City officials are pleased to see the recent news about the County of Marin’s Restrictive Covenant Project and are in full support of its aim to inform and educate Marin County residents of the history and significance of intentionally discriminatory government housing policies. Homeowners can record a Restrictive Covenant Modification document with the Assessor-Recorder’s office as a way to protest the now illegal offensive language. The City also supports the program’s focus on sharing personal stories to create a narrative history of our County, and the creation of a mapping tool to visually represent Marin’s past practices of redlining.
In Marin County, the County’s Assessor’s Office has identified more than 49,000 residences that were constructed before 1970 that may have race or ethnicity-restrictive covenants in property deeds. Civil rights, fair housing and employment legislation have since prohibited housing discrimination, but the covenants remain, even though they are now illegal and unenforceable, and the legacy of racial segregation in our communities is its lasting impact.
“We have been very interested in this topic since June of last year,” Mayor John McCauley said. “During a 5-hour community meeting discussing issues of racial equity, Council raised the restrictive covenant issue and directed staff to examine how we could partner with the County to educate our community about our local history of discriminatory housing and to make the process to refute the covenants less burdensome.”
Over the past few months, as a part of the City’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Work Plan, City staff reached out to County staff to offer support and assistance with the County originated program.
“We recognize that government agencies have played a role in the creation of racial inequities, especially around land use and housing,” City Manager Alan Piombo said, “Now it is time to have thoughtful conversations about our history and work together to find solutions.”
City officials applaud the action by the County and stand ready to assist with marketing and outreach to spread the word about this important program.