Tuesday, July 14, 2009

California Attorney General Jerry Brown Goes After A "Measure V" Style Law

Apparently the State of California is now at war with its small cities. They want to take away our property tax money to make up for shortages caused by their out of control spending, strip us of our CEQA review rights so their patrons can cram as much new development into our cities as they please without any regard to the environmental impact, while demanding to tell us how we need to do our General Plans and blueprint for new development.

It is getting to the point where the only reason for having towns any more is so that there is a name to put on the outside of Post Offices.

And now the highest legal authority in Sacramento (outside of the Adonis of the Alps, of course), has picked up the governmental axe and is personally going after a small city that has dared to trifle with the central planning authority of the all-mighty state. You can only wonder if the tanks are not all that far behind.

This from a "CBS News 5"website article from somewhere up North:

State Attorney General Brown Sues Pleasanton Over Housing Cap

Pleasanton - State Attorney General Jerry Brown announced Wednesday he is joining a lawsuit that contends the city of Pleasanton should remove a limit on new housing in the city that he called "draconian and illegal." ... The motion, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, would force Pleasanton to life Measure GG, a 1996 measure approved by voters that limits the number of total housing units in the city at 29,000 ... The state's regional housing needs assessment (Ed: RHNA #s) requires Pleasanton to provide 3,277 additional houses, apartments or condominiums by 2014, but the cap only allows for 2,000 more to be built, according to the attorney general's office."

Now far be it from me to suggest that Jerry Brown is not among the most brilliant of men to ever grace the political firmament of this benighted state, but tell me if you don't detect a bit of a crises of logic in these next two statements from our esteemed Attorney General:

"Pleasanton's draconian and illegal limit on new housing forces people to commute long distances, adding to bumper to bumper traffic along highways 580 and 680 and increasing dangerous air pollution."

And now this:

"It's time for Pleasanton to balance its housing and its jobs and take full advantage of its underutilized land and proximity to BART."

So the people who commute to their jobs in Pleasanton have the option of using their automobiles or taking the BART commuter train. And despite the fact that the freeway trip can take up to two hours in some pretty awful traffic, those working in Pleasanton prefer their car to the train. And because Sacramento cannot convince people to leave their cars home and take that train, Pleasonton is now is to be sued into submission and plan for more housing than the people living there feel is appropriate to their town?

Of course, the chop logic being applied here is that if people can find cheap places to live in Pleasanton, they will work in Pleasanton and not commute somewhere else. And, of course, do that commuting in their cars since they hate that train the taxpayers pay so much to keep rolling.

Now if I lived and worked in Oakland, and realized that I could now afford to live in Pleasanton, wouldn't I want to raise my kids there and just commute back to Oakland every day? I would, and in a heartbeat. Can't Pleasanton be a place to commute from as it is a place to commute to? Of course it can. There is no guarantee that cramming more buildings into a city will diminish traffic. Just like there is no guarantee that building high density housing will cut greenhouse gas emissions. Quite the contrary according to some experts.

And besides, who is to say that once developers are given the opportunity to build in Pleasanton they won't charge the going market rate for their creations, thus pricing them beyond the reach of the very people used to justify the scrapping of Measure GG? Certainly wouldn't be the first time something like that happened.

I'm not sure Jerry has quite reasoned these particular koans out yet. Then again, by the time the effects of his efforts are felt in Pleasanton, the peripatetic Attorney General Moonbeam will be off exploring some new interests. If so, hopefully on a cosmic plane far and away from Sacramento.

The more Sacramento attempts to micromanage the affairs of every town and village in the state, the worse things become. And considering the wretched mess they've made of just about everything they've touched, who are they to be telling us how to conduct our business in the first place? 

After all, we're not the ones driving California off a cliff. 


  1. All the more reason to form a coalition with other small cities and fight them.
    Any attorneys out there who think they(Sacramento) might be violating our constitutional rights?
    These bureaucrats are going to use this "man made" global warming issue as an excuse to take complete control of our lives.

  2. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31901354/ns/us_news-the_new_york_times/

    What if this problem starts showing up in one of the transit village "ant colonies"?

    I'm sick of Sacramento's plan to herd us all into this "public housing". It's very scary!

  3. Sacramento needs to take a year off.

  4. I think Sacramento doesn't really give a rats...whiskers about anything but putting builders to work. If the Pols want to impress me they should practice what they preach. On the day the "Governator" puts up a slum..errr tennament..errr Low income housing unit right next to his gated, secure, exclusive estate. Also, will someone buy Jerry Brown a fishing pole, set of clubs, & a gold watch and send him on his merry way.
    Love, Local Yokel

  5. Sacramento is like this enormous fat blob of a thing that, after having devoured everything in its own cave, is now waddling loose about the countryside eating everything else.

  6. Sierra Madre just has to keep trying and be more clever.
    Thank God we have Mayor MacGillivray, Kurt Zimmerman and Don Watts! They will do their best to protect us.

  7. Sir Eric, what a great koan link, and we surely need them to help us understand what cannot be understood - the willful destruction of our towns by the political leaders of our state.

