The Coastal Post - May 2000

Class Warfare

By Judy Borello

It has become extremely chic and popular to put down the rich and uphold the humanitarian belief in low-cost housing. In all this politically correct rhetoric, where does the middle class come in?

The wealthy can afford to live out here, and if you can meet the so-called poverty levels of low-cost housing standards, maybe you'll get a home, but what happens to the rest?

Some of the people who wanted the federal park out here felt it was a much better way to go than "supposed" development.

Once the park became fully entrenched, those same people don't want the tourists, who have paid for their park, and God forbid if a business person in the community wants to capitalize on the tourist trade, because that's a no-no! Of course, what scarce land is left goes up so high that only the wealthy can afford it, and of course they are not wanted with "their trophy homes."

So then the great progressive thinking is low-cost housing, which is "development" that they tried to avoid when they went to 80,000 acres of parkland, except that this kind of development is different because it caters to the less fortunate (than what?) and salves their conscience and justifies their own hypocrisy.

I remember a few years ago, when Mr. Varlowe tried to build a 6,000 sq. ft. home along the eastern shore of Tomales. He had 90 acres of land, spent good money to retain an ex-planner from Marin County and planned an exquisite home with beautiful landscaping.

All to no avail, because the East Shore Planning Group said it wasn't in keeping with the little town of Marshall, which it was nowhere near. I recall going to a few meetings back then and the bottom line was jealousy-pure and simple!

Now in Nicasio another brouhaha is brewing over the 7,304 sq. ft. multi-structured project of the McBurneys on a 5.37 acre lot! The Nicasio Design Review Board has put the McBurneys through an unbelievable amount of grief and agonizing demands.

One of Marin County's Commissioners who heard the case last week told me that he was appalled at the mean-spiritedness of the Nicasio group. Remembering the Pt. Reyes Light's issue dated April 13th, I noticed that an Inverness Association representative cautioned the commissioners that to allow a large home on the Nicasio Square would tell the ostentatious rich West Marin welcomes trophy homes. A quote from the Independent Journal on April 11 has the Inverness representative Mr. White saying, "The decision would set a precedent allowing an invasion of 'trophy homes' to change the character of the villages of West Marin."

Well, first of all, I don't know why Inverness is poking its nose in Nicasio affairs and had better look in its own back yard. Over 25 years ago, my ex-husband and I built a superb 4,000 sq. ft. home on Edgemont overlooking Tomales Bay in Inverness. There are also many more large homes with big money people nestled in them thar hills. What colossal nerve!

I detest the fact that certain Invernessians are so arrogant that they feel they can dictate policy to Pt. Reyes Station, Marshall, Olema, Nicasio and wherever their anointed noses take them.

Just try, though, to go into elitist Inverness and tell them what to do!

I would rather go directly to the County and work out my business with them than go in front of some of these small town groups who have no expertise or very little in planning and who market their own private agenda and opinions based on power and jealousy! It's mob rule out here now, and most of the mob have Marx's leanings! Down with the rich, up with the poor! And don't anybody have a bigger home than me!

P.S. The term "trophy home" really astounds and amuses me. Does it mean that a set of full elk horns are the weather-vane? Does it qualify for first prize in some bizarre, far-out competition for the unusual?

Who do we call when a person wants to erect a non-conformed (not anything outrageous) color like off-white instead of white, horizontal siding instead of vertical, and maybe landscaping with daffodils instead of petunias? Probably "the taste police" at 1-800-I've got mine and you can't have yours.

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