The New World Order: Combining Transportation and Housing "Policy"
|By Michael Shaw|
|Tuesday, 28 June 2005 16:00|
It is ironic that "progressive" Santa Cruz politicians and other politicians throughout America are neck deep in a public/private partnership scams that destroys neighborhoods at taxpayer expense.
Over the last 30 years the Santa Cruz County political machine has worked to prevent the construction of homes. In 2004 the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors granted massive zoning powers to the Planning Director. Supposedly this was done in order to solve the "emergency housing crisis." That crisis was created by the same political machine that is pretending to solve the problem today.This "housing crisis" is to be cured with the construction of 10,000 housing units built on transportation corridors (rail and bus lines) by government "partners" (non-profits and compliant developers = Sustainable Developers). What makes certain people "partners" is their willingness to build housing that imposes government conditions on the lives of the residents. The conditions will include requirements for "water masters," "utility masters," auto use restrictions, occupancy limitations (including permits for visitor stays), on site government indoctrination child care centers, etc. This is being called "affordable housing." This new housing stock is taxpayer subsidized. This housing is subject to County Housing Authority determinations of who can live there and how much they pay. In the case of sold units, the Authority determines both purchase and resale prices. one can expect rules and more rules for those who live there.
Your money = Developer Profits
Santa Cruz county government has received housing construction commitments of $295 MILLION dollars in federal and state grants. This subsidy is to help the Sustainable Developers construct the first few thousand small, multi-story housing units. Construction costs for Sustainable Developers can be twice that of free enterprise developers. The draft housing element even proposes protections for the Sustainable Developer from construction defect liability. In essence, profits are guaranteed to the Sustainable Developer, and risk of debt repayment is sloughed off to the taxpayer.The proposed new housing code declares 190 homes and businesses "underutilized parcels." This means that lots with existing homes and businesses are to be targeted for demolition and replacement with high density development. Additional parcels can be declared "underutilized" at direction of the county planning director. These "underutilized" homes are often at the entrance (exits) to neighborhoods. I speculate that this is intended to facilitate a reinvented government’s capacity to monitor citizen movement.
Suddenly, downtown Aptos is to have 300,000 square feet of new development pursuit to a community plan. A single developer (Barry Swenson) appears to control a majority of what is now planned for Aptos. For 20 years the prior owners were heavily restricted in the use of their properties. The term "Sustainable Development" is a cover for an insider land grab.Aptos, Seacliff, Corralitos and other county towns have been subjected to "Community Plans." The county has been itching for one in La Selva Beach for several years. These plans are implementing Sustainable Development's "Smart Growth" policies. The basic outcome of a Community Plan is determined beforehand. They are designed by a few and guided by others outside of Santa Cruz. Academia, government agencies and foundation money usually fuel the start-up of these plans. Federal and state tax money then flows to reward compliant participants. This is happening throughout the country. On a local level the program is facilitated by business councils that include some who know the game, others who smell opportunity, and those who simply thought the council a networking forum.
What can a citizen do?A county's best methodology for maintaining local control is simply not to participate in Sustainable Development programs and the federal funding that comes with it. A county's best methodology for maintaining integrity is to remove from office the policy makers who accept federal and state money for Sustainable Development programs. In Santa Cruz County the present focus of the Sustainable Developers is the government's acquisition of the rail line. Rails, trails and buses are to become the common man's transportation system for the new order in a post private property era. This was the real purpose of Santa Cruz’s Measure J transportation plan. Stack 'em, pack 'em and put them on a train.It is ironic "progressive" Santa Cruz politicians are neck deep in a right wing government/private partnership scam that destroys neighborhoods at taxpayer expense. My friend was right; it is like Russia; except that Lenin and Stalin did not have enough money and were not this sophisticated.
Michael Shaw is a political economist and an Abundance ecologist. He is the proprietor of Liberty Garden and is a director of Freedom 21 Santa Cruz.