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George Lucas' Jedi Land Tricks
May 14, 2012 9:29 AM   Subscribe

"It is with great sadness that Skywalker Properties has decided to pull its application to build a studio facility on the old Grady Ranch." (PDF) George Lucas' neighbors don't want him building a movie studio on his Marin property; after fighting for years, he's working with the Marin Community Foundation to develop low-income housing.
posted by mrgrimm (100 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've been thinking about this. There's no reason to believe his neighbors will wield any less power in obstructing this plan than the last. It's a grade-A, well-done PR ploy, but I doubt anything more will come of it.

I'd love Karma to prove me wrong, however.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:34 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


George Lucas is a megarich guy with a proven history of screwing things up for everyone. I wouldn't trust him as a neighbor either.
posted by DU at 9:36 AM on May 14, 2012


Vader must be a local.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:38 AM on May 14, 2012


He's sad to be building affordable housing instead of a money-making self-aggrandizing studio? Maybe the PR still needs some work.
posted by dry white toast at 9:43 AM on May 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Where's he going to store his ego now?
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:44 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Geez, if he thought the outcry was bad when he was going to build a movie studio nearby, just wait until the neighbors find out they might be living near poor people.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:46 AM on May 14, 2012 [25 favorites]


He's sad to be building affordable housing instead of a money-making self-aggrandizing studio? Maybe the PR still needs some work.

No, the "sad" piece is from 10 April. The new plan was started on 9 May. This FPP is terribly written is all.
posted by parmanparman at 9:47 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


They should have paid more attention to Empire.

"That wasn't in the original deal."
"I'm altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further."
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:47 AM on May 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


Well after he builds "Affordable Housing" he will go back 3 years later when the technology improves and he'll digitally remove all the interesting poor people and cut out like huge plot(s) of land and start putting some studio facilities in there and then 6 years down the road when the technology REALLY improves he'll release "Affordable Housing: The Sequel" in which he will invent all kinds of weird reasons why the poor people who were there originally need to go and he'll basically just build the studio anyway.
posted by spicynuts at 9:48 AM on May 14, 2012 [11 favorites]


The location is 2 miles from shopping and jobs.

If he were doing this in the middle of Sausalito I'd applaud him.
posted by ocschwar at 9:48 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Low income in Marin county is anything less than about 300k per year, keep in mind.
posted by clockzero at 9:49 AM on May 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


The old Grady Ranch? Didn't Scooby Doo and the gang already save that place from an unscrupulous real estate developer dressed up as a ghost?
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:49 AM on May 14, 2012 [18 favorites]


I loathe George Lucas. Like with his movies, he can't leave well enough alone. Based on the picture in the article, it's a beautiful plot of undeveloped land - but he has to build something on it.

I'm sure he doesn't give two fucks about the actual inhabitants of this proposed affordable housing, or he wouldn't try to locate it in a remote and inappropriate site in a petty game of revenge against his neighbors.

He should have retired to a remote mountaintop monastery in like 1986 and never emerged again.
posted by Spacelegoman at 9:49 AM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Back in April I listened to a somewhat heated exchange between the president of the Marin County Board of Supervisors and president of the Lucas Valley Estates Homeowners Association on Forum with Michael Krasny. The funny part for me was the homeowners president denying potential litigation or their strong attempt to deny the expansion.

Lucas makes horrible films but, from what I remember from this Forum episode, they use land decently. I don't have all the details and don't live in Marin, but it didn't seem that obnoxious of a plan. In fact, some of the complaints against the expansion (i.e. increased traffic) may be the same with the new residential buildings.
posted by mapinduzi at 9:49 AM on May 14, 2012


Ya know, I'm as much of an Episodes 1-3 hater as anyone, but given what he's done out in that area with Skywalker Ranch and Big Rock Ranch, and his self-funding putting the utility lines underground in the neighborhood around his San Anselmo home, it's hard to imagine any development on those properties that would be nicer and more integrated into the surrounding hills than what's been done.

