Thursday, January 18, 2007

Oh, the Humanity!

I found this article in the Marin IJ. Apparently, some Tiburon residents are so concerned with their property values and their entrenched NIMBYist ways that they do not want to allow Habitat for Humanity to build a meager four "affordable" houses for lower income folks. Well, what can we expect? After all, "affordable housing" and "Tiburon" are mutually exclusive concepts and to try to simultaneously hold them in mind is sure to cause a brain infarction.

What follows is my blow-by-blow of the article. For a good laugh, read the entire article yourself.

We're too good for you; we're snobs. You should go build these houses in some "armpit" area of the state:
"This is not a Habitat for Humanity area," said Bill Roberts, who has lived in his Eagle Rock Road home for more than 40 years. "Habitat for Humanity is to bring the neighborhood up, not to bring the neighborhood down."
In fact, all of us in Marin are NIMBYist snobs:
They would be the first Habitat homes in the county. The organization closed its Marin affiliate in the 1990s because it couldn't get community support to build affordable houses in Marin.
It's all about our precious property values:
Roberts, a 53-year-old writer [and who has over 40 years of equity built up in his house; so what small percentage of house value does he stand to lose and why is that so precious?], said he and some 70 other neighbors in the area are working to raise about $100,000 for attorneys' fees to fight the project. They fear reduced property values and parking and increased traffic.
We're hypocrites; this is what we were planning to do after all -- why else would we care about our property values:
"They'll get into it for about $250,000 and then, in 15 years, they will sell it on the open market," he said. "Sounds like a great retirement plan. I would like one. I would like to buy a house, keep it for 15 years, pay it off and sell it."
You see, you've got us all wrong; we're humanitarians. We are only concerned about the children. It's not the money we care about. And yes, argument by slippery slope is common practice for us. Of course, we could just fix the problem, but then people would want to move here. Can't have that. I mean, just look how effective such a strategy has been for Marin as a whole:
"This is a very dangerous place, and no one will ever know it unless you live here," he said. "It's a problem now, and all this is going to do is create more traffic and more problems. Those four homes will go to families with three kids. That's 12 kids playing in the street. I don't want that to happen to anybody else, getting hit by a car."
And did I mention that it's not about the property values:
Other neighbors expressed concern over property values.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

forgive me for saying this but this is just white folks not wanting black folks (using "blacks" to represent any minority) moving in. You should have seen the group at the community meeting, it was the most homogeneous group of people ever. Not a non caucasian in the house. Hopefully you post this. Just my opinion.

Jan 18, 2007, 7:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's because there are no non-caucasians in Marin. And the traffic??? Give me a break. Four homes, that's what like 8 maybe 10 extra cars on the road at most? And if they're lower income folks, they could just be one-car households. Four cars. It's not about the traffic.

I live in Berkeley, and you see this kind of NIMBY racism from the rich pseudo-liberals there pretty much daily, but I'm kind of surprised to see it in Marin. My husband and I go over to hike Mt Tam fairly regularly, and always comment on how much more decent and polite people seem to be to each other compared to the East Bay.

Hope the project goes through.

Jan 19, 2007, 2:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same crap happening here in Alameda. plans were recently approved to restore a theater built in the 20's and turn it into a 3 screen cinemaplex.

Locals fought this for YEARS. Why? because as I read from the many newspaper articles that came out while this was occuring, nobody wanted "those people" from Oakland coming over and causing crime. I kid you not. People seriously said this, including a politician who ran for a seat in the city council, and luckily lost.

So... who are "those people" from Oakland? I'd really like to know. They certainly know, but are they racist? Oh heaven forbid, being in a liberal area... surely not...

As far as building affordable housing here? It gets the same remarks: House values, overcrowding, etc etc... If they DON'T like overcrowding, then choosing to live in the Bay Area is already proving that you don't mind overcrowding because that's exactly what the BA is.

I'm growing tired of the same old baby-boomer hippies manipulating the system in their favor.

Jan 19, 2007, 8:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How shocking that they don't want their town eventually turned into a graffitti zone. I for one applaud them. I wish I could afford to live there.

Jan 19, 2007, 10:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How shocking that they don't want their town eventually turned into a graffitti zone."

Perhaps you could explain how their town would get turned into a graffiti zone. Let's hear it...

Jan 19, 2007, 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger marine_explorer said...

"This is not a Habitat for Humanity area,"

Seeing this story on the news made me chortle. Because, if the truth were known, many long-term Marin residents could not buy here today without some kind of subsidy--even in Tiburon.

Oh, the irony!

Jan 19, 2007, 11:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny, I friend of mine who works for Habitat told me that someone had donated land to them in Marin about a month and a half ago.

I told her "those NIMBY's will never let you build there, even if Jimmy Carter comes in person."

I was only half-kidding 'cuz I thought those wonderful, caring Marin people would look into their crystals past their selfish NIMBY ways and see how hypocritical they are.


Jan 19, 2007, 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"if the truth were known, many long-term Marin residents could not buy here today without some kind of subsidy--even in Tiburon."

That is so very true.

