Saturday, August 6, 2016

Homeless in San Francisco

San Francisco's Homeless Problem: Where's The Money Going?

Why some homeless won't go to a Low Barrier Shelter

Ritter Center Director misleads public about Low Barrier Shelter



Dick Spotswood, Marin IJ columnist asks Cia Byrnes about the type of homeless shelter.  Cia responds that it is a "low barrier shelter" because it "doesn't cost money to stay there"  It appears to be deliberately misleading to suggest that the REST program which selects clients will be the same as a HUD defined "low barrier shelter" where clients may be accepted despite alcohol and drug use and criminal history (with some exceptions). While many people are supportive of the mission of Ritter Center, the concern is about criminal behavior and illegal drug and alcohol use spilling out into the neighborhoods like we see in downtown San Rafael.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Dance Friday

ALERT: Is this address on Lucas Valley Rd the new location for 276 units of Low Income Housing?


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A pre application for the development at Luis Ranch (Rocking H Ranch) has been received by Marin County Planning Department.  You can read about it HERE.  It calls for 4 large estates of ten acres each AND one lot of below market units next to Lucas Valley Road across from Bridgegate Dr.  Luis Ranch has a potential development of 280 units.

Does this mean that we will see two parcels of low income housing developed to the maximum of 276 units! ?

The planners and politicians have been very sneaky.  In 2014 they downzoned the property to allow for 280 units over community objections.

It looks like we have ANOTHER battle on our hands, thanks to the efforts of Housing Activists, Developers and their business allies. 

I don't think the brush clearing along Lucas Valley Road is a random act by the Board of Supervisors.  There are many development proposals in the works.  Gary Giacomini,  Steve Kinsey and others want to urbanize Lucas Valley.


Editorial Update: Aug 5, 2016-  Ben Berto of Marin County Community Development confirms that only 2 affordable units will be built.

"What you are showing is the theoretical upper density range for a 100 percent affordable housing development.  However the site is not designated as an affordable housing receiver site, it has numerous site constraints (e.g., slope, drainages), and it lacks the infrastructure necessary to support affordable housing.  The pre-application is proposing 4 market-rate units, plus 2 existing units proposed to be renovated and used for affordable.

Ben Berto
Principal Planner
County of Marin

Is There a Homeless Industrial Complex That Perpetuates Homelessness?

Is There a Homeless Industrial Complex That Perpetuates Homelessness?

