Sunday, October 01, 2006

Some Things Never Change in Marin

Novato housing ban sought

After reading about the Novato City Council's approval of 27 new homes to be built (IJ, Sept. 27), I urge city residents to join me in demanding a moratorium on the building of any new homes until local roads and freeways can handle the additional traffic.

Twenty-seven new homes means 54 new cars competing for space on already overcrowded traffic routes.

What should be a 45-minute commute to the city has now grown to a ridiculous hour and 45 minutes, and there is no relief in sight. It has to stop. This wasted time spent on the freeway is seriously impacting the quality of our lives.

Anne Lane, Novato

Source ("Readers Forum", Marin IJ, 10/1/2006).

18 Comments:

Blogger B. Durbin said...

How about this: Instead of demanding a moratorium on homes, demand a study of how to make traffic levels more acceptible in the region, and then implement the ideas.

No? Too crazy?

Oct 1, 2006, 8:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What gets me about this letter is that the majority of the traffic this person is complaining about is from people passing through Marin from Sonoma and Napa counties...NOT from Marin itself. Typical Marin ignorance and provincialism run amok. If it were not for Marin's NIMBYism and provinicialism one could make the case that maybe not so many people would have been forced to live so far from SFO and commute through Marin. In a way Marin did this to themselves. Granted, unlike SoCal it takes the Bay Area decades to make any infrastructure improvements whatsoever so part of the poor freeway conditions are decades old or have been known about for that long at least and are only now getting addressed.

Oct 1, 2006, 8:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What should be a 45-minute commute to the city has now grown to a ridiculous hour and 45 minutes, and there is no relief in sight. It has to stop. This wasted time spent on the freeway is seriously impacting the quality of our lives.

I agree, Marin did this to themselves; people forced to live further and further north and commuting through Marin that is.

Also, the cost of housing has become so outrageous that in order to live in Marin one has to work outside of Marin to afford living there. Of course, this has always been true to some extent but it has become more so recently. Anyone who has lived here for a long time would know this. This fact puts even more strain on the system.

Oct 1, 2006, 8:55:00 PM  
Anonymous ross valley local said...

people passing through Marin from Sonoma and Napa counties...NOT from Marin itself.

Right. The endemic Marin population is quite small, compared to other regions around the bay. Internally, it's really about Marin's poor infrastructure and nimbyist attitudes. Just look at Sir Francis Drake in the morning! Like the deferred maintenance on many local homes, our road system was deferred to the point where upgrades will bring painful changes. I guess Marin doesn't like the pain of adjusting to current realities.

Oct 2, 2006, 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger vfsv said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Oct 2, 2006, 3:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why not build a highway from one end of marin to the san fran bridge and charge a nice juicy toll for highway use?... from other counties through marin ?

Oct 2, 2006, 8:40:00 PM  
Blogger fever said...

"a moratorium on the building of any new homes until local roads and freeways can handle the additional traffic."

Is essentially like taking all undeveloped land away from private owners and giving it to the community. Sometimes I wonder if we really are a capitalist country. If you're pissed off about your commute, live closer to where you work. Otherwise, it's a free country and I hope we make every effort to keep it free.

Oct 3, 2006, 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is more typical California BS. Similiar garbage is going on where I live in Alameda. For one, our elections are just about to occur, with 4 canidates running for city counncil. The big issue, as has been for 30 years is whether or not they support Measure A- a measure that states that nobody can build any more multi-family dwellings or build a home of less than a certain size on a certain sized lot. In other words, hardly anything has been built since 1973 when the law was enacted. Now that there is a tremendous amount of pressure on the city to build affordable housing, the drums are coming out again. Just like Marin, the happy-sappy baby boomers who've lived there for decades make these ridiculous claims that by building anything, it will impact " their quality of life". In other words- affect their property values and somehow erradicate the museum of a town we now have- a monument to 30 years of absolutly no growth or progress.
Each and every time that Measure A goes up on the slate, it never gets amended. Instead, it stays in the same woefully outdated language to assure that nobody will ever be able to move to the city unless they want to shell out 700k for some dump of a house. Marin is a little further ahead than Alameda, but we're catching up in terms of the level of stratification in that you can gurantee that in a few more years, there will be no more middle or lower classes. Only old farts and bimmer drivers.
The latest debacle involves over 200 acres of land on the outskirts of town that was owned by the Alameda Railway. The city signed a contract with the railway in 1924 that would allow the city to buy it back at the price the RR paid in 1924- $900k. Last year, the city bought hundreds of millions of dollars worth of land for 900k, as insane as that sounds.
So.. what do you think they are planning to do with all this land- land that sits way out on the other side of the island, where most residents never venture or knew about prior to this agreement? Are they going to build more homes, mixed communties or add to the local businesses? Nope- they aren't going to do a damned thing with it except turn it into a big useless open space so that people can come and walk their dogs, swing their kids, or whatever. We do not need another open space. We NEED more housing.
Sorry- I'm just a little peeved. Whay can't Californians become less self-centered and realize that they have to plan for the future and not just for themselves?

Oct 4, 2006, 7:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whay can't Californians become less self-centered and realize that they have to plan for the future and not just for themselves?

Exactly. Well said.

Oct 4, 2006, 11:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry- I'm just a little peeved. Whay can't Californians become less self-centered and realize that they have to plan for the future and not just for themselves?

