Saturday, February 10, 2007

It's About Time Marin Deals with the Affordable Housing Issues

This article was published in the IJ a few months ago. I guess I am posting it now because it is the first time a comment of mine was actually published by the IJ with the URL to this blog being included. Granted, I agreed with the author, but still...

Some choice quotes:
MARIN COUNTY and its cities and towns are discussing who should be responsible for creating housing needed to meet expected job growth over the next seven years.

Some of those officials, unfortunately, make this housing sound like an unfair burden dumped on them by the state. They are wrong.

Marin has an obligation to build its fair share of affordable and workforce housing. The county's failure to do so for decades has resulted in more and more people making long commutes each day to jobs here...

If Marin doesn't find a way to create this housing over the next seven years, those new workers also likely will drive from homes outside the county, placing further strain on our highways and creating more air pollution. Those long commutes also put additional strain on the fabric of this county, with more and more people unable to live near where they work.

In fact, Marin and its cities should strive to exceed those mandates because of the acute shortage of workforce housing in the county. This is a problem of our own making.

Those housing mandates are daunting for Marin because much of that new stock will have to be in-fill housing. One of the reasons for that is because a large chunk of available land essentially has been taken off the table for new housing.
It's about frigging time Marin County gets off its NIMBYist arse, stops engaging in denial, and stops investing so much energy in coming up with ever more ludicrous rationales for why it should continue to do almost nothing and why it is some other county's responsibility.

The following reply to the article summarizes so well the sort of denial that plagues this county:
IJ: Housing mandates must be fulfilled ... The county's failure to do so ... has resulted in more and more people making long commutes each day to jobs here
They take those jobs and make that commute voluntarily, because they prefer that option to all their other options...
This sort of lame rationalization has been entrenched in Marin since at least the 70s. (In fact, we've recently had to endure it here on this blog when one commentor, who objected to the suggestion that there might be a racial or classist element in why Tiburon is resisting building three affordable houses, tried to convince us that no one has done more for non-Caucasians than Caucasians. Bah!) The fact is that we have done everything within our power, both as a county and as a state, to make Marin housing (and that of California at large) unaffordable. The writer of this comment wants you to believe that these people could choose to live in Marin if they wanted to but don't because they choose not to and would rather make those long commutes. Typical Marin self-delusion. The reason why these people make these horrendous commutes is because we have given them no other choice; we've forced them to make those God-awful commutes all in the name of satisfying our personal financial well-being... namely, property values. Marin is one of the bedroom communities for San Francisco, the major employment center of our region. We have a responsibility to do our part to enable people who work there to live nearby. We have a responsibility to allow people who work in Marin, and who thereby enrich our lives, to live in Marin. It's time we get off our classist, we're-so-much-better-than-you butts and deal with it. We are part and parcel of this mess, we helped to create it, and the sooner we wake up and deal with it, the better.

5 Comments:

Anonymous tom stone said...

If i were going to choose a high priced bedroom community,and had to commuteto SF,I would choose piedmont.the city services are superb,ac transit runs an express bus to downtown that always has new busses and the best drivers,and the general quality of the homes is high,it is mostly older stuff hat was well built of good materials,usually well maintained and frequently modernized by competent contractors.of course i have been robbed at gunpoint on a sunny sunday in oneof piedmont's better neighborhoods.....

Feb 10, 2007, 7:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

... and the homes all cost $2m to $8m. I'd call that armed robbery, too.

Feb 12, 2007, 2:19:00 AM  
Anonymous tom stone said...

Prices actually run from $8ook or so on up to above $10m.my point is that the city provides excellent services such as schools parks,fire and police.also the housing stock is in general of much higher quality than Marin.in general. $2m and change can buy you a genuine mansion,built by craftsmen of the finest materials...even the "middle class" homes in lower piedmont are generally well built of good materials...when i drive to sf and see the million dollar crackerboxes stuck cheek by jowl in sight of the freeway the comparison is striking.

Feb 12, 2007, 4:45:00 PM  
Anonymous buyer_2be said...

Tom Stone is right about Piedmont being one of the prime locations. There is no more space to build any homes in Piedmont since the 80's it is fully developed. With it's best in class public school system, that's why the home prices are very very steep. It really is a demand\supply issue there.

Feb 16, 2007, 3:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marinite, from personal experience of living in 20 different locations within the last 15 years (mostly in lower-income neighborhoods within SF county, Southern California, as well as several developing countries) I think your position on affordable housing in Marin, while noble, is naive and indicative of your lack of living experience within low-income neighborhoods. People pay a premium to live in the Marin in order to shelter their families from the accute social problems of the lower-income neighborhoods. Why do you think that gang activity is practically non-existent in the Marin?

Feb 17, 2007, 7:40:00 AM  

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