May 21, 2012

George Lucas: "I’ve been surprised to see some people characterize this as vindictive."

"I wouldn’t waste my time or money just to try and upset the neighbors."

Very funny. The liberals of Marin County blocked his expansion of his film studios, and he gave up and said he'd sell the land to a developer to bring "low income housing" to the area.

Ha ha ha. Whatever you do... don't call them "hot tubbers."

70 comments:

John Burgess said...

Ummm... Lucas.

Sorun said...

My grandparents' working-class neighborhood in St. Paul got the honor of having "projects" back in the sixties. I always thought the integration idea would work even better in liberal upper middle-class neighborhoods, but strangely they're never built there.

Ann Althouse said...

Sorry for the misspelling. Corrected.

Fen said...

“low income housing” has destroyed my neighborhood. Broken pane syndrome culminating in groups of thugs hanging around harassing families.

Most families escaped before the housing bubble trapped the rest in this section 8 ghetto hell.

But we'll pretend Lucas is not being vindictive. Just like we pretend he didn't steal Star Wars from Frank Herbert (amoung others).

Seriously, if you've ever wondered why the sequels sucked so bad, its because ran out of other people's ideas.

Eric said...

Make people live up to their professed ideals. How Alinsky of him.

Of course, all this means is they'll find a rare purple-breasted dung beetle and sue the whole area off limits to development. There was a case a few years back where the locals were actually transplanting rare flowers onto a developers land to keep him from building anything.

edutcher said...

Well, Teddy Kennedy made NIMBY a Lefty touchstone.

And The Lefties' characterization of Lucas' move as "vindictive" makes one think they don't like Negroes.

Or should I say colored people?

Eric said...

I always thought the integration idea would work even better in liberal upper middle-class neighborhoods, but strangely they're never built there.

It doesn't work at all. Wherever you move those people the crime goes with them, statistically. The thought was "We'll put these section 8 people in an environment where all their neighbors go to work so they're not stuck thinking selling drugs is the only way to live. Then they'll get jobs and go to college."

And the section 8 people thought "Hey, these nice houses are empty all day while their occupants are at work. Score!"

Michael said...

He is bluffing, of course. No way will housing of any sort be built on that land. Not in our lifetimes. Ten years to the first permit assuming smooth sailing. Which you cannt assume.

Fen said...

It doesn't work at all. Wherever you move those people the crime goes with them, statistically.

Yup, would make for an interesting study if it wasn't so sad. Section 8 housing is like a cancer cell. The one unit on our block has destroyed the neighborhood. People don't even go for walks at night anymore.

Bunch of unsupervised kids playing basketball in your drive at 2am on a worknight? Don't bother them. You'll incite a mob chanting "justice for trayvon"

Synova said...

When they were building at Big Rock they had to capture and confine all the turtles and fish from a little pond so they could be restored after the pond was restored.

Lucas goes out of his way to keep his property "rural" and pretty and green and he jumps through all the liberal hoops for organic and nature and what all... just like the good liberal he is. He also provides a fire department for the area. And Skywalker Ranch is controlled access... not a tourist attraction.

I wouldn't blame him for being vindictive, since the opposition was most certainly vindictive.

By any measure the snobs complaining about it *should* have preferred the sort of development and expansion that Lucas would be putting in place, big warehouse or not. It would be exceptionally well paying jobs, for one thing, but fewer total people than any other possible sort of development. And it would be as "green" and aesthetically pleasing as anyone could hope.

Complaining for complaining's sake, deserves what it gets.

Maguro said...

Yup, would make for an interesting study if it wasn't so sad.

Already been done, see here:

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/sep/11/partners-in-crime-research/

The results are what you might expect. As Dennis Green might say, they are who we thought they were.

virgil xenophon said...

"Section 8 housing is like a cancer cell."

First officiallynoticed/diagnosed for the record in Memphis when in 2008 a sharp-eyed crime stats guy (criminologist Janikowski) noticed the correlation between Sec 8 locations spread throughout the city and high crime areas: they were totally congruent. Of course this effect was plainly evident to all who really wished to see from the mid-70s on, but nobody with academic credentials had previously had the un-PC guts to say/formally document that the Emperor had no clothes..

virgil xenophon said...

Oh, hi Maguro, didn't see you as I was typing furiously away--see you beat me to the punch. :)

Kevin said...

