Urbanism, Two Forms

An excellent article from New Geography explaining the difference.

An excerpt.

“New Urbanism is like a virus. For 50 years it keeps coming back in mutated forms. It needs a cure.

“First, the only thing new in New Urbanism is the new construction that tears down the organic city. A form of New Urbanism has been around for 50 years. Like I said, it is a virus that keeps coming back in mutated forms. But the scheme, of more density, new mixed-use construction, and fixed rail transit, replacing existing homes remains constant. The desire of planners to determine where you live and where you work also remains constant. New urbanists increasingly do not like single family homes, which most Americans prefer.

“There is a growing New Urbanism movement across the country that says single-family zoning is bad. There are some cities like Minneapolis that have banned single-family zoning that had made up over 50% of Minneapolis. Some states, like Oregon, are considering abolishing single-family zoning. Even the Dallas City Council unanimously voted to allow two-story backyard rental houses in single-family neighborhoods. Former Dallas City Councilperson, Philip Kingston, said that single-family neighborhoods like Preston Hollow are no longer relevant. If this trend continues, your grandchildren or great grandchildren might never have a chance to live in a single-family zoned neighborhood, with front or back yards to play in, streets to ride bikes on, or familiarity with longtime neighbors.

“In contrast, what I call Organic Urbanism works with people’s preferences, particularly those of families. It protects, preserves, and nurtures the city, allowing the creativity of individuals and neighborhoods to shape the direction of the city. This includes the single-family homes as well as a diversity of housing types.

“Organic urbanism supports what people want in their diverse neighborhoods. In contrast new urbanism, particularly their allies in the planning profession, oppose such housing and favor density to support public transit and claim they make homes more affordable.

“In contrast, organic Urbanists think denser apartment development makes neighborhoods less walkable and less desirable. Organism Urbanism strives to preserve, protect, and rejuvenate the existing housing stock of diverse sizes, styles, and conditions that is conducive to a mix of incomes and lifestyles. Organic Urbanism also favors zoning for less than what is already built. Less dense zoning provides the incentive to preserve and revitalize the existing housing stock, or lose the privilege of higher density on a lot if an existing multi-family building is torn down. For example, if a duplex or apartment house is zoned single-family and it is torn down, it can only be replaced by a single-family home. This gives the owner incentive to maintain the existing duplex or apartment house or lose their privilege of multi-family.

“Organic Urbanism approaches the city like a garden. There is an understanding that the evolution of buildings and uses should evolve rather than being plowed under and planted like an industrial farm. In a garden that is nurtured, one might plant a sapling with sun-loving plants around it. Once the tree grows, one might plant, shade-tolerant flowers under the tree. There is a natural ebb and flow of decay, rejuvenation, and new construction in an organic city. Neighborhoods fall in and out of favor, creating opportunities for those of all incomes.

“New Urbanism has a goal of creating diversity by diluting good parts of the city. Organic Urbanism strives for diversity by improving out-of-favor neighborhoods.

“I will describe eight key differences of New Urbanism and Organic Urbanism.”

To finish article go to http://www.newgeography.com/content/006446-organic-urbanism-cure-new-urbanism


Posted in demographics

Homelessness & Public Safety, California Waking Up?

Let’s hope so—as the state has proven to be a national trend setter for decades—and this recent poll from the California Chamber says maybe.

An excerpt.

“California voters are anxious.

“Reports of steady growth and low unemployment cheer political leaders, but voters are disturbed by decaying public order and an unaffordable cost of living, according to a recently released CalChamber poll, The People’s Voice, 2019.

Top of mind for voters is the erosion of public order.

“Central to that perception is homelessness. Fully half of voters say they see homeless people on the street more than five times a week. Three out of four voters say homelessness has gotten worse in California, and their perception is not much better in their own communities, where 64% of voters say homelessness has gotten worse.

“While voters generally prefer policy solutions created by officials closer to home, they are so frustrated with lack of action that Californians now put responsibility for solving the homelessness problem on state officials over local officials, by a 62% – 38% margin.

