Saturday, March 18, 2017

Supervisors considering a provision that it is ILLEGAL DISCRIMINATION to refuse Section 8 applicants

Next Tuesday the Supervisors will vote to FINALIZE the ordinance that will make it ILLEGAL DISCRIMINATION to refuse Section 8 applicants if you are a homeowner renting rooms.

"A very common situation is a divorced mom with kids and a very expensive mortgage trying to keep a roof over their heads who rents a room. She is a landlord by circumstance. Now she faces civil and possible criminal charges if she chooses the wrong tenant. Shouldn't the homeowner have discretion to choose if she wants the added burden of complying with section 8?"

It won't burden wealthy landlords who do not rent rooms.  Only the struggling homeowner in the unincorporated areas will be primarily affected.

It is as bad as it sounds. Please spread the word on Nextdoor, etc.  Here is last weeks meeting.

Please email a note to the Supervisors at

The Marin County Board of Supervisors will conduct a public Merit Hearing on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at or after 10:00 AM* to consider adoption of an ordinance to amend Chapter 5.53 of the Marin County Code "Income-Based Rental Housing Discrimination" to eliminate an exception for owner-occupied structures(Board Packet (English); Staff Report (English); Ordinance (EnglishEspañolTiếng Việt)). The elimination of this exception would simplify the process for understanding and determining Ordinance applicability. Furthermore, it would support an original intent of the Ordinance to inhibit a discriminatory rental environment by preventing property owners from disseminating advertising materials that express preference based on a persons' source of income. A First Reading of the proposed Ordinance was held on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 9:00 AM* (Board Packet (English); Staff Report (EnglishEspañolTiếng Việt).
The Staff Report and additional resources related to the March 21st Merit Hearing are available on the County of Marin’s Affordable Housing webpage. Spanish and Vietnamese translations of the Staff Report will be available early next week.
An agenda and staff report will also be made available on the Friday before the scheduled hearing on the Board of Supervisors meeting webpage and at the Community Development Agency, Suite 308, San Rafael (open Monday through Thursday 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, closed Friday). If you have comments regarding this hearing, please contact Debbi La Rue, Planner at or 415-473-7309, or Leelee Thomas, Planning Manager at
The Board of Supervisors hearings will be held in the Board of Supervisors Chambers (Room 330, Administration Building), 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, California, where anyone interested in this matter may appear and be heard. Please contact Debbi La Rue, Planner, at 415-473-7309or to request translation services. Speakers using translation services will be granted additional time to testify at the hearings.
*Please note that proposed meeting times are estimates only and may be subject to change.

Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, have no privacy, and life has never been better

Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, have no privacy, and life has never been better

"Now I can hardly believe that we accepted congestion and traffic jams."

Written by
Ida AukenMember of Parliament, Parliament of Denmark (Folketinget)

Friday 11 November 2016

This article is part of the Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils
For more information watch the What If: Privacy Becomes a Luxury Good? session from the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting 2017. 

Welcome to the year 2030. Welcome to my city - or should I say, "our city". I don't own anything. I don't own a car. I don't own a house. I don't own any appliances or any clothes.

It might seem odd to you, but it makes perfect sense for us in this city. Everything you considered a product, has now become a service. We have access to transportation, accommodation, food and all the things we need in our daily lives. One by one all these things became free, so it ended up not making sense for us to own much.

First communication became digitized and free to everyone. Then, when clean energy became free, things started to move quickly. Transportation dropped dramatically in price. It made no sense for us to own cars anymore, because we could call a driverless vehicle or a flying car for longer journeys within minutes. We started transporting ourselves in a much more organized and coordinated way when public transport became easier, quicker and more convenient than the car. Now I can hardly believe that we accepted congestion and traffic jams, not to mention the air pollution from combustion engines. What were we thinking?

Sometimes I use my bike when I go to see some of my friends. I enjoy the exercise and the ride. It kind of gets the soul to come along on the journey. Funny how some things seem never seem to lose their excitement: walking, biking, cooking, drawing and growing plants. It makes perfect sense and reminds us of how our culture emerged out of a close relationship with nature.

"Environmental problems seem far away"

In our city we don't pay any rent, because someone else is using our free space whenever we do not need it. My living room is used for business meetings when I am not there.

Once in awhile, I will choose to cook for myself. It is easy - the necessary kitchen equipment is delivered at my door within minutes. Since transport became free, we stopped having all those things stuffed into our home. Why keep a pasta-maker and a crepe cooker crammed into our cupboards? We can just order them when we need them.

This also made the breakthrough of the circular economy easier. When products are turned into services, no one has an interest in things with a short life span. Everything is designed for durability, repairability and recyclability. The materials are flowing more quickly in our economy and can be transformed to new products pretty easily. Environmental problems seem far away, since we only use clean energy and clean production methods. The air is clean, the water is clean and nobody would dare to touch the protected areas of nature because they constitute such value to our well being. In the cities we have plenty of green space and plants and trees all over. I still do not understand why in the past we filled all free spots in the city with concrete.

