Land Use

Land Use Wars: George Lucas Strikes Back

|

After a long battle to build a new studio facility on his ranch in Marin County, California, George Lucas has given up the fight. "We love working and living in Marin, but the residents of Lucas Valley have fought this project for 25 years, and enough is enough," the Star Wars director writes [pdf]. "Marin is a bedroom community and is committed to building subdivisions, not business." And so, in the spirit of building bedrooms, Lucas has announced a new plan for his land. The New York Times reports:

The Marin County Community Development Agency

Mr. Lucas said he would sell the land to a developer to bring "low income housing" here.

"It's inciting class warfare," said Carolyn Lenert, head of the North San Rafael Coalition of Residents.

Mr. Lucas said in an e-mail that he only wanted "to do something good for Marin," waving away accusations of ulterior motives.

"I've been surprised to see some people characterize this as vindictive," he said, adding that there was a "real need" for affordable housing here. "I wouldn't waste my time or money just to try and upset the neighbors."

Whatever Mr. Lucas's intentions, his announcement has unsettled a county whose famously liberal politics often sits uncomfortably with the issue of low-cost housing and where battles have been fought over such construction before.

"If everyone feels that housing is less impactful on the land," Lucas explains in his statement, "then we are hoping that people who need it the most will benefit." A Lucasfilm official told the Times: "George, being the great guy that he is, doesn't want to build more housing for rich people since Marin is loaded with them."

Lucas hasn't always been a force for good in land-rights fights: His same statement that complains about the barriers to building on his property also complains that he wasn't able to put up similar barriers himself when a developer built a neighborhood nearby. But that's forgiven now. You have to appreciate a move that will simultaneously achieve four worthy goals: making housing more affordable for the poor, showing up the hypocrisies of the local limousine liberals, taking revenge (whether or not Lucas wants to call it that) on the people who restricted his property rights, and setting off a reaction that promises to be far more entertaining than any of the director's recent movies.

NEXT: De Rugy: Why "Balanced" Austerity Isn't Helping Europe - And Why Spending Cuts Just Might

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Tuesday fun link!

  2. “Vengeance is a water vessel with a hole. It carries nothing but the promise of emptiness.”

    I gotta say that doesn’t really apply here.

  3. As much as I hate Lucas for utterly destroying Star Wars and pissing on its grave, this is kind of awesome.

    1. Han shot first.

      1. This should go on Lucas’ tombstone.

    2. It’s funny that Lucas will probably be remembered more for fucking up the memory of a few great films rather than the fact that he created them.

      But this is indeed schadenfreudelicious.

      1. The reality is that he stole Star Wars from Herbert and Tolkien. The prequals sucked because he ran out of other people’s ideas.

        1. The reality is that he stole Star Wars from Herbert and Tolkien.

          Really? Gonna call BS. While they were both clearly influences, I dont think it rises to the level of “stole”. The storyline is clearly Lucasian.

          1. The storyline is clearly Lucasian Kurosawaean

            FIFY

          2. He definitely stole Jar Jar. He bears a strong resemblance to the monkey from Babar.

            1. Leave it to Tulpa to make a connection between Jar Jar Binks and a monkey from a French children’s cartoon.

              1. You can take my Quebecois cartoons from my cold, dead Gadget hands.

              2. I mean seriously? Can you watch this Babar song without being brought back to the opening of Ep. 1 (only Obi-Wan and Quaegon have bigger noses).

        2. Triplanetary by “Doc” EE Smith, and the Lensman series in general. But Triplanetary had a moon sized space station, a bad guy who was all in gray (Grand Moff Tarkin, I’m looking at you) as well as energy weapons, etc. The Lensmen were very much Jedi.

          1. Green Lantern ripped-off The Lensmen before Lucas even thought about it.

        3. Nothing personal John, but as someone who has read all three, that has to be one of the dumbest statements I have ever read.

          I don’t know who you lifted that idea from, but it ranks very high on the stupid scale.

          1. Leigh Brackett made that series for Lucas.

            1. My comment was regarding Episode IV being stolen from Dune and LTR.

              1. My comment was regarding Episode IV being stolen from Dune and LTR

                Except that its not.

                There’s like mountains of material detailing who, what he borrowed/copied/stole for Star Wars… neither Dune or LTR included.