“Regarding proposed solutions, voters indicate a mix of compassion and no-nonsense. Voters most strongly supported:

  • Funding more mental health and homeless service centers specifically focused on serving homeless populations (91% support; 60% strong support).
  • Involuntary commitment of homeless individuals who have severe mental/behavioral issues that may be a danger or harm to themselves or others in the community (89% support; 49% strong support).
  • Build more homeless shelters (86% support; 50% strong support).
  • Allow law enforcement to arrest homeless people who use dangerous and illegal drugs (82% support; 49% strong support).
  • Another take on public order is growing unease over public safety. Seventy-nine percent agree (41% strongly) that homelessness and criminal behavior have become rampant throughout California. Seventy-three percent agree (37% strongly) that street crime, shoplifting and car theft have become rampant throughout California. And 60% agree (25% strongly) with the statement, “I no longer feel safe because of the danger and disorder in society today.” Retrieved October 29, 2019 from https://advocacy.calchamber.com/2019/10/21/new-calchamber-survey-homelessness-public-safety-top-concerns-for-california-voters/
Posted in Homelessness, Public Safety

Homelessness in Sacramento, The Counter Narrative

The narrative put forth by local leadership is that the homeless in Sacramento are Sacramento resident’s (mostly families with children) primarily down on their luck and victims of not enough low income housing.

This article from California Globe reveals a diametrically different narrative.

An excerpt.

“Police, firefighters and hospital staff say easy access to drugs, no consequences and lucrative panhandling is what attracts transients to California

“Todd,” a physical rehab therapist with a major medical center in Sacramento says all of their hospital security has been diverted to the emergency room because ninety percent of transients are violent when they come in. “One of our security guards had his leg broken, a physical therapist was punched in the head repeatedly and a nurse was hit in the face resulting in a broken nose. Some of the staff have gotten bed bugs and MRSA from transient patients and are terrified to come to work. My coworkers break down crying on a regular basis from how overwhelming the issues are.”

“According to Todd almost one hundred percent of the transients are meth addicts, the majority being males. “Some come into the hospital for injuries from an assault and about half make up chest pain complaints because they know it’s a one or two-night stay, requiring x-rays and lab work. In the past few years, the ER wait time has gone from one to six hours, and the hospital is at capacity seventy-five percent of the time with patients in gurneys lining the hallways. Sixty to seventy percent of our beds our taken by transients who are long-term residents at a cost of $8,000 per night, per person. We had one transient here for 400 days and another for two years.”

“Todd explains that transients have government funds averaging from $1,000 – $4,000 a month, and that he sees only one person a year who is actually from Sacramento and has never seen a homeless family. “They tell me they come here for easy access to drugs and no consequences. “They know if they happen to get arrested, they’ll be out soon. And they also say they can get the most money from panhandling in California. One transient actually told me how stupid I was for working so hard, because of how easy it is to get free money.”

“Todd, who was urinated on by a transient because he didn’t want to participate in a physical rehab session, says he got into this line of work to help people and wants to be the best part of the worst time in their lives. “We want to make people better, but they don’t want to get better or are incapable from their drug addiction and can no longer care for themselves. Less than ten percent will actually go into a shelter; the majority want to stay on the street, which is why housing is not the answer.”

“Kyle,” a firefighter paramedic with the Sacramento Fire Department, says there is a lot of pride to be with the department, which has a rich history and set of traditions dating back to 1872 when it became the first paid professional department west of the Mississippi. “We are one of the busiest and lowest paid, and now firefighters are leaving for other cities because the amount of transient calls is lowering morale. In one forty-eight-hour shift, forty percent of the calls will be transient-related.”

“One small grass fire on the American River Parkway will take three engines for a few hours, leaving neighborhoods without fire units. The parkway is completely destroyed with needles and feces at every campsite.” Kyle adds, “There are daily calls for violence and sexual assault in the transient community, and it’s very sad to see women who are raped and strung out on drugs, not file a report because their lives are being threatened.”