George may have made some lousy-ass sequels, but as a real estate neighbor it's pretty hard to imagine better.
posted by straw at 9:50 AM on May 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


Low-income housing developers have some powerful legal tools to overcome political opposition, but the courts may not like a project motivated by pure spite.

Also, the NIMBYs will have better arguments to use here than they did against the studio, which could neutralize the law's preference for low income housing -- the studio employees and clients weren't going to need public transit, schools, social services or (other) employment, all of which are in very short supply at this site.
posted by MattD at 9:50 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah I mean he could moved the whole Binks family in there and really screwed the property values.
posted by spicynuts at 9:51 AM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


His low-income housing is just going to be some green tents, but he'll put in some really nice CGI buildings in post-production.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:53 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ah, predictable comment threads.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:54 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]



Ah, predictable comment threads.


Meta-explosion. Thread over.
posted by spicynuts at 9:55 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah I mean he could moved the whole Binks family in there and really screwed the property values.

I know you're just snarking, but it is a sad truth that those sorts of Gunganist attitudes still exist, and would actually be a motivating force behind resistance to subsidized housing.

What we need to remember is that people from Naboo are all idiots, regardless of species or dampness of habitat.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:57 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is a pretty stupid location for low-income housing unless he is also going to subsidize the expansion of the local public transportation infrastructure to the neighborhood.

Honestly, he would've done a much better job of trolling his neighbors if he'd offered the land to the State govt as an excellent location for a low-security prison farm.
posted by elizardbits at 9:58 AM on May 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


Attention George Lucas: you may purchase the rights to my awesome trolling idea for 50 million dollars.
posted by elizardbits at 9:59 AM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


King troll specializes in the long game once again.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:03 AM on May 14, 2012


This is perfect. Everyone screws each other over. Couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch, all of em.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:04 AM on May 14, 2012


It might work decently. The rich provide some low paying jobs: housecleaning, grounds keeping, pool tending. Then maybe a Walmart will be built to feed and clothe the poor in the shopping center two miles away, thus providing additional low paying jobs. There is hope yet for a few lucky poor.
posted by francesca too at 10:04 AM on May 14, 2012


a money-making self-aggrandizing studio

That employs how many people?
posted by Ideefixe at 10:05 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dear George Lucas,

Thank you for bringing immeasurable joy to our childhoods, inspiring a generation of geeks, and reinventing the process of filmmaking so that the wildest flights of fancy can be made to seem solid and real.

In return, we will now all hate you like poison, and hound you to your grave bitching about every last little thing you say and do.

(up) Yours truly,

Your Public
posted by Sing Or Swim at 10:05 AM on May 14, 2012 [27 favorites]


Ah, predictable comment threads.

Come on. Why don't you take a look around. You know what's about to happen, what they're up against. They could use a good commenter like you, you're turning your back on them.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:08 AM on May 14, 2012 [13 favorites]


Thank you for bringing immeasurable joy to our childhoods, inspiring a generation of geeks, and reinventing the process of filmmaking so that the wildest flights of fancy can be made to seem solid and real.

Hello! You seem to have just arrived from 1983! I have some good news and some bad news. The good news? We have three new Star Wars movies! The bad news? Well, you better sit down...
posted by entropicamericana at 10:08 AM on May 14, 2012 [10 favorites]


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:09 AM on May 14, 2012


This is a familiar strategy in these situations: "You won't let me build the self-aggrandizing monstrosity I want to build? Fine. I propose to build housing for the poor* instead." The idea is to threaten a different project that is likely to be even more objectionable, but clothed in altruism and political acceptability. The hope, of course, is that the objectors will change their minds and say yes to the original plan.


* Or a methadone clinic or whatever.
posted by slkinsey at 10:11 AM on May 14, 2012


Thank you for bringing immeasurable joy to our childhoods, inspiring a generation of geeks, and reinventing the process of filmmaking so that the wildest flights of fancy can be made to seem solid and real.

Rob, top five musical crimes perpetuated by Stevie Wonder in the '80s and '90s: Go. Sub-question: Is it in fact unfair to criticize a formerly great artist for his latter day sins-- is it better to burn out or fade away?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:20 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


* Or a methadone clinic or whatever.

