Saturday, March 16, 2019

Blanket Upzoning - A Blunt Instrument - Won’t Solve the Affordable Housing Crisis

Blanket Upzoning - A Blunt Instrument - Won’t Solve the Affordable Housing Crisis

Last April, TPR interviewed UCLA and London School of Economics Professor Michael Storper on how to square urbanism, density, and economic development. Over the past year, Storper, a Professor of Economic Geography whose last published book The Rise and Fall of Urban Economies: Lessons from San Francisco and Los Angeleshas continued his research on inequality caused by globalization and technology; and, on the impact of housing, zoning, and migration decisions by city-regions on addressing inequality. Rejoining TPR, Storper argues that the bulk of the claims of the trickle-down “housing-as-opportunity” school of thought are fundamentally flawed and lead to simplistic and misguided pubic policy recommendations. In light of the robust conversation around CA State Sen. Scott Wiener’s proposed SB 50, Storper notes that there is no clear evidence that local housing regulation is crucial for differences in home availability or affordability across cities, for inter-regional mobility, and that many have failed to fully consider the impacts of in-migration to economically prosperous cities. 

“The idea that upzoning will cause housing affordability to trickle down within our metropolis, while also setting up Los Angeles and San Francisco as the new golden land for people in less prosperous regions, is just a lot to promise—and it’s based on a narrative of housing as opportunity that is deeply flawed. We have to be very cautious when we use a storyline like that to justify public policy." - Michael Storper
Professor, you recently released new research challenging what you term the “housing as opportunity” school of thought. What is the premise of that school of thought, and what do advocates of “blanket upzoning” to increase supply miss with respect to housing economics?
Michael Storper: The “housing as opportunity” school of thought is a consensus in mainstream housing economics that makes a very ambitious set of claims about the world. First, it claims that the housing crisis in our major prosperous metropolitan regions is principally due to restrictive zoning and regulations. It follows by arguing that that we can solve this crisis through widespread up-zoning, which it claims will increase the supply of housing in these prosperous regions, and that this overall supply increase will have a trickle-down effect by increasing affordability for lower income people and families.  A novel argument then extends to bigger national picture, because this school of thought also claims that such up-zoning in prosperous regions can also solve the problems of less prosperous regions.
The background to this latter claim is that the split between prosperous metropolitan areas and more depressed areas—what many call the “left behind” regions—is greater than it has been for nearly a century. Many parts of the country are seeing lower incomes and fewer opportunities, yet people from those regions aren’t migrating to the prosperous regions as much as they have in the past.
The “housing as opportunity” school of thought says that this decline in migration is due to a lack of housing supply in big cities, such that people can’t find or afford housing in expensive metropolitan regions. And it says that upzoning in big cities would allow more migration in.
Thus, this theory works at two scales: the intra-metropolitan scale and the inter-metropolitan (or national) scale. At both levels, the issue is said to be affordability and the common solution is said to be upzoning. 
So, what does this school of thought miss? Our paper proposes that it misses several things. For one, we don’t think that housing is the major reason that fewer people from “left behind” regions are moving into prosperous metropolitan regions. Instead, we think it’s because of jobs and skills.
The evidence for this is that some people are moving into metropolitan areas—specifically, highly skilled young people. Housing isn’t keeping them out. It’s changing how they are housed—they tend to crowd more people into a unit—but it’s not keeping them out. So, the idea that we’re going to create economic opportunity for people in Ohio, Kentucky, or North Dakota by building housing in LA is pretty unrealistic. It’s also a contradictory argument: if up-zoning were to be attract more of these domestic migrants into places like LA or San Francisco, we would largely negate any contribution to better or more affordable housing for those already here.
Our analysis shows that blanket up-zoning is likely to miss its affordability target, even without attracting in more people from left behind regions. Blanket upzoning is a blunt instrument, whereas people’s housing needs are diverse.  Even if the up-zoning is aimed at, for example, transit-served corridors, it doesn’t mean that all such areas are going to attract housing investment.  This is because, even with transit, people don’t live and work in the same neighborhoods, and there is no evidence that transit changes these patterns in any significant way.  So, when we up-zone around transit corridors, for example, only some locations are likely to attract big increases in housing construction.  These are areas with strong attractiveness.  It will favor those who can pay the price of housing in high-demand areas—marginally improving the housing prospects for highly skilled people at the upper end of the income distribution.
What it’s not going to do is solve the housing crisis for the middle classes and lower-income people.  Even with so-called affordability set-asides, the trickle down effect will be small and could even be negative in the highly-desirable areas, if the set-aside(in the range of 15-25% in current legislative proposals) is lower (or income thresh-holds higher) than the current pattern of lower-income, lower-cost housing in those areas compared to the new housing profile.    This is just one example of the many unintended consequences that proponents of blanket upzoning don’t take into account, and that is why it will fail. 
Elaborate on the research you rely upon to conclude that blanket upzoning will not solve the housing crisis for coastal California’s middle classes and lower-income people.
Our paper reviews the existing literature in urban economics and provides a variety of evidence on how migration impacts city housing prices. We looked at three dimensions of cities—land area, population migration, and changes in housing prices—and showed that there isn’t any consistent relationship among those three variables. Then, we used other data to show that the real factor driving growth in housing prices is the income distribution across cities.
Cities like LA, San Francisco, or anywhere else in coastal California have a strong economic base that attracts skilled people in occupations with high wages. They also have a large population with very low incomes. What drives housing prices up is the strength of the fundamental economic forces that causes the skilled to want to be in big metropolitan areas today.  This force is much stronger than 30 years ago.   The payoff for a skilled person to locating in a big city today (in terms of higher wages compared to locating in other places) is much bigger than in the past.  That is why the skilled continue to crowd into LA and even the Bay Area, in spite of their high housing costs.  It’s also why any increase in supply will mostly benefit them (in terms of better housing choices for them).   That’s fine, but what it is unlikely to do is have a strong trickle-down effect, and up-zoning legislation is largely being sold on the affordability or trickle-down argument.
Professor, in a previous interview with The Planning Report, you noted that “blanket overrides of local planning and zoning laws to authorize density…would give us a combination of displacement and bad urbanism.” Does your new research confirm or conflict with that conclusion? 
recent paper by Yonah Freemark at MIT showed that upzoning in Chicago served to increase land values. We could anticipate that effect, because upzoning means that landowners can count on being able to construct more in the future. But what upzoning did not do in Chicago, and is not likely to do anywhere, is create incentives for housing construction in the areas where middle-class and lower-income people most need it for the prices at which they need it.
That’s the problem with blanket upzoning: It doesn’t actually require housing to be created for these groups. It just allows upzoning itself to be created wherever you want and allows for market speculation to dominate. The market will naturally respond best in areas with the greatest returns on upzoning—mostly places with dense, white-collar employment where high-income people will want to live to be closer to their jobs.
This is how blanket upzoning produces the consequence of displacement. Skilled people with high incomes—those who would benefit most from upzoning—are going to move into upzoned neighborhoods and crowd out the middle- and lower-income people who are living there. This displacement is exactly the opposite consequence of what the authors of upzoning bills claim they want to produce.
The consequence of bad urbanism is related to what I call the “Sao Paulo solution” or the “Mexico City solution”: allowing nonconforming high density to be built in areas with relatively low density. That’s exactly how a lot of cities in Latin America have urbanized—with towers or jumbled densities all over the place, chaotically shooting up all over the place next to single-family homes. Given the land-use patterns in Los Angeles, for example, blanket upzoning would likely give us the same kind of ugly incursions of bad urbanism, without the positive side of higher density, which is clustering, walk-ability, and lively streets.  So many of LA’s neighborhoods were disfigured in the 1960s by the zoning that led to dingbat streets. Do we really want to repeat that?
In your opinion, are proposed laws/public policies that link the upzoning of neighborhoods with intra-city urban transportation corridors an inherently positive step toward achieving more housing affordability, as opposed to displacement, in California?
In this case, my concern is about the method, rather than the general goal. I do think that in the long run, we will see a new generation of people who are less reliant on cars, who want to live in denser communities, and who want to tap into better transit networks. And I think most people agree that that’s a desirable future. The question is: How do you go about doing it?
Transit-oriented upzoning can become a mechanism of displacement. The major area in LA where that is likely to happen is the Crenshaw corridor. Crenshaw community groups had worked out a plan for how they envisaged their communities to evolve—a plan that included greater density. Now, new development targeted to higher-income people is displacing those communities. What concern me are top-down approaches that dictate to a local community how to produce greater density and in exactly what ways. 
Given your research on housing economics, what policy questions should be central to any new legislation seeking to address inequality and housing affordability?
The core debate in California housing policy is with people who think that untargeted upzoning is a lever that will increase supply in vast metropolitan areas and produce widespread affordability while somehow avoiding the problems of displacement and bad urbanism.
But affordability and supply are not the same thing. In big, mature metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, affordability has to be produced through active housing market policy. That means directly targeting affordability and access for every group and every mix of housing.
Bills like SB 827 and SB 50 are essentially about trickle-down economics. The logic is that by creating more aggregate supply, every part of the demand curve—every different group demanding housing—will somehow benefit. I don’t think there’s any evidence in favor of that proposition.
I agree that if what we want is more housing in a lot of different places, then we should create incentives for localities to build that housing—but we have to allow them to figure out how to do so in the way that best addresses their different constituencies. We should set general goals and allow communities to meet them in different ways, rather than imposing centralized solutions.

