A random thought about al Qaeda’s latest threat

Marin County LineOne of the things Democrats generally and Obama specifically are trying to do is to concentrate more Americans into cities.  Suburbs are seen as dangerous bastions of privilege, conservativism, individualism, and racism where people do un-green things such as driving cars to their single-family homes.  This video, for example, shows how the federal government has been attacking Westchester County, arguing that single-family houses are intrinsically racist:

We’re having the same types of attacks leveled on Marin County:  Democrats in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., working with the federal courts, are trying to turn Marin into a densely populated small city, with dressed-up tenements for poor people overwhelming Marin’s spacious, single-family homes.  Of course, what none of these activists considered, and what’s now becoming painfully obvious, is that Marin doesn’t have enough water to sustain this forced urban growth.  We single-family home dwellers spent a fortune on our properties and are having them taken away, not directly through eminent domain, but indirectly through activist legislatures and courts using the language of diversity to turn middle class neighborhoods into tenements.

To the extent that the American voting map is purple, it’s because blue cities sit as fortresses in red suburbs and rural areas.  The bigger the cities, or the more cities per state, the more likely the state is to be a Blue State.

With these considerations in mind, it was with some interest that I read that al Qaeda is urging its followers to plant car bombs in American cities.  My first thought was, “I’m glad I don’t (yet) live in a city.”  My second thought was to wonder how many current city dwellers are going to start thinking that cities are prime targets for terrorism and that maybe, just maybe, they don’t want to live in a terrorist’s version of a bulls-eye.

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  1. jj says

    I think people already thought about that.  Everybody knows cities can’t sustain themselves in case of emergency; who doesn’t know that?  I always saw the city as the place you spent the career and caroused, and the minute you decently could you got the hell away from it.  Them.   And I don’t mean down the road: I mean away.
     
    One of the things we did in our little town north of New York was plan for problems.  I was, as I have mentioned, the Chair of the fire district (difficult as it is to believe, yes, I held an elective office, for decades) which involved me in a couple of tons of nonsense for far too many years, but also some interesting stuff that occasionally touched with fair precision on this topic.
     
    One of the things we occasionally talked about (the FD, the PD, and the town government) was that we were too damn close to New York City.  If the excrement ever hit the cooling device, hordes of people could be expected to trek northward, like locusts, and the center of our little town was only 51 miles from Times Square.  What emergency plan covers that one?  I guess a gigantic stockpile of three or four million bullets would be about all you could do.
     
    It was in Westchester, and dovetails nicely with the clip you have above.   We were one of the towns in trouble with the county back in the early 90s for not implementing ‘affordable’ housing.  (I never understood quite what ‘affordable’ housing was, anyway.  I lived  there, obviously I could afford it, was it not therefore affordable?  Jay Phipps built a house not far from the home of my youth on Long Island that’s 100,000 square feet of Georgian floor space, on 175 acres.  I cannot afford that, so that’s clearly not ‘affordable,’ at least to me, but somehow or other I manage to live with that.  The point being: we all have things we can’t afford to buy, we all see cars we can’t afford to drive, and we all have places we can’t afford to live.  And so?  Welcome to the world!)
     
    Sorry for the diversion.  Anyway, one of the problems in our snotty little town was water.  There wasn’t any.  Our little main (and only) street for decades had one restaurant, and only one.  A second one opened in the late 90s, but it had to have paper plates and plastic glasses: nothing that needed the attention of dishwashers because there wasn’t water for them.  Various people had the idea of creating apartments above some of the storefronts along the street – forget it: no water for kitchens and bathrooms, and the whole place is environmentally sensitive, so no septic beyond what’s already there.  (There aren’t and never were sewers in town, it’s all septic.)  I used to get dragged into all this because of course an aspect of it is fire protection.  (Less fire protection per se than insurance: if the fire district can’t undertake to protect a place, then the place can’t be insured, and therefore doesn’t get built.)
     
    Westchester County came to us with their stuff about how ‘affordable’ housing was now mandated.  The town had to produce a specific number of units – I forget how many but  thirty sticks in my mind.  This was supposed to take the form of something like garden apartments.  I said, ‘forget it, unless you build them next to a pond there’s no way for us to get water to protect them.  Everybody in town has a well, we have no water lines here, ergo no fire hydrants.’  The county replied: ‘well, there’s a pond right by the east edge of town, near the market.  You could clear the woods, put in a road, and cluster them there.”  The building inspector said: ‘no, you couldn’t.  Those trees and that pond are part of the city of Stamford, CT watershed.  You can’t clear the trees and even if you could you can’t put septic fields within half a mile of that pond: people in Stamford drink from that pond.’
     
