|High density development in Dublin CA|
But Nancy Walsh saw this all quite differently. To her way of thinking this was the beginning of a new day for Sierra Madre, one where millions upon millions of dollars would flood into our town, the result of something she mysteriously referred to as "Federal Pass-Throughs." And who would be the ones that would bring us this largess? The newly merged Green Committee and Tree Commission thing now known as EENER. The theory being that towns everywhere were forming similar commissions, and the more truncated and lifeless the acronym, the more seriously the Feds would take them.
Once we've set aside Elaine Aguilar's tales about City Staff being too busy to deal with the Green Committee and Tree Commission separately, it becomes obvious that this is where our EENER Commission really got its inspiration. Because nothing says "give me a lots and lots of Federal money" like EENER. Right?
Unfortunately, and as is the case with most too good to be true Federal and State cash giveaways, there are some rather major strings attached. And in this case those strings are directly attached to a demand that we allow for the kinds of high density development that have always been anathema to the citizens of Sierra Madre. And that free lunch Nancy Walsh was salivating over would mean serving this town up with some major stack and pack misery, and all of the urban ills and toxic congestion that would naturally follow.
A new article written by Stanley Kurtz spells out exactly where that money Nancy Walsh so reverently spoke about will come from, and what exactly it would need to be used for. For anyone who loves this town for its quaint old school ambience and naturally green low density design, this will come as something of a shock.
Regionalism: Obama’s Quiet Anti-Suburban Revolution
The consensus response to President Obama’s Knox College speech on the economy is that the administration has been reduced to pushing a menu of stale and timid policies that, in any case, won’t be enacted. But what if the administration isn’t actually out of ideas? What if Obama’s boldest policy initiative is merely something he’d rather not discuss? And what if that initiative is being enacted right now?
A year ago, I published Spreading the Wealth: How Obama Is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities. There I described the president’s second-term plan to press a transformative “regionalist” agenda on the country. Early but unmistakable signs indicate that Obama’s regionalist push is well underway. Yet the president doesn’t discuss his regionalist moves and the press does not report them.
The most obvious new element of the president’s regionalist policy initiative is the July 19 publication of a Department of Housing and Urban Development regulation broadening the obligation of recipients of federal aid to “affirmatively further fair housing.” The apparent purpose of this rule change is to force suburban neighborhoods with no record of housing discrimination to build more public housing targeted to ethnic and racial minorities. Several administration critics noticed the change and challenged it, while the mainstream press has simply declined to cover the story.
Yet even critics have missed the real thrust of HUD’s revolutionary rule change. That’s understandable, since the Obama administration is at pains to downplay the regionalist philosophy behind its new directive. The truth is, HUD’s new rule is about a great deal more than forcing racial and ethnic diversity on the suburbs. (Regionalism, by the way, is actually highly controversial among minority groups. There are many ways in which both middle-class minorities in suburbs, and less well-off minorities in cities, can be hurt by regionalist policies–another reason those plans are seldom discussed.)
The new HUD rule is really about changing the way Americans live. It is part of a broader suite of initiatives designed to block suburban development, press Americans into hyper-dense cities, and force us out of our cars. Government-mandated ethnic and racial diversification plays a role in this scheme, yet the broader goal is forced “economic integration.” The ultimate vision is to make all neighborhoods more or less alike, turning traditional cities into ultra-dense Manhattans, while making suburbs look more like cities do now. In this centrally-planned utopia, steadily increasing numbers will live cheek-by-jowl in “stack and pack” high-rises close to public transportation, while automobiles fall into relative disuse. To understand how HUD’s new rule will help enact this vision, we need to turn to a less-well-known example of the Obama administration’s regionalist interventionism.
In the face of heated public protest, on July 18, two local agencies in metropolitan San Francisco approved “Plan Bay Area,” a region-wide blueprint designed to control development in the nine-county, 101-town region around San Francisco for the next 30 years. The creation of a region-wide development plan–although it flies in the face of America’s core democratic commitment to local control–is mandated by California’s SB 375, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008. The ostensible purpose of this law is to combat global warming through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. That is supposedly why California’s legislature empowered regional planning commissions to override local governments and press development away from suburbs into densely-packed urban areas. In fact, the reduction of greenhouse gases (which Plan Bay Area does little to secure) largely serves as a pretext for undercutting the political and economic independence of California suburbs.
You can read the rest of Kurtz's article by clicking here.
So here are my questions. What good would Nancy's dreamed of Federal money do us if all it did was turn Sierra Madre into the very thing we moved here to get away from in the first place? A densely packed and overcrowded urban mess? While at the same time confiscating our local control over planning and development here and passing it on to Sacramento, or even Washington?
The Feds are not likely to be people who could care less about the things that we think are important. Our way of life not being a part of their grand plans for the new de-evolutionary America.
To me it is beyond disheartening that anyone would even consider selling Sierra Madre out like this. That the effort here is being led here by elected officials like Mayor Walsh is even more disturbing.
Taking money from the Feds in order to for all intents and purposes destroy all that is great about this town, and for the economic benefit of people who do not in any way respect our way of life, is not leadership.
It is betrayal.