Dear OWS. I have a lovely campground you can use for free.

--GL.
posted by eriko at 10:20 AM on May 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Interesting story. We'll have to wait to see how it turns out, but I have to say I admire Lucas's attitude.

Creative efforts aside, George Lucas is a man who puts his money where his mouth is. He self-funded the story the Tuskeegee Airmen in Redtails because it was a story he wanted told, big endowment to the USC film school, early in creating a foundation to help innovate in online learning, and has promised half his wealth to be donated before he dies.

Rather than trying to make a profit out of this, he's actually trying to do a good thing and help out other people.
posted by Argyle at 10:23 AM on May 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Interesting that the rendering showing the proposed movie studio is basically an exact copy of Hearst Castle.

Anyway, the low-income housing proposal will likely do just as well, or worse than, the movie studio. Note that the Marin Community Foundation is just a philanthropy organization, not a government entity, so their endorsement may not have any bearing on the feasibility of the project. If neighborhood opposition is enough to stall a movie studio plan, then it will surely be enough to stall low-income or senior housing. Also, Lucas may be fighting the government as well as his neighbors - the land is likely not zoned for anywhere near the kind of density that a low-income housing project would entail, and the county may not see any benefit to changing the designation. The county's entirely valid rebuttal could be that if Lucas is so interested in building low-income housing, then he can build it someplace where it will actually be useful. Lucas may be gearing up the lawyer apparatus to fight all that, but that would seem a bit much for what's essentially a "fuck you" move.
posted by LionIndex at 10:25 AM on May 14, 2012


Here's some background information from the Marin Conservation League about the situation.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 10:25 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is it self-aggrandizing for a guy who makes movies to build a movie studio?
posted by Hoopo at 10:25 AM on May 14, 2012 [16 favorites]


So, basically two pretty-much-universally despised groups said "fuck you" to each other, and as a result, neither one got their way, and some poor people might get a nice place to live.

Out of all of the possible outcomes, I can't believe that this is the one that we're complaining about.
posted by schmod at 10:27 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


posted by schmod So, basically two pretty-much-universally despised groups said "fuck you" to each other, and as a result, neither one got their way, and some poor people might get a nice place to live.

Well, it's more like a man with amazing talents and a filmmaking empire decides against using his powers for good, and instead builds an immense structure that threatens everyone in the region, but the neighbors band together and form an alliance to rebel against his domination.

It's a plot that sounds strangely familiar.
posted by mattdidthat at 10:28 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think this is quite telling:

Lucus: "We love working and living in Marin, but the residents of Lucas Valley have fought this project for 25 years, and enough is enough".

LVAHOE: Q: Have you been battling this project for 25 years? A: No. Comments have only been submitted on this project since December, 2011.

Seems like Lucus has had a problem with his neighbours interfering in what he sees as his right to develop his land as he sees fit going back to when he was building Skywalker Ranch in the 80s and the local ranchers said the work was an environmental concern.

This is less about the Housing Association as the article makes out.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 10:33 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had no idea that George Lucas had read Auntie Mame! Well played, sir!
posted by winna at 10:36 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


posted by DU George Lucas is a megarich guy with a proven history of screwing things up for everyone. I wouldn't trust him as a neighbor either.

He's more machine now than man, twisted and evil.
posted by mattdidthat at 10:38 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Here's where the Grady Ranch property is. It's incredibly beautiful. And there isn't anything there, including sidewalks and street lights. The road is narrow, twisting, and fun to drive (and hellish if you're on a bicycle). As far as I know, there's no bus route. Sounds perfect as a spite-site for low-income housing as proposed by a rich guy who didn't get his way.
posted by rtha at 10:39 AM on May 14, 2012


The homeowners' association that took aim at billionaire George Lucas' plan for a film studio at Grady Ranch wasn't officially authorized to represent the community and didn't conduct a vote to determine how residents felt about the plan, according to a San Francisco lawyer who lives there.

