Op-Ed: Novato Has Nothing to be Ashamed of When it Comes to Housing

Our city has shown charity of heart when it comes to housing unlike our neighbors to the south.

When the phrase "workforce housing" comes up, I find myself wishing that there were a dictionary handy with a built-in credibility monitor.

For example, the concept of police officers living close to their work, by living in rent-assisted housing, is often brought up as a justification for high-density "workforce housing," when in reality, no policeman known to me (I have the closest of friends in that profession) would give any serious consideration to living in such a high-density situation.

Similarly, when I hear about some huge number of motor trips into Marin each day, coupled with the plea that Novato should treat the problem by building a great deal of high-density "workforce housing," that ole' credibility alarm goes off again, since fewer than a fourth of those trips are into Novato and three quarters of them are to southern Marin. And if the sincere goal were carbon emission reduction, then the strongest activism would be toward building more of this housing in southern Marin.

However, we don't get that. Instead we get condescending lectures from people living in Ross (which nominated portions of the Marin Art and Garden Center  property for future housing, utterly impossible to develop) and Mill Valley about how we Novato folks should do "the right thing" while they talk a good game but don't perform with anything near the charity of heart that Novato has shown in the housing issues.

Far too much of what passes for thinking in this arena has become dogma, on, frankly, both extremes of position. Various groups can't avoid celebrating  themselves with every press release when what the communities need is fact and reasoned action. "Professional" city management, a related concern, as grown to the point that its size undercuts and out-balances any good to be done. State regulation in this area, in particular, and the bureaucratic instrumentalities seeking to enforce it have, as in the above "workforce" context, confused ideal goals with practical reality.

Novato has nothing to be ashamed of regarding housing. Novato has much to be proud of, including that empirical thought has continued to have a piton in the rock face of implacable policy.

Susan Clark November 20, 2011 at 01:41 AM
Management at Wyndover is sure taking their time cleaning up the dirt over there. The city of Novato needs to ride Wyndowver Mgmnts butts to make sure they are complying. Those who live in Wyndover need to compy as well. They should be responisible for their guests or risk being evicted. There should be No Tollerence!
Susan Clark November 20, 2011 at 01:44 AM
It's due time Novato pass the Low-extreme low income housing torch to Southern Marin. Let's spread the crime around, not bottle neck it all in Novato!
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr November 20, 2011 at 07:07 AM
Craig Belfor November 20, 2011 at 04:17 PM
The only thing that the last election did for me was to lower my heating bill. I burn a campaign sign every night to heat my home. The problem is, the Jerome signs were all stolen before the election, so we don't have a one trick pony whose only job is to look out for the public's welfare.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr November 20, 2011 at 11:27 PM
Only 49 out of 100 were stolen, but another 26 were vandalized, pulled out of the ground, torn into pieces; which did not happen to any other candidate's signs. Apparently, Novato voters have the same view of democracy, only one party should be allowed to run for office. Oh, and 20,000 Novato voters ignored the election completely.


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