Skip to comments.Regionalism: Obama's Quiet Anti-Suburban Revolution
Posted on 07/30/2013 5:03:16 PM PDT by neverdem
The consensus response to President Obamas 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, wont be enacted. But what if the administration isnt actually out of ideas? What if Obamas boldest policy initiative is merely something hed 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 presidents second-term plan to press a transformative regionalist agenda on the country. Early but unmistakable signs indicate that Obamas regionalist push is well underway. Yet the president doesnt discuss his regionalist moves and the press does not report them.
The most obvious new element of the presidents 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 HUDs revolutionary rule change. Thats understandable, since the Obama administration is at pains to downplay the regionalist philosophy behind its new directive. The truth is, HUDs 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 policiesanother 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 HUDs new rule will help enact this vision, we need to turn to a less-well-known example of the Obama administrations 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 planalthough it flies in the face of Americas core democratic commitment to local controlis mandated by Californias 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 Californias 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.
Essentially, Plan Bay Area attempts to block the development of any new suburbs, forcing all population growth over the next three decades into the existing urban footprint of the region. The plan presses 70-80 percent of all new housing and 66 percent of all business expansion into 150 or so priority development areas (PDAs), select neighborhoods near subway stations and other public transportation facilities. This scheme will turn up to a quarter of the regions existing neighborhoodsmany now dotted with San Franciscos famously picturesque, Victorian-style single-family homesinto mini-Manhattans jammed with high-rises and tiny apartments. The densest PDAs will be many times denser than Manhattan. (See the powerful ten-minute audio-visual assault on Plan Bay Area at the 45-55 minute mark of this debate.)
In effect, by preventing the development of new suburbs, and reducing traditional single-family home development in existing suburbs, Plan Bay Area will squeeze 30 years worth of in-migrating population into a few small urban enclaves, and force most new businesses into the same tight quarters. The result will be a steep increase in the Bay Areas already out-of-control housing prices. This will hit the poor and middle class the hardest. While some poor and minority families will receive tiny subsidized apartments in the high-rise PDAs, many others will find themselves displaced by the new development, or priced out of the local housing market altogether.
A regional plan that blocks traditional suburban development, densifies cities, and urbanizes suburbs on this scale is virtually unprecedented. Thats why the Obama administration awarded the agencies behind Plan Bay Area its second-highest Sustainable Communities Grant in 2012. Indeed, the terms of the administrations grant reinforce the pressure for density. The official rationale behind the federal award is encouraging connections between jobs, housing, and transportation.
That sounds like a directive to locate new residentspoor and minorities includedin existing prosperous communities. In fact, HUDs new emphasis on connecting jobs housing and transportation does more. In practice, bland bureaucratic language about blending jobs, housing, and transportation pressures localities to create Manhattan-style priority development areas. The San Francisco case reveals the administrations broader intentions. Soon HUD and other agencies will begin to press localities directly, rather than through the medium of Californias new regionalist scheme. Replicating Plan Bay Area nationwide is the Obama administrations goal.
The Enactment of Plan Bay Area was wildly controversial among those who managed to learn about it, yet went largely unnoticed in the region as a whole. One of the chief complaints of the plans opponents was the relative lack of publicity accorded a decision with such transformative implications. Critics called for a public vote, and complained that the bureaucrats in charge hadnt been elected.
Another theme of critics was that the fix seemed to be in from the start. Input was largely ignored, opponents claimed, and public forums offered only the illusion of consultation. Although its gone largely unreported, that accusation is far truer than even the opponents of Plan Bay Area realize.
Heres where the Obama administration comes in. Not only does acceptance of the administrations $5 million grant make it next-to-impossible to de-densify Plan Bay Area, but the grant itself helps to fund grassroots supporters of the planleftist groups dedicated to radicalizing the scheme still further.
The administrations sustainable communities grants generally require recipients to partner with local leftist community organizations. Opponents of Plan Bay Area often outnumber supporters at public meetings. Yet such supporters as are presentgroups like TransForm, the Greenbelt Alliance, Marin Grassroots, and East Bay Housing Organizationare funded[PDF] (or slated to be funded)with the help of the same federal grant that backs up the bureaucrats in charge.
Press accounts of the Plan Bay Area controversy generally say nothing about the financial interest that non-profit grassroots organizations have in passage of the plan, or about pressures on the bureaucrats in charge to maintain their government-mandated partnerships with these community organizations. So when opponents of Plan Bay Area complain about officials simply going through the motions of public consultation, theyre right. The deck is stacked, the fix is in. By way of the federal grant, many of the grassroots groups that support Plan Bay Area are actually partners of the decision makers (the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments). The Obama administrations role in all this, while generally unnoticed, is substantial.
