Monday, April 23, 2012

SCAG Grants No RHNA Relief - All Towns Denied

I guess this is how they did it where SCAG premier Hasan Ikhrata came from. Back in the
Soviet Union where he got his start in the urban planning game no small cities or towns would be permitted to make demands on the central government authority, or dare to expect and then receive what they wanted. It just wasn't done. And now it isn't done here in California, either. After all, there is a new and glorious 25 Year Plan in effect, and government development quotas must be fulfilled. Kulaks be damned.

How did it come to this in the United States of America? How is it that bureaucratic central planning organizations, funded by both federal and state money, could be granted unlimited power over individual municipalities? To the point where it is not the towns themselves that have control over how their planning affairs are conducted, but government planners who most likely have never even set foot in those towns?Some of whom are not even from this country?

The Southern California Association of Governments, also known by the ugly acronym of SCAG, is currently conducting a media blitz in support of it's so-called Sustainable Communities Strategy. Here is how one of the many sock puppet websites (click here) supporting this vastly expensive boondoggle echoes SCAG's praise of its own plan:

SCAG Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata told Andrew Dalton of the Associated Press that "this plan looked at land use for the first time since we started doing planning." That's fairly amazing for the largest metro planning agency in the country, but Ikhrata and his colleagues deserve our praise and thanks for doing so. Dalton summarized the moment:

"The government group that oversees transportation for Southern California voted Wednesday to approve a $524 billion agreement that aims to make train tracks, bike lanes and clear skies as much a part of the region's image as boulevards and freeways.

"The unanimous vote from the Southern California Association for the 25-year Regional Transportation Plan provided a moment of consensus and celebration for the government officials and advocates who worked on it for four years, a feeling that could fade as it now needs to be put into play by local agencies and paid for by citizens.

"Still, the plan, a blueprint of priorities created by the group's 191 cities based on the federal, state and local funding the region expects to see, represents a huge shift in emphasis."

I guess the more than half a trillion dollars that would be needed to fund this "25 year plan" does sound impressive. Of course, where that money is going to come from now that trillions of dollars in new government debt are being piled up on a yearly basis is anyone's guess. Under the circumstances it is a lot of dough for some new trollies, bus stations and bicycle paths.

And wouldn't just waiting the 10 years or so for private industry to bring in its new generation of low and no emission personal transportation accomplish the same goals? After all, it would be 15 years shorter, half a trillion dollars cheaper, and you wouldn't have to rip up nice low density communities like Sierra Madre to build so-called "transit villages" that nobody will actually care to live in.

But that isn't how it was done in the Soviet Union that Hasan Ikhrata comes from. Instead we have 25 year plans, central planning that is completely out of touch with the needs of the communities it is designed to save from various threatened disasters, and vast sums of precious capital resources squandered on things nobody actually wants.

And then there is the implied lie in the use of the term "Sustainable Community Strategy." How can this strategy be sustainable when things such as the regional water supplies are incapable of adequately meeting any new needs that would be created? Or even that many of the transit villages built to date remain only partially filled? If you need an example, head down to Foothill Boulevard and check out the plentiful sun bleached "For Rent" flags and signs at The Stuart.

Of course, the most ridiculous claim being made here is that the 191 cities in the "SCAG Region" all happily worked together to make this happen. Because if that was true, why would so many of them be begging to opt out of their Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) numbers? After all, isn't that the coercive bureaucratic mechanism SCAG requires to cram transit village-style development into places like downtown Sierra Madre?

And that is what is happening. A number of communities, including Sierra Madre, went to a SCAG/CEHD meeting recently to discuss the ridiculous housing demands being made upon each of them. All in the name of the high density development SCAG's sustainability plans require. Sierra Madre has been ordered to present proof that we would cooperate in the planning for 55 new "housing units" in town. This on top of the 138 we were ordered to allow a couple of years back, or 193 total.

Now where in Sierra Madre would you put 193 new housing units? After all, the town is built out. There are not 193 empty lots around that I know about. Whose home would you take down to make room? Nor would we have adequate water to supply these things. But despite a most eloquently argued case for taking this awful burden off of our shoulders by MaryAnn MacGillivray (which was received with applause by the other cities in attendance at this awful meeting), SCAG shot us down.

And there were numerous other cities in the house with similar requests for SCAG's nonexistent mercy, and they were all denied as well. You see, SCAG has a new half a trillion dollar 25 year plan to fulfill, and just because the cities being forced to knuckle under to it can neither sustain nor afford it's demands, and stated their cases with the most convincing evidence, the central planning authority did not care to listen. Apparently for them it is all numbers on paper.

After all, this is how they did it in the Soviet Union that Hasan Ikhrata comes from. And today in California as well.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

54 comments:

  1. I guess we can use the 78 "living units" at the alf for a start.

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  2. I love the Dr. Evil picture. Fits SCAG to a tee!

