Thursday, April 26, 2012

SCAG's Population Increase Projections Are Absurd Bureaucratic Nonsense

One of the big challenges cities in the so-called "SCAG Region" face is the demand being made by this Regional Planning Organization that each and every one of them make plans to introduce a lot of new housing within their borders. And what this onerous demand is predominantly based upon is SCAG's claim that we are on the verge of being inundated by massive new population growth. And after all, or so goes the claim, if we don't build all that new housing, where are all these new people going to live?

In an April 4, 2012 press release entitled "Nation's Largest Planning Agency Approves Plan in Preparation of 4 Million New Residents by 2035" (click here), SCAG lays out the wonder of it all.

The Regional Council of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) convened the 47th Annual Regional Conference and General Assembly and, without objection, adopted the 2012-2035 Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS) and certified the Program Environmental Impact Report.

The 25 year plan is an investment plan for our region's economic viability that provides people with transportation and housing options that meet their professional and life style choices while supporting the business community's need to compete nationally and internationally. "Today's approval of the 2012-2035 RTP/SCS was a historic decision made by Southern California elected officials on SCAG's Regional Council. This action establishes a roadmap to welcome four million new residents and 1.7 million new jobs into our region by 2035," commented Paul O'Connor, SCAG President.

So how are we to accommodate this vast sea of new humanity yearning to experience their professional and life style choices here in Southern California? In the de-evolutionary Golden State of 2012 you have a government-run Regional Planning Organization such as SCAG cook up population and housing growth numbers and coerce each and every city within their jurisdiction into accommodating them. All backed up with the muscle of Washington and Sacramento, of course. Armed with draconian central planning legislation such as SB 375.

According to SCAG's "Final Regional Housing Need Allocation Plan" (click here), that number of new wickiups comes to just under 700,000 "units" for the region. Which, at the time this little item was cobbled together, called for 139 new housing units in little Sierra Madre. In a town that is virtually built out like ours, this would require that currently standing buildings be razed and replaced with high density condo complexes, thus radically changing the character of our community.

Oh, and just so you know. In SCAG-think, condos are more "sustainable" than single family homes. Especially when they are near a bus stop.

"This year's theme is 'Towards a Sustainable Future in Southern California.' Sustainable has many meanings; providing for a future where the population will grow but we can expect a reduction in per capita emissions, supporting the construction of new homes and businesses but with a plan to connect the dwellings with multiple transportation options, preserving the natural beauty of the California landscape for today's recreation and our future generations enjoyment, and ensuring that businesses remain in the Golden State and prosper," said Hasan Ikhrata, SCAG Executive Director.

All very carefully executed language, and inspiring in an uber-bureaucrat meets the Jetsons kind of way. Though that line about businesses remaining in California might seem somewhat ironic to some.

Again, all of these housing demands and plans are dependent upon one thing - the bold prediction that 4 million additional people are on their way and will be living right here in our portion of Southern California.

But what if SCAG is wrong? What if we raze downtown Sierra Madre as required, put in several blocks of 6 story mixed-use condos, and then nobody shows up to live in them? Do we end up like all those other towns that knuckled under to the SCAG Utopia, built that stuff, and are today the permanent home of thousands of brightly colored (though fading) "Now Showing" signs and flags?

This from Science Daily (click here):

New California Population Projection Shows Massive Slowdown - A massive slowdown in California's population growth means the state likely won't reach 50 million residents until the year 2046, a new USC analysis just released shows.

That's a far slower rate of growth that the latest projection released in 2007 by the state Department of Finance that shows the state reaching 50 million residents 14 years earlier, in the year 2032.

The population slowdown may bring reprieve to a fiscally strapped state under pressure to keep up with infrastructure needs, said report co-author Dowell Myers, a professor of urban planning and demography with the USC Price School of Public Policy.

"This is surely good news for local governments and taxpayers who are struggling to keep up with the costs of growth," Myers said. 'These projections suggest there is more time to plan a much better future for California."

Certainly we could plan for a much better future for California than SCAG's rather blunt sledgehammer approach of forcing housing into towns with a non-existent demand, or desire, for it. Especially now that those phantom millions of new residents aren't exactly rising from the ground and heading into their nearest Podley office looking to buy something.

The Wall Street Journal recently published a great article entitled, "Joel Kotkin: The Great California Exodus" (click here). An article so good that 3 people forwarded it to me. And what this essay reinforces for us is the idea that population increase projections such as those being flogged around our region by SCAG are a lot of cooked up and, at very best, out of date nonsense.

Now, however, the Golden State's fastest-growing entity is government and its biggest product is red tape. The first thing that comes to many American minds when you mention California isn't Hollywood or tanned girls on a beach, but Greece. Many progressives in California take that as a compliment since Greeks are ostensibly happier. But as Mr. Kotkin notes, Californians are increasingly pursuing happiness elsewhere.