If you complain that the regional bureaucracy behind Plan Bay Area undercuts democracy and local control, youll be told that local governments retain full authority over land-use within their jurisdictions. In reality, Plan Bay Area subverts that control, and the Obama administration plays a role here as well. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (one of the two agencies in charge of Plan Bay Area) doles out state and federal transportation assistance. Now that Plan Bay Area has been formally approved, MTC can withhold billions of dollars in federal aid from suburban jurisdictions that refuse to densify, leaving local bridges and highways in disrepair. One of the core goals of the Obama administrations Sustainable Communities Initiative is to use federal transportation aid as a stick to force regionalist planning on unwilling suburbs.
Recalcitrant suburbs can also be brought to heel by lawsuits claiming violations of federal fair housing law. Californias SB375 facilitates such suits by placing the burden of proof on local jurisdictions accused of housing discrimination. Such legal claims are often brought by leftist community organizations of the type currently funded through the Obama administrations grant.
When criticism of Plan Bay Area reached a crescendo in suburban Marin Countythe center of public opposition to the planthe bureaucrats pared back their demands for densification in a few resistant municipalities. Obamas HUD responded by charging that failure to assign more multifamily housing to suburban jurisdictions could violate federal fair housing law. So what looks like a softening of Plan Bay Areas demands on a few suburban municipalities may ultimately be reversed. By publicly declaring suburban non-cooperation with Plan Bay Area a potential violation of federal housing law, and by funding organizations that could sue to bring resistant suburbs into compliance, the Obama administration is serving as a key enforcer of this controversial scheme.
All of which returns us to HUDs controversial new regulation expanding the obligation of recipients of federal aid to affirmatively further fair housing. When HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that rule change, he acknowledged that it wasnt really focused on preventing outright discrimination and access to the housing itself. The Obama administration is using traditional anti-discrimination language as a cover for a re-engineering the way we live. The real goal is to Manhattanize America, and force us out of our cars.
The Plan Bay Area precedent makes it clear that HUD will use data on access to housing, jobs, and transportation to press densification on both urban and suburban jurisdictions. With the new HUD rule in place, municipalities will be under heavy pressure to allow multifamily developments in areas previously zoned for single-family housing. The new counting scheme, which measures access to housing, jobs, and transportation, will simultaneously create pressures to push businesses into the newly densified areas, and to locate those centers near transportation hubs. In effect, HUDs new rule gives the federal government a tool to press ultra-dense Plan Bay Area-style priority development areas on regions across the country.
HUDs new rule also allows the creation of regional housing consortia. Although the choice to join such regional housing partnerships would technically be voluntary, the administration will be able to use the same combination of legal threats and funding leverage weve seen in San Francisco to pressure municipalities to join the consortia.
Over the next few years, select Regional Planning Grants funded under the Obama administrations Sustainable Communities Initiative will be issuing regional development plans guided by the same philosophy that informs Plan Bay Area. So even in states without California-style regionalist legislation in place, a federally-funded structure with the potential to override local control, block suburban development, and force densification will be created. The Obama administrations goal is to use legal and financial carrots and sticks to press Plan Bay Area clones on regions across the country through its federally-funded Regional Planning Grant program. The new HUD rule will be folded into this broader strategy. (I lay out the structure, philosophy, and history of that strategy in Spreading the Wealth.)
When Secretary Donovan announced the sweeping new HUD rule, he said: Make no mistake: this is a big deal. Hes right. Yet the mainstream press has ignored the change, as well as the broader story behind it. Recognizing the politically explosive nature of its regionalist plans, the Obama administration does little to connect the dots for the public at large. Above all, the president himself avoids this issue, although its deeply embedded in his administrations policies.
Obama isnt actually out of bold ideas. Theyre simply too controversial for him to discuss. The time has come for a national debate on the Obama administrations regionalist policies.
“We have nothing to fear with Barack Obama in the White House”
As unpopular Michael Savage is to some, he made a prediction early in the bam years that we’d enter a Doctor Zhivago stage where you fill in a questionnaire as to your home square footage, number of rooms, unused areas etc, and they’d be reassigned as living quarters for the indigent. I think we’re going there fast.
Just part of the UN’s Agenda 21. Once the majority of the population is urbanized, they will have total control at their fingertips: water, food, electric, utilities, security, etc. Peasants get rowdy and the electric or water goes of for a couple of days. I think the movie “Soylent Green” paints a good representative picture of what life will be like.
Stealth implementation of Agenda 21. I’m surprised this article didn’t mention it.
This isn’t Obama’s initiative; this is Agenda 21, which has been in the works since 1992.
