Yes, Marin County actually does have some public housing, but residents have filed suit because the county won’t do anything about the rats, exposed electrical wires, and general disrepair.

It’s something of a shocker to hear that notoriously white and wealthy Marin County has any manner of public housing, considering the locale is sort of a living caricature of limousine liberals, where Guy Fieri cruises about in a schoolbus yellow Lamborghini, doghouses are designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and BMWs have “RASTA” license plates.

But there is a public housing complex in Marin City, the Golden Gate Village pictured above, which is even on the National Registry of Historic Places. The not-shocking part is how the 300-unit facility is in alleged disrepair, and the current renovation plan calls for the removal of some low-income units that would be replaced by market-rate (luxury) housing.

Golden Gate Village residents have been campaigning for years asking the Marin Housing Authority to address rats, mold, and general dilapidation, to little avail. Now the Marin Independent Journal reports that residents are suing the housing authority over what one tenant calls “mold, cracks in doors and the windows,” and “flooding,” and how the county has allegedly ignored their concerns for nearly a decade.    

“It appears [Marin County] intentionally did that, and it appears they are in cahoots with the Marin Housing Authority to keep property in disarray,” the residents’ attorney Stanley Goff told the Independent Journal. “We allege that this was done so the housing authority would be entitled to have certain parts of the property demolished for market-rate renters, which would displace a large amount of people, particularly African Americans.”

The place certainly has a fascinating history, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright disciple Aaron Green, and originally WWII-era government housing for a largely Black community of war-effort shipyard builders. It was apparently quite nice there during the post-war boom period, though the flip side being that Black families were pretty much redlined out of any other housing opportunities in Marin County. And the place apparently has not been kept up much since the post-war era either, with a redevelopment plan that residents fear is designed to drive off the primarily African-American resident community.

The Guardian has a great longform primer on the Golden Gate Village situation from January 2020, but one pregnant resident puts it best in just three sentences. “We live in one of the wealthiest counties in the world,” Malachia Hoover told the Independent Journal. “There is no excuse why our units have been so neglected. Is it because we are predominantly African American?

Related: Frances McDormand and Joel Coen Are In the Whitest of Feuds With Their Marin Neighbors [SFist]

Image: Google Street View