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How the San Francisco Branch of Sierra Club Advocates NIMBYism

Despite the pro-infill position of the Sierra Club's national organization, San Francisco's branch advocates to preserve the buildings that are currently there at the expense of density and subsidized housing.
May 2, 2017, 8am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Andrey Bayda

"The national Sierra Club promotes infill development because they know that dense, urban environments result in less greenhouse gas emissions than urban sprawl," Andy Lynch reports in The Bay City Beacon. But, when Lynch attended a meeting of the club he found the local branch advocating the preservation of a "historic garage"—not on the basis of a positive environmental impact so much as a move to stop the development that might take its place.

The club also heard from activist Calvin Welch, who spoke out against relaxing zoning laws and allowing for more density in exchange for more subsidized housing. "For a club that sees themselves as progressive, it is ironic that they are such strong advocates for strict zoning rules, a practice rooted in racism and designed to segregate neighborhoods," Lynch argues. When trying to understand this apparent inconsistency he lands on keeping out potentially conservative voters as the most likely motivation. After hearing Mr. Welch comment,  "who lives here is who votes here."

Lynch argues, "That’s the ballgame. Why does the Sierra Club fight tooth and nail to stop developments, including blocking the affordable housing they claim to advocate for? They’re afraid that new housing means new residents who might not agree with their politics."

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 in The Bay City Beacon
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