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

Posted by: ST on May 21, 2012 at 10:05 pm

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? ;)

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


  1. Phineas says:

    That’s the story of California’s coastal counties: “socially conscious” lefties lock up all the land and then fight like hell via zoning regulations to keep the wrong types from moving in and spoiling their views.It’s a hypocritical disgrace, and I laughed long and loud when I first read of Lucas’ revenge on those fools in Marin.

  2. BeeKay says:

    Diversity? Not for leftwingwackos. If diversity is allowed in thinking, that would mean someone can disagree with a leftwingwacko. THE HORRORS!

  3. Carlos says:

    Liberal ideas and philosophies about what to do about “the masses” are always for everyone else, not themselves. After all, isn’t it enough that they come up with the ideas? Who would expect them to actually participate, too?

  4. Drew the Infidel says:

    “Occupy Silk Stocking Lane” has come to town. This should be fun to watch.

  5. Ralph Gizzip says:

    But, but, but Liberals LOVE the poor. That’s why they favor all the laws and policies that keep them poor.

    What? Oh, you mean they only LOVE the poor as long as they don’t have to be exposed to them up close and personal?


  6. Susanna K. says:

    Marin County has more in common with Palm Beach, FL than anywhere else. It is more about money than ideology. Like the Palm Beach “conservatives” would willingly bankrupt our government by taking bailouts and subsidies, Marin County “liberals” really care more about the appearance of ideological purity than walking the talk.

    I for one would love to see some affordable housing built near there. It’s a huge problem in CA: people who have regular jobs can’t afford to live anywhere near the communities in which they work, burdening working folks with long commutes and significant transportation expenses. And it might do the people of Marin County some good to interact with the folks they purport to care about.

  7. Krystal says:

    We know leftists are hypocrites, but Lucas is wrong and vindictive to do this to that area. Is he going to live next to the low income housing? There is no sense economically in trying to improve your life, and get into a good neigborhood and then have it ruined by cowards like Lucas.

  8. Tango says:

    ….litigation will go on for a very long time. A major payday for some group of shysters.

  9. TexasMom2012 says:

    I love it! Same hypocrisy on parade as Hyannis Port and the windmill kerfluffle! I have driven through the new forests of windmills in west Texas. They are loud obnoxious ugly and they rarely move at all! They have to have electricity to get the windmill moving before it can be pushed by the wind to collect any power at all,LOL except I hate what they have done to my state. I expect that within a few years the cost of maintainence will overrun the “power” generated and we will see miles of rusting dinosaurs that the taxpayers will eventually be forced to deconstruct. At least low cost housing will net a return and be cheaper to bulldoze if needed!

  10. Zippy says:

    Typical iberal hypocrisy. They don’t mind helping the poor providing they don’t have to actually touch them or breathe their air… unless of course they’re serving the guests crudites, or cutting their lawn.

  11. Chris in N.Va. says:

    Cue up the famous Bar Scene from the original Star Wars movie:

    “Hey, we don’t allow THOSE KIND in here! (implied: We have standards, dontcha know?)”

    Ahh…ain’t karmic irony a bee-atch!?

    Pass the popcorn; this could be an entertaining multi-reeler…

  12. Neo says:

    In the “zoned” township that I live in there is a state requirement that every type of land usage be included into the zoning maps, else those not mentioned usages can be placed anywhere in the township. Typically, to avoid certain types of land usage, they zone farms as “industrial,” etc.

    Well, you may have guessed it, they forgot to include a “trailer park,” so every time a land developer doesn’t get his way, they invoked the “trailer park” scenario.

  13. EBL says:

    This is a savory as an old vine Zin paired with a Point Reyes blue!

  14. Ken66 says:

    Wishful thinking: Marin County resident Barbara Boxer spinning in her(?) grave.

  15. Cube says:

    California’s coastal counties: “socially conscious” lefties lock up all the land and then fight like hell via zoning regulations to keep the wrong types from moving in and spoiling their views.

    Phineas, I noticed the same thing when I was visiting. Expressed without euphemisms, the attitude is “I’ve got mine, f*** you.” Doesn’t sound nearly as appealing as “open space”, does it? And you’re right, many liberal types are all for “helping the less fortunate” with “affordable housing” as long as someone else has to pay the social costs associated with low income people. There’s usually a good reason why some people remain in the lower economic brackets and it has little to do with prejudice from others.