NIMBY: Country club liberals say “hell no” to proposed low-income housing in CA county

Via the NYT (hat tip: Leslie – bolded emphasis added by me):

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. — In 1978, a year after “Star Wars” was released, George Lucas began building his movie production company far from Hollywood, in the quiet hills and valley of Marin County here just north of San Francisco. Starting with Skywalker Ranch, the various pieces of Lucasfilm came together over the decades behind the large trees on his 6,100-acre property, invisible from the single two-lane road that snakes through the area.

And even as his fame grew, Mr. Lucas earned his neighbors’ respect through his discretion. Marin, one of America’s richest counties, liked it that way.

But after spending years and millions of dollars, Mr. Lucas abruptly canceled plans recently for the third, and most likely last, major expansion, citing community opposition. An emotional statement posted online said Lucasfilm would build instead in a place “that sees us as a creative asset, not as an evil empire.”

If the announcement took Marin by surprise, it was nothing compared with what came next. Mr. Lucas said he would sell the land to a developer to bring “low income housing” here.

“It’s inciting class warfare,” said Carolyn Lenert, head of the North San Rafael Coalition of Residents.

Mr. Lucas said in an e-mail that he only wanted “to do something good for Marin,” waving away accusations of ulterior motives.

“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.”

Whatever Mr. Lucas’s intentions, his announcement has unsettled a county whose famously liberal politics often sits uncomfortably with the issue of low-cost housing and where battles have been fought over such construction before. His proposal has pitted neighbor against neighbor, who, after failed peacemaking efforts over local artisanal cheese and wine, traded accusations in the local newspaper.

The staunchest opponents of Lucasfilm’s expansion are now being accused of driving away the filmmaker and opening the door to a low-income housing development. 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.’ ”

For those of you who don’t know much about Marin County, CA – it’s political make-up is not just left leaning. It is dominated by liberals:

Marin County tended to vote Republican for most of the 20th century (from 1948 to 1980, the only Democrat to win there was Lyndon Johnson in 1964). However, the county has become a stronghold of the Democratic Party in recent decades. Out of California counties, only San Francisco County and Alameda County voted more Democratic in the 2008 Presidential election, all three counties voted more heavily for Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama than Cook County, Ill., Obama’s home county.


According to the California Secretary of State, as of January 5, 2010, Marin County has 148,723 registered voters, out of 181,918 eligible (81.75%). Of those, 81,589 (54.86%) are registered Democrats, 29,088 (19.56%) are registered Republicans, 6,141 (4.13%) are registered with other political parties, and 31,905 (21.45%) have declined to state a political party.

And the city of San Rafael:

San Rafael is a stronghold of the Democratic Party. As of January 5, 2010, there were 28,169 registered voters in San Rafael, of which 15,646 (55.54%) were Democrats, 5,516 (19.58%) were Republicans and 5,932 (21.06%) declined to state a political party.

Now, speaking from a non-political perspective, I can certainly understand their concerns about the possibility for crime escalation, not to mention property values taking a hit. But looking at this from the viewpoint of a conservative Republican who has – along other conservatives across this country – been slammed for years by bleeding heart liberal Democrats as turning our noses up at the poor, I have to laugh at all the drama going on in Marin County between Democrats over the very thought (horrors!) of low income housing being built in the liberal haven of San Rafael.

What happened to the spirit of “diversity” and  “peace, love and harmony”, anyway? ;)

Mayor @CoryBooker rescues himself before getting thrown under the Obama bus

Here’s how the Obama 2012 campaign treats honesty from one of its staunchest, visible, and popular supporters (hat tip):

In Washington, there’s an old cliche: A gaffe is when a politician is accidentally honest.

That’s what happened to Newark (N.J.) Mayor Cory Booker during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. Booker, who is widely regarded as a fast riser in Democratic politics, veered badly off message when he defended Bain Capital — the longtime employer of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney — and described the negative tone of the campaign as “nauseating”.

You can watch Booker’s performance for yourself here:

Not surprisingly, Republicans immediately seized on Booker’s comments as a way to push back on the attacks launched by President Obama’s campaign on Romney’s record in the private sector. The Republican National Committee quickly distributed the Booker comment to reporters via e-mail, Twitter and even Tumblr.

Meanwhile, Democrats scrambled to contain the damage.

