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McCain Estates?

Fire victims would get first pick at housing in Chanate development proposal

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BETTER IDEA  Instead of spending money on a border wall, Ernie Barry-Federman proposes using - the estimated $25 billion on housing projects.
  • BETTER IDEA Instead of spending money on a border wall, Ernie Barry-Federman proposes using the estimated $25 billion on housing projects.

There's an interesting new twist on the fate of the Chanate Road condominium project that was scuttled by Sonoma County judge René Auguste Chouteau in July.

Following the collapse of a development proposal put forth by William Gallaher, an organization called the Defend, Repair and Rebuild the USA Movement has come forward with a plan to develop the site as the Chanate Road John McCain project, and proposes to use state and federal money to bankroll it, which would provide housing and homeownership to 35,000 Sonoma County residents.

First priority would go to victims of the 2017 wildfires, says the organization in a press release. The push is being led by Ernie Barry-Federman, who describes himself as a 1960s progressive political activist, a lifelong Democrat and a current member of the Santa Rosa Democratic Club.

Barry-Federman's plan takes the battle for affordable housing in Sonoma County right up to Donald Trump's doorstep—or, rather, his proposed Great Wall of America that's been gamed out as a $25 billion boondoggle.

"We are proposing instead that the federal government invest the $25 billion in 25 separate condo housing projects for low- and middle-income Americans," Federman writes. He says that $2 billion of the $25 billion could be directed at the Chanate development, which would see that the project executed with no new tax or costly bond.

Judge Chouteau sent the original deal back to the board of supervisors. The deal can only be revived if the county and the developer conduct an environmental review.

Under the new plan, Gallaher and Ghilardi Construction would be the builders, the release says, "but the federal and California governments would be the developers and financiers."

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