And right there in the middle of the article is this rather astonishing confession from the former Soviet planner now serving as supreme leader of SCAG, Hasan Ikhrata:
"I have yet to see a person in the whole state to show me that RHNA has led to one single affordable house anywhere," Ikhrata told a gathering of local policy makers at a SCAG meeting in May. "I mean that."
Now this is a bit disheartening. Is Mr. Ikhrata suggesting that the $50,000 Sierra Madre is spending on a consultant to help us deal with our RHNA issues is just wasted money? And what about similar expenditures in other cities? City governments hoping to get out from under the onerous burden of having to build low income housing where the voters not only don't want it, but have absolutely no place to put it as well? I mean, we're talking millions of tax dollars being spent regionally on consultants in hopes of preventing something that, according to SCAG's headman, the very guy in charge of cooking up these RHNA numbers, never happens!
Not to mention the huge amount of time being spent by City Hall employees wrestling with these issues. Apparently their time would be just as productively spent doing crossword puzzles or giving each other pedicures.
And Ikhrata had more to say. Apparently there is a viewpoint he favors that is not being properly emphasized here.
But the failure of the state to pressure cities to develop below-market housing has effectively resulted in some poorer cities developing their own programs, while richer cities ignore the issue altogether, said Hasan Ikhrata, the executive director of Southern California Association of Governments, the agency that issues the number of local homes that should be built every few years.
There you go, its all the fault of those "richer cities." Worse than kulaks they are. And nothing a couple decades in Siberia wouldn't cure.
And then there is this exchange:
Janice Hahn, Los Angeles City Council: "L.A. is never going to meet its RHNA goal. Because where do you build all these houses? Except for creating more density in certain areas, which I think is hard on our infrastructure."
Hasan Ikhrata, SCAG: "Don't bring 'I'm built out, I don't have any other places to do it.' That doesn't fly. Why? Because you're still growing. Unless you have zero growth, but every city is still growing."
Hmm, let's see. According to the U.S. Census guys Sierra Madre's population in 2000 was 10,578. The 1970 figure was 12,140. In 1980 the number was 10,837, and in 1990 it was 10,762. Which I guess means we fit right in with SCAG Rule #1. That being population is always going up, even when it is actually going down.
So does this mean we're off the imaginary RHNA hook?