Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Amazing Things You Might Not Have Expected From SB 375

The Great Greenwash Ogre's greatest asset is SB 375. It permits all kinds of planner critters, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and ambitious City Council types, to claim with a straight face that what they are really up to is saving the world. Rather than just pleasing their employers, building careers, and helping make money for their political patrons and development invested campaign contributors.

And when all of these sorts of folks get together to talk about their vision of how your life will be in the future, there are two things that they seem to care about the most. Getting you out of your single family home and into high-density mass housing, and making sure that you are no longer able to drive a car. Or if you do, making the experience of driving that car as miserable as humanly possible.

Now a week or two back something known as the SB 375 Regional Targets Advisory Committee (RTAC in acronymic) gathered unto itself a whole wide range of little green dudes for a chat on just exactly how they plan on saving the world from the ecological cataclysm known as global warming. Most of which is apparently centered around radically changing the posh suburban lifestyles enjoyed by people such as our esteemed selves. In a recent post on the California Planning & Development Report site, one of the writers they don't usually charge you money to read described all of this feverish activity thusly:

The session provided a way for the state's 18 MPOs and the committee to give final input to Air Resources Board staff before it issues greenhouse gas (GHG in acronymic) emissions reductions targets to the MPOs in late June. Under SB 375, the MPOs must use the GHG targets to formulate regional sustainable communities strategies that guide transportation and land use decisions.

What this basically means for us is that when SCAG hands down its next round of Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) numbers for quaint little towns like ours, they will be world saving large. Which is why Joe Mosca and John Buchanan want to get cracking on those big water infrastructure upgrades now. Using a 40% water rate hike along with a backdoor Utility User Tax increase in order to pay for it. Getting decidedly slow growth residents to shell out for the nuts and bolts of large scale development being one of those delicious ironies that only truly jaded cynics can enjoy, I suppose.

So what are some of the goals these RTACs have identified as things they believe are worth achieving? Let us list them here with along with some brief - yet illuminating - commentary:

1) Transit Oriented Development (TOD in acronymic): This is where all of you suburban sprawlers get cozened out of your tree lined single family neighborhoods and into something stacked, racked, and compact. And next to a train station or bus depot, just for the ambiance I suppose. Sacramento's notion being that if there is a bus station located right outside your front door, you'll no longer want to drive a car. So who says magical thinking is dead?

2) Compact Mixed Use Communities (CMUC, I guess): Now this one informs us that if you are relocated to a wee apartment perched above a row of stores, you will walk to do your grocery shopping rather than driving down Michillinda Avenue to Ralph's. "Walkability" being the attribute most often used to praise such neighborhood design. Which I guess would take us back to the time before the horse was domesticated.

3) Highway Tolls: This is apparently something these folks are way excited about. The idea being that if you put tolls on our freeways and charge people to use them, then far fewer people will want to drive their cars any longer. Preferring instead to put that money to better use paying for bus fares. Having grown up in New Jersey, a place where toll roads are in abundance, I can cheerfully inform you that this won't work too well. Because most people will endure just about any indignity these guys put before them to avoid riding the bus. Or at least that's the way it is where I come from.

4) Mixed Income Housing Next To Employment Sites: Another step forward into the past. I think these used to be called "Company Towns." Where the happy people sang, "I sold my soul to the company store?" Or, if you care to go further back in time, the Dark Ages. You know, places with castles surrounded by fields filled with industrious peasants? A whole lot of walkability there, fer sure. And very sustainable in a manure-centric sort of way. But on a more serious note, isn't this the kind of thing your parents (or perhaps grandparents) moved to the suburbs to get away from? Along with crime, crowds, grit, and claustrophobia?

5) Reducing the Amount of Free Parking: You just know this will be extremely popular with everybody. I think that when I finally get around to starting that bumper sticker business I've always dreamed of, the first one I'll whip up will say something like,"No Parking? No Shopping!" I'll bet I can sell a lot of them in Pasadena. Any city that doesn't allow me easy access to free parking in their downtown shopping areas will just have to get along without ever seeing my credit cards.

But alas, there is at least some trouble in paradise. After getting their favorite sustainability, livability, and walkability enthusiasms out into the open for all to marvel at, the attendees at RTAC did have a few moments left to soberly contemplate the possible roadblocks to a coming of the Planner Utopia. Here is how one attendee put it:

"There are clearly local political issues," warned RTAC member Carol Whiteside, a former Mayor of Modesto. "I think we underestimate the political difficulties local jurisdictions are going to have with implementing some of the land use recommendations."