How do your UCLA colleagues in urban planning and housing affordability assess the housing legislation pending in the California State Legislature? Do they also reject as problematic the thesis that
 untargeted upzoning will increase supply and affordability without displacement and/or bad urbanism? 
I think there is a wide variety of opinions. Everyone’s going to continue looking at all of the legislation that’s out there.
To me, housing is an area where the law of unintended consequences is most powerful. The idea that upzoning will cause housing affordability to trickle down within our metropolis, while also setting up Los Angeles and San Francisco as the new golden land for people in less prosperous regions, is just a lot to promise—and it’s based on a narrative of housing as opportunity that is deeply flawed. We have to be very cautious when we use a storyline like that to justify public policy.
You asserted in your last TPR interview that cities seeking to become economically competitive in the 21st century are “hamstrung by old rules.” What are the old rules or regulations that now hamstring the future prospects of cities? 
The biggest problems are the tax systems that lead municipalities to be competitive with one another—including the Prop. 13 disaster that we’re still faced with—and all the fragmentation and fiscal disarrangement that every little city and every jurisdiction is fighting. 
In closing, let’s pivot to the challenges of providing needed public housing and what policy lessons can be learned from other cities outside of the U.S. 
I don’t think we talk enough about public housing. Public housing has a long and checkered history in the United States because it’s expensive, hard to maintain, and involves all kinds of problems of public administration and bureaucracy. It has a better history in other countries, and we might ask why.
Some cities—most notably London—are experimenting with reconstructing their public housing estates and allowing some market-rate housing to be built there. They’re going in the opposite direction of building private housing and including affordable housing in it. The reason this worked is that they included the residents, and the residents said, “We’ll make a deal. If you give us new and better public housing, and you let us participate in creating high-quality design, then we’re in.”
The key thing here is that the public sector keeps control of the land forever. A city, essentially, is its land—and land is the most valuable resource in a city. When the public sector controls land, it has the ability to weigh in on the future of the city. Now, as cities are changing, that asset—which will only become more valuable and less affordable to the public sector over time—isn’t being given away to the private sector, but is instead being transformed in response to social and economic forces.
There are intelligent ways to do these things that we need to start thinking about. Affordability has to be tackled directly; it’s not going to be created through aggregate supply and trickle-down.
See Article HERE

Marinwood Plaza Cleanup at RWQCB on 3/12/2019

The Clean Up Marinwood Plaza Now committee speaks before the Regional Water Quality Control Board on March 13, 2019.  The committee urges further action despite the softening of enforcement by the RWQCB.  Also speaking were attorneys for Silveira Ranch and Catholic Charities (St. Vincent s)

Friday, March 15, 2019

Are We in a Post Democracy Age?

Spiked editor Brendan O'Neill speaks to Nigel Farage about the Grand Debate about governance.  Are we to be ruled by Democracy or  the Elites?  They are commenting on Brexit but it is as true in the USA with Plan Bay Area and regional government

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Marin IJ Editorial: A reminder of the importance of the public’s right to know

Editorial: A reminder of the importance of the public’s right to know

Tyrants who suppress speech are not worthy of respect.

March 14, 2019 at 10:23 am

Many worthy causes latch onto weeks or months every calendar year to promote public awareness of important issues.

