Saturday, December 5, 2009

SCAG President Jon Edney Is Our Compass To The Future

So here we have a gentleman who has entirely embraced the concept that cities should no longer be allowed to make their own planning decisions, rather places such as Sierra Madre should be content to rubberstamp whatever determinations Sacramento makes for them, and then accept responsibility for the consequences. And if it means passively standing aside and allowing your quaint little city to be turned into some generic California condo settlement by your friendly local redevelopers, so be it. I mean, what do you think this is, the 20th century? And that you are living in a democracy?

Besides, you really need not worry yourself about this stuff. Centralized control of development is now all-knowing, and the master planners at SCAG have just the high-density designs your town needs to make you feel, well, a part of all the excitement. These are gentlemen of great skill, led by a man of considerable achievements in the field. His name is Jon Edney, and he is the President of SCAG. So c'mon, let's get on the bus and take a ride.

Now you'd think that a man who could take the reins of a government funded regional development confabulation like SCAG would have racked up an incredible record of success in the planning field. And that only someone who has made a big difference in his own world would even be considered for so important an office. After all, he is presuming to tell every city in the six county Los Angeles area how to run their affairs, so certainly his own bailiwick should be extra special. And Jon Edney, as a two term City Councilman from the sunny border city of El Centro, located just 113 miles east of San Diego, surely must have made a big difference down there.

Which is why I was a bit stunned to read the following information on Yahoo Finance:

El Centro holds position for highest jobless rate - (Wednesday, December 2, 2009) El Centro, Calif, held its position of having the highest unemployment rate among the nation's metropolitan areas, with the jobless rate at 30%, according to government figures released Wednesday. While the figures fell from a revised 32.2% in September, it climbed from 26.8% a year ago and is staggering even against the nation's 10.2% unemployment rate, which is at a 26-year high.

Not exactly the kind of thing you'd expect in a city run by a gentleman who presumes to tell us how we should run ours. If California is going to a centralized planning state, with those powers traditionally held by cities having been confiscated through SB 375 and sent north, you'd think the guy tasked with enforcing this effort here would come from something just a little more distinguished.

So I began looking around for more information. is offering an on-line slide presentation called In Depth: America's 10 Most Impoverished Cities. In it they detail what they believe are the most economically tragic locales in the nation. El Centro comes in at #10. Here are the stats:

#10 - El Centro, Calif.
El Centro, Calif., Metro Area
Population: 153,503
Per Capita Income: $15,840
Income of bottom one-fifth: $9,511
People earning below 50% of poverty line: 7.2%
Food stamp recipients: 17%
Public health care recipients under age 65: 43,426

Rather than an example of California's bright new centrally planned future, El Centro, Councilman Edney's area of responsibility, looks more like a prime candidate for an intervention by the United Nations.

And there is more. KXO Radio News (AM 1230/FM 107) out of El Centro reported this disturbing information during April of last year:

El Centro Cracks Top 20 In U.S. Auto Thefts - El Centro has climbed one spot in new national rankings for the highest rate of auto thefts. This according to new figures recently released by The National Insurance Crime Bureau and shared by Allstate Insurance Company. El Centro is ranked 17th in auto theft rate, up from 18th.

Better be sure to lock your car door and hide the key when visiting California's visionary metropolis of the future.

The California Building Industry Association, an organization whose support for SB 375 was instrumental in getting it enacted by Sacramento, declared the following:

In the third quarter of 2009, El Centro ranked 125th in the nation as the least affordable metro area on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.

Now correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't housing affordability one of the keystone rationales for SCAG's existence? And isn't this one of the considerations they use to justify their remaining on the taxpayer's dime? According to this report from KGTV in San Diego, the housing situation in El Centro is about as bad as it gets.

Housing Crisis Turns El Centro Into Virtual Ghost Town - Two years ago, El Centro was considered the place to buy a new home at an affordable price. Home buyers who were priced out of the san Diego market moved to developments in the El Centro area.

"I came down here and found this lovely neighborhood, and fell in love with it," said Mike Sangi. Sangi moved to El Centro from San Diego two and a half years ago. He has watched foreclosure after foreclosure turn his neighborhood into a ghost town. "The toll that it's been taking is on the property values," said Sangi.

The decreasing values and foreclosures put a huge dent in tax revenues for the city. El Centro has lost close to $14 million over the past two years -- a 50 percent loss that will take time to recover when property values start to increase. "As things get better, it can only increase by two percent under the state constitution. So you can drop 50 percent but it will take 25 years to crawl back up," said El Centro city manager Ruben Duran.

You want to know something? I am not too sure that Jon Edney's expertise and opinions on how we should run our city are something we really need. I'd say his vision might be just a little too apocalyptic for Sierra Madre right now. Can't we just take a pass?


  1. I think that if this guy shows up in town we need to have him arrested for aiding and abetting urban collapse.

  2. Got to hand it to SCAG, they selected the poster boy for FAILURE. When Joe gets booted off the council next April, perhaps he should apply for the SCAG job? He's perfect!

  3. So let's see, there is the organization with the pretty name of
    SCAG, run by a former Soviet planner and the Poverty Prince
    of Imperial County. God help us.

  4. You can judge an organization by the company it keeps!

  5. Ain't that the truth...

  6. Don't forget commissar "Iggy" from the former bankrupted USSR!

  7. Not to change the topic too much, but the new City Council agenda is up and both eminent domain and the blight law (commercial property maintenance) are on the docket. We are rolling now!