I had no love for Bush at the time but the humor and graciousness of his response (compared to more, um, present day examples) makes me think I just didn't know how good we really had it.

Keystone said...

One of the many causes of the housing bubble was people buying more house than they could afford to get away from crime.

n.n said...

Lucas is indeed being vindictive.

Instant gratification is a principal cause of corruption. It is not a good idea to integrate different economic classes, which will also result in artificially distorting the local market, thereby harming everyone in the process. Just as there are administrative districts (e.g. nations), there are also self-organizing economic districts to moderate between individuals of different means.

madAsHell said...

Wasn't Klinger seeking a section 8??

All that aside, give them some place warm to fuck, and guess what happens?...more entitlement!!

Rob said...

Reminiscent of Auntie Mame's revenge against the anti-Semitic neighbors: she donates land next to them for a home for unwed mothers.

edutcher said...

Eric said...

It doesn't work at all. Wherever you move those people the crime goes with them, statistically.

That was certainly the case with all the people moved from the Chocolate City to various points in the South and elsewhere.

PS Are we still paying for their housing in places like Houston?

Astro said...

From the article: “I’ve been surprised to see some people characterize this as vindictive,” he said, adding that there was a “real need” for affordable housing here. “I wouldn’t waste my time or money just to try and upset the neighbors.”

So, is this an example of punching back twice as hard?

glenn said...

As somebody who lives in a community overun with "Low Income Housing" and had to leave a beautiful home I sure hope George goes forward with this plan. Hothing would please me more that seeing all those "Costals" who hve been busy for the last 50 years instructing us "Inlanders" in our responsibilities to the less fortunate to have to play by the same rules.

Balfegor said...

So, is this an example of punching back twice as hard?

No, this is a nuclear counter-strike. Slow acting, though, because the new project will need to get all kinds of site approvals, I assume.

Ralph L said...

she donates land next to them for a home for unwed mothers
No, it was a home for Jewish refugee children. Peggy Cass had to bear the stigma of an UNWED mother (for a short period).

Rob said...

Thanks, Ralph, it's been too long since I reread Auntie Mame. But the one thing I'll never forget: "Spread the sperm."

edutcher said...

madAsHell said...

Wasn't Klinger seeking a section 8??

Yes, but he just wanted to be classified as nuts; he didn't want to have the stigma of a homosexual discharge on his record.

The episode where the running character of the shrink who visits the unit occasionally offers him an out, but as a homosexual, and Klinger doesn't take it is a turning point in the show.

At which point IIRC, Col Potter tells him he'd better start looking like a soldier from than on.

Petunia said...

In Madison, the oh-so-tolerant, compassionate city, a couple of years ago there was a proposal to tear down an empty or mostly empty office building and build low-cost housing in its place.

Two grocery stores, a Walgreens, several restaurants in various price ranges, a movie theater, and a Target, along with many other shops, within a block or two. On a main city street and at least one bus route.

However, it was shouted down at planning meetings. Because the office building is located in one of the wealthiest parts of Madison, absolutely chock-full of tolerant, compassionate, more-intelligent-than-thou limousine liberals who are all in favor of low-income housing, so long as they don't have to live near it.

That almost blew the lid off the image Madison likes to cultivate for itself. The events of the last 16 months or so have sent that lid into outer space.

Ralph L said...

A large, WWII-era, garden apt complex near my old house in Alexandria wanted to go condo in the 70's, but the city wouldn't let them because they wanted to keep the lower-income housing units. (Why they didn't want the higher tax revenues is beyond me) The owners started renting by the week and deliberately let the crime and squalor get pretty bad for almost a decade. The firetrucks would barrel down the hill behind our house almost every night.

Finally, they got a HUD loan to gut and redo all the buildings, by then in sorry shape, but they had to stay rental for 20 years and include a small percentage of partly-subsidized units. I think there were a few problems, but it was a hundred times better than it was in the 70's.

Richard Dolan said...

If he low income housing ever gets built, perhaps California officials should add a section of the train to nowhere we were discussing a few days ago. After all, all those low income folks will need to get to a job someplace (it won't be in Marin) so that they won't remain low income forever. Surely the good burghers of Marin wouldn't want these low income folks to be trapped in dead-end jobs as domestics and gardeners to the local richies.

cathy said...

