Part of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s story is that she needed to add a separate entrance to a portion of her Palo Alto home due to the trauma that she suffered as a rape victim. This would let her escape from the $3 million ($5 million) Eichler-style home via one additional door (the typical Eichler blueprint has at least three doors; see eichlersocal.com for floorplans). As it happens, she testified that the escape door is currently being used by a rent-paying Google employee, so she can escape through this door now only by stepping over cases of Red Bull and stacks of diversity and bias training materials.
(Testimony and news coverage on this subject is confusing. She wanted an escape door from her bedroom, but now that bedroom is the very one that is rented out for cash? Or the rent-paying Googlers enter and exit through Dr. Ford’s personal bedroom before proceeding to some other bedroom?)
Wealthy advocates of affordable housing tend to be passionate about preventing the construction of rentable apartments, with separate entrances, within neighborhoods zoned for single-family homes. But they’re even more passionate about helping female victims of sexual assault. Thus for any homeowner who identifies as female, maybe it is a winning strategy to “pull a Blasey Ford” and go in asking that a project be approved because it is necessary to reduce a victim’s PTSD symptoms following a never-reported rape?
Readers: What do you think? Has Dr. Ford shown a way to streamline Americans’ trip through the Permit Raj?
[My own experience with the Permit Raj began in Cambridge some years ago. A black couple came in asking for permission to add a cover over a side entrance to their house. PTSD following a 1980s rape was not mentioned, but rather a desire to be able to put down grocery bags protected from the rain, get out keys, and open the door. They had a simple drawing from a contractor. Their proposal was rejected. A white developer came in with a proposal to build a monstrosity of a condo building in violation of all of the zoning square footage rules. The white architect wowed the all-white volunteer committee with renderings and discussion of the crushed stone driveway. The committee members softly murmured “crushed stone driveway” and approved the out-of-scale eyesore.]