Jeff Tanenbaum, who moved to Lucas Valley Estates last September, said he has talked to numerous neighbors, reviewed documents and made inquiries about the role of the Lucas Valley Estates Homeowners Association in prompting Lucas to pull the plug on the project.

Several other Lucas Valley Estates residents in recent weeks have complained that they supported the Grady Ranch project, but the association never asked them how they felt about it.

Tanenbaum, also a supporter of the ranch film studio plan, said he was stepping forward to set the record straight. He contends that Liz Dale, who serves as president of the Lucas Valley Estates Homeowners Association, has no authority to speak for the community.

...

Tanenbaum called the saga a tragedy, saying that while the board asked some residents to fill out a questionaire on the project, no vote of neighbors was held.

"Incredibly, Marin County has lost a significant and beneficial project from a terrific community citizen, not because of the objection of an entire neighborhood, but because a group of four or five individuals improperly used the banner of the Lucas Valley Estates Homeowners Association to suggest they represent an entire neighborhood," Tanenbaum said. "They do not."
http://www.marinij.com/business/ci_20596515/lawyer-handful-neighbors-hijacked-lucas-project
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:41 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


It'll be the worlds first housing project that looks suspiciously like a movie studio.
posted by dr_dank at 10:47 AM on May 14, 2012


I will give $1 USD to everyone who does not make a tired Star Wars reference in this thread.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:50 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've never given a shit about Lucas. But fuck NIMBYs.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:51 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


On my list of respective evils, NIMBY's are generally worse people than George Lucas.
posted by stratastar at 10:52 AM on May 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


If it's real (not just a single sentence in an announcement, not just a raised middle finger), I like it. Rich people need to live next to poor people (and vice versa). He would only have to make sure a bus line into town is part of the deal. And shops. And schools. And jobs... And... it could get complicated. But if it resulted in people with not enough money happily living right next to people with too much money, and if it didn't fuck things up environmentally, that would be cool.
posted by pracowity at 10:52 AM on May 14, 2012


I will give $1 USD to everyone who does not make a tired Star Wars reference in this thread.

Does that include not calling Skywalker Ranch by its name?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:52 AM on May 14, 2012


I will give $1 USD to everyone who does not make a tired Star Wars reference in this thread.

Every duck has his limit, and you scum have pushed me over the line!
posted by George Lucas at 10:59 AM on May 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


I will give $1 USD to everyone who does not make a tired Star Wars reference in this thread.

Well, good... 'cause I ain't in this for your revolution, and I'm not in it for you, Princess. I expect to be well paid. I'm in it for the money.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 11:05 AM on May 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


I will give $1 USD to everyone who does not make a tired Star Wars reference in this thread.



How much is that in Spacebucks?
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 11:08 AM on May 14, 2012


posted by shakespeherian I will give $1 USD to everyone who does not make a tired Star Wars reference in this thread.

500 quatloos on the newcomer!
posted by mattdidthat at 11:10 AM on May 14, 2012 [8 favorites]



Not even the one by Celsius1414? I loved that one. :)
posted by blurker at 11:10 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I will give $1 USD to everyone who does not make a tired Star Wars reference in this thread.

U.S. Dollars? U.S. Dollars are no good out here. I need something more real.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:15 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lucas Valley Estates is the ugliest (and most densely populated) development on all of Lucas Valley Road (I call them Poltergeist Estates). GL already has complexes on either side of the Grady Ranch. Pretty much none of the two existing Skywalker developments are visible at all from the road, although they are quite expansive. As he has also recently opened the new Letterman Complex in the Presidio in SF, I don't know why he needs yet another studio, but he has pretty much single-handedly paid for the pristine maintenance level of all of Lucas Valley Road (the road itself, I mean) for many years now. The reality is that the neighborhood would suffer if he were to leave.

Skywalker Ranch has its own fire department. I like that in a neighbor. And there is a Golden Gate Transit Lucas Valley bus route. And he won't need anywhere near the amount or approvals from the county of the neighborhood to build residential properties as he would with a commercial plan. I say good on 'em. HOAs are the devil.
posted by obloquy at 11:16 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


As a reluctant resident of Marin County, for nearly a decade, this action exemplifies everything that's wrong with this place. Rather than support a bunch of creative people, their efforts are suffocated.

