Here is the quote:
"Another challenge that we will not shrink from is the obligation to continue planning for our future. Through planning, we will ensure the preservation of our community. And, planning for our community and working with and through our community partners will ensure that we and our children will continue to live in a community, and a region, that has a high quality of life."
One of the claims Mosca made during his run for reelection is that it is he who represents the authentic slow growth persuasion in Sierra Madre. Advocating a slow growth position being, of course, necessary in a town where most of the people living here do so to get away from what has happened to the rest of Los Angeles County. Slow growth meaning, for many, being very different from those other places. And let's face it, any candidate who would actually come out and say that they are in favor of SB 375 style transit oriented and mixed use development here would not get very many votes.
If you do desire those sorts of things for Sierra Madre, in order to make them happen you'd have to say you are against them. Otherwise you will never find yourself in a position to help create what you actually want. And the politically expedient way to do this is make a promise to the voters that you will do all you can to keep things the same. All the while knowing that if things go your way you'll never actually keep it.
What we need be on the lookout for now is exactly when Mosca will break his go slow on development promise for the second time. Most of us are, of course, keenly aware of the first time Joe broke such a pledge. As are many other people judging by the amount of unique views the video of him doing so has received on the Neuroblast site. That he will break it again can be of little doubt. But how exactly will he do the deed? And what will be his rationale for doing so? Based on the paragraph quoted above we can now begin to speculate about this.
If you are an elected official who ran on a slow growth platform, and actually intended to keep that promise, why would you be putting the planning process at the core of your mission statement? Why would you say that it is the planning process that ensures preservation, when often the two concepts are located at opposite ends of the spectrum? Planning for what? Change requires planning, but how exactly do you plan for not changing? What would be the purpose in that? Unless, of course, what you are planning for is to keep things the same. Which should be a simple process, and is what most of the people who voted for Mosca probably believe they are going to get.
Yet here Mosca says that he is somehow obligated to "continue planning for the future." And what is the officially sanctioned version of the future in today's California? From what we can see coming out of Sacramento lately, it is the rapid urbanization of any suburbs immediately surrounding core city centers like Los Angeles, predicated on a previously approved style of high density development designed to compliment recently created mass transportation corridors such as the Gold Line. The planning for these things being very much at the heart of SB 375, also known as the anti-sprawl bill.
Just in case you are not aware, communities made up of predominantly single family houses, which is the predominant lifestyle here in Sierra Madre, are referred to as "suburban sprawl" by those who support Sacramento's vision on this issue. It is a pejorative term designed to help create the perception that what we have here is inferior and even destructive. The whole quaint foothill village thing being lost on them, I guess.
Mosca is, of course, a dedicated advocate for SB 375. And, as a member of the Community, Economic, and Human Development (CEHD) committee of SCAG, is closely engaged in a state and regional planning process specifically designed to put an end to what is referred to there as suburban sprawl.
If Joe was planning to keep this town from sliding into that abyss, then perhaps his philosophy wouldn't seem quite so alien to the desires of those living in this town. But I am afraid that might not be the case. By "planning" he could very well be talking about the Sacramento mandated and regionally processed approach to developing transportation oriented communities. Closely interlinked cities redeveloped to reflect the newly perceived need for convincing people to get out of their cars and onto public transportation as the primary way to get to work. Work that, in a society where cars would become an exception rather than the rule, will necessarily be closely situated to where each of us live.
The notion of exclusively residential communities linked to distant urban work areas by private transportation is, in this viewpoint, something that needs to be put behind us. And in order to fold Sierra Madre into that concept you will not only need to build dense multi-family units throughout our downtown, you will also have to attract industry so that many of the people moving here will not just live locally, but work locally as well. Rather than people commuting from town to work in the city every day, in an SB 375 world you'll live and work in the same area.
Now in the second part of his statement Mosca claims that in order to ensure the continuance of prosperity for our town we will have to rely upon "community partners" to do so. This, I believe, is also at the heart of his philosophy on how to govern Sierra Madre. We are no longer to be an independent community that only relies upon itself to survive as a residential town. Rather we are to become part of an overall regional layout that will include many partner communities that will not only share planning and transportation requirements, but also property and sales taxes as well. The fiscalization of area tax resources also being a part of the process advocated by many at SCAG, an organization Joe seems likely to identify as one of our primary community partners.
If all of this sounds like a radical concept in centrally conceived and regionally implemented urban social planning, that is exactly what it is. No other state in the U.S. has gone nearly as far as California has in this regard. Thanks to SB 375 we are the only state out of 50 whose government has declared open war on transportation corridor suburban communities. All based on the disingenuously conceived notion that we will somehow be able to build our way out of global warming.
And it could very well be that what Sierra Madre has in its new Mayor is someone who supports all of this. I suspect we will be able to confirm that fairly soon.