News editors and reporters have one, too. It usually doesn’t generate framed proclamations from town councils or boards of supervisors, who routinely pass resolutions designating months and days in honor of various causes.

But now you know: This week is national Sunshine Week, a campaign launched by the American Society of News Editors to shine a bright light on the need for open government and the importance of a free press.

The week intentionally coincides with the March 16 birth date of James Madison, one of the United States’ chief architects and a primary author of the U.S. Constitution, on which our rights and privileges are built.

In 1865, then-President Abraham Lincoln summed up our founding fathers’ vision when he spoke of “government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Some 50 years later, Louis Brandeis, who would go on to become a Supreme Court justice, wrote about the importance of public awareness as a “remedy” for corruption: “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”

It is with that objective that newspapers, radio, television and online media work to bring “sunshine” to government, important social and political issues and business.

The Independent Journal is among them, having covered news, needs and changes across Marin County for more than 150 years.

The media landscape, however, has changed dramatically as the internet has eaten away at the financial sustenance that had enabled newspapers — large and small, metropolitan and local — and TV and radio stations to maintain larger staffs to cover and report the news.

In the past 15 years, nearly one in five newspapers has stopped publishing, and thousands of journalists have lost their jobs, according to a study by Penelope Muse Abernathy, the Knight chair in Journalism and Media Economics at the University of North Carolina.

Digital startups haven’t had much of an impact in replacing newspapers that have vanished. And newspapers have grown thinner, as has TV and radio news coverage.

By our coverage, we seek out facts and figures we hope are of interest and of help to decision-makers and the public who have every right to information that is affecting those decisions.

Unfortunately, the concept that “the public has a right to know” is not always a top priority of our government. Decision-makers often seem to forget or avoid the adage and find themselves stumbling into controversy.

A good local example is county supervisors’ handling of plans to purchase the San Geronimo Golf Course, cooked up behind closed doors at the Civic Center and then rushed through the approval process. It generated enough public controversy that the county’s plan collapsed, and an initiative aimed at preserving the golf course will be on the ballot in 2020. The costs are being paid by taxpayers.

Had the public’s right to know been a higher priority, perhaps this issue wouldn’t have become the political train wreck it has been thus far.

see the article in the Marin IJ HERE

Marinwood CSD President Leah uses Sheriff to Intimidate Public

Leah Green, Marinwood CSD board president continues to use the Marin Sheriff to intimidate the public at Marinwood CSD meetings.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Can Government Officials Have You Arrested for Speaking to Them?

Can Government Officials Have You Arrested for Speaking to Them?

The Supreme Court faces a test of the authority of politicians to use police to silence their critics.GARRETT EPPSJAN 15, 2018

If a citizen speaks at a public meeting and says something a politician doesn’t like, can the citizen be arrested, cuffed, and carted off to the hoosegow?

Suppose that, during this fraught encounter, the citizen violates some law—even by accident, even one no one has ever heard of, even one dug up after the fact—does that make her arrest constitutional?

Deyshia Hargrave, meet Fane Lozman. You need to follow his case.

Hargrave is a language arts teacher in Kaplan, Louisana. She was arrested Monday after she questioned school-district policy during public comment at a school board meeting.

She asked why the superintendent of schools was receiving a five-figure raise when local teachers had not had a permanent pay increase in a decade. As she was speaking, the school-board president slammed his gavel, and a police officer told her to leave. She left, but once she went into the hall, the officer took her to the ground, handcuffed her, and arrested her for “remaining after having been forbidden” and “resisting an officer.”

Fane Lozman, whose case will be argued in front of the Supreme Court on February 27, faced the same fate at a meeting of the Riviera Beach, Florida, city council in November 2006. Lozman, remarkably enough, has made his way to the high court more or less without assistance twice in the past four years, arguing two different aspects of his acrimonious dispute with the Riviera Beach city government. The first case, which Lozman won, asked whether his motorless plywood “floating home” was actually a “vessel” subject to federal admiralty law. (Answer, via Justice Stephen Breyer: “Um, no.”) The second case is about police tactics at public meetings; its result could make a profound difference to citizens like Hargrave who want to talk back to local officials without a trip to jail. 

In 2006, Lozman was living in his anchored plywood structure, which was moored at a marina in Riviera Beach. City officials planned to use eminent domain to condemn the marina site and redevelop it; Lozman sued to block the plan.

In retaliation, city officials first tried to evict him from the marina. Lozman, representing himself, argued to the jury that this was retaliation, and the jurors threw out the city’s case. The city then brought a bizarre proceeding “in admiralty” against the houseboat itself, claiming it was a “vessel” and thus subject to federal maritime law (hint: no jury). They won an order from a federal court allowing them to destroy the home. Lozman, again acting as his own lawyer, appealed the order—and in 2013 the Supreme Court reversed.

But the struggle was far from over. His original lawsuit against the city had alleged a violation of Florida’s open-meetings law. State authorities sent law enforcement agents to interview council members about those charges. The elected officials were so infuriated that, as one said on the record in a private 2006 meeting, they decided to “intimidate” Lozman and other critics “so that they can feel the same kind of unwarranted heat that we are feeling.” A few months later, Lozman went to the microphone during open comment time at a City Council meeting; but when he mentioned “public corruption” in Palm Beach County (where the city is located), the presiding council member ordered a police officer to arrest him.

He was charged with “disorderly conduct” and “resisting arrest without violence,” but the local prosecutor dropped the charges, saying in essence that no reasonable person would believe them. Lozman then brought a federal lawsuit against the city for “First Amendment retaliation.” A federal judge agreed that Lozman had “compelling” evidence that he’d been arrested as punishment for his protected speech. But the judge then threw out the case, reasoning that he actually could have been charged with the obscure state offense of “willfully interrupt[ing] or disturb[ing] any school or any assembly of people met for the worship of God or for any lawful purpose.”

What this meant, the court decided, was that the officer who arrested Lozman would have had “probable cause” (a reasonable basis to believe a crime had been committed) to arrest him if he had known about “assembly of people” statute and wanted to enforce it. The fact that the officer didn’t know about it was irrelevant—and so was the city’s unconstitutional motive. As long as an officer could have arrested Lozman for something, in other words, the retaliatory motive didn’t matter. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed: The existence of probable cause for any offense is an “absolute bar” to a suit for retaliatory arrest, it said.