          2. Did Fred Saberhagen also steal the idea of moon-sized space stations for “Berserker Wars”? Or David Weber with “Mutineers’ Moon”?

            Some Sci-Fi ideas get recycled regularly.

            1. I sometimes like sci-fi concepts recycled so that the universe isn’t entirely new and disorienting. Nothing bothers me more than when authors create new words for ordinary objects in an attempt to feel otherworldly.

          3. The force is nothing but the spice. The Freeman are nothing but the rebels. Paul is Luke. Maybe you missed it, but people have been accusing Lucas for ripping of Herbert for about 40 years now.

            You really don’t get out much do you/

            1. I can tell you didn’t read the books about which you are recycling comments made by people who didn’t read the books.

              1. I have read the first three Dune books. So, you can’t tell shit.

                1. Oh yeah? Well I read all six of the trilogy!

                  Star Wars is nothing but the old “sword and sorcerer” theme in a science fiction setting.

                  Dune was much more than that.

                  1. DORK FIGHT!!DORK FIGHT!!DORK FIGHT!!DORK FIGHT!!DORK FIGHT!!DORK FIGHT!!DORK FIGHT!!DORK FIGHT!!DORK FIGHT!!DORK FIGHT!!DORK FIGHT!!DORK FIGHT!!DORK FIGHT!!DORK FIGHT!!DORK FIGHT!!DORK FIGHT!!DORK FIGHT!!

          4. Also Lucas and Herbert were both Luddites. The whole theme of the sound minded warriors beating the high tech empire is all from Herbert.

            1. A peasant boy with a magical sword and wizard…

              1. And someone knows—-it’s not Herbert or Tolkein–It’s Disney. Star Wars is The Sword in the Stone.

                1. Azathoth!!|5.22.12 @ 1:35PM|#
                  And someone knows—-it’s not Herbert or Tolkein–It’s Disney. Star Wars is The Sword in the Stone.

                  YOU’RE ALL WRONG!! COLONEL MUSTARD IN THE LIBRARY WITH THE CANDLESTICK!!!! BOOYAAAA!!

                2. Azathoth!!|5.22.12 @ 1:35PM|#
                  And someone knows—-it’s not Herbert or Tolkein–It’s Disney. Star Wars is The Sword in the Stone.

                  YOU’RE ALL WRONG!! COLONEL MUSTARD IN THE LIBRARY WITH THE CANDLESTICK!!!! BOOYAAAA!!

                3. Azathoth!!|5.22.12 @ 1:35PM|#
                  And someone knows—-it’s not Herbert or Tolkein–It’s Disney. Star Wars is The Sword in the Stone.

                  YOU’RE ALL WRONG!! COLONEL MUSTARD IN THE LIBRARY WITH THE CANDLESTICK!!!! BOOYAAAA!!

                  1. The squirrels are mighty with this one.

            2. I don’t think that “luddite” is quite the word. More transhumanist. The idea that the human mind/body is capable of really great things, things that might surpass the abilities of machines in some cases (Dune, even the Fremen, is still full of very advanced technology, just not computers), is very different from the motivations of Ned Ludd.

        4. Everything is stolen from someplace else.

          The fact is that Lucas took the plot of the Japanese film The Hidden Fortress, changed the names and milieu and called it ‘Star Wars’. This isn’t just pop-culture theorizing, Lucas has said that’s what he did himself.

          1. ^^This^^

            Whatever the genre or the medium, there are a finite number of stories to be told, each with a nearly infinite number of variations. I can’t imagine that anybody who makes their living as a novelist, playwright, or screenwriter would find this a point worth arguing.

            1. There is a theory I read somewhere, that when you break down stories into their simplest blocks, that there are only 6 types of stories. Everything else is changing viewpoints and character development.

          2. That’s an overstatement. He took the peasants from Hidden Fortress (great movie, btw) and made them into R2-D2 and C3PO. He was also going to take the concept of seeing the movie from the peasants-eye-view, but that got lost.

            1. also, no one has mentioned this yet.

