SCAG, as you know, is the organization that saddled Sierra Madre with arbitrary and unreasonable RHNA numbers. Which has now led to the identifying of homes here as candidates for possible eminent domain seizure and destruction should the statute be revived, with the properties affected then being used as sites for multi-family high-density low income housing.
Now I looked through quite a few of the articles dealing with SCAG's many problems, and then picked out what I thought were the most enlightening. Some of these I can provide you with links as they were found on Google. Others I discovered on my News Server and cannot provide you with links because the publications involved only share their wisdom for a price. If you do wish to check them out you'll need to sign up for something called NewsLibrary. It'll cost you about $8 bucks a month. I find it to be well worth the price.
The first article comes from the Los Angeles Times, and it is called "SCAG a 'High Risk' Funds Recipient, Auditor's Report. Date it ran was May 02, 2002. It deals with SCAG's inability to properly deal with taxpayer money.
"The Southern California Assn. of Governments, the regional planning agency for a vast, six-county area with 17 million residents, has been designated a 'high-risk' recipient of state and federal funds after government auditors found a history of financial and other internal problems ... Documents obtained under the California Public Relations Act show Caltrans officials assigned the high-risk rating in December and reaffirmed it in February after a team of auditors examined the association's use of state and federal grants during the years 1998 to 2000 ... The audit, finished in June of last year, found 'material weaknesses' in the associations accounting system, purchasing processes and internal controls ... Auditors also suggested that the agency may have used state and federal grants for purposes other than those for which they were intended."
Interesting. The organization that believes it has the right to intrude into the affairs of anybody it wishes seems to have a lot of trouble minding its own business.
From my NewsLibrary account, and therefore unlinked, comes this report from The Press-Enterprise out of Riverside. The article is titled "Housing Goals Challenged: Area counties, cities, file suit over units required." The publication date is February 6, 2001.
"Frustrations over ambitious housing goals and the steps used to establish them have prompted both Inland counties and four cities to sue the state and a regional planning organization ... Riverside and San Bernardino counties banded together in filing a lawsuit last week with the cities of Moreno Valley, Hemet, Victorville and Chino Hills. The lawsuit targets the state Department of Housing and Community Development and the Southern California Association of Governments ... 'Some of the involved communities said "Enough is enough." This is not right,' said Mark L. Huebsch, part of a team of Newport Beach attorneys who filed the lawsuit in Riverside County Superior Court."
This next article, also from my NewsLibrary account, deals with SCAG's incompetence. The paper was the Daily Breeze out of Torrance. The article is entitled, "El Toro airport draws fire." The run date was May 21, 2001.
"A coalition of Orange County cities Friday sued a regional planning agency that favors building an international airport in El Toro and limiting the future role of LAX, claiming the agency violated state environmental laws ... The lawsuit was filed by the El Toro Reuse Planning Authority, which opposes plans for an airport at the former Marine Corps Air Station. The suit claims the Southern California Association of Governments understated the traffic, noise and pollution effects of building a 30 million annual passenger airport there."
Here have an article from the Orange County Register dealing with the City of Irvine's attempt to beat back some truly bizarre RHNA numbers SCAG saddled them with. The article is called "Irvine sues agency over housing mandate."
"City officials have filed suit in an effort to overturn a state mandate requiring Irvine to add 35,660 housing units in the next seven years ... The mandate, handed down earlier this month by the Southern California Association of Governments, would also require that 21,282 of the new units be deemed 'affordable' for moderate, low-income and very low-income households ... Mark Asturias, housing manager for the City of Irvine, said the requirement 'burdens Irvine with a mandate that is unfair, unreasonable, unattainable and inequitable."
Irvine has a population of 190,000 people. Forcing 35,660 "housing units" into that town could have almost doubled its population.
On City Watch, described here as being "a Los Angeles website/blog for grassroots neighborhood councils and groups to provide input for City and regional issues," an interesting article called "SCAG -- Problem-Solver or Obstacle," is to be found.
"Quote of the Month: 'I don't see any connection between SCAG and the real world.' Councilman Bill Rosendahl on SCAG's plans for 2008. We're in agreement with that ... SCAG (Southern California Association of Governments) is an agency that sets housing allocations and transportation policies that cities must meet and it's living in a different world. The agency is currently being sued by the City of Palmdale because the City cannot meet SCAG's 17,910 housing requirement for numerous practical reasons ... According to SCAG, over 40 percent of this housing must be low and very low income families. This allocation may require Palmdale to rezone some undeveloped property in Palmdale to high-density multi-family residential to comply with SCAG's demands."
The blog comments attached to this City Watch article are pretty amusing. You should check them out.
If you think we have it bad, wait'll you read what SCAG attempted to do to the entire Counties of Riverside and San Bernardino! Earlier I noted the lawsuit, but what were the events leading up to it? This from the April 6, 2000 edition of the Press-Enterprise. The article is called "Home goals upheld: County loses bid to lower target."
"Officials from a handful of cities and the governments of Riverside and San bernardino counties went to Los Angeles on Wednesday to argue against new housing planning goals they consider too high ... The proposed new goals would have San Bernardino County planning for more than 41,000 new homes in the unincorporated areas by 2005. That number assumes more than 8,000 units per year could be built in the unincorporated areas near Chino, Fontana and Rialto; in Bloomington; Muscoy; and throughout the county ... Jurisdictions in Riverside County would have to designate places for 99,350 more housing units by 2005."
(Aren't those the two counties that have seen among the biggest housing value busts in the last year or so? Looks like all that SCAG housing dumped out there wasn't such a good idea after all.)
So how did the good people of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties react to having these numbers apparently crammed down their throats? The only logical thing they could. They began plans to quit SCAG. From the July 25, 2002 edition of San Bernardino's daily paper The Sun, an article entitled "Inland group: SCAG's a drag. Breaking away from Southland agency is urged," put it down this way:
"San Bernardino and Riverside counties should withdraw from the governmental agency responsible for housing and transportation planning in Southern California, an Inland Empire business group says .. The Inland Empire Economic Partnership believes decisions made by the Southern California Association of Governments affecting land development and transportation have benefitted the coastal counties at the expense of the Inland Empire's economic prosperity and quality of life ... 'We're sick and tired of the Inland Empire being dumped on by the so-called regional organizations that don't have a clue as to what's going on out here,' Partnership Chairman George Reyes said Thursday."
So you see? It isn't just Sierra Madre that has trouble with SCAG. They're a problem everywhere. Nothing more than little bureaucrats who think they can play God. We need to get out of SCAG.