If you're a recent college graduate, my advice is to stay far away.

To access anything resembling my culture, and my peers, I have to travel to SF or Oakland. Here, it's just old hippies who still live in the 60's. I need to get out of here so bad :(

(I would love to hear any counter-examples to my experience)
posted by interim_descriptor at 11:20 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've got a baaad feeling about this...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:34 AM on May 14, 2012


I will give $1 USD to everyone who does not make a tired Star Wars reference in this thread.

shakespeherian, mah bukee, keel-ee caleya ku kah. Wanta dah moole-rah? Wonkee chee sa crispa con Greedo?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:39 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


This real estate developer is my kind of scum.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:40 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I will give $1 USD to everyone who does not make a tired Star Wars reference in this thread.

Frak that!

(Just make your cheque out to Gaius Baltar, thx.)
posted by gompa at 11:46 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


http://www.marinij.com/business/ci_20596515/lawyer-handful-neighbors-hijacked-lucas-project


From the comments there:
Gary Fisher · Art Institute of California - SF
Marin is for special people, they have $$$$ but they have no special, so they go after control. I lived in Marin from 65 to 07. I don't miss the new special folks. They are, well sorta dumb...
Marin is so wonderful, but I won't return, it's got a few to many selfish know it alls with a mean streak.


As a mountain biker I find that exceedingly hilarious.
posted by Big_B at 11:48 AM on May 14, 2012


Although association leaders now claim the board never opposed the project or threatened to sue, a lawyer representing the association told the county the project was vulnerable to a lawsuit, and subject to more study and delay, a situation cited by Lucasfilm as the key reason for dumping the project

Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them.
posted by Darth George Lucas at 11:56 AM on May 14, 2012


Okay, y'all gotta realize, this is TOTALLY a revenge move on Lucas's part. Marinites are going to HATE THIS SHIT. To give you an example, the original plan for BART was supposed to include a line going to Marin, and they vetoed the hell out of it to prevent us poor city folk from trashing their boring-ass suburb or whatever.

NorCal may be a haven of liberalism, but suburbanites are suburbanites no matter what county they live in.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:56 AM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


>>Jeff Tanenbaum, who moved to Lucas Valley Estates last September

Looks like Jeff's law firm has close ties with Lucasfilm.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 11:58 AM on May 14, 2012


Example #5433653722 in why home owners associations are really awful and should probably be banned.
posted by sotonohito at 12:01 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Geez, if he thought the outcry was bad when he was going to build a movie studio nearby, just wait until the neighbors find out they might be living near poor people.
Hah, no kidding. This is obviously just revenge, but it's revenge that works well for society

I have a friend who lived in San Rafael, CA which is in Marin county for a while. She was living in the equivalent of "low income" housing in most places - just a one bedroom rental in some guy's house. Except her salary was $80k. (I think she probably could have afforded slightly better, but wanted to save money her first year out of school. Anyway)

The thing is, if you look at San Rafael, or the rest of Marin, I guess it's so sparse. It's right next to San Francisco, but it's totally depopulated. It's like if Queens or Brooklyn were a sedate suburb rather then full of high-rises.

People always talk about high rents and stuff in S.F, but it's a perfect example of high rents being driven by development restrictions.
I'm sure he doesn't give two fucks about the actual inhabitants of this proposed affordable housing, or he wouldn't try to locate it in a remote and inappropriate site in a petty game of revenge against his neighbors.
How is Marin county "remote"? The farthest point from SF in Marin county is 43 miles. Lucas Valley, which is I think where the ranch is located is 4mi further north from San Rafael, it's 16mi from San Fancisco. I don't know how long a commute would be, but people who might work in San Rafael or other towns around there might want to live in the "Skywalker Projects" or whatever.

Also, if he does build these, how long would the houses have to stay "low income"? Couldn't he rent them out for whatever wanted at some point? I mean, I would imagine he could get a lot for these apartments once they're built.
posted by delmoi at 12:02 PM on May 14, 2012


Looks like Jeff's law firm has close ties with Lucasfilm.

