California's Marin County is seeing the return of the NIMBYs
In November 2020, over 80% of Marin County, California residents voted for Joe Biden. This was to be expected. In 2018, 64% of Marin's residents voted for Gavin Newsom. Only 12% voted for John Cox, the Republican candidate. Another 8% of votes went to yet another Democrat. Now that Marinites have gotten their solid Democrat governance, though, they're not happy with one of the main Democrat goals: turning expensive suburbs into densely populated urban areas. Welcome to the new NIMBYs ("not in my backyard").
Marin County is one of the wealthiest areas in America, coming in at number 13 according to a 2016 American Community Survey. In 2016, the median Marin household income was $103,845. Marin might be doing even better now because it weathered the COVID lockdowns very well. This is probably because Marin's wealth comes, in significant part, from people who can make deals sitting at their computers.
One of Marin's great charms for the wealthy is the abundance of open space. If you live in the right parts of Marin, you get Bay views, San Francisco views, Golden Gate Bridge views, Richmond–San Rafael Bridge views, and multiple mountain views. There are wonderful hiking trails within easy driving distance, whether one wants to climb Mt. Tamalpais or Ring Mountain, hike down to the Pacific, or wander among the ancient redwoods in Muir Woods.
Crime in Marin is low, schools are good, and — and this is very important — the place has a friendly, small-town feel. If you raise children there, it's virtually guaranteed that, wherever you go, you'll run into someone from your neighborhood or your school. Despite the hard-left politics, Marin is a community with a Leave It to Beaver feel to it.
Several years ago, two teenagers who were not from Marin were caught after breaking into multiple homes. They explained that they came to Marin because the pickings were so easy. Marin residents, they said, didn't even lock their doors.
Marin people are always bathed in self-satisfaction when they vote for Democrats. They're standing up for the poor people. They're fighting police brutality. They're there for the LGBT crowd and the BIPOCs. They'll turn out in their little pink hats because Trump may have groped someone. None was bothered by credible rape claims against Biden, not to mention all those videos showing him fondling little girls.
On the subject of double standards, while Marinites support government when it makes that "equitable" push to build housing for poor people in your town, county, or state, they don't think it's a good idea when Democrat politicians try to do the same in Marin. After all, Marinites spent good money to buy vastly overpriced homes because of location, location, location.
And that's how you end up with wonderful, un-ironic news reports like this one, from Marin's local paper:
Larkspur is the latest Marin community to oppose a regional housing mandate that aims to increase equitable access to housing.
In a unanimous vote on Wednesday, the City Council joined Sausalito and Corte Madera in directing staff to appeal the Association of Bay Area Governments' regional housing methodology. It would require the city to add 979 residences by 2031.
Of the cities and towns that have appealed so far, Larkspur is tasked with adding the most residences. Under the regional housing allocation formula, Mill Valley would have to add 865; Corte Madera, 725; and Sausalito, 724.
Elsewhere in Marin, Novato is expected to add 2,090 residences while San Rafael's share is 3,220. The unincorporated parts of the county are slated for 3,569. Fairfax, Ross and San Anselmo are expected to add 490, 111 and 833, respectively. Belvedere is on the hook for 160 residences.
Tiburon, which is expected to add 639 residences, will consider an appeal at its affordable housing committee meeting on Monday. Mill Valley will also consider an appeal at a meeting on Monday. The San Anselmo and Novato councils will discuss the issue on Tuesday.
Larkspur's planning director, Neal Toft, said the allocation method targets Larkspur because of its residents' longer life expectancy, higher population of educated residents and public transportation infrastructure.
What's fascinating is that the people quoted in the newspaper have no vocabulary to oppose what's happening. If they were familiar with the rights of a free people, they might say that the government has no right to devalue their huge investments in their homes. Moreover, America is a nation dedicated to equality, not equity. That allows for the incrementalism — that is, just as most of Marin's residents worked hard to acquire their wealth, others can do the same and, one day, they too can buy property in lovely Marin.
But all that Marin's people can do, having elected politicians determined to impose "equity," is whine that it's "not fair."
UPDATE: The Marin Independent Journal is reporting that Mill Valley has joined the consortium of towns protesting the mandate. Mill Valley is one of the more left-leaning towns in Marin County, which is saying a lot.
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