The death of shopping

Shopping? I can't really remember what that is. For most of us, it has been turned into choosing things to use. Sometimes I find this fun, and sometimes I just want the algorithm to do it for me. It knows my taste better than I do by now.

When AI and robots took over so much of our work, we suddenly had time to eat well, sleep well and spend time with other people. The concept of rush hour makes no sense anymore, since the work that we do can be done at any time. I don't really know if I would call it work anymore. It is more like thinking-time, creation-time and development-time.

For a while, everything was turned into entertainment and people did not want to bother themselves with difficult issues. It was only at the last minute that we found out how to use all these new technologies for better purposes than just killing time.

"They live different kinds of lives outside of the city"

My biggest concern is all the people who do not live in our city. Those we lost on the way. Those who decided that it became too much, all this technology. Those who felt obsolete and useless when robots and AI took over big parts of our jobs. Those who got upset with the political system and turned against it. They live different kind of lives outside of the city. Some have formed little self-supplying communities. Others just stayed in the empty and abandoned houses in small 19th century villages.

Once in awhile I get annoyed about the fact that I have no real privacy. No where I can go and not be registered. I know that, somewhere, everything I do, think and dream of is recorded. I just hope that nobody will use it against me.

All in all, it is a good life. Much better than the path we were on, where it became so clear that we could not continue with the same model of growth. We had all these terrible things happening: lifestyle diseases, climate change, the refugee crisis, environmental degradation, completely congested cities, water pollution, air pollution, social unrest and unemployment. We lost way too many people before we realised that we could do things differently.

Author's note: Some people have read this blog as my utopia or dream of the future. It is not. It is a scenario showing where we could be heading - for better and for worse. I wrote this piece to start a discussion about some of the pros and cons of the current technological development. When we are dealing with the future, it is not enough to work with reports. We should start discussions in many new ways. This is the intention with this piece.

Editor's Note:  No thanks. This lifestyle is not for me.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Landlord frustrated, Section 8 tenant left house a mess

Section 8 has worked for some landlords.  For others it is a nightmare of bad tenants and bureaucracy.
If the Marin "Income Discrimination" housing ordinance passes, homeowners who rent rooms to Section 8 tenants will be punished and fined if they "discriminate" against them.

See the housing meeting here. Final reading on Tuesday, March 21 at the Board of Supervisors meeting.

There is Only One Way Out of Poverty

Have you viewed city streets recently? That massive population of homeless folks appeared under the "compassionate liberal policies" under Obama and big city mayors. Opportunity is the way up from poverty, not government programs.

For a different view on government funding and social welfare:

Trump's Budget: Expect Reagan-Era Levels of Homelessness

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Trump officially proposes to slash HUD budget by $6.2 billion

Trump officially proposes to slash HUD budget by $6.2 billion

Here are programs getting a cut and getting a boost

HUD building
President Donald Trump proposed his budget for the 2018 fiscal year which would include a $6.2 billion cut to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This cut represents an annual decrease of 13.2% and would allot $40.7 billion in gross discretionary funding for the agency.
This chart from Bloomberg shows the winners and losers in Trump’s budget plan, using data from the Office of Management and Budget to highlight the difference between the proposed funding in 2018 and its change from the 2016 budget.
Click to Enlarge
Budget cut
(Source: Office of Management and Budget, Bloomberg)
As seen in the chart, the biggest winners in Trump’s proposal are transportation, veterans affairs, defense and homeland security.
Seattle Times housing reporter Mike Rosenburg quoted the National Low Income Housing Coalition on the depth of the budget cuts.
And NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel expressed her disapproval of the cuts multiple times from her Twitter account.
report from the Office of Management and Budget outlines the programs the administration would cut to stay within the proposed budget. Here are some of the changes in HUD programs the budget proposes:
Cuts Community Development Block Grant program – saving $3 billion
“The Federal Government has spent over $150 billion on this block grant since its inception in 1974, but the program is not well-targeted to the poorest populations and has not demonstrated results,” the report reads. “The Budget devolves community and economic development activities to the State and local level, and redirects Federal resources to other activities.”
Cuts HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Choice Neighborhoods and the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program – saving $1.1 billion
“State and local governments are better positioned to serve their communities based on local needs and priorities,” the report said.
Increases Lead-based paint and other hazards spending – spends $20 million more
“This also funds enforcement, education, and research activities to further support this goal, all of which contributes to lower healthcare costs and increased productivity,” according to the report.
Cuts Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing – saving $35 million
“This program is duplicative of efforts funded by philanthropy and other more flexible private sector investments,” the report states.
The report explains HUD will continue to support homeownership through provisions of Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance programs.
Last week, HUD Secretary Ben Carson attempted to calm fears after rumors circulated that the president was considering a $6 billion cut to HUD funding. The news was met with much resistance, however Carson emphasized that first proposals are rarely final numbers.
Now, however, the new secretary has yet to directly react to the cuts. HUD issued the following statement:
Today, the Administration proposed a Fiscal Year 2018 spending blueprint for discretionary programs in several agencies across the Federal Government, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The blueprint reflects the President’s commitment to support HUD’s critical functions that provide rental assistance to low-income and vulnerable households and to help work-eligible families achieve self-sufficiency. It also recognizes a greater role for State and local governments, and the private sector to address community and economic development needs. Moreover, the spending plan supports the longstanding homeownership mission of the Federal Housing Administration to provide mortgage insurance to credit qualified households. A more detailed program-by-program budget proposal will be announced in May.