If you are not a lawyer, ask yourself: Can this possibly be right? Did you by any chance violate, or do anything that might make someone think you had violated any statute, ordinance, or regulation—littering, speeding, failure to signal, improper parking, excessive use of car horn, leash-law or pet waste violation, soliciting beverage-container deposits on beverages bought out of stage, unlicensed cosmetology, unlicensed practice of geology, discharge into a storm drain, spitting on the sidewalk, barratry, champerty, maintenance, affray, seduction, or being a common scold—at any point today? Under the Eleventh Circuit’s rule (which some other circuits also use), police or officials can arrest and silence a Deyshia Hargrave when a politician wants to silence her—if, after the fact, some earnest lawyer can find a such a law, however obscure, that police at the time might have thought she was violating, even though they weren’t thinking about that.

That issue is vital to the Deyshia Hargraves of this country, as well as to dangerous offenders like Dan Heyman, a reporter arrested for asking a question of then-Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price inside the West Virginia capitol. Charges were dropped—but, if they pay no price for these tactics, local jacks-in-office will be able to silence and intimidate critics more or less at will, whether or not they are prosecuted later.

It’s established law that the First Amendment protects citizens from “adverse actions” by government, if the “adverse actions” are “retaliation” for their exercise of First Amendment rights. So a public employee who speaks to the press about a general issue of public concern can’t be fired as punishment; thus, too, officials can’t blackball government contractors for their political or partisan activities. To prove a retaliation claim, a plaintiff has to show that she engaged in protected speech and that the government retaliated because of the speech. There’s a complication, though: The government can then try to show that “the same decision would have been reached had the incident not occurred”; if it makes that showing, the plaintiff will lose.

The Supreme Court has considered a number of retaliation cases, but it has not yet explained how the “same decision” rule applies in this particular situation—when a police officer arrests someone who is speaking against government. The closest it has come is a 2006 case called Hartman v. Moore, which has actually deepened the confusion surrounding the issue.

William Moore, a tech executive, wanted to sell optical character reading equipment to the Postal Service. USPS officials favored a different system; Moore persuaded members of Congress to weigh in on his side, and eventually the USPS was barred from its favored choice. Soon after, USPS inspectors began investigating Moore, and eventually a federal prosecutor brought fraud charges against him—charges so flimsy that a District Court, after hearing six weeks of evidence, found a “complete lack of direct evidence” and tossed the charges.

Moore then sued the prosecutor and the inspectors for “retaliatory prosecution.” The Supreme Court, however, decided that such a claim—a claim that federal investigators and prosecutors had him indicted and prosecuted because of his First Amendment speech—can only succeed when the plaintiff can show complete lack of probable cause for the prosecution.

The reason is complex. To begin with, the court has held that prosecutors themselves can never be sued for the decision to prosecute a given case, no matter how mean or bone-headed. When it comes to prosecutors, courts apply a “a presumption of regularity”—that is, that “a prosecutor has legitimate grounds for the action he takes.” Because of this “absolute immunity,” a plaintiff would have to sue others in the system—in this case, the USPS inspectors—and charge that they caused the prosecutor to proceed without good reason. But if there was “probable cause,” then there was at least one good reason.

The two pieces fit together this way. First, there was probable cause; second, we assume the prosecutor was applying the law in good faith (regularity, y’now). Thus, the probable cause, not retaliation, must have been the reason for the prosecution.

But there’s an important difference between “retaliatory prosecution”—like Hartman, where prosecutors went through an indictment and a trial—and “retaliatory arrest”—where one or two law-enforcement officers arrest a person, silence them for the night, and, often as not, just let them go without charge. A prosecutor need not have been involved at all.

Nonetheless, a number of courts of appeals have concluded that Hartman bars any lawsuits for retaliatory arrest as well as prosecution—if there’s any evidence in the record of what could have been probable cause. That’s the issue the court will decide in Lozman v. Riviera Beach, Florida. It’s one that could either rein in, or embolden, the tiny-handed tyrants who rule county buildings and city halls around the country. (If you want an exhibit of the mindset at issue, consider the unrepentant Anthony Fontana, the school-board president who presided while Deyshia Hargrave was arrested. “Everybody wants to side on the poor little woman who got thrown out,” he told Fox News. “Well, she made a choice. She could have walked out and nothing would have happened.”)

Remember, plaintiffs must show that retaliation was the motive for the arrest. (In Lozman, that wasn’t hard: Meeting transcripts showed that the council wanted to “intimidate” Lozman and let him “feel the unwarranted heat.”) Unlike prosecutors, police officers don’t have immunity, and neither do elected officials who order them to silence citizens. There’s no “presumption” that an arrest is based on “legitimate grounds.”

Much of federal civil-rights law is set up to deter this kind of official bully-boy tactics. And a glimpse at any given front page in 2018 should convince even a cloistered Supreme Court justice that police attacks on free speech are still a problem.

I hope Deyshia Hargove makes her way to Washington on February 27 and sits in the Supreme Court chamber while Lozman’s lawyers argue against the kind of tactics that were used to silence her.

Of course, if she spoke up there, she’d be cuffed and arrested again; but her presence would make a statement nonetheless.

GARRETT EPPS is a contributing editor for The Atlantic. He teaches constitutional law and creative writing for law students at the University of Baltimore. His latest book is American Justice 2014: Nine Clashing Visions on the Supreme Court.

The Sharing Economy Was Always A Scam

The Sharing Economy Was Always A Scam

By ZeroHedge
-March 12, 2019

Authored by Susie Cagle via,

‘Sharing’ was supposed to save us. Instead, it became a Trojan horse for a precarious economic future…

Founded in 2014, Omni is a startup that offers users the ability to store and rent their lesser-used stuff in the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland. Backed by roughly $40 million in venture capital, Omni proclaims on its website that they “believe in experiences over things, access over ownership, and living lighter rather than being weighed down by our possessions.”

If you’re in the Bay Area, you can currently rent a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo from “Lan” for the low price of $1 per day; “charles” is renting a small framed lithograph for $10 a day; and “Tom” is renting a copy of the film Friends With Benefits (68 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) on Blu-ray for just $2 a day. Those prices don’t include delivery and return fees for the Omni trucks traversing the city, which start at $1.99each way.