It's the opposite of what you're suggesting. Nixon Peabody was actually defending the other guy.

Also "close ties" - what does that mean? Nixon Peabody is a huge global law firm and the man in question is a labor and employment lawyer. The most likely tie between Lucasfilm and Tanenbaum is simply geographical.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:21 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, does this guy know how to piss off white people.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:23 PM on May 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


The devastating irony here is that he's got a bunch of rich, fat cat, white people to somehow use governmental influence to affect the behavior of a private company. What's better, they did it in a public forum, and not under the guise of abortion or marriage.

Talk about a catch 22 for the local Republicans.
posted by Blue_Villain at 12:29 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a familiar strategy in these situations: "You won't let me build the self-aggrandizing monstrosity I want to build? Fine. I propose to build housing for the poor* instead."

Yes, it's a standard response to neighbor obstruction. The guy who built my house bought a parcel a ways away and wanted to put up a few expensive homes on it. Abutters threw up a storm of obstructions, because they were used to seeing woods there, and didn't want anything at all built. The builder got an affordable housing permit, and put in more houses than he'd originally planned, some of which were "affordable." In these parts a town is fairly powerless to stop such a development, unless it's sited on top of an endangered species habitat.


To give you an example, the original plan for BART was supposed to include a line going to Marin, and they vetoed the hell out of it to prevent us poor city folk from trashing their boring-ass suburb or whatever.

This is also a standard response. When the MBTA in MA was planning to extend the Red Line of the subway, they proposed taking it all the way to Lexington, an affluent suburb. Cue the NIMBY brigade. This time, they were able to stop the extension in North Cambridge, the dicks. A hundred years earlier, the Lexington farmers were unable to prevent a streetcar line from being built from the city all the way through their town to the Bedford border. They failed, even though they were explicit in their dire predictions that Irish and Italian people would move to the town if the rail line was built. (They were right, and it served them right.) The modern isolationists were unable to prevent the former commuter rail line from becoming a bike path, despite their dire predictions that criminal elements would use the path to infiltrate the neighborhoods. So far as I know, those predictions remain unfulfilled.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:31 PM on May 14, 2012


See also: why California still doesn't have high speed rail.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:35 PM on May 14, 2012


The location is 2 miles from shopping and jobs.

I am pretty sure Lucas could support a shuttle service to and from this development and get a tax break just by earmarking the earnings from the Meesa So Boom Boom Wacky Jar Jar Magic Mike.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 12:35 PM on May 14, 2012


>It's the opposite of what you're suggesting.

[with a small wave of my hand] It's the opposite of what I'm suggesting.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 12:55 PM on May 14, 2012


Obviously, the "low-income housing" is just a front for the clone factory.
posted by malocchio at 12:58 PM on May 14, 2012


Economics must not dictate situations which are obviously religious.
posted by phoebus at 1:08 PM on May 14, 2012


See also: why California still doesn't have high speed rail.

Talk about your internal conflicts... Wind Power vs. Condor
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:14 PM on May 14, 2012


See also: why California still doesn't have high speed rail.

Hey, that's not a Star Wars quote. No dollar for you!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:25 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


See also: why California still doesn't have high speed rail.

It would be irresponsible for a local town not to want a say in how a HSR would impact them. Also it gives you an opportunity to badger state officials into making your city a stop along the way.

All this reposting on the Lucas studio being held up by some NIMBYs show how easy it is for Marin IJ and blogs to fall for PR spin. The state and fed were not going approve Lucas dumping 68,000 cubic yards of dirt in a creek and call it restoration. Blaming the residents is just a cover to keep Lucas and his consultants from having to blame themselves on such a mismanaged and ill-conceived plan for how to deal with hundreds of dump trucks worth of soil.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:36 PM on May 14, 2012


Folks who want to understand what really happened here should check urbanwhaleshark's background information link. Let's take a look:

1. The local planning commission approved the project in February.

2. Unfortunately, the local planning commission was unaware that over two months earlier, "state and federal agencies charged by law with permitting a key element of the Grady Ranch project—namely, the restoration of Miller Creek and tributaries - had....determined that it could not be permitted as designed. The plan to raise the deeply incised creek bed by filling it with 68,000 cubic yards of rock and dirt excavated for the building (one-quarter of the total) carried unacceptable risks to downstream water quality and aquatic resources and, therefore, would have to be revised."