Nearly four million more people have left the Golden State in the last two decades than have come from other states. This is a sharp reversal from the 19080s, when 100,000 more Americans were settling in California each year than were leaving. According to Mr. Kotkin, most of those leaving are between the ages of 5 and 14 or 35 to 45. In other words, young families.

Honestly, the best thing we as a City can do with SCAG's so-called "Regional Housing Needs Assessment" (RHNA) demands is just ignore them. And if other towns join us in this noble endeavor, what options will these apparatchiks have? Send in the National Guard?

SCAG's numbers are based on old and faulty 2007 population projections, backed up by the failed 1930s notion that central government can predict housing market demand by merely dicing up some erroneous data from a grid and then forcing cities such as ours to adopt their conclusions. Despite what the people living in those cities actually want, or need.

America needs to cut the crap and get back to get back to being America. Let's get out of SCAG.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

63 comments:

  1. We can dump SCAG but won't be free of their mandates. If we don't conform to their draconian rules, a developer can come in, sue the City for not allowing him to build his multi-story buildings and win in the court of California. Sad but true. The only thing we can do is to elect representatives who will change the laws. Unfortunately it looks like the majority of our City Council will still push for SCAG. I hope you all noted on Tuesday the glowing report by Buchanan on the Green Committee soon to be a Commission. There are three on the Council that whole heartedly agree with Buchanan to knuckle under to all SCAG mandates. Scary.

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    1. I find it interesting that at the very heart of the Green Committee's "Accords" is the call for high density development. It calls into question the honesty and true intentions of their efforts.

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    2. This is a good article this morning, Crawford.
      I wish the Pasadena Star News would pick it up.
      This is a very, very serious issue, that will have a very negative result for us all, if these SCAG people follow their "master plan".

      There is a "green committee" meeting tonight, I think? City Council chambers?
      I hope people attend and see just what is going on.

      One more thing, about the "green" committee.....are all of them Sierra Madre residents? If not, why not?
      Just who are they and what is their REAL agenda?

      Thanks for anyone's knowledgable comments in advance. We need to follow this.

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    3. One of the green committee members is Kim C. Kelley, a vicious woman who sent MaryAnn MacGillivray a hate mail, that I would have turned over to the police, had it been sent to me.
      This woman and her friends spread horrible lies about MaryAnn, they have been doing this for the last few years.
      If this mean spirited Kim Kelley is representitive of this "committee", they need to disband it.

      While most of the people in the canyon are kind, decent citizens, it's people like the above woman who are destroying our town with lies and hate.

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    4. One of the two women seated by the Council on the Green Committee is a Pasadena resident. This was brought to the attention of the Mosca Council and they (minus one, of course) decided her input was too valuable to be concerned about such a minor issue. The other woman is a local renter who will move out of town after she completes her "degree". Aren't there residents in town who would be more dedicated to greening Sierra Madre?

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    5. The Green Committee is the result of the brilliant scam by the development/realty consortium to
      "Preserve Through Development"

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    6. There are lots of people in this state who make a good living crafting exquisite lies to bamboozle the citizens. But the one claiming that building acres of cookie cutter condos is good for the environment has me wondering. Are there really people stupid enough to believe that?

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  2. I can see, eye can see,,April 26, 2012 at 7:25 AM

    This whole SCAG and Sacramento push to build more is disheartening. They keep going broke and they keep pushing for more living space when we have an excess. Is this the results of well financed Real Estate Lobbyist pushing their agenda for profit program, you bet it is!

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    1. 7:25, I take it that you are not moved by the Real Estate industry's ad campaign that realtors "Build Communities"? Me too.

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  3. The Green Committee's Accords is little more than a development brochure.

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  4. California CANNOT continue with development demands when there isn't even enough water supply for current demand. And it's just not feasible to create paper water or try to build the big water import systems, those are becoming more expensive every year to power and maintain (California Aqueduct, Colorado River Aqueduct, Owens Valley Aqueduct for LADPW). There's no more water supply to be had, and building more pipes is a complete waste of money. That just shifts shortages around, and in a drought there's no reserves.

    The development binge is over, we've hit the wall. See link above for details

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    1. Thank you 7:50. Exactly.
      To SCAG: It's the water, stupid.

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  5. Let's just get out of SCAG. They are of ZERO benefit to Sierra Madre.

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  6. One of the reasons Hasan Ikhrata gave for staying in SCAG when he was here a few years ago was that we would lose the benefit of having "a seat at the table." Since our request for RHNA relief was completely shot down last week, maybe he can come back and explain what exactly those benefits might be. They certainly don't appear to be anything useful.

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    1. There are two tables, the SCAG administrators' table where the real decisions are made, and the children's table, where the member cities are expected to sit and be quiet.