In 2016, Omni’s CEO and co-founder Tom McLeod said that “lending enables Omni members to put their ‘dormant’ belongings to good use in their community.” That same year, Fortune said Omni “could create a true ‘sharing economy.’” For a while, the tenets of the sharing economy were front and center in Omni’s model: It promised to activate underutilitized assets in order to sustain a healthier world and build community trust. In 2017, McLeod said, “We want to change behavior around ownership on the planet.”

Just three years later, those promises seem second to the pursuit of profit. In 2019, the Omni pitch can be summed up by the ads emblazoned on its delivery trucks: “Rent things from your neighbors, earn money when they rent from you!”

For years, the sharing economy was pitched as an altruistic form of capitalism — an answer to consumption run amok. Why own your own car or power tools or copies of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up if each sat idle for most of its life? The sharing economy would let strangers around the world maximize the utility of every possession to the benefit of all.

In a 2010 TED Talk, sharing economy champion and author Rachel Botsman argued that the tech-enabled sharing economy could “mimic the ties that used to happen face to face but on a scale and in a way that has never been possible before.” Botsman quoted a New York Times piece in saying, “Sharing is to ownership what the iPod is to the eight track, what solar power is to the coal mine.” In 2013, Thomas Friedman proclaimed that Airbnb’s true innovation wasn’t its platform or its distributed business model: “It’s ‘trust.’” At a 2014 conference, Uber investor Shervin Pishevar said sharing was going to bring us back to a mythical bygone era of low-impact, communal village living.

More than 10 years since the dawn of the sharing economy, these promises sound painfully out of date. Why rent a DVD from your neighbor, or own a DVD at all, when you can stream your movies online? Why use Airbnb for a single room in your home when you can sublease an entire apartment and run a lucrative off-the-books hotel operation? Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb — startups that banked on the promises of the sharing economy — are now worth tens of billions, with plans go public. (Lyft filed for an IPO on March 1.) These companies and the pundits who hyped them have all but abandoned the sharing argument that gave this industry life and allowed it to skirt government regulations for years. Sharing was supposed to transform our world for the better. Instead, the only thing we’re sharing is the mess it left behind.

The first glimpses of the sharing economy emerged years before the term came into popular use. In 1995, Craigslist mainstreamed the direct donation, renting, and sale of everything from pets and furniture to apartments and homes. Starting in 2000, Zipcar let members rent cars for everyday errands and short trips with the express goal of taking more cars off the road. And CouchSurfing, launched as a nonprofit in 2004, suddenly turned every living room into a hostel. This first wave of sharing was eclectic and sometimes even profitable, but before the mass adoption of the smartphone, it failed to capture the public’s imagination.

Though its origin is vague, many credit the introduction of the term “sharing economy” into the broader tech lexicon to Lawrence Lessig, who wrote about sharing in his 2008 book Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. The Great Recession was just setting in, and the sharing economy was touted as a new DIY social safety net/business model hybrid. The contours of the term were never particularly clear. It was used loosely to describe peer-to-peer projects and tech-enabled rental markets but also included old barter, co-op, and casual carpooling models. The sharing economy was a broad, eclectic movement with ambitious if utopian goals. The online magazine Shareable launched in 2009 to document this “movement of movements.”

Sharing would help reduce overconsumption and our impact on the environment. Venture capitalist and tech trend spotter Mary Meeker saidAmericans were moving from an “asset-heavy lifestyle to an asset-light existence” with the sharing economy leading the charge. Environment and politics researcher Harald Heinrichs suggested the sharing economy was a “potential new pathway to sustainability.” Greenpeace’s Annie Leonardframed sharing in opposition to consuming: The sharing economy, she wrote, would “conserve resources, give people access to stuff they otherwise couldn’t afford, and build community.”

Sharing also promised social benefits. It would be the instrument by which we’d be able to know one another again, a counterbalance to the alienation of a burgeoning tech dystopia. Sharing economy expert April Rinne said sharing would recreate the social fabric of tight-knit communities. “Engaging in collaborative consumption — and getting used to it — lowers the trust barrier over time,” she wrote at Shareable. New startups like TrustCloud would gather all of our disparate platform ratings and social trails from across the web and compile them into a new kind of social credit score that would enable trust and accountability in the sharing economy.

The new opportunities to earn money by freelancing part-time as a handyman, innkeeper, or taxi driver would bridge the wealth gap and ameliorate global inequality. In 2013, CNN contributor Van Jones said that sharing could lead us to “a more sustainable, prosperous future.”

Adam Werbach was president of the Sierra Club and a corporate sustainability consultant before he co-founded the used goods sharing marketplace Yerdle in 2012. A sort of proto-Omni, Yerdle’s original tagline was, “Stop buying. Start sharing.” The site incentivized renters to rent their own things by rewarding them with credits and keeping used goods recycling in the Yerdle community.

“There was a mix of venture-backed companies, social-benefit companies, and nonprofits all in the space, all fighting for it. And all of the companies were small, and all the founders hung out — it was a community,” Werbach says of those heady early times.

“I had hoped this would be the taming of capitalism.”

Janelle Orsi, attorney, co-founder, and executive director of the Sustainable Economies Law Center, used to call herself a sharing lawyer, which, she says now, “a lot of people thought was a joke.” Orsi helped set up small workers cooperatives and worked on cottage food legislation to make it possible for people in California to sell food they cooked at home on a small scale both on and off digital platforms.

For Orsi, the sharing pitch had some value in selling an idea that was uncomfortable at the time. “It took a certain kind of community-oriented person willing to take a risk and book an Airbnb or get in an Uber early on,” says Orsi. For her, and likely for many of the early sharing adopters, truly cleaner, lighter living through platform technology was seductive and incredibly promising. But that innocence was short-lived.

“I had a very grassroots community-based vision of it,” she says.

“And then all of a sudden, here comes the big tech companies. It was totally hijacked.”

Perhaps no company is as emblematic of the sharing economy sector and its rapid evolution as Lyft. Zimride, Lyft’s original parent company, was a service that focused on college campuses and long-distance rides in areas with few other transit options. Co-founder Logan Green told reporters he was inspired by the slow grind of Los Angeles traffic, thick with single-occupant cars. If he could find a way to entice more people to carpool, Green reasoned, there would be less traffic on the road.

In 2012, Zimride launched Lyft to service shorter rides in cities. Lyft advertised “friendly rides,” encouraging passengers to sit up front alongside the driver and pay a suggested donation if they felt like it. The company argued that because the platform only acted to connect riders and drivers, with payment optional, it couldn’t be regulated as a taxi service provider. But just a year after it was spun out, Lyft instituted set ride fares and had already raised $83 million in financing. It was a sharing economy success story: In 2015, Lyft was recognized by the Circulars economy awards at Davos for “helping to decongest roads.”

