Now I know if you support Proposition 23 (as I do) you're supposedly someone who doesn't care about polar bears or the little children who are the future of the world. And rather than busy hummingbirds and dewy eyed does with their spotted fawns gracefully wandering down from the mountains to drink from your backyard swimming pool, you support the oil companies that destroyed the Gulf of Mexico. That's just how politics gets done in California. Everything is boiled down to its lowest common denominator, and then all the LCDs line up to consume it like so many salty snacks. There really is a distressingly large amount of uninformed people around these days.
Now believe it or not I do worry about things like air quality, the state of our wilderness areas, and the purity of our water supply. Who wouldn't want to live in the best of all possible worlds, or be able to offer these kinds of benefits to their families? That is certainly the life we want for Sierra Madre. Which is why we work so hard to defend it.
The assumption that just because you oppose some entirely fallacious legislation out of Sacramento you must automatically be in favor of turning the planet into something resembling an apple crisp is absurd. Sacramento can't pass a budget, spend within its means, stop destroying our public schools and universities, bases the fiscally ruinous salaries and pensions it gives to public employee unions on their ability to deliver votes, can't keep its mitts out of city piggy banks, or place taxpayer priorities over the needs of the lobbyists who bribe them on a nearly daily basis. So given that horrendous track record for ethics and accomplishment, we are now supposed to trust them to save the world? Please pardon my skepticism.
That people can no longer differentiate between politically enabled corporate propaganda and what their actual interests are is a big problem. An authentic democracy requires a reasonably aware citizenry for its survival. Take that away and you end up with something resembling our current state government. Or, for that matter, Sierra Madre's City Council.
Proposition 23 is designed to put a halt to the kinds of widespread economic damage and despoilment of our cities that would be caused by AB 32 and, to a similar extent, SB 375. The notion that through draconian central government planning greenhouse gases will somehow be curbed, and thereby saving us from global warming, might sound fabulous to the nebbishy Sacramento planners given God-like power over the process. But for the rest of us the effects could hardly be worse.
As an example, AB 32's problem stepchild, SB 375, calls for land use reforms that would, if we allow them to get away with it, turn quaint little villages like Sierra Madre into dense mixed-use transportation villages that will chain us to a lifestyle far inferior to what we enjoy now. The claims that vast new development located next to bus stops will somehow save the world from global warming is an absurdity that should be a red flag to most people. Let's face it, the only people who will benefit are the actual builders of this high-density development, and the real estate corporations that will earn millions selling it. Which, considering the dicey legislative origins of these vast efforts to socially engineer our daily lives, was probably the point when Sacramento cooked up this nasty porridge in the first place.
And there was a major revelation last week that exposed just how potentially baseless the claims of those defending AB 32 (the so-called "Global Warming Solutions Act") really are. The amount of greenhouse gas that is to be eliminated from the air was supposed to be calculated by the California Air Resources Board (aka CARB). Sacramento having given them an ultimate decision making authority over these matters. CARB's edicts would then be handed over to Regional Planning Organizations (RPOs) like SCAG, who'd grind that information down into its more prosaic forms. Like how many condos will need to be built in the San Gabriel Valley to please the state legislature and the concerned lobbyists who pleasure them, along with abusive schemes designed to dragoon people into riding Metro buses and the 210 Trolley rather than driving their cars.
The problem is that CARB's calculations are often wrong, and despite their claims of scientific infallibility (which is the basis of their assumed authority to tell the rest of us how we need to live our lives), they often don't really know what they are doing. Here is how the San Francisco Chronicle reported the news of a serious error made on the question of diesel emissions:
California grossly miscalculated pollution levels in a scientific analysis used to toughen the state's clean-air standards, and scientists have spent the past several months revising data and planning a significant weakening of the landmark regulation, The Chronicle has found.
The pollution estimate in question was too high - by about 340 percent, according to the California Air Resources Board, the state agency charged with researching and adopting air quality standards. The estimate was a key part in the creation of a regulation adopted by the Air Resources Board in 2007, a rule that forces businesses to cut diesel emissions by replacing or making costly upgrades to heavy-duty, diesel-fueled off-road vehicles used in construction and other industries.
CARB's errors, backed by the full force of the central state government in Sacramento, can have serious effects. In an article entitled California Environmental Regulations Based on Myths, the Heritage Foundation laid out the costs to the concerned industries this way:
The cost of such regulations, which air regulators peg at $5.5 billion for the trucking industry, will increase the cost of transporting goods for businesses. Richard Lee of Tim A. Manley Trucking said, "It makes no sense to saddle the trucking industry with regulations that absolutely assures the collapse of thousands of taxpaying businesses." For those businesses that don't collapse they'll simply pass those costs on to the consumer. California is right to pull back on stringent, costly regulations, and that, on top of the massive economic costs, is why the Air Resources Board should reconsider its Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), which would seek to reduce carbon dioxide levels to 1990 levels by 2020.