          3. Yeah, this. Culture is people using other people’s ideas in their own work.

          4. The fact is that Lucas took the plot of the Japanese film The Hidden Fortress, …

            Meh. He took some parts. The thing tying everything together is the Hero w/ 1000 Faces archetype coming of age/holy grail myths…

            But Hidden Fortress does have many of the most important character elements, and also influenced the initial rough plotline (which was heavily revised). As mentioned below, the idea of telling a story of what is essentially a story about ‘royalty’ from the point of view of the lowest servants was totally jacked from HF. The comedic element is identical. Heck, even the opening shot of the film (HF) was the basis for the opening shot of starwars…. (running away from something coming from behind camera…) Then there’s all the Kurosawa linear-wipes he borrows for Star Wars. But the connections sort of fall apart the further in you go. One, there’s no “Skywalker” in HF at all, or any Obi Wan, or any ‘Force’ (unless a lot of hidden gold=The Force). Toshiro Mifune is *sorta* closer to a Han Solo character, but he’s not a ‘mercenary’ at all… he’s a loyal general. And there’s no ‘one’ primary enemy in HF – just the attempt to ‘restore the kingdom’ of the princess…

            Anyhoos…

        5. Really, John? My impression was that most of the archetypes he employed were lifted from Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces.

        6. My personal feeling is that he was more or less a figure head director for the frist three movies and all the real credit should go to his ex-wife Marcia Lucas, who was his editor for most of his big films. It’s not conicidence that his career went into a tailspin after she divorced him.

          1. It’s not conicidence that his career went into a tailspin after she divorced him.

            Does, “tailspin” mean, “made another 2 billion dollars”?

            Even if you can’t get past Jar-Jar Binks, or the steady crapification of Indiana Jones projects… He developed the company that became Pixar (sold to Disney?), and many other industry-leading production studio elements (THX, Industrial Light Magic, etc)

            But yeah, he’s not a great director. I’m not sure he ever tried to be – if you look at his entire filmography, 90% of his projects he focused on being executive producer… In fact the only films he’s *ever* taken director credit are THX, American Graffiti, the first Star Wars… then the abortion-prequels.

      2. The prequels are pure Lucas, while the original trilogy had a lot of input from other people, and in some cases changes forced upon Lucas by other people.

    3. This makes up for a lot. But there are still only 3 Star Wars films. And Han shot first.

      1. There are three Star Wars films (Episodes IV – VI), which Lucas fucked up with his gratuitous insertion of gargling creatures and bigger assplosions. The re-configured Moss Eisley scenes in particular make want to hurl.

        1. I just digitized my old VHS tapes. the quality isn’t the best, but the trade-off is worth it.

        2. He never redid any of the movies, and he never added any creatures, scenes or explosions.

          It’s worth every penny.

          1. Interesting the synopsis of that mentions the scenes between Jabba and Han and Luke and Biggs. Those didn’t bother me because they were original, just left on the cutting room floor.

    4. Word.

  4. Lucas is doing a good thing here, by exposing these NIMBY leftist assholes. But in no way, shape or form will he ever atone for Jar Jar Binks.

  5. lol, George Lucas is so so full of himself lol.

    http://www.Privacy-Toolz.com

  6. lol, George Lucas is so so full of himself.

    http://www.Privacy-Software.tk

    1. anonbot- did you read the article?

  7. This is great.

  8. I love it. My simple post of “This is great” gets kicked back. Meanwhile, as I am posting the anonobot sails on.

    1. Well to be fair your post sounded more like anonbot’s work than buntpunt’s

    2. I think anonbot must either be allowed through by the squirrels as some kind of joke/meme thing, or it is a bizarrely committed person trying to imitate a bot for some reason.

    3. anonbot has better spelling, John.

  9. There is a great story about the Boston busing crisis where someone pointed out that they had yet to meet anyone in favor of forced busing whose kids would go to any of the schools affected.

    Remember, these assholes in Marin County would think nothing of forcing low income housing on some middle class neighborhood in the name of justice. Asshole is too weak of a word for these people.

    1. Boston busing crisis? I’m missing something. I even took a bus yesterday to get to the Celtics game. I don’t have kids though, so since it sounds like it’s a school thing that might be why.