Over the first half of the 2010s, the so-called sharing economy evolved into a powerful new multibillion-dollar economic model. At about the same time, the definition of “sharing” began to shift. Sharing still referred to the peer-to-peer model of leveraging underutilized assets — sharing our goods with each other — but it was also increasingly applied to more traditional centralized rental models.

Seemingly everything was a part of this new economy: bike-sharing sponsored by multinational banks, apps that allowed people to rent parking spaces on public streets, and platforms that allowed for the peer-to-peer sale of used clothes. Sharing was the donor-funded nonprofit Wikipedia, and it was the massive unicorn WeWork. When the Avis Budget Group bought short-term car-rental service ZipCar in 2013, investor Steve Case said it was an indicator of the sharing economy’s growing potential. “Sharing is not a passing fad,” he wrote in the Washington Post. “Fasten your seatbelts: It’s just the beginning.”

Even though the term “sharing” was quickly being drained of any meaning,industry insiders still touted its social benefits. In 2014, Airbnb global head of community Douglas Atkin told a sharing economy conference, “The sharing economy deserves to succeed. There’s a decentralization of wealth and control and power. That’s why this economy is a better economy.”

Bythe mid-2010s, the narrative around the innovative, cure-all sharing economy had started to sour. As platforms banking on “collaborative consumption” edged toward multibillion-dollar valuations, sharing began to feel naive.

“I sort of observed the shift happening beginning in 2016,” says labor attorney Veena Dubal, who was working with freelance taxi drivers in San Francisco before sharing hit the road. “There was a moment of novelty but then a realization that these were the same things. Just much cheaper and unregulated.”

Three years ago, in a piece co-authored with entrepreneur and model Lily Cole, Adam Werbach also suggested that corporations had hijacked sharing. “Whilst modern rental platforms offer enormous value… they do not reflect the sentiment of sharing that has defined communities as communities for thousands of years.” They offered another word instead: rent.

In some instances, the sharing economy appeared to inflame the very problems it purported to solve. The supposed activation of underutilized resources actually led to more, if slightly different, patterns of resource consumption. A number of studies have shown that the ease and subsidized low cost of Uber and Lyft rides are increasing traffic in cities and apparently pulls passengers away from an actual form of sharing: public transportation. Students at UCLA are reportedly taking roughly 11,000 rides each week that never even leave campus. In putting more cars on the road, ride-hail companies have encouraged would-be drivers to consume more by buying cars with subprime loans or renting directly from the platforms themselves.

Alongside making it easy to rent out spare rooms, vacation rental platforms encouraged speculative real estate investment. Whole homes and apartment buildings are taken off the rental market to act as hotels, further squeezinghousing markets in already unaffordable cities.

Early sharing champions were ultimately correct about technology enabling a shift away from an ownership society, but what came next wasn’t sharing. The rise of streaming services, subscription systems, and short-term rentals eclipsed the promise of nonmonetary resource sharing. The power and control wasn’t decentralized; it was even more concentrated in the hands of large and valuable platforms.

Why go through the trouble of swapping your own DVDs for a copy of Friends With Benefits, after all, when you can stream it through Amazon Prime Video for $2.99? The idea of paying for temporary access to albums rather than outright owning them may have been galling at first, but we’re increasingly comfortable with renting all our music, along with our software, and our books. Downloading and sharing the materials that live on these streamed resources is impossible, illegal, or both.

The new trust never materialized. Government regulation typically plays an important role in mediating consumer relationships with corporate firms and for good reason. Peer-to-peer platforms can make discrimination easier, and they often claimed limited or zero liability when things went wrong. New social media reputation tools couldn’t prevent inevitable problems, especially when sharing companies did not institute background checks for their freelance workers or inspect homes and vehicles for safety.

Sharing didn’t deliver broad financial stability either. The jobs eventually created by the sharing economy were poorly regulated and hastened the broader growth of contract labor, pushing down already low wages for freelancers and employees alike. A few frequently quoted studies have claimed that soon, most of us will be freelancers. But most of that freelance work appears to be extremely part-time and merely supplemental income, and ride-hail driver turnover in particular is high.

Sharing doesn’t have the positive market power it wielded 10 years ago. Since 2016, tech entrepreneurs and their promoters in the press seem to have largely ditched the language of sharing. It’s now about “platforms,” “on-demand services,” or, most recently, “the gig economy.”

Labor attorney Dubal is not thrilled with the new “gig” language either. The term may seem honest — it places the precarious nature of the contract labor front and center — but it doesn’t assuage broader structural concerns. “Even people who’ve stopped using the ‘sharing economy’ haven’t necessarily seen the light in terms of what kinds of work the company has propagated more broadly,” Dubal says. “They’ve normalized unregulated business.”

Some of sharing’s earliest, most outspoken champions have distanced themselves from the term. Originally launched in 2013 as “a grassroots organization to support the sharing economy movement,” the nonprofit Peers purported to “grow, mainstream, and protect the sharing economy,” essentially acting as a corporate lobby firm for sharing, on-demand, and gig startups. Peers’ partners included Lyft, Airbnb, TaskRabbit, Getaround, and dozens of other mostly for-profit companies. The organization said the bulk of its funding came from “mission-aligned independent donors” and foundations, but it also had investment from Airbnb.

By 2016, Peers had pivoted to portable benefits — an infrastructure to sustain gig workers as they labored without an employment safety net. Peers became “an organization for people working in new ways,” and it merged with the newly created Indy Worker Guild. Peers co-founder Natalie Foster went on to co-found the Economic Security Project, which lobbies for a new solution to help struggling gig workers and job-havers alike: universal basic income.

In 2018, April Rinne, who previously pushed the sharing economy’s promise of a “tighter social fabric,” acknowledged “the dark side” of the sharing economy but wrote that “the challenges faced by the sharing economy today are largely a result of its success.” Rachel Botsman, who argued that sharing would allow us to trust one another again, now writes about how technologyand the concentration of power on large centralized platforms has led to “an erosion of trust.”

The demand for Botsman’s mythical community-shared power drill never seemed to materialize. Neighborly goods-sharing platforms Crowd Rent, ThingLoop, and SnapGoods are all many years dead, and meal-sharing Josephine ended long ago. CouchSurfing has gone for-profit, with venture capital investment.

