“Obama isn’t actually out of bold ideas. They’re simply too controversial for him to discuss.” [Darleen Click]
Stanley Kurtz on Obama’s War on Suburbs
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.
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 region’s existing neighborhoods–many now dotted with San Francisco’s famously picturesque, Victorian-style single-family homes–into 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.)
Surely, people in the ‘burbs can fight this, right?
Here’s where the Obama administration comes in. Not only does acceptance of the administration’s $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 plan–leftist groups dedicated to radicalizing the scheme still further.
The administration’s “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 present–groups like TransForm, the Greenbelt Alliance, Marin Grassroots, and East Bay Housing Organization–are funded (or slated to be funded)with the help of the same federal grant that backs up the bureaucrats in charge.
Isn’t that special? Single-family-home owners get to pay taxes to pay for people advocating for their destruction!
But Obama’s neo-fascism never sleeps and wants to make sure no suburb gets away so:
Recalcitrant suburbs can also be brought to heel by lawsuits claiming violations of federal fair housing law. California’s 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 administration’s grant. [...]
All of which returns us to HUD’s 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 wasn’t 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.
And don’t for a moment think that the People’s Republic of California is the only place this can happen.
If that was the beginning of Obama’s second-term assault on the suburbs, the next step is about to be taken in Minnesota. Katherine Kersten writes about “Thrive MSP 2040,” a soon-to-be-released plan that may take regionalism to unheard of levels. At a minimum, when it comes to densification, we’re likely to see the thrust of Plan Bay Area replicated in the Twin Cities.
Potentially, things could get more radical still. Kersten talks about a proposal to create a giant, seven-county metropolitan school district to enable apportionment of students by race and income across current district lines. This plan would be the product of unelected regional bureaucrats, not local officials.
Personal choice? Pffft! Save it for your sex life (so far). Otherwise, you belong to The State.
And your little dog, too.
Tags: command and control economy, fascism, obama, pravda media