I don't think affordable housing in Marin is like most places. Really, it'd be for middle class families. They have a record of subsidizing such families, like the article says. Maybe Lucas is just tired such a wide expanse of area devoted to the rich. I can see his point.

Scott M said...

Hothing would please me more that seeing all those "Costals" who hve been busy for the last 50 years instructing us "Inlanders" in our responsibilities to the less fortunate to have to play by the same rules.

The ice planet is a verb?

JAL said...

A family of 4 making 88,000 qualifies for "housing assistance" (Public Housing, Section 8 & CDBG Programs) in Marin County.

Just for perspective.

john gilchrist said...

Well, while I see here a lot of the usual unhelpful discourse that passes for "dialogue" on the internets these days, I happen to agree with the overall sentiment. I'm a liberal who dislikes NIMBY's. There is nothing wrong with being average. If someone offered me artisan cheese, I'd smack them. Bring in affordable housing! Put your shoes on the pavement, instead of writing a check! Don't pooh-pooh the reality of people that live on a paycheck week-to-week! Experience America!

wyo sis said...

Affordable housing in California, as has been pointed out, is not at all affordable by most people. Marin County would probably benefit greatly from having more young working families in their area.
It's not at all like a "project" it's middle class people who probably vote Democrat. They should be thrilled.

damikesc said...

I personally think this is hilarious. Progressives love all kinds of idiotic social policies --- as long as they don't personally have to deal with those policies.

Make them OWN what they claim to support.

As the saying goes, a developer is somebody who wants a house in the forest. An activist is somebody who already has their house in the forest.

Lucas is indeed being vindictive.

And bully for him in that case. Screw his neighbors. Make them live up to their ideals.

Why aren't Progressives called out more on their rampant NIMBYism?

It's not at all like a "project" it's middle class people who probably vote Democrat.

If a family has no hired help in that area, they are "ghetto", don't you know?

I always thought the integration idea would work even better in liberal upper middle-class neighborhoods, but strangely they're never built there.

Isn't it impressive how the biggest supporters of policies never have to experience those policies?

Judges in the 70's who felt criminals were treated too harshly never seemed to live anywhere near where the crime problem existed. Politicians who felt we needed to expand welfare never seemed to live near welfare recipients. Pols who love illegal immigration tend to live where the only illegals they see are the ones mowing their lawn.

It's super easy to support something if the negatives never are seen by you.

“low income housing” has destroyed my neighborhood. Broken pane syndrome culminating in groups of thugs hanging around harassing families.

I live in a large neighborhood, but there is that one street that you just don't head down due to low income housing being there. I live on the other side of the neighborhood, thankfully, but you don't go NEAR there at night.

There was a case a few years back where the locals were actually transplanting rare flowers onto a developers land to keep him from building anything.

Sadly, our government has been caught doing the same thing. Perhaps it's time to revisit those asinine laws.

I love watching cities where poor people cannot afford to live beating their chest at the unfair plight of the poor.

Bunch of unsupervised kids playing basketball in your drive at 2am on a worknight? Don't bother them. You'll incite a mob chanting "justice for trayvon"

Hell, we had to install a pool cover and tack up "No Trespassing" signs on our property after a thug locally decided to go swimming and break his leg in somebody else's pool and sue them because of it.

phx said...

Thanks, Ralph, it's been too long since I reread Auntie Mame. But the one thing I'll never forget: "Spread the sperm."

That wasn't in the movie.

tim in vermont said...

The only way to see Lucas as vindictive in this is to assume all liberals are hypocrites. That would be to besmirch their character! So build away George! Do the right thing!

It's not like progressive politics are about power for power's sake? Of course not. Liberal politics are about doing good for its own sake, egalitarianism, brotherhood!

LordSomber said...

With low income housing, Marin County residents expect to never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. They must be cautious.

Icepick said...

And The Lefties' characterization of Lucas' move as "vindictive" makes one think they don't like Negroes.

Or should I say colored people?


It's California, you should say "Mexicans".

Tibore said...

What cracks me up is the hysteric hyperbole that's being employed by the other residents in the area:

"That has created an atmosphere that one opponent, who asked not to be identified, saying she feared for her safety, described as “sheer terror” and likened to “Syria.”

Carl Fricke, a board member of the Lucas Valley Estates Homeowners Association, which represents houses nearest to the Lucas property, said: “We got letters saying, ‘You guys are going to get what you deserve. You’re going to bring drug dealers, all this crime and lowlife in here.’"