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  7. What with all this SCAG stuff we could use a good City Attorny.
    We don't have to look far afield. I think a good choice would be
    Sierra Madres own Kurt Zimmerman,an outstanding lawyer, former Mayor and Councilman, who love's this town,and knows how things work at City Hall.

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  8. How are cities supposed to build SCAG housing with no CRA money. Sacramento took that all away. Should we hold bake sales and car washes to raise money for the condo fund?

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    1. SB 1220 is on the way to create local funding for housing via a recording fee on all real estate transactions, minimum of $75 that goes up per the cost of the parcel. Contact your legislators to take this down. But it's being pushed by Steinberg, who is THE friend to the building industry in the legislature, creator of SB 375 that lets developers sue their way into profit if projects don't get local approval.

      See link above

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    2. California is being run by idiots.

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    3. California is being run by profiteers, developers and special interests as it has been for the last century or two. Despotism is the end game of capitalism as corruption sets in.

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    4. California is very convenient for that sort of thing. One party rule means one stop shopping. Everyone else is just a marketing problem.

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  9. Cities non't have to rely on CRA monies to build SCAG housing, the developers have plenty to spend, and spend they will.

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    1. When has a developer ever paid for things like our Warner Consulting bill?

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    2. Developers are generally greedy and small minded but that's not the same thing as stupid. In fact, they've been very successful at hurting communities to enrich themselves, and that takes a certain kind of craftiness. It's a sure thing that plans are in the making.

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    3. Aiyiyi 11:11, you bring up such a good point. Consultants. Talk about a thicket of ticks on the body politic. The state forces us to come up with a housing element, and then forces it again, and again, and the language and the requirements require specialists that cities have to hire, and an industry is born. Maddening.

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  10. Development that complies with Measure V, the people's Measure, is just fine.
    We welcome appropriate development. It's just that a few people are greedy.
    It's like what happened at Santa Anita, the track used to have a special day, the last day of the meet, when fans were allowed to come to the track with little digging shovels and pots and take home pansies that covered large areas of the paddock grounds. It was a fun thing, people looked forward to it, but sadly, the track had to discontinue this annual event, because a few people started coming in taking large expensive plants out, even doing damage to our beautiful grounds there.
    These few greedy folks, ruined it for everyone.

    Same with over development.

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  11. That is the beauty of the CRA having been staked by Count Brown. The City Council can no longer peel off a few ten grand in order to "help with a business development opportunity." Which, more often than not, was a euphemism for our tax money being used to pay some oh so friendly developer's bills for him.

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    1. Yes, that was a very good thing, indeed, 11:45.
      The CRA was no good. Like a lot of other programs, started out decades ago, sounded a good thing, but turned into something very bad.
      Jerry had to trash it, or trash the unions, when you are forced to cut, you are forced to cut, so the developer's "welfare" got cut.
      So sad, too bad.

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  12. Why did Josh Moran feel compelled to blurt this out Tuesday night?

    They threw me behind the cashier. I mean the cash register. And I didn't skim anything, then or now."
    - New Mayor, Josh Moran

    Is this man a sociopath or does he have some form of mental disability?
    Or did he just have a "Richard Nixon" moment.....you remember "I'm not a crook"?

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    1. I'm no shrink, but my take on Moran is that he sees everything as a personal relationship, and he's either getting along with his buddy/pal/girl/parent, or he's breaking up. He is an excellent representative of the Emp school of politics. Because he's just hanging out, reacting emotionally, you can never tell what he's going to say, and here's the kicker, I bet he can't either. The guy blurts. He knows words should be forthcoming, so he talks.

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    2. Josh probably believes that people find him as interesting as he does. Which is why he is so upfront with his personal information. The city council stuff can follow.

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    3. Like a storefront with a display, but nothing inside, when the mayor starts to speak, the ideas get jumbled and random. I think he knows logic exists, but he can't get to it.

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    4. It will be interesting to see how Josh handles himself without Uncle Buch to cover for his inadequacies. The three new council members are all highly analytical and comfortable dealing with detailed work. They are serious people. Not sure that is an environment that Josh's advanced emo skills will do him much good.

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    5. !2:17, people will tell you who they are.

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    6. Whether you want them to or not.

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  13. I think he was all aflutter having just been made mayor along with the prospect of working with dancin' Nancy as his mayor pro-tem.

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  14. Poster 7:00 AM, I think you're drinking the kool aid. No developer has every sued the City for allegedly failing to comply with RHNA requirements. And, there have only been a handful of such cases brought throughout California.

    Before I forget, can anybody find the City Council video where Zimmerman was challenging our old SCAG allocation based on SCAG's underlying job growth assumptions, which were absurd, and Buchanan was defending that allocation.

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    1. Yes Steve, but that was before SCS/RTP, the buses and condos that will save the world. Cities that don't comply now will feel the steel heels of the state on their necks in no time.