By  | Aug 5, 2013
going-out-of-businessIn recent years, the approach to homelessness dramatically changed from how to “manage” homelessness to how to “end” homelessness. This was not merely an alteration of semantics, but a systematic change in how to allocate the limited resources that were spent every year on America’s growing homelessness problem.
Even now, the speeches at conferences, forums, and workshops on ending homelessness are instilled with a sense of pride that the homeless services and housing world has its priorities and approaches right – allocate resources to immediately house people who are homeless, also known as “housing first”, and create detailed plans to end homelessness.
But do those of us in the “business” of ending homelessness really have it right?
For years, I heard directors of homeless agencies and key leaders in the field say, “We are working toward going out of business, when there is a day that there is no homelessness.” Are these hollow feel-good words?
Communities across this country were mandated by HUD (the Department of Housing and Urban Development) to create plans to end homelessness. When the plans are compared to each other, most are very similar.
But I do not know of any community plan that actually details how to dismantle the existing homeless service system after homelessness has ended. Where do all of the Executive Directors, Development Directors, and Finance Directors go after the agencies go out of business? How about the social workers, security guards, and peer counselors? Do we sell off all the agencies’ property and assets?
Within the agencies that I lead, we have nearly 250 employees. Should I be giving everyone a post-dated pink slip, explaining to them that they will all be out of a job within the next 5 to 10 years (depending on what plan we are going from), since homelessness will end and there will be no need for our services?
Peter Buffet, a scion of the famed Warren Buffet, recently penned an op-ed piece, “The Charitable-Industrial Complex” that has turned the charity world upside down. Some of his points are poignant reminders of how charities (perhaps, even within the homelessness world) trend toward perpetuation rather than elimination:
Philanthropic Colonialism – Buffet says that the charity world would rather transport a solution to a local social issue (in our case, homelessness) from the outside (for example, “housing first”) rather than understand the local dynamics and resources for why the issue is actually occurring in a local neighborhood. He infers that this causes perpetuation.
A Growing Charity World – In a span of ten years, from 2001 to 2011, the philanthropic world has increased by 25%, a clear sign of perpetuation.
In the homeless charity world, local homeless agencies are going out of business. Not because homelessness has ended, but because they financially cannot keep their doors open.
The world of homeless services and housing remains massive. The federal government alone spendsseveral billion dollars per year, not including private dollars. Some would say that the system of ending homelessness should increase because the need is increasing.
Conscience Laundering – Is all of this charitable energy to end homelessness simply a guilt-relieving exercise for those of us who are not homeless? Are political and community leaders investing in homelessness to keep, as Buffet would say, “the existing structure of inequality in place”?
“The rich sleep better at night, while others get just enough to keep the pot from boiling over.”
I don’t think any of the leaders I have worked with to end homelessness would think they are putting in 60-hour work-weeks to prevent a revolution from occurring in this country, nor do they feel guilty because they are not homeless. On the contrary, our energy in this social struggle is because we are called to help those who are hurting, and because we, too, feel we could be without a home given the fragility of this economy.
Buffet’s assessment of this country’s charity industry may be correct in many cases. But within the homeless services and housing world, the goal of ending homelessness in this country is a public expression that the homeless charity world truly wants to go out of business, and not become what Buffet calls a “perpetual poverty machine”.
While some may feel ending homelessness is utopian, or wishful thinking at best, the direction and approach to its realization are correct.
When industry leaders and funders begin to help homeless agencies transfer their staff to other employment sectors and guide organization on how to sell their assets, then I may need to start issuing pink slips. Ironically issuing pink slips might be cause for celebration, because homelessness will have ended.

The Homeless : A Disturbing Look Inside

Homeless encampments are a leading cause of wild fires in Marin.





A small fire was sparked near a San Rafael homeless encampment late Monday.
Just before midnight, San Rafael firefighters responded to reports of a fire near 350 Merrydale Road.
Firefighters had to work their way through obstacles  See story HERE

Fires on Los Ranchitos Road in San Rafael Likely Caused by Homeless, Chief Says

The latest fire was reported at 11:10 p.m. Monday, according to fire Chief Christopher Gray.

By Maggie Avants (Patch Staff) - August 3, 2016 12:06 am ET 


SAN RAFAEL, CA — Authorities are investigating fires on private property on Los Ranchitos Road in San Rafael, the latest of which broke out late Monday night.

San Rafael fire Chief Chris Gray said a security guard at Guide Dogs for the Blind reported the fire at 340 Los Ranchitos at about 11:10 p.m. Monday. A quick response and action by firefighters from San Rafael and Marinwood limited its spread to one-eighth of an acre, Gray said.

The chief told Patch the fire "appeared to be caused by homeless activity."
Get free real-time news alerts from the San Rafael Patch.

"The area experienced another fire last month," Gray said. "Firefighters and the San Rafael Police Department are investigating further and seeing that a fence is repaired that has been broken down by campers accessing the area."

He said residents and businesses should report any suspicious activity to San Rafael police.


Meanwhile in a related story from Big Sur...


Big Sur blaze started by illegal campfire, officials say


The Soberanes Fire was started by an illegal, unattended campfire announced fire and law enforcement officials at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

The fire, which was reported the morning of July 22 by hikers in Garrapata State Park, has burned 43,400 acres, while destroying 57 homes and 11 outbuildings. One man, a bulldozer operator, has been killed in the fight.  See full story HERE

Dance Thursday

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Planning Mockery in Boulder, CO (Just like Marin County! )