      1. It also happened 40 years ago. It was in all of the papers.

        1. You guys are so old.

          1. No, you’re too young. How the hell did everyone get so young?

            1. Bitterly outliving your enemies.

              1. I outwitted them and waited to be born just in time to see the USSR fall.

  10. “You won’t let me bring high paying jobs? Fuck you then! I’ll bring you lowlife crime!
    Muahahahahahaaaa!”

    1. and the residents of Marin suddenly cried out in terror

      1. And were suddenly silenced.

        1. Threadwinner.

          1. I agree – the tears of laughter flowed, reading these…

    2. I’ll bring you lowlife crime!

      It’s a good thing California has strong Second Amendment laws that allow citizens to protect themselves…

      1. Maybe the Marinians could all get lightsabres?

  11. I suspect that everything’s relative. Affordable housing in Marin County probably still means an in-ground pool for each unit.

    1. According to the NY Times:

      In a telling fact, a family of four with an annual income of $88,800 can qualify for housing assistance in Marin, which has about 6,500 income-restricted housing units, according to the county.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05…..hbors.html

      1. I don’t think that sentence does justice to the point it’s trying to make. I think in just about 99% of the rest of the country, that type of income would get you a 2500sf single family with ease.

        1. I make less than that and I own a 2400 sqft house. In a good school district in an urban area within BosWash.

  12. “I wouldn’t waste my time or money just to try and upset the neighbors.”

    Anybody find a link to Lucas’s e-mail? I’d really like to see the entire apparently-delightfully-worded missive.

  13. This nonsense, amazingly, makes Lucas a more sympathetic character than anyone in the prequels.

  14. “Inciting class warfare” ??? I thought that giving cheap housing to poor people is what liberals say reduces class warfare. What am I missing here.

    1. Class warfare among the Marin liberals. Get this bit

      The staunchest opponents of Lucasfilm’s expansion are now being accused of driving away the filmmaker and opening the door to a low-income housing development. That has created an atmosphere that one opponent, who asked not to be identified, saying she feared for her safety, described as “sheer terror” and likened to “Syria.”

      1. Wow. Do the mass graves for Marin County dissidents have planning permission?

        1. The barricades set up to keep out the proletarian brigades will be fully permitted by God.

        2. Technically bulldozing bodies into open trenches counts as “amending the soil” so they aren’t building they’re gardening.

      2. I’m sure somebody in Syria has received a dirty look.

      3. LOL–fuck these SWPL phaggots. They’re always talking about “HOW CAN YOU NOT CELEBRATE VIBRANT DIVERSITY, YOU ARGLDY-BARGLDY BIGOT!!!” Apparently its a lot easier to support “vibrancy” when you don’t have to live with it every day.

    2. What am I missing here.

      you are missing the window into the soul of liberalism. These people are NIMBY on steroids, perpetually talking and, when possible, dictating how others live and behave, but always making sure none of their well-intentioned ideas actually affect them.

    3. Low cost housing, just not in my neighborhood.

  15. In the spirit of Patton Oswalt’s bit on Werewolves and Lollipops, instead of building low-income houses Lucas will probably just drop a couple tons of sheetrock and timber in the middle of the land.

    1. Everybody kills Lucas on their first trip.

  16. Because of California’s insane union rules, movie jobs all, down to the guy who walks Jennifer Lopez’ dog, pay obscene wages. Only a liberal would be dumb enough not to want a movie studio built in your town.

    1. Well, yes, union jobs pay scale (which is stupid money). But there’s a ton of non-union productions, which pay crap. A friend is working on getting her hours for the Director’s Guild. Non-union, you’re lucky if they pay at all.

      Although, I doubt Lucasfilm would be running non-union productions, so your larger point about Marin benfiting from the jobs is correct.

      1. but the jobs are from the evil, filthy, putrid private sector so imagine the dilemma for the good leftists in Marin. They want to preserve their exclusive enclave and now, they might have to live near some of those people.

        Liberals caught in the act of being themselves.

        1. but the jobs are from the evil, filthy, putrid private sector…..

          These are the only private sector jobs they will countenance! Show bidness jobs!

      2. Lucas famously left the DGA when they balked at his insistence of the director credit (and all the credits) being at the end of Star Wars. I’m not even sure he’s in the Writer’s Guild.

