low paid prison labor to "save money".  Prisoners can not "walk off the job" or "strike".  What do you think?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Kate Sears "The Strawberry PDA doesn't change anything"

Letter from Reader concerning SB1609 for creating "Accessory Living Units"

Hello -

This seems like something that you need to know about a.s.a.p. - See portion of AARP Alert I just got - bottom part of this message. How the heck is it that AARP has involved itself in Land Use??? The sneaky thing is that no one knows about this Bill - see below and it is to be voted on tomorrow!!! Can you please get the word out and do something to put a stop to this Bill SB 1069? See the last info. bit/Link below first.
I did a cut & paste from an AARP Alert advocating for SB 1069 for "Affordable Housing" - the AARP Alert was pushing for Senior Citizens to Write and/or Call Gov. Brown saying that they needed to do this immediately and that they should do this because SB 1069 would make it so that Senior Citizens would be able to stay in their homes by creating a 2nd Unit now aka "Accessory Living Unit" in their backyard and rent these things out - take note that this plan would include subsidized water & sewer, less safety requirements, no parking requirements and greatly reduced time for a permitting process - take a look. 

To me, this is just a scam to get away with pure murder by the Building Industry/Corrupt City Councils and Boards of Supervisors - profiting from SB 375 "Affordable Housing" Schemes that would cause Traffic/Parking problems, Safety Issues from Less Regulations and Over-Crowding of Communities & New Taxes for Subsidized Water & Sewer - CA does not have a housing problem but rather Over-Population Problems. /Barb Mauz at in Los Angeles, CA 90064

p.s. Thank-you for your wonderful, informative, investigative reporting - I forward your posts to people I know who are concerned about gross inappropriate over-development - keep up the good work!!! 

This is how California's governor wants to make it easier to build affordable housing -- Brown’s move indicates he sides with the idea, promoted by academics and economists, that the primary issue driving the state’s out-of-control housing costs isn’t a lack of housing subsides, but rather that there’s not enough homes to meet demand. Liam Dillon in theLos Angeles Times$ -- 5/14/16

From AARP Alert:

"Senator Bob Wieckowski and the Bay Area Council have come up with an innovative approach to make it easier for communities to provide affordable housing options for low- and middle-income families.

On Monday, May 16, the California State Senate will vote on SB 1069 (Wieckowski) which simplifies the process of building Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) - also known as ‘granny flats’. The legislation eases regulatory burdens by providing exceptions to parking requirements (if the ADU is located within a half mile from public transit), eliminating sprinkler requirements and new land-use fees on water and sewer hookups, and reducing the time it takes to approve or deny a building permit."

King Koch

PHILLIP ROEBUCK - Little Bo Peep (Official Video)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Katie Rice "Special Favor" Machine

For over forty years, voters in District Two have been represented by political appointees.  Rices donors include politicians, contractors, consultants, developers, NGOs,  government lobbyists, unions and many more. For over forty years, the people of District Two have been lead by a political appointees. Katie Rice has never seen a campaign contribution "too generous" to turn away. Is it little wonder that she is the darling of special interests?

It is time for change.

Self Parody and Strawman Arguments

(LANGUAGE WARNING:) Gavin McInnes of tackles one of the Left's most irritating debate tactics: Inventing bizarre "phobias" and strawman arguments -- then mocking all the normal people who won't buy into these absurd, imaginary constructs.