Booker, one of the most tech- and social media-savvy politicians in the country — he has more than a million Twitter followers — posted a video on You Tube that attempted to re-frame his comments as broadly supportive of the president and said he “encouraged” Obama to make an issue out of Romney’s record at Bain.

Booker did, however, re-iterate his belief that the tone of the campaign was “nauseating” and “calls to our lowest common denominators.”

What Booker tweeted out Sunday afternoon was a nearly four-minute long video. But, as Politico’s Dylan Byers pointed out Sunday night, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt later tweeted out an edited, 35-second version that included only Booker’s comments on Romney. And, on Monday, the RNC launched an “I stand with Cory” online petition drive designed to keep the mayor’s comments in the news.

Given all of that, it’s pretty clear what happened here. The Obama team saw Booker equating attacks on Bain Capital with attacks on Rev. Jeremiah Wright — he said almost exactly those words — and knew they had a political mess to clean up.

You better believe it, which is why the so-called “hostage” video of Booker “clarifying” his remarks came out later …

In case you didn’t or don’t want to watch the video of Booker’s original remarks, here’s a brief transcript:

Earlier Sunday, on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press,’ Booker strongly criticized an Obama campaign ad that attacked presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s tenure at private-equity firm Bain Capital.

“This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides,” Booker said.

“It’s nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity. Stop attacking Jeremiah Wright,” he added, also referring to a proposal floated and quickly rejected by a pro-GOP super-PAC to attack Obama over his connection to his controversial former pastor the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

On ‘Meet the Press,’ Booker went further, saying he would not “indict private equity.”

“It’s just we’re getting to a ridiculous point in America, especially that I know I live in a state where pension funds, unions and other people are investing in companies like Bain Capital. If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, they’ve done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses. And this to me, I’m very uncomfortable with.”

LOL! Preach it, Mayor Booker. The RNC and the Romney camp need to run Booker’s original comments in ads from now until November. Milk them for all they are worth.  Here’s the ad the Romney campaign put up not long after Booker’s remarks.  Heh.

As noted earlier, Booker is one of the higher profile Democrats to come out against the Obama campaign’s anti-capitalism strategy, but he’s not the only Democrat who has done so recently. Via ABC News:

Booker is not the only Democrat to question the aggressive, negative portrayal of Romney’s work in private equity.  Former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford Jr. said today he agreed with “the substance” of Booker’s comments and “would not have backed out.”

“I agree with him, private equity is not a bad thing. Matter of fact, private equity is a good thing in many, many instances,” the Democrat said in a separate appearance on MSNBC earlier in the day.

Former Obama administration economic adviser Steven Rattner made similar comments last week, calling a new Obama campaign TV ad attacking Romney’s role in the bankruptcy of a Bain-owned steel company “unfair.”

“Bain Capital’s responsibility was not to create 100,000 jobs or some other number. It was to create profits for its investors,” Rattner said.  ”‘It did it superbly well, acting within the rules, acting very responsibly. … This is part of capitalism, this is part of life. I don’t think there’s anything Bain Capital did that they need to be embarrassed about.”

It’s very clear going into the 2012 general election campaign season that the Obama campaign is directly targeting what is considered Romney’s chief strength over our celebrity President: His business experience in the private sector.   It’s both a bold and risky attack strategy, considering President Obama’s staggeringly awful record on the economy, but the administration is betting on an American electorate being too distracted with persistent day to day kitchen table issues to understand the dishonest, dangerous nature of such attacks on the free enterprise system.  RomneyCo. needs to hammer this point home every single bleeping chance they get, because the attacks on Romney’s business record are going to be relentless (case in point).

And lastly, Ed Morrissey notes an interesting bit of hypocrisy regarding Team Obama’s attacks on Bain (bolded emphasis added by me):

Actually, I agree that Mitt Romney’s record at Bain is fair game in the presidential election — as long as we’re talking about Romney’s record.  The first Bain attack ad talked about something that took place two years after Romney had already left, but during the tenure of a current Obama bundler who worked at Bain later.  The same day that Team Obama launched the Bain attack, Obama held a fundraiser hosted by Tony James of Blackstone, another private-equity firm that occasionally partnered with Bain on projects.

The problem with these attacks is both accuracy and hypocrisy.  Obama has no trouble raising money from private-equity firms (or perhaps he does have trouble doing so), but then demonizes and demagogues the private-equity industry.  That’s what Booker found “nauseating” during his brief moment of candor, and what bothers Ford and everyone else.