“Kyle, who has also never seen a homeless family, says ninety percent of the transients they come in contact with are drug addicts, with the majority being males who are on meth and refuse all services offered. “We are seeing a lot of overdoses and almost one hundred percent of transients are not from Sacramento. They come to the Greyhound bus station, and call 911 to get into the system, citing a stomachache or a refill for pills as the reason and we have to take them. Once they’re at the hospital, if they don’t like the answer they get from the doctor, who is likely refusing to give them opioids, they request to go to another hospital which is by ambulance and ties us up for hours.”

Kyle, who became a firefighter because he truly enjoys helping people, said one of the worst calls he was on was where a dog was left in a transient’s car in the heat, and with his leash on he tried to jump out of the car and hung himself.

“Brad,” a former officer with the Sacramento Police Department, has never interacted with a transient on the street who wasn’t a drug addict and didn’t have a rap sheet averaging dozens of arrests for crimes such as burglary and assault with a deadly weapon. “It’s rare to see someone on the street whose mental illness isn’t drug-induced. I’ve seen multiple transients try to kill themselves by slitting their wrists, jumping off a bridge or in front of a car. I’ve seen them assault others, tackle innocent bystanders, hang off an armored truck half-naked and try to dismantle a school bus with their bare hands to get to the kids inside.”

(Due to the serious risk to their careers, all interviewees requested anonymity.)

Read the rest here https://californiaglobe.com/section-2/violent-drug-addicted-transients-from-out-of-town-make-up-the-majority-of-homeless/

Posted in Government, Homelessness

Public Camping by Homeless in Austin Texas

The last paragraph—unintended consequences causing chaos—of this excerpt from the Wall Street Journal kind of says it all.

The excerpt.

“AUSTIN, Texas—In 10 years of off-and-on homelessness, Rebecca Wallace has lived in the shadows of Texas’ capital city. Once, while living behind a shopping mall, she said a beating by a group of men put her in intensive care for weeks.

“Now, Ms. Wallace sleeps on an inflatable mattress under a freeway in the city’s busy tourist district, along with a growing number of other homeless people. She moved to that area after Austin in July became the first major Texas city to allow public camping, in practice allowing people to reside legally on sidewalks and rights of way for the first time.

“There’s safety in numbers,” Ms. Wallace said. “We’re just trying to stay alive out here the best we can.”

“The rising visibility of homelessness here is sparking a backlash. Some residents, police and business leaders have complained that people living on sidewalks are leaving trash, frightening other residents walking at night and creating a health hazard.

“Some conservative state politicians say Austin is heading down the path of West Coast cities like San Francisco with large, highly visible homeless populations and are threatening to take action. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s office has said that if the city doesn’t show improvement by Nov. 1, the Texas Department of Transportation will begin clearing encampments under the bridges of state-owned roadways.

“Austin Mayor Steve Adler, a Democrat, said he didn’t expect so many people to begin camping in public and is open to adjusting the policy, but won’t return to pushing homeless people out of sight.”

Retrieved October 24, 2019 from https://www.wsj.com/articles/homeless-becomes-more-visible-in-austin-sparking-political-clash-11571914802?mod=hp_lead_pos8


Posted in Government, Homelessness

Homeless Proposal

It is good to see some homeless transformational thinking on this, as reported in the Sacramento Bee.

When you have hundreds camping in the Parkway on a regular basis, many who have been there for years, thinking about housing hundreds in a homeless campus based on transformational elements is a common sense approach.

An excerpt.

“A Sacramento City Councilman is proposing a huge campus to house up to 700 homeless and low-income people in tents, cabins, tiny homes, and ultimately single-family homes.

Councilman Allen Warren has three potential locations for the project, which he is calling Renewal Village, in his north Sacramento district. One parcel is owned by the city, one is owned by another public agency and a third is privately owned, he said. Warren did not provide the exact locations for the sites under consideration.

“A rendering of the project Warren sent The Sacramento Bee shows different types of housing units separated by neat walkways and parking lots lined with landscaping and gardens. Facilities for laundry, storage and a dog kennel are included, as well parking lots for overnight car camping.

“Homeless people could join the campus first living in tents. Residents could eventually graduate to sleeping cabins, then tiny homes and ultimately single-family homes with services, said Kerrin West, president of architecture firm Studio 81, which created a design for the project for free for Warren’s office.