Laughing my BUTT OFF!!

Of course, as a practical matter, I'd never be in favor of such opposite types of neighborhoods being juxtaposed; it's just asking for trouble. And also, it's almost certainly never going to get off the ground. But that doesn't stop the schadenfreude we all can have at the local hysteria being displayed.

Tibore said...

And then wow. A hint of sanity - albeit, grudging, resigned sanity - appears:

"Supporters and opponents of Mr. Lucas have resigned themselves to having low-income housing next door.

“If the Grady Ranch had gone forward, it would have increased property value,” Mr. Tanenbaum said. “It’s likely that if affordable housing were to be built in the neighborhood, it would have a negative impact on property value. But that’s not a major factor for me. Affordable housing has to go somewhere.”

“I would say probably everybody has reservations about it, but nobody’s going to come out and say they don’t want it,” (Tom Taylor, a member of the homeowners’ association board,) said.

“Everybody probably felt that he did it just for spite,” Mr. Taylor said. “But after thinking about it for a while, I guess I’d have to say that probably the site’s better suited for affordable housing than it was for the project he was intending to put there.”"


Well now... if he means what he says, then I have to give him credit for being accomodating and true to his liberal priciples. My first thought was that the locals would be up in arms and at war, but that man seems rather conciliatory. If he's representative of the rest of the residents, then maybe this whole event will end without rancor after all.

Gahrie said...

That was certainly the case with all the people moved from the Chocolate City to various points in the South and elsewhere.

PS Are we still paying for their housing in places like Houston?


Some of them are probably still living in FEMA trailers.....

Gahrie said...

FEMA said there were three trailers still left in Louisiana from the 2005 hurricane season.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/15/last-fema-trailer-leaves-6-years-after-katrina/

Nathan Alexander said...

You'll incite a mob chanting "justice for trayvon"

In a related story, police just can't figure out any possible motive at all in the case of a young black man who shot a white jogger:

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/18/joggers-unexplained-slaying-stuns-missouri-city/?hpt=hp_t3

The police are totally baffled. Even in their wildest dreams, they can't think of even one remote possibility of why a young black man might just suddenly shoot some random white guy.

It seems like after some unknown event about a month ago, there have been an increasing number of motiveless attacks on random white people by blacks, either in groups or individually.

The only common element is that it is black people attacking whites whenever there seems to be an easy target.

But of course it would be nuts to consider the possibility of racially-motivated violence by black people. With even the faintest possibility of a hate crime squarely and solidly eliminated, police just don't know what could be the motive for all these events.

Scott M said...

Mr. Tanenbaum said. “It’s likely that if affordable housing were to be built in the neighborhood, it would have a negative impact on property value. But that’s not a major factor for me. Affordable housing has to go somewhere.”

Says a man that's probably never lived in or next to "affordable" housing and has no idea what he's talking about.

Peter said...

The theory behind this presumably was that if you gave people middle-class stuff (or subsidized it) then they'd acquire middle-class values.

Yet the problem with the theory has always been that it's the middle-class values that enable people to acquire the middle-class stuff (e.g., housing).

(Yes, I'm sure there are exceptions. But I doubt I'm the only one who's had to move because the [unemployed] Section 8 tenants below chose to use the daytime for sleeping, leaving them fresh to party late into the night.)

Sorun said...

The FEMA trailer article is about New Orleans. I saw a well-established trailer town in Simmesport, LA last year. It looked permanent.

ndspinelli said...

Lucas has a very wierd neck, it's like he has a huge goiter only it's in the front of his neck. The younger folks here won't know about goiters.

Methadras said...

LOL!!! The marin'ers are gonna fight that one too, tooth and nail. Why they can't have the indigent (people who make less than a million dollars) living among them. Why that's criminal. After all, they talk a great game about the 'poor', but actually having to deal with them? Next door? EWWW!!!

purplepenquin said...

they're not stuck thinking selling drugs is the only way to live

Have you ever wondered why so many poor people sell drugs...rather than sell booze or cigs or even gum/candy?

Why are drugs so much more profitable then those other things? If we can ever figure that out, then maybe we can put an end to the problems associated with the illegal drug trade.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Mr. Tanenbaum said. “It’s likely that if affordable housing were to be built in the neighborhood, it would have a negative impact on property value. But that’s not a major factor for me. Affordable housing has to go somewhere.”