    At which point the conversation descended, as they all did – and there were many of them –  into acrimony.  We were a fairly acrimonious crew.  (‘You can’t do it.’  ‘Look, you can’t just tell me you can’t do it.  You have to do better than that.’  ‘Okay, try it this way:  you can’t do it, and you can kiss my ass!    Does that help?’  Oh, it was fun.  Halcyon days.)  Funny to see the clip above and see that it’s still a source of trouble.  We had the first cousins of these conversations starting twenty years ago.
     
    The really hilarious part of course was that all this was – and still is – in reaction to a decision about housing in Yonkers by federal judge Leonard Sand.  Guess where Len had a home?  If you guessed right in our little town, about three miles in a straight line from my house, you’re right!  Len was a good Commie at heart, who had married a rich (and lovely, Ann ‘s a doll) lady, who provided him with a home in Greenwich Village in the city; (not far from the courthouse), thirty some acres of woods in our little town, and a family camp up north in the Adirondacks.  This is where my innate good manners let me down.  I was in his house many, many times, and I never once said to him: ‘Len, why don’t we put the thirty housing units right here, at your place?  You have room, you have a pool, and nobody’s using those woods but the deer and bears.  It’s perfect!’  O never said it.  I was much too nice.  (It did get said, though, in at least two newspapers.)  He was a nice man, Len Sand, but his head’s in the clouds.  He’s never been confronted by reality, he’s always been able to afford to regard it as somebody else’s problem.  (I just googled him, he’s still on the bench, too!  Jesus – he’s 86!  Why the hell do the nuts go on forever?)
     
    Funny stuff.  All of this was somewhat off the point I suppose, but seeing the clip of poor old Westchester’s county exec, still stuck trying to climb a Matterhorn of pillows, took me right back there.  Some things never change.
     
    Now of course I’m 80+ miles from the nearest city, in a county larger than the state of Rhode Island, with 50,000 people.  5,000 of them are retired and active farmers; 5,000 are Indians who would cheerfully watch the rest of us all starve, 5,000 are artisans of one sort or another; 5,000 of whom are various flotsam (like us); and and 30,000 of whom are refugees from other places, 15,000 of them from California.  If it all goes bad and the county has to feed itself, we can.  Once the Californians die off we can easily do so.  And we’re one of the few places that can.
     
       

  2. lee says

    I really paid attention to the “affordable” housing crap when I lived in Marin. (Which, BTW, is not all that affordable. It’s determined by some government math magic, and in Marin, when I lived there, what was considered “affordable” for my marital/family status–alone and single–and my crappy salary–did I mention crappy?–was more than Marin’s actual market rate for rental properties. For buying a condo, it’d screw the buyer, like it did over and over again in the city*. If people who claim to want “affordable housing” REALLY, REALLY wanted it, it would be easy to get without the weird machinations if ABAG: just lighten up on the onerous permitting process. In Marin, it is more than TRIPLE per door to build multi-unit housing than it is in San Francisco! Because of the permitting process in Marin. Also, if they’d lighten up a little on land use–one third of Marin is set aside for “open space”–national, state, county and city parks, and water district open spaces, and one third for “agriculture” to “preserve Marin’s farming heritage.” (Manhattan had farms once.) Which leaves one third open for ANY kind if development, for single or multi unit housing, business or industry. 
     
    * Note to continue…

  3. lee says

    * Suckers got roped into buying the condo units set aside for affordable housing in the City. Sure, the price if the condo was “affordable.” But there was nothing that said HOA dues had to be. In some condominiums people were sinking every so are penny into HOA dues. The unit was designated as “affordable” so if the unit owner wanted to get out of the trap, it could only be sold to someone eligible for “affordable” housing.

  4. lee says

    While I think ABAG is full of a$$#oles, and the “affordable housing” cry is a load of malarkey from leftist fools, I don’t really sympathize too much with you, bookworm. I lived in Marin for many years (I moved there because of a promise, and got dumped right after I signed the lease.) I worked there, getting crappy pay. Even after my lease was up, I couldn’t afford to move (there was no way to move without movers, not to mention coughing up security deposit and all that.) I got a slightly better, but still crappy paying job, still in Marin. And the way Marinites carry on about building, you’d think there was no land left in the county. See comment above. Mostly, it’s just rich people who want to keep the riff-raff out. They’ll tolerate the Hispanic gardeners and maids if they stick to the Canal, and Marin City assuages their bleeding heart by having a few blacks living there….
     
    I suggest if you get a chance, read any EIR for any development outside an urban-ush part of Marin. The first recommendation is to leave it to nature; the second is to limit it to low density development, like maybe one house per five acres… Then, maybe, the third recommendation might be to build what was proposed but with most of the land left, and only a teeny tiny hut on it.

  5. lee says

    Just one more observation sqq these “affordable housing” idiots, whether from HUD or ABAG, pretty much just looooove Agenda 21 and hope and pray and fervently wish it will be implemented nationwide in the good ol’ US of A.

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