3. That opinion of state and federal agencies - submitted as a detailed critique to the Lucas team in early December - contradicted the information in the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report - "which identified possible risks of the plan but concluded that they were not significant" - Lucas had submitted to local officials and which they used in late February to approve the project.

As a consequence, the Planning Commission approved both SFEIR and Precise Development Plan in late February without knowing that the project was being revised and that potential new impacts might have to be addressed, such as disposing of 68,000 cubic yards of now-excess material from excavation. It is unfortunate that neither Lucas’ engineers nor the agencies apprised the County in a timely manner of project revisions that could affect conclusions in the FSEIR. New information that contradicts conclusions in a Final EIR before it is certified, or raises new, potentially significant impacts, typically requires that the document be revised and possibly even recirculated. This was the basic request made in the neighbors’ appeal.

With limited advance notice of these issues, the BOS on April 3 properly postponed a decision on the appeal to allow legal review to determine the need to revise the FSEIR. Citing delays and neighborhood opposition, the applicant announced his intent to withdraw the project a week later. In reality, the satisfactory revision to the creek restoration plan and CEQA compliance could likely have been resolved to the neighbors’ satisfaction within a few months’ time.


If that's accurate, then there is little reason to see this as other than what the National Review link in the post describes it as:

Dear regular people: George Lucas considers you a weapon to use against other rich people so he can get what he wants. What an ass.
posted by mediareport at 1:44 PM on May 14, 2012


Afroblanco: "To give you an example, the original plan for BART was supposed to include a line going to Marin, and they vetoed the hell out of it to prevent us poor city folk from trashing their boring-ass suburb or whatever."

[Citation-needed]

Although I understand that this was envisioned at the conceptual stage during the system's early days, I don't believe that there was ever an actual plan drawn up, or even proposed to bring BART across the Golden Gate.

Now, that may very well may be because the planners anticipated that Marin would never support transit, but it's a very different presentation of the facts.

(Also, kids, if you you ever need an easy example of Balkinization, go look at public transportation in the Bay Area. It's a bloody mess of multiple haphazardly-planned systems run by separate cross-jurisdictional operators, with few synergies between them, and deadlocked political infighting preventing any real progress from being made to resolve any of that. They don't even share a common map. BART's system almost defies any sort of explanation; it's a partially-built Indian-gauge rapid transit system with the track layout of a 19th-century commuter railroad, and seemingly has never had any sort of sane or cohesive master plan..)
posted by schmod at 1:45 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


[Citation-needed]

"Hundreds of meetings were held in the District communities to encourage local citizen participation in the development of routes and station locations. By midsummer, 1961, the final plan was submitted to the supervisors of the five District counties for approval. San Mateo County Supervisors were cool to the plan. Citing the high costs of a new system-plus adequate existing service from Southern Pacific commuter trains - they voted to withdraw their county from the District in December 1961.

"With the District-wide tax base thus weakened by the withdrawal of San Mateo County, Marin County was forced to withdraw in early 1962 because its marginal tax base could not adequately absorb its share of BART's projected cost. Another important factor in Marin's withdrawal was an engineering controversy over the feasibility of carrying trains across the Golden Gate Bridge."
posted by blucevalo at 2:48 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Maybe I have not had enough coffee today, but that seems to say the situation was an economic decision, not a NIMBY decision.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:54 PM on May 14, 2012


I live in public housing (we pay market rates, and don't receive any kind of income assistance), so I find Lucas' "revenge" more than a little insulting.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:14 PM on May 14, 2012


I don't see it as a slight against public housing nessecarily, merely the easiest thing to move forward that will annoy the HOA. I'd bet if a mega mansion would be easy to build and would annoy the HOA that's what he'd be building. Though considering it's currently farm land (yes?) I'm surprised he's not going with hog farm or something.
posted by Mitheral at 3:56 PM on May 14, 2012


Although it's a little bit of a derail from the specifics of Grady Ranch, here's a little More on the history of BART and Marin in answer to Afroblanco's theory about BART-less Marin.