“The plan takes people from homelessness to self-sufficiency,” said West, who is also co-founder of nonprofit First Step Communities.

“People who meet certain income requirements could also rent or purchase the tiny homes or single-family homes, even if they have no history of homelessness, Warren said. That option would likely be open to those who make less than 80 percent of the county’s “average median income,” Warren said. For a one-person household, the AMI is currently $56,050, according to a state document. Families would also be able to live in Renewal Village, he said.

“The village would house at least 200 homeless people in tents and cabins, Warren said. The plan is for the 75 tents to stay up for two years, with people living in them for a maximum of eight months each. After the tents are closed, the village would stay open, but the area where the tents used to sit would be redeveloped, Warren said.”

Read more here: https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/homeless/article236546148.html#storylink=cpy


Posted in Government, Homelessness

Excellent Article on Federal New Water Plan for California

This is so good and well balanced I’ve posted the entire article; a great follow up to yesterday’s post.

Here it is.

“Trump Plan Delivers More Water for Valley Farmers

“The Trump administration unveiled a new plan Tuesday to govern California’s water usage that would deliver more irrigation water for Valley farmers.

“An analysis by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service says the plan “will not jeopardize threatened or endangered species.”

“But the proposal is ringing alarms from environmental groups that say it would have a negative impact on endangered species such as salmon and delta smelt.

“An analysis by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, however, says the plan “will not jeopardize threatened or endangered species.”

“The plan includes spending $1.5 billion to support endangered fish such as the delta smelt. The government would also monitor rivers for endangered fish, with commitments to reduce pumping when they are present.

“Basically, the plan would give water agencies more flexibility on how much water they can pump out of the state’s rivers. When it’s raining a lot, agencies can pump more. When it’s dry, they would pump less.

“Environmental Groups Say Plan Won’t Work

“Doug Obegi at the Natural Resources Defense Council says the monitoring programs won’t work because endangered fish species populations are too small. He predicted that environmentalists will challenge the Trump administration plan in court.

“I think this biological opinion is the end result of the Trump administration’s junk science and political interference,” said Obegi, senior attorney for the NRDC.

“John McManus, president of the Golden State Salmon Association, told The Sacramento Bee: “It looks like this administration is trying to shut us down again — permanently.”

“Where Does Newsom Stand?

“It’s unclear how Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration will respond to the new rules. His office didn’t provide comment on Tuesday.

“The Democratic-controlled Legislature passed a law earlier this year seeking to block a lot of these changes. But Newsom vetoed Senate Bill 1 last month after intense lobbying from water agencies.

“What Feinstein, Valley Dems Say

“Five California lawmakers — all Democrats — released a joint statement Tuesday saying that the previous monitoring programs, or biological opinions, relied on old science. However, they stopped short of backing the Trump proposal, saying it needed to be scientifically vetted by the state.

“It looks like this administration is trying to shut us down again — permanently.” — John McManus, president of the Golden State Salmon Association

“Said Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Reps. John Garamendi, Josh Harder, Jim Costa, and TJ Cox:

“The Endangered Species Act requires periodic reviews to determine the best available science. The federal government’s science for Chinook salmon and Delta smelt was more than a decade old and needed to be updated, especially given climate change.

“We are examining the new biological opinions to ensure they incorporate the adaptive management and real-time monitoring needed to properly manage the Central Valley Project for the benefit of all Californians. The new biological opinions must also provide the scientific basis needed to finalize the voluntary settlement agreements between the State Water Resources Control Board and water users.

“We look forward to the state of California’s thoughtful analysis of the biological opinions. In Congress, we continue working to secure federal investment in the Central Valley Project to meet California’s future water needs and support habitat restoration efforts called for in the updated biological opinions.”

“Water Users Praise the Plan

“Today’s action builds on President Trump’s campaign commitment to help solve the state’s water supply shortages,” said Dan Keppen, executive director of the Family Farm Alliance, a group that has advocated for greater irrigation supplies for agriculture.

“The fish protections are among the regulations governing the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project, which utilize pumping plants in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Water flowing through the delta supplies more than half of California’s residents with drinking water while also delivering water to farmers.