What's more, a lot of these people, and no doubt the 50 something year old quoted in the article, could not afford to live where they do if it were not for Prop 13 (which they probably voted for).

Jan 19, 2007, 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, note the line in the article about the pathetic NIMBY writer's *parents* owning the property in 1959. He paid nothing for his home and begrudges lower income people a "mortgage of $1,000 a month".

Can we please out these people? How much did they pay for their homes? How much are their mortgages after 25-40 years of equity paid in?

In the end, this isn't only about race. This is about a bunch of people afraid of losing their tenuous grip on what they regard as an upperclass lifestyle. As soon as "those" people move in, all of a sudden they're living in a mixed income neighborhood instead of one of the most exclusive enclaves in America. A lot of upper-middle class white America would (sadly) react the same way.

And who's to say the new residents would be a bunch of folks from some 'hood in Oakland or Richmond? Maybe they'd be middle class people who work as schoolteachers, nurses and other lower income jobs, which in the Bay area means a combined income of less than $100k a year.

Jan 19, 2007, 12:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Classic,thank you.reminds me of a lot of "gun control" liberals like dianne feinstein and don perata.I understand diane stopped packing after she married blum and got full time armed bodyguards,but ol' don still packs a 9.same old same old.poor folks are scary,and the disenfranchised middle class even scarier,'cause some of THEM can read.

Jan 20, 2007, 7:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Classic,thank you.reminds me of a lot of "gun control" liberals like dianne feinstein and don perata.I understand diane stopped packing after she married blum and got full time armed bodyguards,but ol' don still packs a 9.same old same old.poor folks are scary,and the disenfranchised middle class even scarier,'cause some of THEM can read.

Jan 20, 2007, 7:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This situation really pisses me off! We have the same situatio here on Long Island. People who paid a small amount for their homes before the bubble were freaking out that they were trying to build about 10 affordable homes here in Nassau. These "affordable" homes were going to be priced in the low 300's! At least double what the existing residents had spent. I'ts bullshit!

Jan 20, 2007, 1:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unlike some of the bullshit artists on this blog, I actually have experience with this sort of situation. In Tiburon.

I grew up in Tiburon in the '70s, and lived quite close to an "affordable housing community" called Hilarita. Prior to Hilarita, the only crime to speak of in Tiburon was a fistfight or two down at Sam's on Main Street. After Hilarita, we started seeing cars broken into, grafitti showing up, several muggings (one victim was my junior high school classmate), and at least one stabbing that I can recall.

Of course, we all knew where the crime was coming from, and so did the police. But of course, in Tiburon in the '70s, we weren't able to speak the truth for fear of being labeled "racists".

I see nothing has changed. Good luck to the poor folks who will most certainly have this project rammed up their ass. They will bear the brunt of it, while the rest of you can pat your self on the back.


Jan 20, 2007, 6:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I didn't realize Tiburon has become such a crime 'hood. I stand corrected. Next evening I drop by Rooney's, I'll be sure to carry some mace.

Jan 21, 2007, 6:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of us in Tiburon support Habbitat for Humanity, we just think that there are better places to build low income housing. Low income people just would not be happy in Marin. Think how the poor kids would feel when they were the only one in their class that did not know how to sail. The parents would feel funny since they would be outsiders not in a yacht club and would not have the money to donate to worthy causes. I'm sure that if they do decide to build in Marin the residents would be a lot happier living in Marin City or the Canal Area...

Jan 21, 2007, 11:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Think how the poor kids would feel when they were the only one in their class that did not know how to sail."

That just showed how narrow minded some people are. Knowing how to sail is not the most important thing in life for the kids. Having good winning spirits in studing and sports and serving the community were the essential ethics which have helped to build this country before and now. While other countries are catching up with the US big time in science, technology and military deployment, we, the wealthy people, here are worried about kids do not know how to sail. Have you heard the falling empire? Here is a great example.

Jan 22, 2007, 6:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Low income people just would not be happy in Marin. Think how the poor kids would feel when they were the only one in their class that did not know how to sail."

I can't believe someone would actually say this. Then again, I'm certainly not poor and I can't see a reason to like Marin in general. The area reeks of liberal smugness, money, and substandard overpriced housing clinging to a hill that will look like someone dumped out a box of legos as soon as the next " big one" hits. You who fight so hard to save yourselves from having to face real world scenarios like (gasp) a couple of poor people( teachers) driving beater cars ( 5 year old Honda Civics) can keep it allllll to yourselves.

I can't stand Oxymorons, and marin is one giant irony. I see you all driving around with " Save Tibet!" and: " war is not the answer!" stickers. Yet when something that actually affects you that might help people living next door and not 4,000 miles away, you balk at it. So much for pretending that you're at all liberal. Now go ahead and tear all those stickers off your Volvos and Priuses. Make sure and recycle them too.

Jan 22, 2007, 9:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Few days ago, featured an article which draws the smilarities between the current US and China's last dynasty, Qing Dynasty. The similaries include both governments' inward looking and egotistic mentality, ladden with debt, spending without limits and decadent lifestyles in the wealthy. Everyone knows what happended to the Qing dynasty. It took another 200 years' hardships for China to come back. China just demonstrated they could shut down their satellite with their own missle.

