Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Transformation, overt and covert

It’s happening right before our very eyes. Well, kind of.

A regional plan that blocks traditional suburban development, densifies cities, and urbanizes suburbs on this scale is virtually unprecedented. That’s why the Obama administration awarded the agencies behind Plan Bay Area its second-highest “Sustainable Communities Grant” in 2012. Indeed, the terms of the administration’s grant reinforce the pressure for density. The official rationale behind the federal award is “encouraging connections” between jobs, housing, and transportation.

That sounds like a directive to locate new residents–poor and minorities included–in existing prosperous communities. In fact, HUD’s new emphasis on “connecting” jobs housing and transportation does more. In practice, bland bureaucratic language about blending jobs, housing, and transportation pressures localities to create Manhattan-style “priority development areas.” The San Francisco case reveals the administration’s broader intentions. Soon HUD and other agencies will begin to press localities directly, rather than through the medium of California’s new regionalist scheme. Replicating Plan Bay Area nationwide is the Obama administration’s goal.

The Enactment of Plan Bay Area was wildly controversial among those who managed to learn about it, yet went largely unnoticed in the region as a whole. One of the chief complaints of the plan’s opponents was the relative lack of publicity accorded a decision with such transformative implications. Critics called for a public vote, and complained that the bureaucrats in charge hadn’t been elected.

Another theme of critics was that “the fix” seemed to be in from the start. Input was largely ignored, opponents claimed, and public forums offered only the illusion of consultation. Although it’s gone largely unreported, that accusation is far truer than even the opponents of Plan Bay Area realize.

Here’s where the Obama administration comes in.

And wait till you see just how. You may be shocked, but you won’t be surprised. As Kurtz says, the deck is stacked, the fix is in, all the way from top to bottom. Basically, amongst one hell of a lot of other miscellaneous skullduggery and subterfuge, it all comes back to states and localities having surrendered their sovereignty and independence–having abandoned their proper roles in the former Constitutional system, in short–to suckle at that sweet, sweet federal teat…making them subservient vassals to the Superstate, just like the rest of us. Kurtz once more: “The Obama administration is using traditional anti-discrimination language as a cover for re-engineering the way we live. The real goal is to Manhattanize America, and force us out of our cars.” Yep. But hey, the “experts” know better than we do how our lives ought to be run, right?

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