Well they’ve gone and done it - City Council and the Mayor (over the objections of the sainted Terry and Gene, the only ones not corrupted by neo-liberal Uberization) have approved DADU’s in single-family neighborhoods all over town. It’s the beginning of the end of our sacred single-family neighborhoods. Soon we will be over-run with massive backhouses full of loud and smelly upstarts and their damn music (“that’s not music! It’s noise”) all making book for the slum landlords of the city with their overcrowded firetraps inspected by Mr. Magoo. With the connivance of a City Hall dedicated to imposing the new world order on us, an introduction to a Stalinesque future distopia where citizens are required to pay more and more for the profits of the favored few, and massive hulking structures, filled with jeering implants from who knows where, overlooking their backyards and wrecking their quiet enjoyment.
At least, according to the NIYBY’s (Not In Your Backyard) to whom this affair is some kind of Greek tragedy, the destruction of our fair city, gnashing their teeth and pulling out their hair over the sheer effrontery of it.
As political theater, it’s fantastic, only bettered by the revolt of the fishermen over the Port’s attempt to raise their moorage and weblocker fees to oligarchic levels. And informed by a massive level of emotion from an organized opposition - the NIYBY’s.
My theory on why there is so much emotion invested in this issue is in two parts:
1) it affects people where they live, raised their families, have happy memories of Billy and Betsy playing with the neighbor kids, all of whom went to the same schools and grew up together. In this context, converting the Smith’s house next door to a rental, or, heaven forfend, an AirBnb rental, with strangers running around, parking in front of your house with nary a by-your-leave, drunken parties and public urination, is a scary prospect;
2) The City apparently changed the rules mid-course - after starting a pilot process in one neighborhood, and promising it wouldn’t be extended without neighborhood input, they went ahead and extended the DADU process to all single-family neighborhoods.
The combination of these two have set off just a festival of butthurt hysteria - totally understandable - but in my opinion, and apparently that of Michael Lilliquist, who made a great show of agonizing over his decision but voted Aye, decidedly in the minority. And kudos to Mr. Lilliquist for bearing the outpouring of NIYBY calumny that is falling on his head as a result. Perhaps he is of mayoral caliber, after all.
There are other opinions in the matter. From people who want to lower their carbon footprint, prevent sprawl into the surrounding countryside, and live in a humbler less energy-intensive way - by permitting densification of single-family neighborhoods with DADU’s. How can you not be onside with this objective - the world is changing and we must change our ways also, despite our desperate wish that everything should stay the same for always.
So here’s a link to the Wild Choir singing their hearts out - greeting the future with hope and love.