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  3. SCAG talks about sustainability in their city planning mandates, however they turned Sierra Madre down despite our plea that our City will not be sustainable without water. Not only is Sierra Madre in danger because of the limited water supply, but also our neighboring cities as well, since as MacGillivray has said many, many times, Sierra Madre is the guardian of our watershed. This watershed is not only for us, but for all cities south of us. In the interest of development, the State is endangering quality of life for its citizens.

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    1. THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CALIF.April 23, 2012 at 7:08 AM

      This is what we have finally become!
      If California was a small country, we would invade it to free the people from this marxist dictatorship, and restore our rights!

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  4. Being a long time moderate Democrat, I have to admit all this mess can only be laid at the door step of the "Progressive" Democratic Party that has a complete lock on this state.
    I am going to change my party affiliation to non-partisan status, and vote against all the tax and spend schemes, no matter how the propaganda arm of the "party" paint pretty pictures for the need of our tax money to fund these schemes.
    They have turned into the Evil that I had always thought the Republican Party was portrayed as.
    I guess you could say we have met the enemy and it is (the Dems) us.

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    1. Also watch out for hysterical republicans like Schwarzenegger--the green hysteria is everywhere--growing like our wisteria--spreading choas and fearia--bringing urban blight to the area--coldn't get much scaria . . .

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  5. What would happen if all the involved cities refused to obey the edicts of SCAG?

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    1. Jerry Brown sued the city of Pleasanton. You bring up a good point though 8:23, if it were all the cities, together at once.

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  6. It's going to be interesting with the Pea Tarty coming into the picture. The Dems and Reps have been tearing this country apart for many years. This Sacramento SCAG group is just one example of the problems were facing, unfortunately these demands are impacting life as we know it, and that is why people are finely getting involved.

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    1. Unfortunately, the two major political parties have been infilterated by "progressives" for decades. Progressive is just another word for Marxism. Pure and simple!
      The "Progressives" are elitists and they support a failed philosophy.

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    2. If the Tea Party would stick to transparency in government, and sane tax structures, it would be ok.
      But the social issues mentality from the Dark Ages?

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    3. I agree. The Tea Party might be right on fiscal issues, but on the social ones Obama is correct. We need a party that is independent of borrow and spend insanity and keeps it's snoot out of peoples lives. That is what most people want, so how come we don't have it?

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    4. The Tea Party stands for fiscal responsibility, Constitutionally limited government (governed by the consent of the people) and liberty through personal responsibility. That's it.

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    5. On paper, yes. But on the streets we get Rick Santorum.

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    6. That's what it stands for with its saner members. Not all.

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    7. The right and the left both have their behavior police. Unfortunately it is that stuff that moves millions politically in this country. It is a huge distraction that keeps many people focusing on what is really important, which is we are being robbed of our freedoms, our birthright and our money.

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    8. I want a party that keeps it's nose out of my personal business and it's hand of of my pocket. Neither the GOP or the Donkeys deliver on that. They can both take a hike as far as I am concerned. I am voting Libertarian this year.

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    9. Voting Libertarian is a vote for Obama

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    10. Not voting Libertarian is a vote for Robamny.

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    11. I wish the third, fourth, fifth party votes made a difference.
      They do not.
      Ya gotta vote for the lesser of two evils - and if you vote Perot, Nadar, Green, Le Pen, Barr - all you've done is register a squeak of protest and helped one of the two viable candidates win.

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    12. I thought Le Pen was French.

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    13. Voting for Le Pen makes as much sense as voting 3rd party in the USA for President.

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    14. Mais oui. And a great example of a third party candidate who causes a ruckus but does not win.

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  7. Welcome to the 1 percentApril 23, 2012 at 8:48 AM

    If the cities don't follow the directives of SCAG, they can be sued by developers for not allowing the forced development. See, the developers make money even if nothing gets sold or occupied; the banks take the hit. Except they've already bundled the debt financing into "tranches" which get AAA rating and sold on the market to investors.

    This scheme is about as diabolical as it gets, and it's created global insolvency that has now got the EU coming unglued. The "forced build" via RHNA numbers is just the feeder for this whole thing. Lack of water and destruction of resources, pollution and traffic are now simply a public problem. Profits are privatized, of course...

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  8. I don't agree with the "progressives did it" argument. What we see with SCAG and SB375 and the rest is a partnership between large corporate interests and government. It is much more Mussolini than Stalin. The term is Corporatism, and the irony is those posing as progressives are in reality some of the worst reactionaries you will see anywhere.

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  9. Absolutely tight 9:08. Thanks. It will help us to come up with solutions if we have a more accurate understanding of the causes of the problems.