Translated: I hope to have my property sold before they break ground!

jeff said...

How would this be vindictive? I would imagine all his liberal neighbors have been circulating petitions demanding section 8 housing be built there.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Oh, my. This is absolutely perfect.

I don't live there now, but I spent a decade in Marin County. Marinites are totally keen on low-income housing -- so long as it's in Marin City, or San Rafael's Canal District, or Novato. I mean, the cleaners and gardeners have to live somewhere, and if it's too far away, how will they be able to get to Stately Wayne Manor on time to prune my rose bushes?

But actually live next to them? No thanks.

We're talking here about a place that has effectively class-segregated its bus system. The decade I spent in Marin I got everywhere on foot or by bus, and the distinction between the Golden Gate Transit buses that took people early on weekday mornings to the SF Financial District and the ones that took people to and from (say) the SR Canal District was profound. The former get spiffy, high-backed-seat buses that are never, ever crowded (you don't have anyone in the seat next to you unless you run into a friend); the latter get buses that are frequently standing room only. Same goes for the routes that stop at every stop. Those are the ones the gardeners take every Saturday.

Of course, GGT isn't only Marin; it goes to Sonoma and SF and Contra Costa counties. But the core is Marin, and I was impressed (not positively) by the way it sorts out its routes and frequency and timing of buses so as to keep the monied in greater comfort than the poorer.

A couple of people have mentioned that "low-income" is sort of a term of art in Marin. That's technically true, but there are actual poor people there, and actual "Section 8 culture." I lived across the street from some of it in Novato for many years.

wv: ntongsi nstrente. Is Captcha trying to make up names for future UN Secretaries-General?

Adam2Smith said...

This is not what it seems. I live in Lucas Valley about two miles from Grady Ranch, although not in the much- and unfairly-maligned "Estates" - I've ridden my bike hundreds of times past Skywalker and Big Rock Ranch, and visited Skywalker once when a colleague worked there. They are all ghost towns.

Look at the credits for "The Avengers" - you will see twenty or thirty people employed at Skywalker Sound in Marin County, hundreds at Industrial Light and Magic in the Presidio of San Francisco.

Those more familiar with the movie business can say whether those people are likely to all be employees rather than contractors. Lucas also has a reputation (small sample size) for not paying well and driving hard bargains.

Nevertheless, starting with Skywalker Ranch and continuing through the Presidio, politicians have bent over backwards for Lucas - altering zoning and pushing aside local objections to please him.

Here's the problem: all of his projects in Marin are crazily uneconomic. The ranch properties are far from a freeway, on a two-lane road so narrow that large trucks can not go through.

Grady was the latest, and closest to civilization project, and at some point someone in the Lucas camp realized that spending north of $70 million on a third project purported to house 380 employees makes no sense. It's not possible to get sufficient employees to live close enough to any of the ranches - witness Pixar's move from San Rafael across the Bay to Emeryville, right on BART and CalTrain.

The Lucas Valley Estates neighbors are a convenient scapegoat - the real showstoppers were going to be state and federal environmental agencies, who were less able to be bought off by Lucas - visit Marin Conservation League http://www.conservationleague.org/advocacy/200-grady-ranch.html and Marin Audubon Society http://www.marinaudubon.org/pdf/ClapperRail_May12_Web.pdf to see the actual sequence of events.

So why does a big-shot action-figure maker decide to pin the blame on some harmless local housewives? He's got three white elephant properties in Marin which lose money like crazy, and which will be shut down as soon as he is no longer on the scene and willing to dump money into them. He's about to start twisting the arms of the politicians to let him change the zoning requirements again, to put the ranches to some other use or get rid of them.

Finally, for those of you who like to think of Marin County as 100% liberal you are quite wrong. There is a steep gradient from the Golden Gate Bridge north, and by the time you reach Lucas Valley you are almost back in the United States of America.

Normally the crowd on this blog would not believe anything written in the SF Chronicle and Marin IJ - why are you falling for this illusion?

Scott M said...

Is Captcha trying to make up names for future UN Secretaries-General?

Not sure, but I've taken to jotting down interesting examples to use later as character names for my fiction schtuff. "Yisris" turned out to be a pretty cool guy, while "Fasla" is a complete asshole.

danh said...