Nobody in the press bothered to ask just what the hell that meant.
In Russia several families would share an apartment.
Obama is a urban community organizer, in order to
“transform” the nation the only way he knows how
is to turn it all into innercity ghettos.
That sounds a bit more accurate to me.
However, this is not happening. Obama is crowding people into mega cities at a time when the global birthrate is collapsing, when Mexican immigration is nearly halted, our own birthrate has fallen below replacement level, and we have more land set aside for wildlife than ever before.
This is why I am becoming a fan of John B. Calhoun, whose experiments in population density can explain a lot of our current problems in society, because there aren't a lot of rational reasons for all this.
Agree, but I don’t think Obie’s new BFF Johnny Mac would.
The Census Bureau is pushing an "American Community Survey" right now, which I believe is sniffing around that very topic.
Here's an updated Keepers of state ping lists
Alaska Jet Jaguar
Arkansas mosaicwolf; ConservativeMan55
District of Columbia BufordP; trooprally
Florida Joe Brower
Kentucky SLB; RonPaulLives
Maryland Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Mississippi WKB; Islander7
Nevada Las Vegas Ron
New Mexico CedarDave
New York neverdem; The Mayor
North Carolina Constitution Day; TaxRelief
Ohio Las Vegas Dave
South Carolina SC Swamp Fox; upchuck
Texas Texas Fossil; Windflier; texas booster
You can find the list at the bottom of my homepage.
The Chicagoization and Detroitification of America continue “Forward! full speed backward.
GA ping. This is an important article. The Atlanta Regional Commission is one of the unelected governmental groups the pols are using to foist this nonsense off on us.
FUBO is so easy to say, yet so fitting.
Workers of the world, unite! Throw off your communist oppressors!
Obama is crowding people into mega cities at a time when the global birthrate is collapsing,
I meant to say Soylent Green will reflect the probable conditions of the peasants (us) in the mega cities. Won’t make any difference of the cause of the high density only the results of the high density living. A note, NYC is planning to approve the construction of 700,000 325 sq ft apartments for the modern urban resident. These have no full kitchens and residents are expected to eat most of their meals out. Think about it if they force people out of the rural and suburban areas into cities with millions of these type residences.
Maybe because I hate urban sprawl and the fact that it threatens my family’s farm and many of my neighbors but I see the benefit of “stack and pack” policy.
Every year I see more and more good, productive farmland comsumed by urban sprawl as we are losing our farming heritage.
As well as food security.
But I also hate government telling people what to do with their lives.
Damned if you, damned if you don’t...
If they can blend your kids and grandkids into the herd before long everyone will be nice and subdued.
Mark Levin was all over this last week.
|District of Columbia||BufordP; trooprally|
|Maryland||Tolerance Sucks Rocks|
|Nevada||Las Vegas Ron|
|New York||neverdem; The Mayor|
|North Carolina||Constitution Day; TaxRelief|
|Ohio||Las Vegas Dave|
|South Carolina||SC Swamp Fox; upchuck|
|Texas||Texas Fossil; Windflier; texas booster|
ORINDA —The city of Orinda could soon be in compliance with state housing law requirements for the first time if officials agree to rezone a piece of land to accommodate more affordable housing.
State law requires that cities and towns have a certified housing element for meeting housing needs for residents of all income levels.
According to the Regional Housing Need Allocation, the city must show it can accommodate a certain number of very low-, low-, moderate- and market-rate housing units.
Some Orinda residents on Monday, worried about the housing plan, told the council an influx of residents could change the city’s “semirural character,” affect schools and impact property values. Others questioned the state mandates, and urged the council to “push back” on housing requirements.
While one can have sympathy for the over-levered, underwater homeowners that took free-money with both hands and feet as house prices surged in the mid-2000s (just like they are now) but the latest moves to ‘save’ people from themselves in the city of Richmond, CA is raising both market and constitutional concerns. As NYTimes reports, the city is the first to use eminent domain by the local government (in partnership with a ‘friendly’ mortgage provider) to seize homes, force investors to take a loss on the mortgages, re-issue a new ‘lower’ mortgage, and allow the homeowner back with positive equity
The entire state of NJ has already been converted to this zoning regime.
NJ being slightly different in the fact that with or without zoning changes, the entire state will be built out within 40 to 60 years, as in every single parcel of buildable land will have been built upon.
I’m pretty sure SanFran region has open space available for further sprawl.
Most of the more aggressive rezoning schemes in NJ simply collapse upon the inherit contradictions and internal failures of logic.
Very few places in the US have successfully planned for the next 30 years, even in SanFran, the SF Central Chinatown subway to Nowhere plans (at least a $!.6B price tag) have completely stalled due to common sense prevailing.