Sorry I forgot. This subject is not so important as knowing how to sail.

Jan 22, 2007, 9:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I kinda think the "won't know how to sail" comment was sarcastic. God I hope...Sail Guy? Sarcasm?

What I don't get and maybe someone can 'splain to me is how these NIMBY's equate this project to Section 8 or some such.

Habitat is a private charity if they own the land and build the house what more can the Marin government regulate over and above what they could do for any other type of house that would be built there? In other words, the fact that these houses will go to low income people is legally irrelevant, no?

I do have a name for the proposed project, "Porfirio Diaz Estates at Tiburon" Has the ring of land reform, revolution, the underclass but with the just the right touch of exclusivity don't ya think?

Jan 22, 2007, 9:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon above, good point. What bitter jerks like anon 1/20 6:23 can't seem to grasp is that this isn't building a bunch of projects for people on welfare.

From what I understand, HfH is specifically for people who earn a living and demonstrate need for affordable housing. They need to be able to pay a mortgage of at least $1,000 per month, plus support their family, after all, so they probably have to be employed. That already raises the standard of applicant to a level above the projects.

I've lived next door to "affordable housing communities" in 3 different cities, and agree 100% that the social fallout for the neighborhood is, shall we say, undesirable. But affordable housing that is designed specifically for a single mother of three working as a nurse or teacher is in a different ballpark. And they're only four of them, after all. The rest of the land is going to homes designed at over 6,000 sq feet.

Jan 23, 2007, 5:17:00 AM  
Blogger cajun100 said...

I moved to Mill Valley in 1971, two places since then, still in second purchase. Moved to this neighborhood because I thought Tiburon, Strawberry and many part of MV were full of the types we are discussing here -- frightened, selfish people who had risen in wealth (and power to be heard) due to outside circumstances. Like continuously rising residence prices.

The neighborhood of the 1970s is gone. In-migration of people riding the top of the earnings brackets since then has turned it into just another enclave for the wealthy. In real terms, I see every day the substitutions: wire fences and brick walls replacing open boundaries and hedges; big gates for rustic enclosures; BIG houses replacing cottages and smaller; and an endless parade of tradesmen remodeling, adding, changing. Air conditioners roaring, and more vehicles everywhere, all the time.

For some years now I have felt that the protests by most people against much of this can only be made in the "permit process", one of the few arenas where local governments by law have to take notice and at least consider the complaints. Does "fairness" suffer? You bet. Any way to turn this around? Doubt it seriously.

Jan 23, 2007, 9:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The [Mill Valley]neighborhood of the 1970s is gone.

The irony of this is that in the 70s Mill Valley swore never, ever to become like Sausalito or Tiburon. No one wanted what ended up happening anyway.

Jan 23, 2007, 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger marine_explorer said...

"in the 70s Mill Valley swore never, ever to become like Sausalito or Tiburon."

Not to mention--any Bay Area neighborhood deemed more "prime" suffered the same fate over the past few decades, while the overall living experience has declined. Today you'll easily drop $1M+ for a tract home, but it's no guarantee you'll like the neighborhood, schools, or even find your town that comfortable or distinctive. What exactly are we paying for?

To a degree, the local scene has become one of obsessions--with your career, the lifestyle it buys, or whatever distracts you from the less pleasant realities of Bay Area life. Everywhere I look, people seek validation for their lifestyle, hoping their self-image rises up just a little higher than their neighbors. Never mind the fact that many can't actually afford that little game.

So whenever I hear people drop their little hints at how much they're "worth", what they own or where they live, I first suspect some deep, gnawing insecurity drives their snobbish behavior. Whatever the reason, it's a sad commentary on the "sophistication" of the region. The Bay Area needs to get over itself.

Jan 24, 2007, 4:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to mention...

No truer words were ever spoken. Well said and worthy of a book or at least a publication in a leading journal of psychology.

Jan 25, 2007, 9:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the precious ex-hippie now superlibby, wannabe environmentalist driving a Lexus SUV should shut their traps. This is why even venturing into Marin from SF makes me want to vomit--all the idiot housewives walking around, vicodined to the gills---oh yeah, this is where that rat bastard John Walker was from too, huh.

Marin represents the very worst of the Bay Area.

Jan 25, 2007, 3:37:00 PM  
Blogger Marin Family Guy said...

I would also be against "affordable housing" being put into my neighborhood. It isn't affordable, it's subsidized. When one gets something given to them, the property is not treated with as much respect as if it is earned. I talked to a neighbor one time about affordable housing and I asked him where the money came from to subsidize it. He said "the government"! So I told him I should have, no, I had the right to have a car as nice as his and it was the government's responsibility to provide it to me.

Jan 25, 2007, 8:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marin Family Guy,

You tell'em Trotsky. Spoken like a true Marin liberal,which means I could basically take you're previous quote and attribute it to a Wyoming rancher or Rush Limbaugh and nobody would know the difference...but just one question, if it's a private charity doing the subsidizing you have no legal grounds to keep these people out of your precious community do you?

Jan 26, 2007, 10:00:00 PM  

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