Stacey Goldfarb: A planning mockery

POSTED:   07/29/2016 07:35:35 PM MDT

I've got the answer for Boulder:
Let's just keep expanding our population — 200,000, 250,000, heck, even a half-million people! Boulder should house the world! Let's have no occupancy limits. Better yet, no limits whatsoever! Building size? Height limit? Who cares? We're talking Manhattan on Mapleton, baby! Silicon Valley on Sanitas!
Here's the best part: If anyone dares question our plan, we'll just call 'em selfish. That's it! If anyone invokes science, natural limits, finite water resources, ecology, carrying capacity...or Phoenix or L.A. ...we'll call 'em elitists! That's it! That's how we'll subdue anyone who questions us.
It'll be great. The city of Boulder, the Chamber of Commerce, Better Boulder, Open Boulder, Boulder Housing Partners, hundreds of Boulder developers, out-of-state developers, foreign real estate investors, "wealth advisors," — and everyone eyeing Boulder as "growth opportunity for profit" — can rejoice. Our boards of directors are all intertwined, but nobody will notice!
But it gets better. Although we're really out to develop and build, build, build — we'll say we're "creating opportunity." That's it! Developers can say they're about affordable housing, although 90 percent of their buildings are luxury. We'll say we're altruistic, as our bank accounts swell with every new development fast-tracked through that pesky Boulder "review process" and bothersome "citizen comment." The heck with 'em! It's Boulder's development bonanza!
All those thoughtful forebears who created Boulder as an antidote to big cities, crowds, and traffic; and shaped the beautiful, manageable size community we've enjoyed? The heck with 'em! Neighborhoods? Forget about 'em! People who thought their zoning meant something? Ha! The joke's on them! Just call 'em NIMBYs. Better yet, let's create Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) conferences, which really means "Yes, In Their Backyard!" It'll be hilarious! It'll be the ultimate public deception coup!
Stacey Goldfarb
Boulder