It turns out sharing “is not really a mass-market idea, which is sort of depressing,” says Werbach, who’s pivoted Yerdle into a logistics firm for large brands interested in re-selling their used goods. “Kindergarten teachers are interested in that, but consumers are really interested in what’s in it for them.”

Some of the early, true sharing believers have decamped for the growing platform cooperative movement. “Now there’s a whole consortium of platform cooperatives,” says Orsi of the Sustainable Economies Law Center.

And these companies don’t bank on sharing. Organizations like Loconomics, Fairbnb, and Stocksy see their efforts at cooperative consumption and production less as altruism and more as collectively owning the means of production.

Sharing tapped into economic anxiety, isolation, and frustration with contemporary U.S. middle-class life in a unique and ultimately profitable way. It was another iteration of Silicon Valley’s excruciating trope of changing the world by way of disruption, wrapped in a soft packaging of eco-friendly, feel-good liberalism. We were encouraged to give companies like Lyft and Airbnb a chance, to nurture them and help them along for the greater good. If we didn’t believe in sharing, we weren’t just cynics but enemies of progress.

Many of the corporations and the pundits who sold us on the promises of sharing stopped using the term because consumers no longer found it believable or attractive. But it was consumers who really did sharing in. A true sharing economy is full of friction and discomfort, and the margins — if there are any to speak of — are paper thin. Real sharing is time-consuming and not particularly profitable for anyone.

In order to make money, especially the kind of money that tech investors expect, venture-backed companies couldn’t just activate underutilized resources — they had to make more. For-profit businesses demand growth, and platforms demand scale. More than a decade into the sharing experiment, we’ve been able to fully assess the costs. Capitalism wasn’t tamed, as Werbach had hoped — it was stoked.

“Now it’s just a transaction,” Werbach says.

“It doesn’t need to be dressed up in any language about changing the world or whatever.”

And though sharing is largely dead, other tech-driven models have taken its place: VC-backed enterprises that still skate on the promise of solving inequality, promoting justice, fixing broken systems, and doing what regulators and big, old businesses have failed to do for decades.

These days, it’s not a shared drill that’s redefining trust and supplanting institutional intermediaries; it’s the blockchain. Botsman now says that the blockchain is the next step in shifting trust from institutions to strangers.

“Even though most people barely know what the blockchain is, a decade or so from now, it will be like the internet,” she writes. “We’ll wonder how society ever functioned without it.”

The ambitious promises all sound very familiar.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Marinwood CSD meeting Tuesday, March 12, 2019 Meeting Packet

Exposing the Affordable Housing Frauds

Exposing the Affordable Housing Frauds at LA’s City Hall


ALPERN AT LARGE--Arguably, the most hurtful accusation against those of us who've fought for affordable housing and transit-oriented development (and ditto for resolving the homeless issue and creating an environmentally-sustainable city and state) is that WE are the problem because WE are the ones who oppose affordable housing and transit-oriented development.
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Yet those in power (and this appears to include Mayor Eric Garcetti and a few City Councilmembers) have overseen an Orwellian "double-speak" where those of us who decry that "affordable housing projects" result in LESS affordable housing units, and "transit-oriented developments" are expensive high-rises promoting MORE car use--then WE oppose those venerable causes.

Well, liar, liar, pants on fire--and the pants of Mayor Garcetti and every one of those jackass City Councilmembers under investigation by the DOJ and FBI for "pay to play politics" with developers appear to quite on fire.

1) To those who think they will get cheap, affordable housing by developers who want to build more for the upper middle class and even "the 1%", you're a FOOL. You won't get it.

2) To those who think that their worthy endeavors to create affordable housing and protect the middle-class (and I very much and DEEPLY respect their endeavors and motivations and share them!) by working with Abundant Housing, you're a TOOL. Behind Abundant Housing (AH) is a money-grubbing and politically-connected elite...and you are being USED.

3) To those who know damned well that the "affordable housing" and "transit-oriented development" canards are LIES, and who have financial conflicts of interests with developers who are LYING to Planning and the general public, then you are a GHOUL. By promoting these developments, you are hurting your neighbors, and fellow Angelenos and Californians, and you should be EXPOSED for the FRAUDS you are.

You want affordable housing? I want affordable housing! So do my neighbors upset with giant developments that are NOT family-friendly, are NOT environmentally-healthy, are NOT likely to sustain or help mobility, and are NOT affordable.

You want Transit-Oriented Development? I want transit-oriented development! So do my neighbors upset with transit-adjacent but NOT transit-oriented developments, and NOT built with transit in mind, and are too-often walled off and NOT transit-friendly in their layout.

1) Watch what happens when efforts are made to require developments requesting variants have 50% or more affordable housing units...and not the 5-10% or so they usually do as they tear down the old, TRULY affordable housing development.

2) Watch what happens when efforts are made to require NO parking to those developments who want to build "transit-oriented development", or to build sufficient parking mitigations for developments meant to dump parking on innocent neighbors' property.

Up and down the coast, when developers (and there are good, honest developers, to be sure, who do NOT play these games or LIE to the neighbors) are asked to REALLY be affordable, environmentally-sustainable, and/or transit-oriented...they show themselves to be frauds.
They just want to build expensive, unaffordable housing--and the only "green" they see is that of money.

And we keep letting them get away with it, and we keep re-electing those enabling the fraud.

The Abundant Housing (AH) people are just part of the problem, and these AH's have no problem bombarding local government entities with their support for projects that are NOT affordable, NOT projects near them, and NOT projects they know much about.

The AH's have no problem with Internet tools to have form letters sent through e-mail with the ready-made "facts" that are anything but...and the AH's are truly FOOLS, TOOLS, and GHOULS.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant. We can do better than to be crushed by the AH's who are either unintentionally or intentionally hurting us all. Let the TRUTH come out so that we can have MORE affordable and MORE transit-oriented housing.

The future of Los Angeles and California depends on it!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Dixie School district named two weeks before the Gettysburg Address

The Dixie School District was named on November 3, 1863. Two weeks later, on November 19, 1863 President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.

