Marin Housing Heroine Retires
A remarkable Marinite retires:
[Betty] Pagett, who has spent the past 16 years as director of education and advocacy at the Ecumenical Association for Housing, will retire June 21...
Marin is an extraordinarily beautiful place, she says, full of wonderfully creative and mostly wealthy people. But these people, building ever-larger homes, are blocking the way for the less wealthy.
These residents don't think in terms of "community," she says, but about property values and entitlement [whose got the entitlement problem?]. "They don't talk about what will make life better for everybody. It's more about 'this is what I want.'"
When Marin residents complain about traffic [one of the arguments Marinites most love to use to oppose affordable housing, but not new market-rate or above housing], she says, they should think about the 40,000 people who have to drive to Marin every day for their jobs. [In other words, Marinites don't really care about an increase in traffic or the commensurate increase in air pollution as long as it happens "over there".]
Giambastiani [former executive director of the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce and an ally in the Consortium for Workforce Housing], who calls Pagett "brilliant, compassionate and dedicated," says the main opposition to workforce housing comes from environmentalists and homeowner groups who say "I support affordable housing but this is not an appropriate location."
The two believe that opposition stems from fear - fear that property values will decline, fear of more traffic, fear of the people who might live there...the Marin community has "really tried to run away" from finding solutions, she says.