Oh, spare us.
Letting the market figure it out is the least bad of all the terrible ways... until the place really is ruled by God.
(I cheated and used Quatro Pro, w/ it's
Publish to Internet command.
The ghettos are arising/arriving, sooner than most of us, think would be possible. Take good care, Patriots. Now.
All I can say is: They better keep their feet on the sidewalks.
When the government starts herding people into cities, it is time to go hard and fast to rural areas.
I reckon so.....
Impeachment File on Benghazi Coward B. Hussein Obama, formerly known as Barry Soetoro, currently a Legal Citizen of the Sovereign Nation of Indonesia.
Revolt is coming.
You are missing 7....
Could you repeat that table as a separate thread? Call it Keepers of State ping lists. Thank you!
Thanks for the ping!
The SF Bay Area is jam-packed except for the hill- and mountain-sides surrounding the Bay. They are generally off-limits as open space. Most new housing is built 40 - 70 miles away.
Even has a Wiener.
AX? I was thinking ground into powder and thrown in the ocean.
An astute student of history and human nature, Thomas Jefferson, predicted what we see happening here in America. While a strong case can be made that the French aristocracy brought it upon themselves, as ambassador in France, he witnessed the run up to the FIRST socialist/communist revolution there. He penned the following observations concerning what would happen HERE should that socialism come to the United States. He CORRECTLY predicted that we would become an increasingly contentious and litigious people as we shouldered one another out of the way to get OURS from the public trough and the trough would soon be empty.
He also knew where the bulk of the problem would originate.
That whirring noise you may hear coming from that mountain in Charlottesville, Virginia is Mr. Jefferson getting up to around 3600 RPM.
(A 6 minute video with this information may be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypLu49pq3bI)
As I understand it, at the time of the drafting of the Declaration, Mr. Jefferson originally wrote Life, Liberty and PROPERTY (meaning that ones right to freely acquire, use and dispose of his property to the extent doing so did not violate the same to others was a Creator endowed right. Because slavery viewed humans as property, the phrase Pursuit of Happiness was adopted instead to avoid at least for the time being — the inevitable debate on that subject.
“The mobs of the great cities add just so much to the support of pure government as sores do to the strength of the human body. It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.” —Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XIX, 1782. ME 2:230
I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries as long as they are chiefly agricultural; and this will be as long as there shall be vacant lands in any part of America. When they get piled upon one another in large cities as in Europe, they will become corrupt as in Europe.” —Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787. Papers 12:442
“I view great cities as pestilential to the morals, the health and the liberties of man. True, they nourish some of the elegant arts; but the useful ones can thrive elsewhere; and less perfection in the others, with more health, virtue and freedom, would be my choice.” —Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Rush, 1800. ME 10:173
“Our cities... exhibit specimens of London only; our country is a different nation.” —Thomas Jefferson to Andre de Daschkoff, 1809. ME 12:304
“Everyone, by his property or by his satisfactory situation, is interested in the support of law and order. And such men may safely and advantageously reserve to themselves a wholesome control over their public affairs and a degree of freedom which, in the hands of the canaille of the cities of Europe, would be instantly perverted to the demolition and destruction of everything public and private.” —Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1813. ME 13:401
“An insurrection... of science, talents, and courage, against rank and birth... has failed in its first effort, because the mobs of the cities, the instrument used for its accomplishment, debased by ignorance, poverty, and vice, could not be restrained to rational action. But the world will recover from the panic of this first catastrophe.” —Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1813. ME 13:402
“I fear nothing for our liberty from the assaults of force; but I have seen and felt much, and fear more from English books, English prejudices, English manners, and the apes, the dupes, and designs among our professional crafts. When I look around me for security against these seductions, I find it in the wide spread of our agricultural citizens, in their unsophisticated minds, their independence and their power, if called on, to crush the Humists of our cities, and to maintain the principles which severed us from England.” —Thomas Jefferson to Horatio G. Spafford, 1814. ME 14:120
It’s a very interesting frog-boiling experiment. The current Democratic super-majority in California is heavily dependent upon rich Democrats who get to have their cake and eat it too: abortion, gay rights, environmentalism, and feel-good welfare etc. for the downtrodden, while their own lifestyle and net worth are left substantially intact, even after taxes on the “rich.”
At some point, the government dependents (welfare, public employees) and the nihilistic radical wreckers simply won’t be able to respect those boundaries — the affordable housing will be slammed into their school districts and the taxes will make private school tuition out of reach, the zoning will put the traffic in their back yard, the regulations or the affirmative action mandates will put their jobs in jeopardy ... what then?
They’ll either give up (and California will become Detroit) or they’ll fight back. Wonder which...