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    2. Not if a large number of the cities refuse.
      That'll change things.

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    3. Thanks to Neuroblast, there are plenty of vids to see abpout the struggles against RHNA.

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    4. The threat of lawsuits is a real threat, and one that has been used again and again to force LULUs. Buchanan and company used it to force the hillsides development.
      Wowser, were they wrong.
      We didn't save a dime, had to spend buckets of cash on C & L, lost the hillsides, and our money too.
      And that was doing it the developers' way to avoid the lawsuits!

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    5. More paranoia about developers. People on this blog must live their daily lives in fear. You'll all be dead before SM gets overdeveloped as you imagine. Stop living in fear of change. Enjoy Sierra Madre for what it is now.

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    6. What fear? This is fun. The city says one thing, and then we find out that the truth is something entirely different. It is kind of like whack-a-mole.

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    7. 4:41, there's enjoying what is now, and fending off what would destroy it, like the dead downtown Specific Plan, that Orange County nightmare, or the hillsides developed a la everywhere else around us, or the Arcadia McMansion epidemic....but you can pretend none of those things go on if it makes you feel better.

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    8. Hard to get into a perspective that narrow, Anonymous @4:41, but if the choice is fear or utter obliviousness to reality, I'll go with fear.

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    9. 4:41 must be new to town and takes everything at face value.
      The only reason there is this nice little place for you to enjoy is because of residents who have fought over-development every time it has reared one of its ugly heads.

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    10. Id rather see 1 Carter developed with nice homes or if possible a change of use to senior housing than just have a destroyed hillside subject to erosion and blight. It looks terrible up there. Needs to get improved and be done with.

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    11. Easy enough 5:30. Capital Source would be happy to talk with you and your 50 million dollars.

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    12. 4:41 pm is yesterday's Steve, come back to bring all things good and wonderful to our impoverished lives. No thanks, Steve. We know which side you're on in spite of your protestations. Steve remains a troll.

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  15. Comment from Earthquake Preparedness Center article from 2011 stating that concentraiting CRA density in downtown LA was a bad idea from this point of view. Even if the new constuction was earthquake safe and would remain standing they would be surrounded by vast distruction of older buildings.

    San Bernadino will be hard hit as they found they could not require the retrofits for one hundred buildings as it was too expensive and let owners off the 1999 requirement. I believe this happend in Sierra Madre, too, and the complete retrofit was abandoned. Why this is not so critical for us is that we never had a concentration of multistory buildings in town anyway and we don't want them now.

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  16. I listened to Varney & Co on the Fox business channel this morning. It was stated that 4 million people have left California in the past 20 years. Most of them were middle class folks who could not afford to live in this state anymore. Sadly many were born in California. We have 50% higher energy costs based on the national average. We are listed as 48% in the nation for business friendly. And we are last in education.

    Based on this above information, how are we going to get 4 million people to move to this state?

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    1. Maybe that explains the homeless housing planned for E Montecito. California is to become the national dumping ground for the unemployable and addicted. It's sustainable.

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  17. There is a place for the legitimate green message and we have to extracct it from the manipulated false green image,
    what's passing for "green" today--greed for greater density so that developers can exploit areas such as Sierra Madre where there would otherwise be no opportunities because we are already built out on according to the standards we wish to uphold.

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    1. Right you are 2:43, but the enmeshment with the pirates has really hurt the cause. I'm not sure it will be able to recover until there is a complete accounting of and distancing from the development industry.

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  18. GREEN ADVISORY COMMITTEEApril 26, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Bruce Inman, Director of Public Works, will present the Committee with an overview of the Sierra Madre Water Department.
    The Committee will review any updates of the Sierra Madre Environmental Accords – Work Plan and review the development of Accords Reports in the topics of Solid Waste, Water Conservation,

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    1. Will Bruce be bringing his length of famous rusty pipe?

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    2. Here's the water status report:
      There isn't enough, and it's getting smaller.

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    3. And the council liaison is.....?

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    4. Josh and Nancy will show up. That will mean any untrustworthy council member cannot attend due to Brown Act considerations.

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    5. time for a changeApril 26, 2012 at 4:55 PM

      great more condos more Solid Waste, more profit for the few.
      less water and more info structure cost that we have to pay for .
      why is it that we have to pay ,so the few can cash in on our town.
      time to wake up maybe

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    6. Reforestation, 4:55. Put back what God intended, and fools destroyed.

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  19. No one worries about water until the well runs dry. If you are there tonight (I have another meeting) ask if they have studies ways to impound more water the way Santa Monica does...swales, curb cuts on the uphill side of parking lots, streets. Are we impounding the max in our settling basins, are they cleared of vegetation, etc.

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  20. Implement a building moratorium immediately due to the water shortage and then REVOLT, REVOLT, REVOLT against SCAG!!

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