Redistribution of wealth from suburbs to cities is being undertaken in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Plans to be implemented in Bay Area communities reflect income-redistribution goals favored by the Obama administration, according to a book entitled Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities, by Stanley Kurtz (Sentinel, 2012). Kurtz holds a doctoral degree from Harvard University, in social anthropology.
In Orinda, California, a toney suburb 15 miles east of San Francisco, the city council, in 2013, approved a plan to create 218 units of new housing. According to the city’s current website, “173 [of the 218 units] are to be affordable to households in the very low-, low, and moderate income categories.” Orinda is located in Contra Costa County.
Redistribution of wealth in Contra Costa County
Orinda’s 218 new housing units come under the rubric of the Housing Element, a requirement set by the California’s Department of Housing and Community Development. Failure to implement a Housing Element can lead, according to Orinda’s website, “to loss of transportation funding and local land use authority.”
The Orinda City Council, over the last four years, has not resisted any of the mandates from California’s Department of Housing and Community Development.
California real estate interests, as of May 1, have given over $800,000 to support Orinda city council member Steve Glazer’s candidacy for the California State Assembly (AD-16). Real estate interests tend to favor new housing construction.
Glazer, a Democrat, has been a top adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown. Also supporting Glazer’s campaign are two other members of the Orinda City Council: Amy Worth and Sue Severson.
In his book, “Spreading the Wealth,” Kurtz says, the Obama administration supports a plan called Building One America. The plan, according to Kurtz, is the outgrowth of a July 18, 2011, White House conference.
“The real goal of the Building One America and of President Obama himself,” Kurtz says, “is to abolish America’s suburbs.”
Kurtz says that to implement a wealth-sharing agenda, “a no-growth boundary line has to be drawn around each metropolitan area, forbidding the purchase of land for uses other than farming.” This boundary line, Kurtz says, “will press development back toward the cities.”
On November 8, 2011, Contra Costa County’s voters, approved Measure I, a measure to “protect certain vacant land from development . . . ” Measure I passed. Seventy-nine percent of voters supported it.
Kurtz says that Building One America means that “America will commit itself to forced economic integration.” Kurtz says that ” . . . government will try to systematically manage where people live by income level . . . ”
“New regulations,” Kurtz says, “will force builders to include a quota of low-income housing units in any new development, thus effectively disbursing the urban poor throughout a given metropolitan region.”
The Orinda City Council has approved a plan for 73 news homes on Altarinda Road. Eight of the 73 homes are to be offered at below market rates to low-income applicants. The development is called Orinda Grove. The builder is Pulte Homes.
Kurtz, claims that under Building One America ” . . . “America’s metropolitan regions will undertake a regime of tax sharing to reduce ‘fiscal disparities’ among different local government.” Kurtz added that
” . . . suburban tax money will be transferred to cities . . . ”
How redistribution of wealth takes place in Contra Costa County
On July 18-19, 2013, two regional governmental agencies, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) voted to adopt Plan Bay Area, a scheme to reduce driving and alter housing patterns.
Plan Bay Area calls for the construction of high-rise, high-density housing near transportation hubs, such as BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) stations. MTC and ABAG have transportation, and housing jurisdiction in the nine-county Bay Area.
The boards of directors of both MTC and ABAG were not elected directly by voters. The head of MTC is Amy Worth, who did not obtain her MTC job by a vote of the public. Worth was elected to the Orinda City Council.
Similarly, ABAG’s chief, Julie Pierce, was not elected by voters to the ABAG position. Pierce was elected to the Clayton City Council.
Since 2011, residents of Orinda have been fighting Plan Bay Area and plans to construct low-income housing in the city. Similar resistance to redistribution of wealth plans has occurred in Lafayette, which is immediately east of Orinda.
Opposition to Plan Bay Area and its redistribution of wealth appears to be spreading thoughout the Bay Area. On Thursday, May 22, over 500 residents of Larkspur, California, a city of 12,000 people in Marin County, showed up to protest plans to build 920 dwelling low-moderate income units, 39,5000 square feet of office space, and 60,000 square feet of hotel space.
On Thursday, May 22, Orinda agreed, after a lawsuit was filed, to do a more complete environmental study on the impact of high-density housing projects slated for Orinda. The suit was filed by Advocates for Lawful Environmental Review Today (ALTET).