Contrary to the claims that AB 32 will boost California's economy from green investment and green job creation, the state cap-and-trade program would do the complete opposite by increasing energy prices, thereby causing a considerable reduction in economic growth, household income, and employment. Whether it's federal or state, the logic is the same: Higher taxes will destroy many more jobs than they create.
The notion that the California Air Resources Board, along with SCAG and the rest these tax payer supported bureaucracies, should have such immense control over how we live our lives is frightening. CARB's now suspect calculations will be the justification of SCAG's mandated Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) numbers in a few short years, something that could result in Sacramento coerced demands that we build massive mixed-use development projects downtown. Which is why I support Proposition 23. Anything that will help to derail the destruction of Sierra Madre's small town character has my backing. The claim that we would need to allow for the building of hundreds of highly stacked condos here in Sierra Madre in order to save the world from global warming makes about as much sense as running around downtown howling that the planet is in imminent danger of an invasion from Mars.
Jennifer Kerns on the always intriguing Fox & Hounds site quickly cuts to the chase:
The Great Big Green Lie - The San Francisco Chronicle has uncovered a scathing error at the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The newspaper has just published that the California Air Resources Board has "grossly miscalculated pollution levels" that were being used to further crack down on the state's air standards ... The California Air Resources Board didn't miss the mark slightly. They miscalculated California's air pollution levels by a stunning 340% percent. That's 340%.
The Chronicle reports that the stark errors in the Air Resources Board's research "raise questions about the performance of the agency as it is in the midst of implementing the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 - Or AB 32 as it is commonly called." ... This error comes after the Air Resources Board vastly overinflated the number of diesel-related deaths in 2009, suggesting that 18,000 Californians had died prematurely when the number was actually a fraction of that. If we can't trust the state's most powerful environmental board to calculate basic statistics correctly, what else can we trust them to do?
And to think that these are the people Joe Mosca and John Buchanan want to cede control of our city to so they can dictate the future of Sierra Madre.
So why does Mayor Mosca keep telling us we have to obey CARB, SCAG and the onerous Sacramento development demands of SB 375?
This is probably a good a time as any to correct something Joe has been laying on us for a while. Mosca, about as devoted a servant of Sacramento's draconian central planning schemes as you can find anywhere, has been informing us for quite some time now that we really have no choice in the matter, and that if we don't knuckle under they'll send in the National Guard or something.
Which is why Joe has been so hot to get his hands on the Land Use portion of our currently under construction General Plan. Something that, after the highly compensated consultants he wants to hire so badly get done, would render us helpless to fight back against the kinds of high density generic development Mosca's patrons have encouraged him to enable. Which he is working very hard to do while at the same time so unctuously assuring us that he is not.
But is Joe's claim actually true? Have we really been backed into a corner from which there is no escape? Not according to Daily Journal writers and topic experts Diane C. DeFelice and Charles H. Pomeroy.
In order to measure performance, SB 375 requires certain actions to take place during the planning period under an implementation timetable and to require rezoning under certain circumstances. The metropolitan planning organization is tasked with preparing a Sustainable Communities Strategy and, if they cannot meet the set targets, an Alternative Planning Strategy can be adopted. After assigning the targets, CARB has the final say in determining the accuracy of the metropolitan planning organization's (Ed: for us, SCAG) methodology and if the target can be achieved. At a minimum, it must obtain CARB's acceptance, as the acting state agency, than an alternative planning strategy would, if implemented, achieve the greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for that region. While metropolitan planning organizations are at the heart of regional planning efforts, local land use agencies will continue to regulate locally and their land use policies do not need to conform to plans developed under SB 375. This nod to local autonomy comes at a cost because nowhere in SB 375's text is there a mention of penalties or enforcement should a metropolitan planning organization fail to meet its regional target.
Now do you see why Johnny B and Tricky Joe want to get their hands on the Land Use portion of our General Plan? And why they have fought so hard against citizen control, instead pushing us towards expensive consultants completely compliant with Sacramento's development demands? They know that if they don't get that done, no matter what CARB and SCAG do their deceit can be stopped at the Michillinda Curtain.
Yet another case where Joe Mosca has failed to live up to the kinds of ethical standards we would expect from a Mayor.