The land in question is already zoned to be a ranch. If the low income housing plan fails, Lucas can simply rent it out or sell it to pig farmers and let his friendly neighbors bask in the aroma.

Nathan Alexander said...

Why are drugs so much more profitable then those other things? If we can ever figure that out, then maybe we can put an end to the problems associated with the illegal drug trade.

Because most drugs are incredibly addicting and also very easy to accidentally overdose on.

That leads to people being willing to commit heinous crimes to get even small sums like $20 for a crack hit.
And it also leads to dealers giving away stuff for free to get people addicted, cutting the product with poisons to intensify the high or create more product to sell, etc.

None of that is true for marijuana, but lumping marijuana with all other illegal drugs was and is a mistake.

So making it clear that illegal drugs are incredibly addicting and easily lethal doesn't really suggest a way to solve any of the main problems with drugs.

I guess you were just trying to be clever or something.

That's easy for people who expect to make others pay for and/or live with the consequences of re-ordering society for their own convenience or ideology.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Adam2Smith,

You don't need to tell me about the "gradient"; I lived in San Rafael for four years and Novato for six, but you don't need to visit either place long to see the differences. Like, say, pickup trucks in Novato, unlike pickup trucks in central SR, look as if their owners actually use them fairly frequently to haul stuff. Whereas the ones you see at Montecito Plaza in SR are pure show-off.

(For those unfamiliar with the place, Novato is the northernmost part of Marin; San Rafael is about in the middle of the county; Skywalker Ranch is about midway between the northern border of SR and the southern border of Novato.)

Emeryville is "right on BART"? Unless something has changed quietly in the last few years, Emeryville has not got a BART station. The closest one would be Macarthur, in Oakland. (I once lived in Emeryville, too -- on the Oakland side of San Pablo Ave., yet.) From there you would need a bus or shuttle to anyplace in Emeryville, unless you were prepared to walk a very depressing and somewhat dangerous few miles.

Adam2Smith said...

Michelle,

You are right about BART in Emeryville, it's just Amtrak / CalTrain.

The point still holds though: people can get to Emeryville, they pretty much can't get to Skywalker Ranch.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Adam2Smith,


The point still holds though: people can get to Emeryville, they pretty much can't get to Skywalker Ranch.


They can't? Not without a car (or a ride) they can't. But I assure you people get there. Really, honestly, some do.

I have never been to Skywalker Ranch. But my husband participated in a number of recordings there (Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Musica Pacifica, I forget what else). He tells me that the studios are well off the road and beautifully designed inside and out (the "out" being the only thing that could possibly concern the "harmless local housewives").

CalTrain and AmTrak do stop at Emeryville, of course. (I worked for a couple of years at the late, not-at-all-lamented Borders in Emeryville, just across from the station. I wonder if there's anything now in its place?)

But if you are commuting to Emeryville via CalTrain or AmTrak, how are you getting to the originating station? It's very unlikely that you live within walking distance of one. And doesn't that mean you likely have a ... car?

I guess what you are trying to get at is that far along Lucas Valley Road is a bad place for low-income housing, because poor people don't own cars. You'd be surprised.

wv: yingyh yedstaLE. This thing is messin' with my head.

Adam2Smith said...

Michelle,

It's not that it's impossible to get to the ranches, it's simply uneconomic. They are far away from everything, which is why they need their own restaurant, fire department, etc.

Of course the places are nice, but they are used sporadically at best. Low utilization = usage will stop or change when George Lucas gets tired of paying the bills or is no longer on the scene.

BTW, there already is low-income housing in Lucas Valley:


BRIDGE worked with the Terra Linda Rotary Club and the Marin County Redevelopment Agency to build this 80-apartment development for low-income seniors. BRIDGE leases the site from the County of Marin, and a HUD special-purpose grant enabled the County to clear the site for development. Winner of a 1998 Gold Nugget Award for "Best in the West" from the Pacific Coast Builders Conference and an award from the National Council on Senior Aging, the development is located in Lucas Valley and consists of one-story bungalow apartments with porches.


The real question is why the smokescreen? Blaming a bunch of essentially powerless neighbors, then making an odd threat about low-income housing.

It has to be preparation for some kind of movement on all the properties.

The situation as presented does not make any sense.

Amartel said...

