Habitat for Hypocrisy

By Harkinson, Josh | Mother Jones, July/August 2007 | Go to article overview

Habitat for Hypocrisy


Harkinson, Josh, Mother Jones


NIMBY NOTEBOOK

Bill Duane knows most people can't afford homes like his $1 million bungalow on a hill overlooking San Francisco Bay. That's why the Marin County attorney volunteered for Habitat for Humanity. Until recently, that is, when the group announced plans to build two affordable duplexes just down the street from him. "Habitat usually goes into a blighted neighborhood and enhances it," Duane says. "Here, they are coming into an enhanced neighborhood and blighting it." Housing advocates say Duane exemplifies a vexing irony: People support affordable housing with their labor, money, and votes-just so long as it's nowhere near them.

Standing beside his garden of coastal succulents, Duane, who looks like a cashmere-clad Rodney Dangerfield, spoke in nervous bursts. He fretted about a note that a retired schoolteacher had sent him inside a Monet greeting card, which began, "You are a disgrace to the human race and should be ashamed of yourself." His research revealed that the teacher's home is worth almost as much as his own. "And it's surrounded by vacant lots," he exclaimed, "so why don't you build it there?"

That, too, might be easier said than done: Marin is among the most liberal (and expensive) counties in the nation, but Duane says all of his neighbors back him. Indeed, opposition to affordable housing in the county was so fierce in the 1990s that a Marin chapter of Habitat disbanded, former members say, after finding itself unable to get a single project built in five years. On the opposite coast, in wealthy, liberal Martha's Vineyard, 10 homeowners sued earlier this year-on environmental grounds-to block construction of an affordable house for a fisherman who'd been living with his wife and children in a tent. In Boulder, Colorado, affordable-housing advocate Joni Lynch says her most strident foes were button-wearing progressives. And in the gentrifying Edgewood neighborhood of Washington, D.C., one resident who fought the construction of the low-income St. Martin's apartments nearby actually worked for a company that builds low-income apartments.

But few development projects have been more enigmatically unpopular than the Marin project, where three luxury houses will be clumped onto a 17.5-acre hill in a way that preserves most of the land as open space. In accordance with county rules, the developer set aside an acre for low-income housing. There, Habitat will build four units, two melded together to look like one Craftsman-style home, which will be sold at below-market rates to families making $40,000 to $56,000 a year (a teacher in Marin earns on average $47,000).

Duane and I climbed into his Mercedes station wagon and drove to the project site, a hillside of chaparral and grass. He'd promised me it would be obvious that congestion was already bad. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Habitat for Hypocrisy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.