What? You mean to say that there might be people who don't want to pay freeway tolls, don't want to ride buses to work, like having places to park their cars, prefer owning a free standing home in a secluded neighborhood, and don't want to see their little towns turned into crime-ridden and densely over-developed cities? And that they might actually elect politicians that advocate such extremist fringe thinking?

"Many of the housing type of assumptions and the density type of assumptions ... may not pan out in the real world," California Building Industry Association lobbyist Richard Lyon said.

Naw, you think?


  1. Note that these numbers are being generated by the ARB before the 2010 census numbers are published, so they will be based upon somebody's "projections".

  2. Help prepare Sierra Madre for SB 375! Tax yourself to death!

  3. I have a question for ya Tattler. Where do the Stonecold millionaire suburbs in our little town fit in? Will the Gateway Shuttle shuttle on up into those hillside shames?

  4. Just wait until the city gets the assessment zones going and see how much it's going to cost us for increased infrastructure systems. Joe will finally get his roads repaved all at once by a bond that will cost our grandchildren big bucks.

    This will also help pay for all the needs of the condo dwellers at SM Blvd and Baldwin.

  5. BIA connected person understands there is a "real world"
    Now that's news.

  6. Kind of explains Joe and John's big rush to get things underway. They know that once people finally get this all figured out they'll be horrified.

  7. So local jurisdictions might experience some "political difficulties"
    As in citizen revolt?

  8. Politicians are usually deficient in one critical ability, exercising common sense.
    Change the cars.

  9. I hear there is a contingency plan
    in Sacramento, 10:39. It involves
    the national Guard.

  10. It would seem easier to build clean cars than uprooting 100s of California cities for TODs and the rest of that jazz. Though, of course, as far as the involved lobbies in Sacramento are concerned, that is not where the money is for them.

  11. Off topic. Anyone have any opinions on who to vote for spureintendent of public instruction? And assessor? I have my mail in ballot and I'm trying to fill it out. I think I'm going to skip the judge part because I really don't feel qualified to pick. Unless you guys have an opinion.

  12. Yes, yes, yes, clean cars damn it. How many decades have we known that?

  13. 2 years ago I met some ernest, really really smart graduates in urban planning. They maintain that the best hope for the environment is away from urban sprawl. That would be the big picture environment. They argue that the explosion of suburban housing tracts in all points north east and south in So Cal was seriously trashing the place.
    These planners were educated at the best institutions the country has. They were young and probably too idealistic. But we've all seen the trashing. Remember Rosedale in Azusa?

  14. I think the real struggle here is between old line towns like Sierra Madre and those who would attempt to apply the same cookie cutter designs we see in so many other cities. There is bad sprawl, and there is bad urban development. We are in danger of being forced to accept the latter.

  15. Thanks for the reminder 12:15. Just looked at and they be selling it hard.Web pages are marked 2007 and 2008, but it looks like Azusa Land Corporation or something has stepped up the promos, and its dated 2010. Put some tunes with it. Check out the map of the whole development.

  16. Shockingly reasonable 12:33.

  17. Monrovia shows itself to be smarter than Sierra Madre again.
    Take a note Sierra Madre city manager:

    "A projected $1.1 million budget deficit for the coming fiscal year could force the city to eliminate eight jobs, officials said Tuesday.
    Monrovia cut 22 jobs last year to close an even larger deficit of $2.6 million. If the City Council approves a package of proposed cost-cutting measures next month, its work force will have dwindled by 11 percent since last July, City Manager Scott Ochoa said.
    Mayor Mary Ann Lutz said the only way for Monrovia to save money is through job cuts.
    "We can't cut anything else," she said. "We're at a point where we're already at bare minimum."
    The jobs will be eliminated through a combination of early retirement incentives and attrition. No layoffs will be necessary."

    That's how you get more money

  18. not a name but a numberJune 2, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    i think z.p.g. works good on removing unsightly urban sprawl.