(Disclosure: I'm now a Sonoma County resident, where our rail boondoggles are inextricably linked with Marin...)
posted by straw at 4:05 PM on May 14, 2012


posted by schmod [Citation-needed]

BART crosses the Golden Gate Bridge (GE, 1961)

Golden Gate Corridor Transportation Facilities Plan: 1970 Alternatives 1 2 3 4 5
posted by mattdidthat at 4:17 PM on May 14, 2012


BART's system almost defies any sort of explanation; it's a partially-built Indian-gauge rapid transit system with the track layout of a 19th-century commuter railroad, and seemingly has never had any sort of sane or cohesive master plan.

And yet, interestingly enough, it's the only public transit in the Bay Area that is worth half a damn.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:18 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


posted by schmod if you you ever need an easy example of Balkinization, go look at public transportation in the Bay Area. It's a bloody mess of multiple haphazardly-planned systems run by separate cross-jurisdictional operators, with few synergies between them, and deadlocked political infighting preventing any real progress from being made to resolve any of that.

What? The public transit systems in the Bay Area service the area with a great degree of efficiency and you ought to provide some examples before calling them "haphazardly-planned systems". As far as the "Balkinization" of which you complained, I'm curious about the changes you'd propose since each system needs to be managed by the area it serves: The SF Municipal Railway (Muni) is a San Francisco system and includes the light rail, streetcars, cable car, and buses system in the City of San Francisco. BART, Golden Gate Transit, and CalTrain cross city and county lines and serve multiple areas, so they need their own agencies e.g. San Francisco should not maintain control over a system that operates in Oakland. As far as having "few synergies between them", well, that's just not accurate. Public transit systems in the Bay Area--SF in particular--share schedules and stations. The public transit in the San Francisco Bay area may have its faults but it's one of the most comprehensive and efficient systems in the world and I think you'd be hard-pressed to design a better master plan that serves such a large area.
posted by mattdidthat at 4:56 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


> Skywalker Ranch has its own fire department.

Lucas' mansion is in a wildfire zone. That entire zipcode could burn unto embers and the Skywalker Ranch fire department will be occupied keeping Lucas' mansion from burning down. Also: see the artificial lake constructed adjacent.

(Can you guess what that huge pond is doing on Larry Ellison's property in Woodside?)
posted by bukvich at 6:22 PM on May 14, 2012


Probably the same thing that all those ponds next to hunting "camps" all over Vermont are doing: providing a source of water for fighting fires. Insurance companies are very big on that.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:26 PM on May 14, 2012


I appreciate that he has substituted a NIMBY with a HELL NIMBY.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:03 PM on May 14, 2012


I think you mean HELLA NIMBY. Dude.
posted by rtha at 7:30 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


So would that be real world low income property or average Joe wants to live in a nice area of CA so it's probably like $300k valued "low income property".

Because if it's the latter--I'm so there.
posted by stormpooper at 6:53 AM on May 15, 2012


I wonder if George did this song and dance.
posted by stormpooper at 6:56 AM on May 15, 2012


BART also gives you a muni transfer option for ... $1?

The stupid clipper card is another obvious way the different systems work together.

My only complaint, like everyone's, is the cost. BART trains are packed at rush hour. Yet it would still be cheaper for me to drive. Myself. Now consider my family.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:18 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't get the "few synergies" complaint either. I went to a conference in Japantown a month ago and rode public transportation the whole way, in roughly the same time it would have taken to drive. And I live in Sacramento! Amtrak-->BART-->Bus. Easy peasy for even a suburbanite like me.
posted by Big_B at 1:24 PM on May 15, 2012


My major complaint is that BART doesn't run 24 hours. If it did, I and lots of others would be more likely to hang out in Oakland.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:27 PM on May 15, 2012


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