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  10. "How is it that bureaucratic central planning organizations, funded by both federal and state money, could be granted unlimited power over individual municipalities? To the point where it is not the towns themselves that have control over how their planning affairs are conducted, but government planners who most likely have never even set foot in those towns?"
    Brilliant, Tattler.

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  11. The common sense solution of fixing cars is just that - too full of common sense. It'll never fly in SCAG. It's clean, clear, simple and makes them irrelevant.

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    1. If we've learned anything in the economic troubles of the last six years, it is that governmental bodies, our very own city hall, COG and SCAG alike, have self-preservation as priority number one.

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  12. I recall at one of Mr. Ihkrata's appearances here, when the council of the time was going to withhold dues from this questionable organization, he said that SCAG was just the messenger. Hah. It looks like SCAG is actually the goon squad.

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    1. Denial of dues would be a good start, especially if the majority of the cities joined in. I realize that SCAG is ultimately not the decision maker of these policies, but it would be an attention getting response.

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    2. SCAG is a government enforcer dressed up in clerk drag.

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    3. SCAG is the mechanism used by developers to compel their agenda upon the voters. Take a look at who sits on the SCAG Governing Board and you will see this is all about money and power.

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    4. SCAG is what big corporate money can buy you in Sacramento.

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  13. We're using money we don't have to build things nobody wants in order to create a solution to a problem that won't work. Can you sum up Washington and Sacramento any better than that?

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  14. All cities were denied? Were all cities hit with the absurd numbers we were hit with? I am particularly interested in San Marino, which had a requirement of 5 last cycle. Five.

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    1. How is that possible?

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    2. Maybe some of the big developers who paid the state to initiate this fantasy condo boom live there. God knows that wouldn't want that sort of thing where they live!

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  15. I remember when Kurt Zimmerman actually challenged SCAG's RHNA calculations.

    He pointed out that the housing allocation was based in large measure on the ridiculous assumption that 400 new jobs were being created in Sierra Madre. Zimmerman argued that the 400 number was total BS. After that, even Buchanan backed down and agreed that we should challenge the allocation.

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    1. There was also a question about the population projection for California, generated buy the State Department of Finance. How that projection can stay the same year after year, with people leaving the state, is a mystery.

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    2. Kurt also said something that I found to be hilarious. He asked why don't we just tell SCAG we are projecting a population increase of 100,000? That way they'd build us a subway station.

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  16. The solution is obvious: the state needs to sue Capital Source into using the land at Stonegate and Carter for stack and pack high density development. Why not - it's just a small step from what it's already doing. Just confiscate the hillside. Actually that might be the only way Capital Source will ever make any money here. Apartment buildings. Lots of them.

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  17. You could build a people mover (moving sidewalk) from Kirsting Court to the station Kurt suggests (would be about the length of the one at Denver Airport) to get people back and forth to the newly opened 400 jobs!

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  18. Didn't MacGillivray say that some cities want the numbers, and there was talk about trading between cities?
    Sounded good and reasonable, so what's the hold-up on that?

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    1. That was supposed to be done by the SGVCOG. They didn't do it. Probably no money in it for them.

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    2. Well that's just crazy making, because a swap in RHNA numbers could really benefit everybody.

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  19. Completely off topic: Please go to this article and see what your buying of food stuffs with palm oil (under its various labeling permutations) is doing to the Orang Utang--100 have died and only 200 or so are left due to tropic rain forest burning for palm oil plantation in direct violation of Indonesian law. And see, they use the term "greens" appropriately!

    http://www.timeslive.co.za/scitech/2012/04/23/indonesia-greens-move-to-stop-eco-disaster

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  20. It's time for these Southern California municipalities to stop begging for relief from RHNA numbers and REVOLT. If EVERY municipality said HELL NO, is Jerry Brown going to sue them all? With the call back of CRA funds in progress and an economic downturn the likes of which we may have never seen before, can the State afford to enter into litigation with dozens of cities on the behalf of developers??? Mammoth Lakes is filing bankruptcy because it lost a lawsuit to a developer - could it be for similar reasons? WHY and HOW did developers acquire such obscene power over local and state governments????!! REVOLT, REVOLT, REVOLT - it's time for action, folks!

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    1. The right to sue is embedded in SB 375. If some very smart lawyers could figure out a way to disembowel it in the legislature, or get an initiative on the ballot to rescind it by the people because the legislature has basically raped them, that would probably do it.

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  21. It makes perfect sense that Southern California's Regional Planning organization would be run by a former Soviet government official. I'm sure he feels quite comfortable here.

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  22. Patch's reader comments function has been disabled, and Coburn's site is having software trouble and can't post new articles. Must be some kind of internet karmic thing going on.

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