        1. Prior to the dreaded prequels, Lucas was pretty adamant about keeping costs down and running efficient productions. I recall reading somewhere that after Jaws, Close Encounters, and 1941, Spielberg wanted to prove to his buddy George he could make a film on time and on budget with Raiders.

          1. Ack! Above comments are in response to T.

  17. Yummy tears

  18. I think we can finally forgive him for raping Indie…

    1. No, we can’t. Never forget…

  19. I have a crew installing tile in my house right now. My wife is cooking grilled cheese sandwiches for everyone. The installation and the cooking has all come to a halt. I read this article out loud to them and they are all laughing their asses off.
    Hooray for Lucas. If there is some way he could fuck those liberal dingleberries even harder I cant think of it. Stick it in and break it off George!

    1. I read this article out loud to them and they are all laughing their asses off.

      What program did you use to translate it from English to Spanish so they could understand?

      /racist?

      1. Was the kitchen inspected by the local health department? And did your wife get dietary guidelines from Michelle Obama before making those heart-attack sammiches?

        1. Yall are funny. Not having to deal with that kind of shit is one of the reasons I love living here.

          The crew is 100% gringos; a hard working, independent contractor who owns and runs his shop and crew. Their work is excellent and I am paying him cash.

          Anyone showing up here making an issue out of my kitchen or the contract that he and I freely entered into is not going to like how things turn out.

          1. Terroristic threats.

            1. It’s not a threat if it is a credible promise.

  20. Ice Nine|5.22.12 @ 10:10AM|#

    Now that I no longer live in Marin County I can find that pretty funny and pretty clever of Lucas. And, having been involved in fighting the egregiously code-violating conversion of a house in my neighborhood there into a drug-rehab halfway house, I can tell his neighbors that there is no way they can ever win a fight against Lucas’ manifestly vindictive housing plan, in a Marin County court. Welcome to the ‘hood, suckahs.

    1. I hope he builds some ghetto towers straight out of “The Wire”. He should even import some gangsters from Baltimore to sling dope to rich white kids.

  21. Honestly, George, poor people in Marin County? They do stare so as one passes…

    1. Poor people in Marin County is nothing new. We’ve had them for decades in Marin City – Marin County’s answer to Soweto.

  22. No way these low income folks can afford to shop in Marin County. The development needs to be anchored by a Walmart.

      1. I’m hearing “Marin County Speedway”.

    1. And several 7-11s (or is it Circle K in Cali?)

    2. And perhaps a fairgrounds, for a place to have tractor pulls.

    3. “anchored by a Walmart.”

      TRACTOR PULLZ!

    4. The development needs to be anchored by a Walmart.

      And surrounded by a food desert

  23. Stick it in and break it off George!

    He won’t break it off. If he did, he couldn’t whack off to the awesome explosions juxtaposed with endless scenes of exposition in the prequels, or to Hayden Christensen’s “acting.” “Oh God, look, he’s all wooden! That’s making me wooden, if you know what I mean! Gotta go rub one out!”

  24. This officially completes George Lucas’ transition to supervillain, right? He might as well go murder a preschool now.

    1. murder younglings.

      shit. that’s prequel material. NOOO!

  25. Seriously? Do Dead Kennedys yet? You people are slipping.

    “Moon Over Marin”

    1. Actually, I had the end of ‘Night of the Living Rednecks’ come to mind, slightly altered:
      “And I thought to myself, so this is Marin, huh? TOLERANT Marin…”

  26. I love Star Trek.

    1. “Damn Trekkies are everywhere!”

    2. You and Paul Kinsey, eh? How’s Mother Lakshmi?

  27. showing up the hypocrisies of the local limousine liberals

    I’m sure the local papers there have provided some ideological/rhetorical contortions from the opponents of the low-income housing, to the effect that, “poor people are happier in their native habitat” (aka The Ghetto). I shit you not. I’ve heard this before. Very-wealthy bleeding-hearts are in fact visciously selfish when there’s any hint of their toes being stepped on. This may partly be because so many of them are lawyers.

  28. I thought of another way Lucas could simultaneously do some good and piss off the natives, only in a different place: Go back to his home town of Modesto and sponsor REAL sex ed in the schools, or build a Planned Parenthood facility. Maybe then high schools in Modesto wouldn’t need day-care services due to all the teenage girls getting knocked up…

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.