Democrats.  You can always depend on them to talk out of both sides of their mouths. Toldjah so. Again and again and again …

Update – 8:40 PM:  And without fail, one of the more popular liberal blogs has a hit piece out with Booker’s ties to Bain. Like clockwork!   Also – via Newsbusters: Furious Chris Matthews Explodes: Cory Booker ‘Betrayed’ and ‘Sabotaged’ Obama.

Democrats seeking to disenfranchise Arkansas voters, and PA in play?

**Posted by Phineas

A few days ago, I wrote about the possibility, albeit it an unlikely one, that President Obama could lose the Arkansas Democratic primary to a little-known challenger. Well, now it seems the Arkansas Democrats, with perhaps a little push from the DNC, are trying to tell angry Arkansans that their votes don’t count, if they’re the wrong votes:

After a poll released this week showed President Barack Obama only beating his Democratic primary opponent John Wolfe Jr. by seven points, 45 percent to 38 percent, in Arkansas’s Fourth Congressional District, state Democrats moved to practically disenfranchise Arkansas voters. “[D]elegates Wolfe might claim won’t be recognized at the national convention,” national party officials are telling state Democrats. Wolfe is being accused of not following the party rules.

“They want a coronation,” Wolfe tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD. “They’re conflating [Obama] with the party. Are we supposed to call him ‘Dear Leader’? Is this some kind of North Korea thing?”

Wolfe insists he’s done the due diligence to qualify for delegates and that the state party is making decisions ad hoc to get the results they desire. “This is ridiculous,” he says. “These guys are trying to tamp down voter enthusiasm.”

Bear in mind that this comes after Obama gave up 41% of the vote and ten counties to a federal prisoner in West Virginia, while, in North Carolina, he gave up 20% of the vote to “Mr. No Preference.” At, John Nolte explains why the Democrats are so worried:

As I mentioned in my interview with Wolfe earlier this week, Wolfe’s story is one the media doesn’t want to tell. The Narrative is supposed to be about presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney having trouble consolidating his base, not the Democrat incumbent who is also the media’s chosen candidate.

If the exact same scenario were in play but with players who each had an “R” after their name as opposed to a “D,” I suspect the media would’ve done everything in their power to turn Wolfe into a folk hero by now in an effort to undermine the sitting Republican. Thus far, however, the media’s reaction to Wolfe has been one of almost total radio silence — a position that will be difficult to maintain should Wolfe achieve a respectable showing in a couple of days.

Nolte also points out that Wolfe is on the Texas primary ballot, and the DNC is worried that a good showing by him in Arkansas could lead to more embarrassment in the Lone Star State.

But it isn’t just in the South that Obama has problems, which Obama apologists will no doubt spin as “racism.” (Insert eye-roll as needed.) As I speculated in that same piece last week, the troubles in WV, NC, AR, and possibly TX could be adumbrations of real danger in Pennsylvania, where the Average White Guy/Jacksonian Democrat voter is none too happy right now.

Well, now we’re starting to get some confirmation. From Roll Call:

Pennsylvania is also well-known as a state with a large number of working-class whites, particularly in northeastern (Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton, for example) and western Pennsylvania (Erie, Johnstown and Pittsburgh) — the kind of people one GOP strategist says “have their names on their shirts when they are at work.”

Candidate Obama had problems with those kinds of voters in 2008 — county-level data shows he did worse than Kerry in 2004 in a swath of counties running from southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia through extreme southwestern Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, and into Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma. If anything, he seems weaker in those areas this year.

These voters don’t have an automatic cultural connection to Obama (or to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney), and the president’s recent announcement supporting same-sex marriage isn’t likely to be a plus with them. Jobs, of course, remain a big issue with these voters, and whatever hope they had that Obama would turn the economy around has almost certainly evaporated.

Potentially, Romney could outperform most national Republicans in the southeastern corner of the state, as he is a better “cultural fit” there, particularly in Philadelphia’s upscale suburbs (Montgomery, Bucks and Delaware counties).


Given these considerations, is there enough reason to include Pennsylvania in a short list of swing states? Not yet, for me. But there certainly is enough reason to treat Pennsylvania as a potential battleground and to continue to monitor the presidential numbers in the state.

There’s a lot more in this article, and Stuart Rothenberg is a very experienced analyst. Well-worth reading.

Meanwhile, if I were in the Obama campaign inner circle, I’d be very worried.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)