Marinwood CSD STEALS another year in office without VOTER Approval a SECOND TIME -Marinwood CSD meeting 3/14/2017

Marinwood CSD board members vote unanimously a SECOND time to EXTEND their terms to FIVE YEARS without Voter Approval.

  • Ron ("shut up lady!") Marinoff  attacks fellow members of the public including Linda Barnello who donated $2500 to the Marinwood Fire Department. 

  • The CSD Board unanimously approved a PAY RAISE to Eric Dreikosen Marinwood CSD Manager despite his mismanagement of the Solar Contract,  $7000 missing funds discovered in the annual audit,  and stonewalling of the public release of documents concerning the solar contract.  

  • Board approves posh remodel of the fire station kitchen that includes $4800 for granite counter tops while complaining about the "high cost of elections" for their reason that they won't allow a vote for a term extension in November 2017.  

  • Leah Kleinman Green leaves the meeting early (again!) because of more pressing matters AFTER she votes herself another year in office.

This is the kind of government we get when no one is paying attention.  Sadly, the electeds will continue their rule for another year without public approval.  They think they are entitled to another term of power because they are not paid for their "public service".  

What about the voter's right to elections?  

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

My Letter to the Marinwood CSD about EXTENDING their TERM without a vote

Dear Marinwood CSD Board:                                                                                           March 8, 2017

Tonight you have a choice to honor or dishonor the voters of Marinwood CSD in an attempt to comply with California SB415 the “California Voter Participation Rights Act” . There are two possible solutions 1.) shorten the current terms to three years 2.) lengthen the current term to five years for all members. 3) Option 3: Wait to see if state amends SB 415. The final option would be to defer action until the end of 2017 to see if the state legislature will change SB 415. Some cities and Los Angeles County oppose SB 415 and are seeking an amendment to the law. LA County says it does not have the capacity to handle all elections in June or November of even years.

 Here is an excerpt of the staff recommendations for the City of San Rafael :

“ANALYSIS: SB 415 requires that the City either begin the new election schedule in 2018, or that by January 1, 2018, the Council adopt a plan for effecting the schedule change no later than 2022. The change to even-year elections will require interim adjustments to the Mayor’s and City Council terms, either to 3- year terms, or to 5-year terms. Therefore, the City Council has a few options for how to transition to the new schedule, and staff seeks direction from the Council on how it wishes to do so. Staff recommends maintaining a November election date to maintain consistency in the length of the terms of all seats on the Council and thus to minimize disruption from the changes. 
The primary decision to make is whether to extend to 5 years or reduce to 3 years the terms of the Mayor and Council members during the transition period. 
 There are a few options:
1. 3-year terms:
 Prior to this year’s general municipal election, reduce the terms of the Mayor and all Councilmembers to 3 years. At the November 7, 2017 election, two City Council seats would be open for election to a 3-year term ending in 2020. At the November 2019 election, the office of Mayor and two Council seats would be open for election to a 3-year term ending in 2022.

2. 5-year terms: This can be done in two ways:
a.     Prior to this year’s general municipal election, expressly extend the terms of the Mayor and all Councilmembers to 5 years, proceed with the 2017 election, and then schedule the next general municipal election for November, 2020. The result of this would be that at the November 7, 2017 election, two City Council seats would be open for election to a 5-year term ending in 2022. The office of Mayor and two City Council seats that would otherwise have ended in 2019 would be extended to 2020 and would become 5-year terms.
Wait until after the November 7, 2017 election, and then schedule the next general municipal election for November, 2020. The result of this would be that at the November 7, 2017 election, two City Council seats would be open for election to a stated 4-year term, but the term would become a 5-year term by operation of the new election schedule, ending in 2022. The office of Mayor and two City Council seats that would otherwise have ended in 2019 would be extended to 2020 thus becoming 5-year terms by operation of the new schedule. “

Please do the right thing and choose to honor the voters and Marinwood CSD board members. Do not lengthen Marinwood CSD terms that voters chose for four years.  Change the current four year terms to three year terms as outlined above in option 1.  3 year terms.  This is the only solution fair to the community and respects local voting rights.*  

* Although at the 3/8/2017 meeting it was pointed out that there was no provision in the code to allow the reduction of a term in the event of an election realignment,  it still is possible to fill the current terms and hold five year term elections.  This will retain the integrity of the local vote.  Instead the CSD simply choose to EXTEND their terms WITHOUT the public's approval.