Robert Reich, who worked as former President Bill Clinton’s secretary of labor, is making an effort to block the imposition of Democrat-style diversity on his upscale suburb.
Reich’s hidden identity as a “NIMBY” — Not In My Back Yard — was revealed when emails surfaced to the Landmark Preservation Commission regarding the fate of the Payson House in Berkeley, California.
The email also came to light as the Trump administration repealed a regulation put in place by former President Barack Obama to diversify neighborhoods — mainly more affluent suburbs with single-family homes — by incorporating low-income housing.
As Breitbart News reported, a recent poll shows that 83 percent of American voters oppose the government telling people where to live. The same Rasmussen poll showed that the split by party in opposing government’s enforced diversity is not so disparate — 39 percent of Republicans oppose it, while 32 percent of Democrats are against it.
And Reich, apparently, is among those Democrats, according to his letter to the commission, which said in part:
My wife and I moved into our house at 1230 Bonita Avenue, two doors down from the Payson House, fourteen years ago. One reason we moved into the area was the abundance of older homes dating from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, offering the charm of an older era of Berkeley, along with the lovely Codornices Creek that runs through the neighborhood.
The character of the neighborhood is anchored by the Payson House, built in 1889 and the oldest in the area, and by the old live oaks surrounding it. We walk past it every day. We were frankly appalled to learn that the new owner of the Payson House was planning to tear it down, and already had illegally cut down two of the oak trees in order to squeeze ten units onto the lot. It is no small irony that the original owner of the house, William Payson, was a political reformer who fought against the illegal practices and corrupt politics of the late nineteenth century.
Reich urged the commission to make the Payson House a historic landmark to prevent its removal and replacement.
“Development for the sake of development makes no sense when it imposes social costs like this,” the letter concludes.
So @RBReich‘s answer on @wkamaubell‘s show is even more cringey and disingenuous than his original letter. Mostly, he’s lying. The developer isn’t “pretending” to reserve 1/10 apartments for Very Low Income households. It’s in their permit application. It’s law. pic.twitter.com/invHZ50TdB
— Prop 15 Polemicist 🇵🇷🇲🇽 (@daguilarcanabal) August 6, 2020
Nonetheless, President Trump’s critics have said the president made the change to the Obama-era regulation as a means to help him win the white vote in America’s suburbs in the upcoming presidential election.
Tim Worstall, a senior fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London, wrote a blog about Reich on the Expunct website:
The reaction of Professor Reich, that vanguard of the liberal polity? No way in Hell can anyone be allowed to disturb my Elysium.
It’s fine that other people who have worked for their money get it taxed away at my urging. It’s entirely justified that other people must pay higher wages just because I say so. But the mere idea that someone might adapt their own property in order to house more people? No, we must use the law to prevent them so as to defend what is mine.
There is much too much credulity about anti-housing politicians and activists’ working in left-wing areas’ alleged desire to see non-market housing built. https://t.co/k03sA2MgVS
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) August 7, 2020
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter.