Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sacramento Has Now Outlawed Free Parking?

Well, let's see. Under SB 375 our all encompassing nanny government in Sacramento has taken away the rights of cities like Sierra Madre to environmental reviews of development projects that are deemed to have something to do with being located within a so-called "transportation corridor." While at the same time removing the legal ability of cities such as ours to control what kind of development they want within their own borders. Actions of a now fully functioning centralized government planning authority, and done in the name of saving the world through the building of lots and lots of generic condominiums and transit villages. Something that can only be completely understood by radically increasing your Kool Aid intake.

California's guiding governmental lights have also claimed the right to tell us what portion of our city property taxes we're allowed to keep, and what part they feel is theirs to use. And then when even that doesn't quite put a dent in their rapacious appetite for our cash, they've reserved for themselves the option of sending us our tax refunds in the form of an IOU. Good luck finding a bank that will cash it.

But now our beloved state leaders have taken their genius for pissing off the citizenry one banana step farther. Apparently our State Senate yesterday passed a law that will financially incentivize cities to do away with free parking. I kid you not. Here is how the L.A. Times puts it:

State lawmakers take aim at free parking - State lawmakers are taking aim at what some of them see as a menace to California's environment: free parking. There is too much of it, the legislators say, and it encourages people to drive instead of taking the bus, walking or riding a bike. All that motoring is contributing to traffic jams and pollution, according to state Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), and on Thursday he won Senate approval of a proposal he hopes will prompt cities and businesses to reduce the availability of free parking.

Ah yes, the old "getting people out of their cars" routine. Courtesy of California State Senators who drive around in late model automobiles paid for by we the taxpayers. This from a 2010 ABC News report on that personal transportation perk they all enjoy:

While the state is wallowing in a $28 billion deficit over the next 18 months, newly-elected lawmakers got new cars. From $32,000 hybrids to $46,000 Cadillacs, their new rides will cost taxpayers an estimated $1.3 million. It is a perk included in lawmakers' six-figure salaries.

Sweet. No smelly old buses for these guys. Apparently in their opinion that world saving option is something only folks like us should have to deal with. Their vital out of office work can only be accomplished in a state funded Coupe De Ville.

There is a fascinating article up on the New Geography site that is getting a lot of comment across the internet. Entitled The War Against Suburbia, it details the growing perceived animosity of the Democratic Party to the interests of suburban America. Which paradoxically (in a political sense) also happens to be where the vast majority of the people in this country live. Here are two paragraphs from this excellent article that illustrate my point:

Suburbanites may not yet be conscious of the anti-suburban stance of the Obama team, but perhaps they can read the body language. Administration officials have also started handing out $300 million stimulus-funded grants to cities that follow "smart growth principles." Grants for cities to adopt "sustainability" oriented development will reward those communities with the proper planning orientation. There is precious little that will benefit suburbanites, such as improved roads or investment in other basic infrastructure.

But ultimately it will be sticks and not carrots that planners hope to use to drive desuburbanization. Perhaps the most significant will be new draconian controls over land use. Administration officials, particularly from the EPA, participated in the drafting of the recent "Moving Cooler" report, which suggested such policies as charging tolls on the Interstate Highway System, charging people to park in front of their homes, and steering some 90 percent of all future development into the most dense portions of already existing urban development.

So in light of these kinds of national initiatives, a mere California State Senator going after free parking for cars would make perfect sense. After all, in our California SB 375 world it is the suburbs that are responsible for the degradation of the environment and greenhouse gases. And while the larger cities are just as responsible if not more, they currently have the political cover in Sacramento necessary to avoid such unkind interest. No, in this case it is small residential towns such as ours that must serve as the whipping boy, and bear the brunt of this unwanted attention coming from the state.

But will there be political repercussions for the political party most closely associated with these kinds of policies? According to this New Geography piece, retribution has already begun.

A year into the Obama administration, America's dominant geography, suburbia, is now in open revolt against an urban-centric regime that many perceive threatens their way of life, values, and economic future. Scott Brown's huge upset victory by 5 percent in Massachusetts, which supported Obama by 26 percentage points in 2008, largely was propelled by a wave of support from middle-income suburbs all around Boston. The contrast with 2008 could not be plainer.

Or, as in-house blogger Zennie62 of the San Francisco Chronicle's "SFGate" site puts it:

It's this - wanting to take away free parking - that's the kind of stupid squeezing of Californians during what is now a jobless recovery that will doom Democrats in November ... The bill reportedly provides financial incentives for cities and counties to stop providing free parking on the street.

Of course, there is one silver lining here. While SB 375 and the issues associated with it might seem kind of difficult and arcane to many citizens, taking away free parking is quite easily understood. Once people catch on to that it could provide a kind of breaking point, and might very well be the event that wakes a lot of people up to some of the other bizarre things that are going on in our state.

No news yet if Joe Mosca or John Buchanan have gotten us any state grant money for the installation of parking meters on the streets of Sierra Madre yet. I'm sure we'll hear all about it if they do.


  1. Bring it home Tattler! SB375 will undo Measure V and the 2-30-13 mandate of Sierra Madreans by making multistory condos compulsory and developers able to sue the City if their projects are turned down. If the local owners of the Howie's Market site can just hold out they'll get their five story with underground parking project approved and be off to the bank with their profits. By the way who are the owners? My guess is the six who didn't run for City Council. Why do I think that? Because Form 700 required of all candidates would have revealed their financial interests in the LLC that owns that bit of real estate investor heaven, that's why. Vote for the candidates for City Council who understand why SB375 and AB32 are so bad for Sierra Madre. Vote for Alcorn, Crawford and Watts!

  2. more nail in the coffin!You are correct to infer that many if not all of "Rights" as tax paying citizens to manage and control our City's affairs and its design for the future has been seriously threatened by an aggresive "Statist"mentality which has infected our State government.The only antidote left to us is to elect candidates who will aggressively confront and challenge these Statist on their own ground.This has been already begun by Mary- Anne and Don.We citizens need to re elect DON and elect Pat Alcorn and John Crawford to the City Council.The future of this community needs to remain in the hands of community leaders with traditional citizen community values.

  3. Sacramento Joe Must GoJanuary 30, 2010 at 6:42 AM

    Oh God that is an awful image. Joe Mosca at some future City Council meeting excitedly informing us that he has just "obtained for our precious jewel of a city the Sacramento funds necessary for compliance with the California state green parking initiative."

    And then he'll look into the camera and show us his teeth.

  4. This is the big threat we all face, and it is rapidly becoming a reality!
    We stand to lose Sierra Madre as we know it.

    Support and vote for CRAWFORD, ALCORN and WATTS!
    They will save Sierra Madre.

    Fire the Liar......Sacramento Joe Mosca.

  5. Everyone in this town who is registered to vote has the obligation to vote against Sacramento Joe Mosca!

    Keep this phony politician from ever driving around in a big fancy car, paid for by us taxpayers!

  6. Altogether on the count of three: Sacto Joe Must Go! Sacto Joe Must Go!

  7. Fortunately it will never go through, cornball stunt by a Long Beach state senator.

  8. JM - Yeah, but the State Senate passed the bill yesterday. And the Assembly is far more into this kind of nutty stuff. Only hope is if arnold doesn't sign it. But since Darrell Steinberg seems to have implanted a microchip in the back of the Austrian Oak's neck, I'd give odds that he'll sign.

  9. The people can take immense pride in the fact that we have kept Sierra Madre the jewel of the San Gabriel Valley.
    We have fought to maintain the distinct character of this town.
    We must continue to preserve this uniqueness and leave this our legacy to future generations.

    Vote for Crawford, Watts and Alcorn.
    Fire the Liar, Sacramento Joe.

  10. First Sacramento wants to tell us how to do our General Plan,
    and then what we need to build here. Now they're telling us
    we need to put in parking meters? Talk about control freaks!!

  11. Another stupid unfunded mandate. Just where in the hell is the money coming from? Did some parking meter company ccontribute to some idiots campaign and now he gets his pay back?

  12. How about if we ask our elected reps to demonstrate their independence by instituting a policy of NOT ACCEPTING ANY "GIFTS" FROM LOBBYISTS? Maybe we can't outlaw lobbying, but we can expect greater integrity from the people who get our votes.

  13. I wish the hypocrisy and greed were party-specific. It ain't.
    The people who get elected and then accept, or vote themselves, those $$$$ perks, are from both main parties. The hypocrisy is just like the hypocrisy of the Metro employees who do not take public transportation.
    We have a deep social ill, and it's bipartisan.

  14. Would either party support candidates that are against lobbyists? As far as the parties are concerned, patronage is where the real action in. The voters are just children they tell comforting bedtime tales.

  15. Fabulous 10:36! We need to institute policies in our CC that are voted NO! No public parking in SM! Our policies in Sierra Madre must be about laws which help only the citizens here in this community. They cannot be about the politician and their needs and special interests.

    We have learned from our mistakes. Keep your friends close. Keep your enemies closer............

  16. Let'see, lost of our ability to control Development,allocation of what portion of city Taxes the city will be allowed to keep,being paid off in IOUs,followed by ways to do away with Free Parking; sounds very "Orwellian"It's time for a "Plan of Correction".Begin with the election of Don,Pat and John to the City Council,then work our way up to Sacramento!

  17. I disagree with the New Geography that Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts was an open revolt against an urban-centric regime. Scott Brown's victory can be squarely attributed to liberal bitterness over Obama and the Democrats supposed "betrayal" of them. This has been echoed by liberal pundits elsewhere, who call Brown's victory a "protest vote".

    This counter-productive bitterness is a real concern, the Left in this Country needs a real "wake-up" call.

  18. Virginia - not sure the right/left thing works in Sierra Madre. Here it
    is about people who care for the community versus those who see
    it as an opportunity to line their pockets with garbage development.
    We leave that other stuff at the city line.

  19. Has nothing to do with Liberal or Conservative.
    Has to do with common sense and common need for people to have their futures in their own hands, not dictated to by some political bums in Sacramento or SCAG or Sierra Madre (dirts).

    Our activist group in Sierra Madre is very diversified. We have one common goal. That being keeping the freedom to guide our own destiny.
    We shun politicians from any side of the aisle who do not share this core belief.


    Fire the Liar, Sacramento Joe

  20. Virginia, we don't do national or partisan politics. But if you wanted to start your own blog I'm sure some readers would follow you there. You seem interesting and informed. In the meantime, we have our hands full with our very own bums, dirts and D.I.C.'s.

  21. Virginia may have differing political views than Old Kentucky, but we share a common desire to protect little Sierra Madre from the greedy developers and politicians!
    Virginia has posted that she enjoys our little town, even though she doesn't reside here.
    We welcome all our Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia friends and those all over the State of Calif.
    We welcome the thoughtful comments of Laurie Barlow, and other experts who care about these crucial issues.

  22. Well, you have a life-long registered Democrat as the campaign chair for a life-long registered Republican: way to go Caroline and Pat! The local elections is Non-partisan and the key word is LOCAL. Be sure to ask anyone on your doorstep if they are a resident of Sierra Madre? If it is Joe, ask him if his pals from Sherman Oaks are on their way over to help?

  23. OK my post on it is here

    but I take a different slant on the issue, bigger than just parking. It's an entire policy coming out of Washington over the last decade that's been shanghaied by Sacramento to create revenue in any way possible. The economy is contracting, and folks won't raise taxes. The only thing left is to *cut* stuff. Or come up with singularly outrageous ways of selling off what used to be the public realm. This discussion of parking as a commodity has been going on in planning circles for over a decade in response to the sprawl issue, and you can only charge for parking in commercial districts. Or use traffic tickets, that's now official fiscal policy too. This state is really bankrupt, and all policies are short-sighted because nobody will be around in the next election cycle to be called to account.

    So all the folks who can afford cars are being asked to pay to make up the difference (did you notice that the vehicle license fees just jumped?) It's the latest "sin tax" so having a car has to be a sin, those gas-guzzling behmoths (produced the by the Detroit that just got bailed out) that cause us to be dependent upon foreign oil and pollute the air, etc. etc.

  24. We need to warn everyone in the SG Valley about SB375 and taking over the transportation system. Our little jewel of a town is one little pebble on the beach. All the towns on the transportation corridor need to join together and oppose this crazy overbuild and look at the empty buildings already an eye sore on the train tracks.

    Sacramento is trying to tell us what to build JUST because they THINK we are going to take a train and let go of our cars? We need to fight this irrational garbage, ALL of Southern CALIFORNIA CITIES. And, did anyone hear that a Car company from China is looking at Southern Calif for a place to build their plant?

    Now, how is that going to go over with the SB375, SCAG and Sacramento Lobbists who think that snapping their fingers is magical?