I seem to recall from one of your other posts (assuming your the same resident of Alameda who posts here) that you MOVED to California from another state several years ago. Thus, if you are so PEEVED about the situation here, why don't you pay a visit to your local U-Haul outlet, and go back to where you came from? California was doing just fine before you arrived.

Oct 4, 2006, 5:38:00 PM  
Blogger marin_explorer said...

Just like Marin, the happy-sappy baby boomers who've lived there for decades make these ridiculous claims that by building anything, it will impact " their quality of life".

Right: keep their lives the same, and if damns the future generation, so be it! Not to bag too much on boomers, but the ones I know are sure a self-indulgent, narcisstic lot. I see far too much proposed legislation locally that's a knee-jerk reaction to proactive development. Marin is one of the worst examples, framing their motives as historical and environmental protection. It's pretty twisted.

Personally, I think the Bay Area housing shortage will moderate owing to the coming crash and long-term economic exodus. Let the smug nimbyists be pleased with themselves when the tank the local economy. Life goes on, and they'll be left behind.

Oct 4, 2006, 5:41:00 PM  
Anonymous ross valley local said...

California was doing just fine before you arrived.

Are you joking? Look, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that California's housing issues have been developing for a long time. And since you mention it, sometimes transplants can notice these problems with more clarity than CA natives.

Oct 4, 2006, 6:54:00 PM  
Anonymous sreilly1874 said...

Preventing limited building will only further drive up housing prices for a growing population in a limited space in the long term. Bubbles aside the trend is towards housing become out of reach of most.

Instead what about building a high speed train with light rail networks feeding into a small handful of stations? (The train in the south bay stops so often the journey time is beyond a joke).

This would provide a viable alternative to clogging the freeways and really deal with the commute problem. This wouldn't hurt the environment either.

Oct 4, 2006, 8:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"California was doing just fine before you arrived."...

"Are you joking? Look, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that California's housing issues have been developing for a long time. And since you mention it, sometimes transplants can notice these problems with more clarity than CA natives."

-exactly. I came from another state where even to this day, homes near major metropolitan areas can be had for as little as 50k. yes- 50k for a 3 bedroom sorta' boring house in a hub-bubby neighborhood. When I tell people this, the usual reply is that it is cheap because wages are low, the economy isn't as progressive, or that the weather is bad.. yadda yadda yadda..
Perhaps this was true 20 years ago, but in reality, wages are seriously almost the same as they are here in most industries. Now, I can somewhat agree that if you like warmer climates, then the BA has a desireable cimate except for the 6 months of solid rain it gets every year. Weather alone isn't reason to have to pay as much for a home as you have to here.

The longer I live here the more enormous the contrast becomes between where I grew up and here.

If you look at basic data, the wages in California for a median icome family is $67,814, or a $4,000 rise from 2003.

The median income in North Carolina per family is $56,712.

Not too shabby I'd say for a state where houses are still as little as 100k for a decent one. Compared to California, this is astronomical being that the "median" home here, which everywhere else is below median is over 600k.

Stats also show that the spending power of the avg California resident is less than HALF of the average American.

Now.. sit and tell me that this is progress. Your state is seriously messed up, and you habve nobody to thank but the citizens who decided to make housing more difficult to aquire.

As simple as that sounds, I still meet all kinds of Californians who are totally oblivious to the fact that indeed- MOST of the country is highly affordable, has a normal economy, and tremendeous economic growth. Maybe this latest debacle in housing bubbles will open their eyes.

Oct 5, 2006, 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mecca of innovation, but you wouldn't guess that by looking at the architecture around here...

Check out the shiny new cities the Chinese and Indians are building.

Oct 5, 2006, 11:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

California is expensive, jobs are leaving, blah blah...

and people, espeically the talented and educated type keep moving here by the truckload.

California is kicking ass economically speaking, productivity in California is huge.

Sure I can start a company in Florida and hire cheap, uneducated, lazy workers to stuff envelopes and mail bills to the rich people in California but the only state in the union the consistantly kicks but is California.

Oct 24, 2006, 2:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, California is great at filtering out the losers and sending them back to the redneck states from where they came.

Once all the recent losers start leaving again, then I'll be buying more property along the coast, crank up the prices befor the next set of losers come to town.

Oct 24, 2006, 2:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Poor-ass transplant said...

Marin is fantastic. We have poor public transportation, congested roads, and a bunch of assholes.

Of course, that's only if you assume that Marin is one big group of assholes who all communicate through some sort of asshole-kinesis, just like the Jews do with their conspiracy to undermine traditional values and make sure you pay outrageous rates for your loans.

I'm a transplant. I live in Marin. I love it. And I hardly have a buck of spending money. I can think of no better place to enter the homeowning market than here. My crappy studio will continue to increase in value for decades, and when I decide I'm done with the Bay Area, I can move into a mansion anywhere else. Sure, I've got these crippling loans, but doesn't everybody?

The outrageous prices here are the sacrifice you pay for the culture. Marin has the right idea--let's not build anymore, and screw the rest of you all. Rent isn't any more here than it is in the rest of the Bay, unless you want to live in Richmond. Oh wait--nobody wants to live in Richmond? No wonder you can afford it.

Let's all do something productive. Let's realize that California's housing crisis is easily helped by repealing the law stating that property tax levels were fixed in, what, 1979? By the guy that also bankrupted Colorado? You *have* been writing your local government about that, haven't you?

Mar 29, 2007, 12:38:00 AM  

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