"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Time Line of The Civil War, 1863 when the Dixie School District was created

The Dixie School District was named on November 3, 1863.
Two weeks later, President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.
  • A little historical perspective is needed to illustrate why naming our school District "Dixie" is inappropriate"

  • Time Line of The Civil War, 1863

  • January 1, 1863: Emancipation Proclamation goes into effect. This frees all slaves in territories held by Confederates and emphasizes the enlisting of black soldiers in the Union Army. The war to preserve the Union now becomes a revolutionary struggle for the abolition of slavery. January 2, 1863: Battle of Murfreesboro continues along the banks of the Stone’s River in Tennessee. Battle of Stones River ends. January 9, 1863: Battle of Arkansas Post. January 11, 1863: Battle of Arkansas Post ends. January 31, 1863: Confederate ironclads temporarily break the blockade at Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. March 3, 1863: The U.S. Congress enacts a draft, affecting male citizens aged 20 to 45, but also exempts those who pay $300 or provide a substitute. April 2, 1863: Bread riots in Richmond, Virginia. April 24, 1863: Confederate government passes a tax in-kind on one-tenth of all produce. April 30, 1863: Battle of Days’ Gap. May 1, 1863: Battle of Chancellorsville begins in Virginia. Battle of Port Gibson. Battle of Chalk Bluff. May 2, 1863: Stonewall Jackson is accidentally shot. Battle of Chalk Bluff ends. May 3, 1863: General Joseph Hooker and the Army of the Potomac abandon a key hill on the Chancellorsville battlefield. . Union losses are 17,000 killed, wounded and missing out of 130,000. The Confederates, 13,000 out of 60,000. May 10, 1863: Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson dies. May 12, 1863: Battle of Raymond. May 13, 1863: Union General Ulysses S. Grant advances toward the Mississippi capital of Jackson during his bold and daring drive to take Vicksburg, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River. May 16, 1863: Battle of Champion’s Hill, Mississippi: The Union army seals the fate of Vicksburg May 18, 1863: The siege of Vicksburg commences Union General Ulysses S. Grant surrounds Vicksburg, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River, in one of the most brilliant campaigns of the war. May 21, 1863: Battle of Port Hudson (Siege of) May 28, 1863: 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry leaves for action. This is the first fully trained black regiment in the Union army. June 3, 1863: General Lee with 75,000 Confederates launches his second invasion of the North, heading into Pennsylvania in a campaign that will soon lead to Gettysburg. June 9, 1863: Battle of Brandy Station. June 14, 1863: Battle of Second Winchester: A small Union garrison in the Shenandoah Valley town of Winchester, Virginia, is easily defeated by the Army of Northern Virginia on the path of the Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania. June 28, 1863: President Lincoln appoints General George G. Meade as commander of the Army of the Potomac, replacing Hooker. Meade is the 5th man to command the Army in less than a year. July 1, 1863: The Battle of Gettysburg begins when Union and Confederate forces collide at Gettysburg. The epic battle lasted three days and resulted in a retreat to Virginia by Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. July 2, 1863: The second day of battle at Gettysburg General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia attacks General George G. Meade’s Army of the Potomac at both Culp’s Hill and Little Round Top, but fails to move the Yankees from their positions. July 3, 1863: Pickett leads his infamous charge at Gettysburg Troops
  • The failed attack effectively ended the battle of Gettysburg. On July 4, Lee began to withdraw his forces to Virginia. The casualties for both armies were staggering. Lee lost 28,000 of his 75,000 soldiers, and Union losses stood at over 22,000. It was the last time Lee threatened Northern territory. LEE DEFEATED AT GETTYSBURG: On the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s last attempt at breaking the Union line ends in disastrous failure, bringing the most decisive battle of the War For Southern Independence to an end. Many observers recall this day as the "high water mark of the Confederacy." July 4, 1863: Surrender of Vicksburg The Confederacy is torn in two July 9, 1863: Surrender of Port Hudson, Louisiana, July 15, 1863: Draft riots continue to rock New York City Discontent simmered until the draft began among the Irish New Yorkers on July 11. Two days later, a mob burned the draft office, triggering nearly five days of violence. At first, the targets included local newspapers, wealthy homes, well-dressed men, and police officers, but the crowd’s attention soon turned to African Americans. Several blacks were lynched, and businesses employing blacks were burned. A black orphanage was also burned, but the children escaped. Not until July 17 was the violence contained by the arrival of Union troops, some fresh from the battlefield at Gettysburg. More than 1,000 died and property damage topped $2 million. The draft was temporarily suspended, and a revised conscription began in August. As a result of the riots and the delicate political balance in the city, relatively few New Yorkers were forced to serve in the Union army. July 17, 1863: Battle of Honey Springs. July 18, 1863: 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry attempts an assault of Battery Wagner outside Charleston, South Carolina. July 19, 1863: Morgan’s raiders defeated at Buffington Island: . August 8, 1863: In the aftermath of his defeat at Gettysburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee sends a letter of resignation as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. The letter came more than a month after Lee’s retreat from Pennsylvania. At first, many people in the South wondered if in fact Lee had lost the battle. Lee’s intent had been to drive the Union army from Virginia, which he did. The Army of the Potomac suffered over 28,000 casualties, and the Union army’s offensive capabilities were temporarily disabled. But the Army of Northern Virginia absorbed 23,000 casualties, nearly one-third of its total. September 1, 1863: Battle of Devil’s Backbone. September 10, 1863: Battle of Bayou Fourche. September 19, 1863: Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia. A decisive Confederate victory by General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee left General William S. Rosecrans’ Union Army of the Cumberland trapped in Chattanooga under Confederate siege. October 14, 1863: Battle of Bristoe Station. October 15, 1863: C.S.S. Hunley sinks during tests. The C.S.S. Hunley, the first successful submarine, sinks during a test run, killing its inventor and seven crewmembers. October 16, 1863 The president appoints General Grant to command all operations in the Western theater. October 25, 1863: Battle of Pine Bluff. November 3, 1863, the Board of Supervisors formally established the “Dixie Public School District”, making Dixie one of the earliest districts to be established in Marin. November 19, 1863: President Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address. The address was two minutes long, and took place at a ceremony dedicating the Battlefield as a National Cemetery. November 23, 1863: Battle of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Rebel siege of Chattanooga ends November 27, 1863: Battle of Ringgold Gap. Battle of Mine Run.

  • EDITOR'S Note: Dixie School district was named "Dixie" during horrible events in 1863 that tore us apart as a nation. We barely survived. It is for this reason we should find a better name for our beloved school district for the future.