  25. When was it that drivers in London first had to pay extra depending on how close to the city center they wanted to drive? It was a graded system so that you could drive in to town different distances and pay different fees, more of course the closer you were to the center. Our cities just aren't laid out in any way, shape or form to be able to do it all by public transit. I have lived where it could be done, but it wasn't Southern California.

  26. I grew up in New York and took public transit for the first 30 years of my life. Then I got a lucky break, the company I was working for sent me to California, and it was like I had died and gone to heaven. Believe me, to be able to get into a car and drive wherever you want to do whatever you like is the most incredible freedom imaginable. Whoever these idiots are who think they have the right to tell us how to live our lives have got to be removed from positions of public trust. That kind of stuff went out with the Soviet Union.

  27. @ 3:20

    She used to have her own blog but took it down because she views any differing opinion as a personal insult. Too Bad; she had some really interesting art posts.

  28. I don't deserve trolls insulting me here on the Tattler. I did not take down my blog because I view differing opinion as a personal insult, I took it down because of 2 full attack blogs and 15 Topix attack forums created by trolls, made it impossible for me to continue to have a blog here.

    As to my comment, I wasn't talking about the full issue, I was only differing with the interpretation of the Mass vote as offered by New Geography. Just a part of the article, not the main issue, which I agree with.

    If trolls are allowed to insult me, I will not comment here any more. They will have won the free speech battle, as they have almost completely won already.

    I am on Facebook and anyone here, with the exception of trolls, are welcome to friend me.

  29. Just for added extra insult on the parking issue. Sacramento makes it a policy to raise revenue for parking on the streets, and local municipalities charge in the parking garages. And here's these big malls with acres of free parking, it's their private property (planners have a term for this, "shadow government"). So folks abandon these wonderful walkable downtowns for malls with free parking? Guess who hasn't thought that one through on the "empty downtown" scenario. Small businesses and downtown restaurants won't be able to make it with that kind of competition for the car culture, since most middle class families can't afford the direct expense or the added cost for merchants and businesses who subsidize downtown parking.

    Malls are the worst offenders in sprawl generation and miles traveled, look at any Wal Mart.

    Wonder how Sacramento will tackle these folks?

  30. L Barlow, that is a very interesting viewpoint. Obviously the anti-middle class mania that has swept the elite legislative and lobbying classes of Sacramento has miscalculated badly. But then again, since they never ride public transportation, particularly here in LA County, how could they ever understand the true situation? Maybe the first step to solving the ghg problem would be to relieve them of their taxpayer funded automobiles.

  31. Of course, Mr. Finewine, since owning cars are now a "sin" like alcohol and tobacco.

  32. If you don't like things now, just wait until Jerry Brown is elected governor, oh boy!!

  33. @ Hoge

    You are correct no one deserves to be insulted. My casual observation is that sir eric does a good job of keeping things civil. I don't think anyone commenting on the SMT could get away with insults.

    My two cents.....

  34. The Tattler prides itself on putting the truth out to the folks,reporting the facts.

    Any criticism of elected officials is fair game, long as it doesn't defame someone personally or their family. Someone's physical appearance,their political affiliation, their age, gender or sexual preference is OFF LIMITS here on the Tattler. Any references to their family is also off limits.

    I have been guilty of violating these rules, and been deleted more than once by Sir Eric or his moderators, and well I should have been.


  35. According to Joe, discussing his record in office is a hate crime.

  36. VOTE APRIL 13th


    Vote: John Crawford, Don Watts and Pat Alcorn!

  37. Fan of Old KentuckyJanuary 31, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    Old Kentucky you represent humanity at his/her BEST. You make mistakes and take responsibily and admit it and say you are sorry. Unlike some politicians who continually blame everyoone else and lie and cry and never hold themselves accountable. And, then try to hold public offic acting continuing to tell people that they are victims and even worse use their children to manipulate their votes.

    Once people enter the public, they are subject to all kinds of criticism and need thick skin. Everyone is accountable and especially voted in politicians. Joe has proven he is a theif. He stole our time by lying. He stole our money that we spent by donating to his campaigns and opening our homes, and he continues to lie by not stepping down from the CC because he knows he does not serve the people he only serves himself.

  38. Your avg DIC'er has the soul of a realtor,
    the conscience of a bank president, and
    the chilled heart of the local undertaker.

  39. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  40. Why is it dirts just can't deliver an insult without using foul language?

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