Of course he's being vindictive, he just lacks the balls to be honest about it. Prog fight! (Pass the popcorn.)

Amartel said...

"I don't live there now, but I spent a decade in Marin County. Marinites are totally keen on low-income housing -- so long as it's in Marin City."

Exactly, the swells have kept them all penned up for decades. The Section 8 Habitrail of Progressive Indulgence is the Pride of Marin. (The cops there are insane with power. It's like every cliche you've ever heard about southern cops but with a Cali accent.)

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Adam2Smith,

They are far away from everything, which is why they need their own restaurant, fire department, etc.

Which they have. Problem?

The real question is why the smokescreen? Blaming a bunch of essentially powerless neighbors, then making an odd threat about low-income housing.

It has to be preparation for some kind of movement on all the properties.


Yeah, if I had the kind of money where my top concern was light pollution, I'd feel "essentially powerless" too. Wouldn't you?

And since when is the prospect of someone less wealthy than yourself moving into your neighborhood a "threat"?

Since (at least as I read the NYT story) the powerless, harmless housewives seem to have scuttled the original plans, I'm not entirely sure why you paint them as powerless and harmless. They would seem to have considerable power, and to be able to thwart pretty big plans.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Amartel,

Exactly, the swells have kept them all penned up for decades. The Section 8 Habitrail of Progressive Indulgence is the Pride of Marin. (The cops there are insane with power. It's like every cliche you've ever heard about southern cops but with a Cali accent.)

I didn't say just Marin City; I said Marin City, Canal District, and Novato.

For anyone who doesn't know Marin: Marin City was originally built during WWII to house workers (mostly Southern Blacks) building ships for the Pacific war. It's the only majority-Black part of the county, but shares a school district with Sausalito, which is both lily-white and super-rich.

Canal is poor and overwhelmingly Hispanic.

Novato is a mix, with a lower section (Ignacio) that's largely Hispanic; a middle that's sort of blue-collarish (a lot of SF firefighters and police live there); and some very posh districts to the north. It's a "city" only formally, because it basically follows the highway, and you can track the demographics by the exits. What sort of city of 47K people has seven (or nine -- depends what you count) freeway exits?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Adam2Smith,

I ought to have replied to this properly before.

It's not that it's impossible to get to the ranches, it's simply uneconomic. They are far away from everything, which is why they need their own restaurant, fire department, etc.

The natural consequence of "far away from everything" is "no one can be in any way annoyed by what they do." Isn't that how we'd like it? Face it, it's not uneconomic in the normal sense. If there are neighbors close enough to be peeved by light pollution, they are people close enough to welcome a nearby fire department and even a nearby restaurant.

Adam2Smith said...

One final note: the zoning on the Grady Ranch is such that whether or not housing is ever built there, it won't have any significant impact on anything in the area. It's just too small.

Even the Lucas project would not have had huge impact: 340 employees is not a big deal.

Ask yourself a question: if this location is so great, why doesn't Apple put its headquarters here? Or Facebook?

Take it as a given that George Lucas is a philosopher-king: what happens when he's no longer around and these developed properties are sitting there hemorrhaging cash?

Adam2Smith said...

Michelle,

It's uneconomic because even George Lucas can't get enough employees willing to commute to these places - that's why he weaseled his way into the Presidio - his version of Emeryville.

Why are you taking the word of a billionaire carpet-bagger action-figure maker who suddenly pops up and acts defeated by a bunch of anonymous locals?

Again, if you want to know what really happened, read what the Marin Conservation League and the Marin Audubon society have to say:

http://www.conservationleague.org/advocacy/200-grady-ranch.html

http://www.marinaudubon.org/pdf/ClapperRail_May12_Web.pdf

unless you are willing to believe both of these organizations were suborned by a homeowner's association.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Adam2Smith,

Why are you taking the word of a billionaire carpet-bagger action-figure maker who suddenly pops up and acts defeated by a bunch of anonymous locals?

I'm not. I'm just enjoying the spectacle of a bunch of Marinites (and, yes, there are conservative Marinites, but not many in the unincorporated bits between San Rafael and Novato) going into fits because Lucas proposes to sell his land to a developer who will put low-income housing there.

Come on. Isn't the consternation its own reward? OMG poor people! If you made this stuff up, people would think you had it in for the NIMBY rich. Fortunately, you don't have to.

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