Dance Tuesday

D

When 'Gentrification' Is Really a Shift in Racial Boundaries

When 'Gentrification' Is Really a Shift in Racial Boundaries

Jonathan Tannen has been tracking how neighborhoods change in the 100 largest U.S. cities, and what he discovered surprised him.
Image John Donges/Flickr
John Donges/Flickr
The diverse coalition of delegates who attended the Democratic National Convention last week may not have realized they were visiting one of the most segregated cities in the U.S. But even as a child growing up in a gentrifying, white enclave of West Philadelphia, Jonathan Tannen knew that people with his skin color rarely crossed 49th Street. It was the invisible line that separated his neighborhood from majority-black areas in the 1980s.
Two decades later, Tannen would spend six years at Princeton University working on a dissertation to quantify what he’d long suspected: that the invisible lines of segregation can be as real and hard as the bricks of any rowhome.
“I wanted to see if I could measure lines between regions with very different racial characteristics,” he says.
Through his research he used a computer program to detect racial borders, like 49th Street, in the 100 largest U.S. cities. But along the way, he found something else that surprised him: As more suburban whites moved back to urban areas, old racial boundaries were moving, and spreading outward. But the neighborhoods themselves weren’t desegregating.
In fact, they were resegregating.
“You’re not seeing this historically black area becoming five percent white over ten years and then ten percent white. Instead, they went from almost 100 percent black to almost 100 percent white over ten years,” he says. “Philadelphia overall is becoming less white. But there are pockets of predominately white regions that are expanding. And the blocks along those boundaries are flipping very quickly, from a racial standpoint.”
Tannen arrived at these conclusions by feeding census data from 2000 to 2010 into what’s known as a Bayesian modeling system to see, essentially, if a computer could detect racial boundaries on its own. In his own neighborhood, the 49th Street boundary moved a full two blocks west between 2000 and 2010. Rather than desegregating, the formerly black blocks in between had become nearly all white.
Such findings about the nature of racial “boundary movements” could lead to some stark conclusions, especially in the context of the limited body of academic research into the processes behind neighborhood change.
“One of the arguments is that gentrification can’t be that bad if it serves to desegregate urban areas. And we have a lot of evidence that segregation is bad,” says Tannen, who today works as a researcher for Econsult, a Philadelphia-based analytics firm. “But if gentrification continues to happen by boundary movements, then that means the block level is never going to desegregate.”
The same boundary movements were present in the majority of the largest U.S. cities Tannen examined, including Chicago, New York, and Boston. But interestingly, and potentially uncomfortably for proponents of walkable urbanism, the phenomenon was only apparent in older, denser cities. In auto-centric cities, gentrification was more diffuse, and racial boundaries were less clear.
Tannen tracked how the racial boundaries in one West Philadelphia neighborhood shifted over a 10-year period. (Courtesy TK)
“Gentrification by boundary movements really relies on a walkable city,” Tannen says. “It’s this idea that white households are moving in just on the other side of a boundary, to be able to walk across it and be part of the white, already-gentrified region.”
“Incoming white people in older cities are moving to areas that are around other white people. They’re saying ‘Oh, if I live here it’s somewhere I can afford, but it’s also close to [a bar] that I like.’ That process didn’t exist in places like Los Angeles.”
To be clear, his findings don’t suggest that gentrification is making segregation worse.
“Looking at racial data, it’s not that these gentrified regions are one hundred percent white, they’re actually very diverse for the country. So in some respects, looking at the country as a whole, the city looks less segregated,” he says. “You have 85-percent white clusters replacing 97-percent black clusters.”
Tannen acknowledges that his work is limited—it can’t quantify movements between a wealthy white neighborhood to an adjacent working-class white neighborhood. More importantly, it can’t say where the African-Americans who’d been living in these gentrifying neighborhoods are going or why they’re leaving.
“People start studying gentrification thinking they will be the ones to find the discrimination and the injustice in it. But these studies often end up complicating those ideas,” he says. “Displacement largely doesn’t happen.”
Recent research by the Pew Charitable Trusts confirms that the type of gentrification or neighborhood change described in Tannen’s work is actually rare. That study found that just 15 of Philadelphia’s 372 census tracts had gentrified over the same ten-year period. A Federal Reserve study, also focused on Philadelphia, indicated that displacement caused by gentrification is even rarer, and that non-gentrifying neighborhoods often lost existing residents even more rapidly than gentrifying areas.
Tannen says he thinks his findings are evidence that people are self-segregating, and it’s unclear what policy solutions could address that problem. Cities could start by being more mindful about the kinds of economic development projects they pursue along obvious racial borders, he says, due to their sensitivity to extreme racial change.
Ultimately, how cities can best tackle issues as thorny as segregation or displacement will not be solved by a single study. But Tannen’s research does at least answer, in part, why gentrification can feel like a big deal to residents even while it is also relatively uncommon.
“My work speaks to why that disconnect exists. Why can it feel to residents of cities that gentrification is real and it is extreme, even as the Pew study is correct in showing that the city as a whole is less white? How can those both be true?” he asks. “The boundary movements are an important part of that story—that gentrification is extreme to very small parts of the city. And where it happens, it happens very sharply.”

Monday, August 1, 2016

In Socialist Counties Even Slave Labor is FREE


Venezuela's new decree: Forced farm work for citizens


by Patrick Gillespie, Rafael Romo and Osmary Hernandez @CNNMoneyJuly 29, 2016: 3:31 PM ET

A new decree by Venezuela's government could make its citizens work on farms to tackle the country's severe food shortages.

That "effectively amounts to forced labor," according to Amnesty International, which derided the decree as "unlawful."


In a vaguely-worded decree, Venezuelan officials indicated that public and private sector employees could be forced to work in the country's fields for at least 60-day periods, which may be extended "if circumstances merit."

"Trying to tackle Venezuela's severe food shortages by forcing people to work the fields is like trying to fix a broken leg with a band aid," Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas' Director at Amnesty International, said in a statement.

President Nicolas Maduro is using his executive powers to declare a state of economic emergency. By using a decree, he can legally circumvent Venezuela's opposition-led National Assembly -- the Congress -- which is staunchly against all of Maduro's actions.

According to the decree from July 22, workers would still be paid their normal salary by the government and they can't be fired from their actual job.

Related: Hungry Venezuelans cry at sight of food in Colombia

It is a potent sign of tough conditions in Venezuela, which is grappling with the lack of basic food items like milk, eggs and bread. People wait hours in lines outsides supermarkets to buy groceries and often only see empty shelves.