  19. Julia at 12:04

    Howard Jarvis Taxpayer's Association selections:

    Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
    Political Action Committee
    Candidate Endorsements for June 2010
    U.S. Senate Chuck DeVore
    State Offices
    Governor Meg Whitman
    Lieutenant Governor Sam Aanestad
    Attorney General John Eastman
    Secretary of State Damon Dunn
    Treasurer Mimi Walters
    Controller Tony Strickland
    Board of Equalization
    District 2 George Runner
    District 3 Michelle Steel
    State Senate
    District 4 Doug LaMalfa
    District 14 Tom Berryhill
    District 15 Sam Blakeslee
    District 16 Phil Wyman
    District 22 Edward Paul Reyes
    District 28 John S. Stammreich
    District 36 Joel Anderson
    District 37 Bill Emmerson
    District 38 Mark Wyland
    State Assembly
    District 2 Jim Neilson
    District 3 Dan Logue
    District 5 Craig Deluz and
    (dual endorsement) Andy Pugno
    District 7 Doris Gentry
    District 15 Abram Wilson
    District 28 Allen Barker
    District 31 Brandon Shoemaker
    District 32 Ken Mettler
    District 33 Etta Waterfield
    District 35 Mike Stoker
    District 36 Stephen Knight
    District 37 Jeff Gorell
    District 44 Alvaro Day
    District 53 Nathan Mintz
    District 55 Chris Salabaj
    District 59 Anthony Riley
    District 68 Allan Mansoor
    District 70 Jerry Amante
    District 77 Bill Wells
    County Assessor
    Orange County Claude Parrish
    Los Angeles County John Noguez
    Amador County Jim Rooney
    Riverside County Larry Ward
    Nevada County Sue Horne
    San Diego County Jeff Olson
    County Supervisor
    El Dorado County Ron Briggs
    Riverside County John Benoit
    Ventura County Audra Strickland
    Yolo County Matt Rexroad
    City Council
    Arcadia Peter Amundson
    Chula Vista Larry Breitfelder
    Fresno Doug Vagim
    Rancho Santa Margarita Steve Baric
    San Diego Lorie Zapf
    Other Offices
    Orange County Treasurer Shari Freidenrich
    Ventura Co. Treasurer Judge Steven
    Natomas School Board Ryan Herche
    Sacramento Co. Sheriff Scott Jones
    U.S. House of Representatives
    District 3 Dan Lungren
    District 11 David Harmer
    District 19 Jeff Denham
    District 47 Van Tran
    State Ballot Measures
    Proposition 13 - YES
    No reassessment after earthquake retrofitting
    Proposition 14 - NO
    “Open Primary”
    Proposition 15 - NO
    Public funding of elections
    Propositions 16 and 17 - No position taken.
    These are not taxpayer issues.

  20. Very helpful Old K. Thanks.

  21. Not a fan of Howard Jarvis AssociationJune 2, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    Jarvis brought us Prop 13 which allows huge numbers of income-producing properties to escape the regular tax rate via a pass-through setup. The residences don't have that option, so folks in their homes have to pay the full rate, almost all the homes in California have turned over by now.

    They were also instrumental in busting the R-1 zoning by working with the Legislature to pass a loophole the same year that defines 6 unrelated adults in one home as "family", which is why you have all these unregulated group homes in these R-1 areas that should absolutely not be there. Violation of Health Dept. regs and ADA protections for the occupants.

  22. There are two good ways of stopping this rubbish. One is to send in your protest sheet on the water hike. The other is to say no to AB32 in November. We can stop it.

  23. Some of my older neighbors pay one tenth of the property taxes that my wife and I do. And I say good for them. Wish my generation had been so aware of the politicians narcotic jones for taxes.

  24. People who actually stood up and fought for their own interests. How uncivil.

  25. Monrovia Nursery, Azusa Land Partners and others cut a deal that the residents didn't want in their town. Too late to stop it. Of course adjacent to the future light rail.

  26. if this sounds confusing and complicated, imagine how dumbfounded Josh Moran and Nancy Walsh must feel right now. at least they have John Buhanan to tell them how to vote.

    nod "yes" Nancy.
    say "right on party dude", Josh.

  27. Howard Jarvis endorses Meg Whitman.

    I'm sort of stumped how running an internet company is a stepping stone to the governor position, but in the banana republic of California politics (Arnold), anything is possible.

    Sure EBay was huge, in terms of stock gains, but in reality, it was just an internet company that was actually made successful by others.

  28. Meg would shut down AB32 and SB375, which would leave the SCAGs with a paddle but no boat. That alone is reason to vote for her
    in my opinion.

  29. Decline to StateJune 2, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    Time to give a successful business creator/owner a chance in this poor beleaguered state. Not saying it will work - Whitman will be walking into ingrained incompetence - but there's a chance.

