George Lucas photo
Lucille Ball 'Mame' photo
In the film version of Mame — not the fabulous Rosalind Russell version, Auntie Mame, but the disastrous Lucille Ball Mame — the character of Mame visits the Upson Downs, the parents of her nephew, Patrick’s, girlfriend, Gloria, and finds them to be snobbish and anti-Semitic and just hateful. Mame is asked to help pay for a piece of property next door to Upson Downs so that Patrick and Gloria could live there, as opposed to "the wrong kind of people."
At the end of the film, however, a busload of other unwed pregnant women arrives at the property and Mame reveals to the Upson Downs that she bought the property next door so she could build the Beauregarde Burnside Memorial Home For Single Mothers.
Well, in one way, George Lucas is Auntie Mame.
George Lucas has pledged to give away half of his vast fortune when he dies, but this isn’t about that.
He has also, though, already handed over nearly all of the billions of dollars he made when he sold the rights to Star Wars to Disney, but this isn’t about that either.
See, George Lucas spent years unsuccessfully trying to expand his production company’s studio in Marin County, California, but his oh-so-rich neighbors fought back against the idea of a film studio in their backyards. So, he dropped the expansion plans, and came up with a better idea: affordable housing.
Now, a la Mame, Lucas will take the land he owns next door to those rich bitches and build an entire neighborhood of affordable housing and pay for it himself:
“We’ve got enough millionaires here. What we need is some houses for regular working people.”
The Lucas Plan would see hundreds of lower-middle class families living right next door to Marin County’s version of the Upson Downs. The 224-unit affordable housing complex would go on Grady Ranch, where Lucas’ once-planned studio expansion would have been. This new plan would develop some 52-acres including “workforce and senior residences, as well as a community center, pool and an orchard,” and income requirements will be set; future homeowners will need to earn less than 80% of the area’s median income, which in Marin County is less than $90,839.
Lucas is also considering setting aside certain houses for teachers and local employees who are particularly vulnerable to housing costs but vital to any community.
Naturally, the Upson Downs of Marin County have not taken the news well as they seem to suggest that their McMansions and fancy cars entitle them to be separated as far as possible from the lower classes. When Lucas first announced his plan, both he and Marin County officials were inundated with hate mail from residents suggesting allowing poor people to live in the county will ruin it for everyone:
“We got letters saying, ‘You guys are going to get what you deserve. You’re going to bring drug dealers, all this crime and lowlife in here.’” — Carl Fricke, board member of the Lucas Valley Estates Homeowners Association
And there are some neighbors who say this is just George Lucas exacting revenge because they bested him at the plan for expanding his studio property; Lucas denies this, of course, but wouldn’t it just be the sweetest revenge ever?
Now all they need do is to build an R2D2 Memorial Home For Single Mothers.