“Federal Officials: Concerns Are Addressed

“Paul Souza, the regional U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official who is coordinating the salmon and delta smelt reviews, told The Los Angeles Times that concerns about the proposal raised by critics have been addressed.

“Souza said delta pumping restrictions now will rely on real-time monitoring of where smelt and migrating salmon are swimming in the delta, rather than the seasonal prescriptions now utilized.

“In addition, Souza said, the Bureau of Reclamation will invest in a conservation hatchery for delta smelt, better monitor delta conditions, and will increase the water levels at Lake Shasta in the spring to maintain salmon-friendly temperatures for releases into the Sacramento River.

“Said Ernest Conant, regional director of the Bureau: “We have a plan that is much better for fish, farms, and communities. … Coldwater storage is increased as a result of this new strategy,”

Retrieved October 23, 2019 from https://gvwire.com/2019/10/22/trump-plan-delivers-more-water-for-valley-farmers/

Posted in Economy, Environmentalism, Water

Very Good News

On the water front from Cal Matters.

An excerpt.

“Water is at the center of California’s economic and environmental health. The need to maintain reliable water supply for California’s farms, families and cities while protecting the environment has been at the forefront of our minds as we have worked to review and finalize a new operations plan for the federal Central Valley Project and the State Water Project.

“Together, these projects provide water for 25 million Californians and millions of acres of some of the most productive farmland in the world.

“The projects impact but also protect important commercial and recreational fisheries, wildlife refuges, and rare species.

“Our three federal agencies have been developing and reviewing the proposed new operations for the Central Valley Project and State Water Project, and their effects on imperiled species, with the goal of ensuring they provide flexibility and water supply while also protecting the environment.

“As a result, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, in coordination with the California Department of Water Resources, has made several changes that address our goals to use the best available science, collaborate with partners, protect fisheries, and optimize water supply.

“The plan includes a new approach to the challenging issue of cold water management at Shasta Reservoir, which is critical for spawning winter run Chinook salmon.

“With these new approaches, modeling shows that more cold water should be available in Lake Shasta to help successful egg incubation.

“The Bureau of Reclamation has proposed a new system of operating in a flexible way based on storage and has incorporated a new commitment to performance objectives and scientific peer review. Collectively, these new approaches will improve the likelihood that drought effects on winter-run Chinook will be lessened.

“In addition, the Bureau of Reclamation and Department of Water Resources have agreed to real-time Delta pumping operations based on new science and performance metrics to avoid fish getting trapped at the pumps.

“This regime includes curtailing pumping when fish are at risk. The Bureau of Reclamation’s commitment is that fisheries protections through Delta operations will be at least as protective or more so than previous strategies.

“Further, the plan builds in $1.5 billion from the federal and state water projects to enhance science, restore habitat, and conserve hatcheries. These investments include millions of dollars for a conservation hatchery in the Delta that will assist the recovery of the Delta smelt and other species of concern.

“Hatcheries have had an important long-standing role in fisheries protection in our country, and this action will help us meet our conservation goals in the San Francisco Bay and Delta. Our hatchery actions will occur in tandem with augmenting the food web and habitat restoration to improve the condition of these species in the wild.

“The plan also expands efforts underway with Coleman National Fish Hatchery near Red Bluff and Livingston Stone hatchery in Redding to jumpstart the reintroduction of imperiled winter-run Chinook salmon populations into Battle Creek in Red Bluff.

“This includes a commitment from the Bureau of Reclamation to spend $14 million to accelerate the work being done at Battle Creek to reintroduce salmon. We also are committed to our partnership with commercial and recreational fisheries organizations to use creative approaches for improving the health of salmon populations through our hatchery efforts.

“Given the importance of salmon fisheries to Californians, our organizations have worked diligently to add strong safeguards with the goal of improving salmon since the difficult drought years of the last decade.

“Two of the last water years have been above average hydrologically, and these conditions, in concert with project operations, are showing evidence that populations will improve.

“Our estimates suggest the number of winter-run spawning is the highest in at least a decade. Early reports suggest that fall-run returns will be high as well.”

Retrieved October 21, 2019 from https://calmatters.org/commentary/delta-water/

Posted in Water