  8. Ah Curly, you bring to mind Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago. There's a horrific description of the Soviet system as eating everything before it, and then turning to eat itself.
    Heaven help us if it has truly come to that.

  9. SM dodged a bullet - so farJuly 14, 2009 at 11:50 AM

    From previous articles & comments, it seems to be pretty well established that the building out of places causes much more harm than good, and that focusing on vehicles should really come after we stop the building wastes, or did I misunderstand? Isn't the vehicle input the part of the problem society has made some progress with, hybrids & all?

  10. BrentWood, Holmby Hills and other places with huge lots seems like a good place to increase density. Do you really need 12,000 square foot houses on 4 acre lots? fat chance that would happen.........

  11. Thought I saw in the news lately that the poor are leaving the state at greater rates than the rich. Looks like the RHNA 3,277 new units jammed down Pleasanton's throat will be occupied by the remaining rich. That is if Brown prevails in the law suit he joined.
    Hey Tattler, he joined with whom? Who kicked off the lawsuit to begin with?
    This is it, right, the big threat - submit to the RHNA #s or we will sue you.

  12. Sam@ 11:26, another great work of literature on governments devouring themselves is Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon. Grim, grim telling of how the Russian revolution lost all its purpose and soul and turned into the nightmare it became.

  13. Our concern is in the transfer of legislative power to a centralized authority where bureaucrats who do not represent the wishes of the people in determining our future.

  14. There's always 1984, and Animal Farm. Orwell was trying to warn the world. We teach those books in our schools, so all is not lost.

  15. Before anybody on the Right or the Left starts frothing at the mouth, this is not anti-Democratic or anti-Republican. It is anti-infringement on the rights of American citizens to decide the degree to which they want their communities to grow.
    It is common sense that Measures like GG in Pleasenton and Measure V in Sierra Madre are the people's voice, vote and decision about their own house.

  16. 12:09 what a great idea. 50 dwelling untis per acre in Beverly Hills. 50 dwelling units per acre in Bel Air. That would help.
    What are the RHNA numbers for some of the swankier areas, anyone know?

  17. Beverly Hills is already pretty dense with homes and apartments....when's the last time you tried to drive through that town?
    The whole west side is very over crowded and over built.
    Pols like Jerry Brown want to make all cities over populated and over built.

  18. add to 12:44

    Pols like John Buchanan and Joe Mosca want to do the same.

  19. OK Kent, I'll give you that, but I'd still like to see the numbers. How about Pacific Palisades? Brentwood? The point is, how about the places where acres are taken up for decoration - not living space. I think that it's all well & good that those exist - but if the state is going to force crammed living conditions on everybody, let's not forget all those unused plots.

  20. Who's moving out of California?
    Public Policy Institute report:

  21. Hey Anon at 12:38

    Beverly Hill got hit to the tune of 111 High, 71, Moderate, 77 low and 178 very low.

    Palos Verder Estates 19 High, 12 Moderte, 13 Low, 28 Very Low.

    Here is the link. Look and feel sick.

    Take some time to check out the entire SCAG site.

  22. Aren't we going to get out of SCAG?
    August 11th?
    Sure hope so.

  23. I'm with you Escobar, but getting out of SCAG isn't getting out of RHNA numbers. It's a start though.
    The whole state has to tell Sacramento to take their RHNA numbers and,,,,mindful of the Tattler poilicies, I'll just let you finsih that sentence as you like.

  24. Pasta, I agree it's pretty dreadful to look at.
    San Marino is interesting.
    7/ 4 /5 /10
    Who is their advocate, and does that person or firm want another client???

  25. Sir Eric, your pointing out of Brown's failed logic is right-on and hysterical (and disturbing). I used to live in San Diego where the South 5/15 freeways were jammed in the mornings with commuters entering downtown. The voters fell for a ballot initiative to put tons of high rise condos downtown... because everyone who would work downtown would move downtown, right? What happened 10 years later? The south 5/15 are as bad as they ever were.. and the north 5/15 are bad now too. Try getting around downtown, or into a coastal community on the weekend.. packed traffic.

  26. Day, I have been told San Marino has crafted their General Plan in a very special way. Our GP Committee will need to take a hard look at the San Marino plan.

  27. True Freedom,
    there is an insidious plan behind Brown's actions. You know what it is, and so do all the Tattler posters.
    We need to all get together and make sure it fails.
    I used to live in San Diego County. I know very well what you speak of.
    The people just migrated inland because most people will not live in "ant colony" type ghettos.

  28. I also used to live in San Diego and watched the Los Angelization of that City over a 15 year period. What was once one of the most lovely places to live became yet another nightmare scenario. San Diego is now used as an example by planning associations and conferences around the world as how NOT to plan a City.

  29. True Freedom, glad to be of service.

  30. Thank you for these articles, Sir Eric.
    Someone gave me your web address, and I've spent the last week reading.
    It's nice to be informed by a media source who tells us the truth.
    Best wishes to you,

    Sierra Madre

  31. JL, welcome to the Tattler.
    As I see you are a local, come on down to city hall in a minute for the council meeting, or turn on channel 3.

  32. California, the world's 6th largest economy with a government on a par with Paraguay. Isn't there just some way that we can just ignore it?