This is the message I keep sending to the Sanders campaign. After the housing meltdown of 2008, the student loan debt crisis, the continuing retirement crisis and all the income inequality means we absolutely must allow people to spend their limited money on their own choice of housing instead of continuing the unjust exclusionary zoning laws of this country. The campaign has asked me to volunteer but ending exclusionary zoning is the one thing that really fires me up. This country needs to end financial slavery just as it finally had to end regular slavery. It's not a question of 'if' it's only a question of 'when'. If not now then when? If not Bernie then who? And this issue is just the kick in the pants that the Sanders campaign needs to ignite real passion. Some people look at things the way they are and ask why while others look at the way things could be and ask why not.
This is why it's time for Bernie to start campaigning for an end to exclusionary zoning with the theme "America should be about inclusion and not exclusion". The young man who protested against segregation and ended up getting arrested and chained on the ground to a black woman had passion for social justice. Only one out of the 31 of my Facebook friends 'liked' the comments that follow. But that's where a leader explains the rightness of an issue and leads. One third of Americans don't even have an internet connection. They don't get counted in polls. But they watch TV and if fired up they'll register and vote. It's never too late because ending financial slavery is an issue that isn't going away. Just like slavery wouldn't go away until Lincoln ended it. Ending exclusionary zoning is both social justice and economic justice. It's just the right thing to do. I'd love to see anyone argue against it in a debate. We all know that Trump is the king of exclusion.
As an exclusionary zoning refugee I've been writing about ending exclusionary zoning since 2010 at http://jamesrherman.newsvine.com/. I lived in one apartment or another for about 21 years. Then I bought a singlewide mobile home but I still had to pay a lot rent to the mobile home park owner for 18 years. I've been advocating for an end to exclusionary zoning so people will have a choice. I'm estimating that I could've saved about $45,000 over the 18 years that I lived in the mobile home park if I just could've placed my singlewide mobile home on a residential lot and just paid property taxes like everyone else. But Farmington Hills, MI (near Detroit) said your home has to be at least 24 feet wide and conform to existing housing. Since apartment rents are easily twice as much as mobile home lot rents I figure exclusionary zoning probably cost me $90,000 over my life.
After losing my job at 59 in Oct 2008 I just decided to retire and moved my singlewide out of the mobile home park and onto a residential lot where it was still allowed. If I wanted to stay in Michigan then I would've had to move 167 miles further north. Instead I went south 285 miles to about 55 miles NE of Cincinnati. Too bad I had to wait until I retired to do this.
And what about the opportunity costs? It's a lot easier to be willing to relocate if it's easy to relocate instead of being expensive and difficult. In fact it's so expensive and difficult that many people are stuck where they are and locked into generational poverty. You can't sit around and wait for jobs to come to your area. If the water is poison or the schools are crappy then you should be able to vote with your feet. Ending exclusionary zoning would maximize the probability that people could take care of themselves and it would open up opportunity because people could just move. So you can imagine how much more success and happiness there would be in America. That's why I'm asking Bernie to support an end to exclusionary zoning. By the way, it's also our constitution that says we all have a right to LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Shelter is a necessity of LIFE. And all politicians from the president on down take an oath to protect and defend the constitution. So every one of them should defend our right to be happy in a home of our own choosing. Just as long as a home is not a threat to anyone's health or safety then it should not be prohibited. Why do I have to explain this?
But from my own story you can see that is not what we have in America. One third of Americans are not home owners. And many of us small home owners have our homes excluded by zoning. Farmington Hills even wanted to zone out the mobile home park. In San Jose, CA they are buying up the mobile home parks and kicking the people out. In Austin, TX a snake by the name of Frank Rolfe has bought up a mobile home park and doubled the costs on day one. Then he increases the lot rent by 10% every year after that. He's bought up over 160 parks in the country. My lot rent went up 95% over 18 years so my annual increases were about half the 10% that Mr. Rolfe charges. A mobile home park is not a good place to retire. You have no control. Renting apartments is worse because it's so much more expensive.
I think you can see how exclusionary zoning takes from the poor and gives to the rich. Whoever thought it was a good idea to sign up for 30 years of debt slavery just to get shelter? Ending exclusionary zoning would help all income levels because it would stabilize the housing market and keep it honest. We never would've had the housing bubble bursting in 2008. People would make better choices if better choices were available. Getting people to borrow at high interest rates puts them into a downward spiral of debt slavery. I call it financial slavery. Money is freedom. When they take away your money they take away your freedom. I'm so lucky I was able to buy my freedom from financial slavery. It's a great feeling to be financially secure and not have to work anymore. It would've been nice to have that feeling early in life instead of waiting until I was 59. I would've liked to have tried a computer programming job but I couldn't take a chance of leaving my secure accounting clerk job. Most of us lead lives of quiet desperation. I'm sure ending exclusionary zoning would make us all less desperate and more open and happy.
I'd like to see Bernie do this commercial. He's standing in front of a singlewide mobile home in a mobile home park and he says this: "A home that is not a threat to anyone's health or safety should not be prohibited. If elected I will fight to end exclusionary zoning. Some people think freedom means the freedom to take away someone else's freedom. Bernie Sanders is not one of those people." Thanks.