Venezuela once had a robust agricultural sector. But under its socialist regime, which began with Hugo Chavez in 1999, the oil-rich country started importing more food and invested less in agriculture. Nearly all of Venezuela's revenue from exports comes from oil.

With oil prices down to about $41 a barrel from over $100 about two years ago, Venezuela has quickly run out of cash and can't pay for its imports of food, toilet paper and other necessities. Neglected farms are now being asked to pick up the slack.

Maduro's actions are very similar to a strategy the communist Cuban government used in the 1960s when it sought to recover sugar production after it declined sharply following the U.S. embargo on Cuban goods. It forced Cubans to work on sugar farms to cultivate the island's key commodity.

Related: McDonalds forced to halt sales of Big Mac in Venezuela

It's important to note that Maduro has issued decrees before and they often just languish. In January, his government published a decree that put in place mechanisms to restrict the access and movements to the money in the accounts. In other words, a kind of bank freeze. However, that hasn't happened yet.


The National Assembly is expected to discuss the decree on Tuesday. But it would largely be symbolic: under Venezuelan law, the Assembly can't strike down a decree.

This latest action by Maduro may also be a sign that at least one other leader may be calling the shots on this issue. Earlier in July, Maduro appointed one of the country's defense ministers, Vladimir Padrino, as the leader of a team that would control the country's food supply and distribution.

Related: Venezuela's health care crisis

It's powerful role, especially at a time of such scarcity in Venezuela.

"The power handed to Padrino in this program is extraordinary, in our view, and may signal that President Maduro is trying to increase support from the military amid a deepening social and economic crisis," Sebastian Rondeau, an economist at Bank of America, wrote in a research note.

Venezuela is the world's worst economy, according to the IMF. It's expected to shrink 10% this year and inflation is projected to rise over 700%. Beyond food shortages, hospitals are low on supplies, causing many patients to go untreated and some to die.

The country's electoral authorities are still reviewing the petition, which Maduro strongly opposes.


CNNMoney (New York)First published July 29, 2016: 2:06 PM ET

Dance Monday

Sunday, July 31, 2016

FABLE: THE FROGS WHO WISHED FOR A KING

 

 THE FROGS were tired of governing themselves. They had so much freedom that it had spoiled them, and they did nothing but sit around croaking in a bored manner and wishing for a government that could entertain them with the pomp and display of royalty, and rule them in a way to make them know they were being ruled. No milk and water government for them, they declared. So they sent a petition to Jupiter asking for a king.

Jupiter saw what simple and foolish creatures they were, but to keep them quiet and make them think they had a king he threw down a huge log, which fell into the water with a great splash. The Frogs hid themselves among the reeds and grasses, thinking the new king to be some fearful giant. But they soon discovered how tame and peaceable King Log was. In a short time the younger Frogs were using him for a diving platform, while the older Frogs made him a meeting place, where they complained loudly to Jupiter about the government.

To teach the Frogs a lesson the ruler of the gods now sent a Crane to be king of Frogland. The Crane proved to be a very different sort of king from old King Log. He gobbled up the poor Frogs right and left and they soon saw what fools they had been. I n mournful croaks they begged Jupiter to take away the cruel tyrant before they should all be destroyed.


[Illustration]


"How now!" cried Jupiter "Are you not yet content? You have what you asked for and so you have only yourselves to blame for your misfortunes."
Be sure you can better your condition before you seek to change.

Camping in Mendocino

anyone want wine #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA


Camping at Van Damme 3 #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Having Wine with Buffy the Vampire Slayer #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Inside the Teepee #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Free PreSchool, Childcare and Medical care for Low Income Families. (Full Meeting)



The full presentation for a sales tax increase for free preschool, childcare, healthcare and social services for low income families in Marin.  It will be paid by a permanent sales tax.  Few families will qualify.   Imagine a world where parents don't have to work two jobs to provide the essentials for their families. Marin County has the highest property tax rate and one of the highest sales tax rates in the entire state of California.