  8. SM dodged a bullet - so farDecember 5, 2009 at 10:18 AM

    This is a perfect match.
    Jon Edney is actually the best representative that SCAG could have.
    His town is spiraling downward at an alarming rate.
    SCAG is spiraling downward at an alarming rate.
    The Development/Realty consortium is in a hard process of dying, having to re-form and renew itself to come alive again in changed circumstances.
    Edney's giving instructions to the rest of us is such hypocrisy that it just might be the tipping point.
    He's a perfect symbol.

  9. Those virtual ghost towns are all across the country, but especially in California and Florida. There are all kinds of families watching everyone lose their homes around them, hanging on to their isolated houses in bankrupt neighborhoods. And the neighborhoods, the thrown-together-so-I-can-make-a killing neighborhoods, usually have ridiculous names: New Tradition Estates, Old Tradition Estates, Peach Tree Manors, One Carter Estates, Magnolia Gate Neighbors (that one is really from El Centro).
    It's a hard fact that all of that disgusting greed hurt so many people who were just trying to have a place to live.

  10. I wonder what they would have called the condo complexes downtown if Measure V hadn't staked them? Mountain Views Manors? Baldwin Arms? Wistaria Wonderwalls? Names like that are trite and lifeless.

  11. Anon @ 10:31 - Edney is a bigtime real estate guy down there. What are the odds he had a hand in those places? 90%? 100%?

  12. John Buchanan's dream, seconded with a goofy grin by Joe Mosca:
    The Howies site would be Ye Old Baldwinian, 3 stories mixed use plus underground parking (2?3? levels) for the 72 condos on the second & third stories.
    The SNF would be Fred's Boulevard Boxes, 55 condos, mixed use, entrance and exit for all traffic immediately across the street from the Fire/Ambulance, but "no significant" impact on the corner of Lima & the Blvd. (been there lately in the rush hours?)
    And Montecito? Decimated.
    What a relief that the council will discuss eminent domain!!!

  13. So how will Mosca handle eminent domain? He'll say "We'll never use it, but maybe we should have it just in case" Or "Thank you all for being here and listening and certainly this is near to the heart of the community and thank you so much. That's what I have to say" Or "I agree with my colleague Councilman Buchanan, and what did you say Councilman Buchanan?" This will be a tough exercise for him in being on all sides of an issue, but we know for sure he'll say
    Thank you all

  14. Special thanks and a shout out to the civic minded residents of Sierra Madre for being such an inspiration to myself and others as we begin to confront some of the same issues you good people have been dealing with in your lovely town.

    You have had some great successes and will have more to celebrate in future I am sure. We are taking heed of your efforts and hope to do as well.

    Always had a good feeling for Sierra Madre ever since some friends and I rented that big house that used to be at Baldwin and Foothill one winter. It was a wonderful area then and is now.

    Congrats, and thanks again.

  15. Not a fan - Joe will talk to every side of the issue, try to appear that he is taking the side of everyone, yet doing it in such a way that he really will have said nothing of substance at all. Followed by a "we're on the same page here," and then something about "values that are so near and dear to our hearts."

    In other words, his usual nonsense.

  16. I'm not so sure Bad Karma.
    Maybe he'll be lobbied by interested parties during his office hours, and be turned to protect the pro-eminent domain side, you know, on principle. It'll be interesting to watch which way he wiggles on this one.

  17. If he says he's for it, he's telling the truth. And if he says
    he's against it? Well, think of the fun we'll have discussing
    his endless capacity for fibbing.

  18. Clarification please. On the 2% restriction of raising property valuations a year, LA County wasted no time in bringing valuations almost up to the highest level previously designated after the last real estate downturn. There was no 2% annual cap. I hope I am wrong, but thats what I remember.

  19. Damn ,3:26 I sure hope your wrong too, but you're probably not, unless it's worse than you think!

    Taxes in California are outrageous.

  20. Taxes in California are outrageous and the State's going broke.

    "This does not compute", says Spock

    "Find the gol-darn leak", says the plumber

    "Whoops, move the bucket, dear Liza", says the County

  21. Lie after lie so no one knows what/who to believeDecember 5, 2009 at 5:06 PM

    How can we publically expose Edney? How do we let the rest of California realize the dangers of SB375 so we can be done with this horiffic lie?

  22. You mean that he is a sleazy backwater real estate hustler who sees SB 375 for what it is, a tool to open up until now inaccessible quality towns to El Centro style garbage development? Just keep telling as many people as you can. There are the beginnings of a prairie fire revolt against this crap. A lot of towns are starting to sense that the RHNA numbers coming down in support of SB 375 are going to be insane. Join the chorus and help make it as loud as you can.

  23. Vote for Meg Whitman. She's on our side on this one. Jerry Brown is an SB 375 guy right down to his last follicles.

  24. Pack yer' bags Ma, we're movin' to Canada!December 5, 2009 at 5:35 PM

    Meg Whitman? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE JOKING! As soon as governances are ran as businesses, we are doomed, for sure. Browns a nut bag to!!

  25. That is the problem. It is run like a business now. The legislature is the stock market and we're the commodity.

  26. Jerry Brown is supposedly getting some questions about his fundraising practices. A lot of his cash is coming from casinos, which are businesses his office is supposed to be regulating.

  27. They're all crooks and bums, but whoever is NOT for SB375 gets my vote.
    And you people in Sierra Madre had better throw out Joe Mosca, he's a dyed in the wool SCAGGIE.

  28. I wouldn't hire this guy to cut my lawn.

  29. That bobblehead might make a good lawn jocket, though. Just put a ring in his hand and wiggle his head.