  30. I'll be voting Republican for the first time in my life. Democrats in California have become little better than whores.

  31. Here in Sierra Madre we do not call our elected Democrats whores. Instead we refer to them as Bobbleheads. Because everytime Sacramento wants something, they all start nodding "Yes!"

  32. Not all democrats are dirts, but most dirts are democrats. Sierra Madre dirts number at least 90% democrats. The gang of four....buchanan, mosca,walsh and moran are all democrats and all "greenies" (by the way, the dog treat product Greenies is about the worst thing you can give your dog, hundreds die every year from this product).

    If you vote for a democrat in california, you'll be voting for development 99% of the time.
    If you vote for a republican in california, you'll be voting for development only about 50% of the time.
    Take the odds, it's a crap shoot, but we really have no choice.

  33. 8:00 And you got those % from what fact sheet

  34. I hope the editor is okay.

  35. Republicrat lemmingJune 3, 2010 at 10:50 AM

    It used to be party affiliation had some meaning. My parents were Democrats, and would vote for them, trusting the values they stood for meant concern for the little guy, and defending those things that meant backing our way of life, and the Constitution.
    That has changed over the last 40 years. You look at the D.P. now, and they donot look much different than Republicans who used to be only interested in making as much money at the expense of us wage slaves.
    This is why people have abandoned following the Dems and Reps, they have realized many of our politicians are simply opportunists, and liars.
    They have driven our country and state into debt.
    Apparently, government has become an oligarchy of the political class. They say whatever it takes to get elected, and once in office,the real agenda appears.
    Party loyalty is meaningless.

  36. I left the Democratic party because of the "leadership" of John Buchanan, Tonya Torres, Enid joffe and Rob Stockily. Couldn't believe they were Democrats.

  37. x-dem?
    You forgot joe mosca, josh moran, nancy walsh.

  38. The likes of Buchanan Torres, Joffee, Mosca, do not change my views on the major differences between the democratic and republican platforms. Deceit exists on both sides. What party is Doyle? People vote for non-principled reasons all the time. We have to admit that is it difficult to undo the intentional lies and get the unvarnished truth. Paying attention to issues takes a lot of effort and usually people don't pay attention until it is too late as we will soon see with the Water Rate Hikes.

  39. I've come the conclusion that both political parties are equally bad. If the GOP was in power in this state they'd be feeding at the same BIA/CAR trough as the hogs from the Dems. The needs of the voters/tax payers are never considered. To them we're just a marketing problem. The real action for the 2 parties is finding over the swag. Why else would things be as bad as they are? California is being run like Paraguay. Strongman government that answers only to money.

  40. Barrington TrustJune 3, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    10:50 and 1:10, I agree with both of you, every election we have we are faced with two or three bad choices of the thousands of people, it gets reduced to two, so what little vote influence I have as a concensus unit, is to the person of what ever party is least bad. I was relistening to George Green, and he was told don't worry son we run them both, as far as parties, he was told two yars before anybody heard of Jimmy Carter that he would be president.

  41. That's why I'm voting Yes on Prop 14. That way we get to vote for the best people and not who the party fanatics and their money are behind.

  42. 2:49 I think you should rethink that . It has been used in other states to get rid of one parties strongest
    person by crossing over to vote for the weaker one.
    I remember Rush trying to get people to do that in some of the Primaries

  43. This is a link to the Peace and Freedom Parties
    prop 14 voting options that could come from Prop 14
    which is why a lot of parties are not for it
    Like Green , Ralph Nader ect

  44. 4:55 - I guess that's why both the Dems and GOP are telling their dogs to vote 'no' on Prop 14. The voters having two rounds to pick the best possible candidate would really hurt their freedom to solicit campaign donations.

  45. No party is for P14. Which strikes me as
    being a fine reason for voting for it.

  46. I plan to find out who John and Teri Buchanan are voting for and what they are voting on the Props. I'll vote just the opposite.

  47. 6:38....that's probably the most ignorant thing I've read in a long long time, UNBELIEVABLE!!!

  48. It was a joke, 8:28. Pull your underwear back out and start breathing again.

  49. The Ben Franklin PartyJune 4, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    Bart Doyle is a member of the 'Whomever Can Deliver the Most Money Party".

  50. I thought it was known as the "He'd
    sell his mother for nickel" club.