Only in Marin will a community representative hasten to assure people that his community is lousy

Ross, a town in Marin County, is a great place.  The houses are gorgeous (I’ve been to a billionaire’s house there once and it was magnificent), the schools are superb, and the people take good care of themselves:  exercise, healthy diets, good medical care.  In a pre-Obama era, these are boast-worthy things.  Not see in Obama’s America, where prosperity is a dangerous attribute that might paint a target on your back:

R. Scot Hunter, a Ross town councilman and former mayor, cringed when his hometown came out on top of the human development index in the controversial “A Portrait of Marin” report commissioned by the Marin Community Foundation.

Essentially, the report said that people in Ross have more money, better educations and live longer than most of the rest of Marin, especially low-income neighborhoods such as the Canal in San Rafael or Hamilton in Novato.

“Ross sometimes, through no fault of its own, gets typecast,” he said, which makes it harder, he believes, for Ross residents to be taken seriously as agents for change in Marin.

Hunter, a real estate investor and developer, has lived in Ross for 30 years, raising three children with his wife, Mary Lee Rybar.

“You almost have to deny your heritage,” he said. “But we have all the problems everybody else has, only they’re hidden. I think 2008 hit a lot of people. There is divorce here. There are difficult things in everybody’s lives. We are not of the very wealthy of Ross. We’re just regular people.”

Hunter, incidentally, is not a crackpot.  The report is a political document, intended to phase out many of those attributes that make Marin a prosperous community:

Since “A Portrait of Marin” was released in January, the Independent Journal’s editorial page and letters to the editor have bristled with criticism of it. Columnist Dick Spotswood accused the report of “cherry-picking statistics” to justify the foundation’s “preordained position that Marin County housing is based on racially segregated communities.” He called it “a work of political advocacy rather than professional scholarship,” contending that it’s “a tool toward remaking the very nature of Marin.”

Responding to claims that the foundation is playing “social engineer,” Thomas Peters,
Ross councilman and former mayor Scot Hunter stands outside the post office in Ross, Calif. on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. (IJ photo/Alan Dep) Alan Dep
the foundation’s president and CEO, wrote in a Marin Voice column: “For us, this ‘values’ issue couldn’t be clearer: Our vision for Marin is that it be known as much for its equity as for its prosperity, and as much for its efforts to help people succeed as for its reputation as an enclave for the highly successful.”

One of the most alarming parts of the study for many critics is the section that recommends “setting aside the county’s commitment to preserving open space, agriculture and low-density neighborhoods in order to provide more affordable housing to its workers.”

Hunter could have challenged the report.  Instead, he’s trying to assure people that Ross is just as pathetic as anywhere else.

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  • Danny Lemieux

    Maybe he’s trying to deflect the attention of the hungry politicians in Sacramento as they greedily seek out new sources of tax revenue? Just askin’.

  • Charles Martel

    Most residents of Ross are liberals, therefore they partake of the liberals’ nectar of choice, cheap grace. The key to attaining it is to lash oneself with a metaphorical cat o’ nine tails formed of two parts earnest rhetoric and one part furrowed brow.
     
    This ceremonial display of dismay at one’s wealth and privilege gives one dispensation to continue living in a woodsy enclave where the principal at the local K-8 public school is called “Head of School,” as is the custom at elite private prep schools in the East. The local supermarket, Woodlands, sells New York-cut steaks for $21.95 a pound. But other than silly little quirks like that, the people of Ross are Just Plain Folks.
     
    (Sean Penn lived in Ross for several years, enjoying the ambiance in between jaunts abroad to thrust his face between the buttocks of any available dictator—apparently arse osculation rejuvenates one’s skin. Had Mr. Penn been more earnest about his well-known regard for the poor and marginalized, he might have considered living in the Canal Area, only 3 miles distant, where Marin warehouses its brownskins.)

  • SADIE

    “setting aside the county’s commitment to preserving open space, agriculture and low-density neighborhoods in order to provide more affordable housing to its workers.”

    I believe this translates to *NIMMBY. We’re just “regular people” who divorce, beat our wives and children in really nice homes – so, stop drawing attention to us as. Our goal is to keep pointing our manicured fingers at others to do the right thing for the children, the planet while continuing to vote for the ’cause du jour’.  

    *Not in my manicured backyard. ;)

  • Gringo

    “Ross sometimes, through no fault of its own, gets typecast,” he said, which makes it harder, he believes, for Ross residents to be taken seriously as agents for change in Marin.
     
    If they are not happy with living in Ross, I am sure there are a lot of people in Hayward and other places who would be happy with a straight-up exchange of houses.
    Agents for change: trade your house in Marin for one in Hayward, with no exchange of money.
     
    Or Hunters Point- even better.  :)
    What- no takers?
     
    Does Mr R. Scot Hunter realize how much of a twit he appears to be?
     

  • Gringo

    Sadie:  NIMMBY. = *Not in my manicured backyard.
     
    Good one. We are still gluttons for Sadie’s PUNishment. Though the above is not a pun.

  • Charles Martel

    One of the most alarming parts of the study for many critics is the section that recommends “setting aside the county’s commitment to preserving open space, agriculture and low-density neighborhoods in order to provide more affordable housing to its workers.”


    Back in the 1980s, after years of dickering, Marin County developed a very sensible general plan that balanced the conflicting demands of preservation and development. Approximately one third of the county’s 520 square miles was to remain as federal and state parkland, as well as watershed land. Another third was to be preserved for agricultural uses, primarily dairy. The remaining third, clustered along the corridor created by State Highway 101, was to be set aside as the site for housing and business/industrial uses. The net effect was that most of the county would remain green and relatively undeveloped; the remaining portion would become denser over the years, but that was the price we all agreed to pay for having our cake and eating it too.
     
    Back to my reference above to cheap grace: The report’s call to ravage the county in the name of crap government housing for illegals and “workers” is a non-starter. Its writers knew that when they wrote it. They can strut about the stage pretending to be bold and brave by calling for tearing apart a carefully crafted agreement, knowing that it ain’t gonna happen. It’s sound and fury signifying the wonderful poses that liberals in full nostril flare can create when inspired.

  • SADIE

    Charles Martel, you are truly a master at writing. You gather words and create a bouquet that just dazzles me and then you sum it all up with this…” It’s sound and fury signifying the wonderful poses that liberals in full nostril flare can create when inspired” …for the love of language, must you leave me with the image of Henry Waxman in full throttle. :(

  • http://thoughtyoudneverask.blogspot.com/ zabrina

    The target has been affixed upon Marin. It has been noticed that too few families are living in too large houses. Unfair to the other comrades and workers! And when Marin’s socially unjust wealth has been redistributed (and thereby evaporated), the sights will be set on lesser communities, and so on down the scale.

  • Danny Lemieux

    SADIE: “I believe this translates to *NIMMBY. We’re just “regular people” who divorce, beat our wives and children in really nice homes – so, stop drawing attention to us as…”

    I believe that this is a big component of both the Marin County Declaration and the Limousine Liberal-posed affinity with the OWS movement.

    Translated into old French, it means, “Please understand zat we aristocrats are peesants at heart, so zere is no need for Monsieur Guillotine’s tumbreels to stop at ow-wher door because we are just like you!” Solidaritee! 

  • jj

    I disagree with the headline.  Only in Marin?  The democrap party has been telling us for decades how unfair, racist, ant-gay, uncaring of the poor, and generally lousy the whole country is.  I find nothing remarkable, or even worthy of notice, that some California democrap feels the same about his community.  I always took it as read.  The sun rises in the east, sets in the west, and on moonlit nights the moon’s out.  What else is new?