(Mod: You can pretty much see the effects of this malaise in our town. The constant pressure to pack in more and more housing into our already built-out town just never seems to let up. With even some of our elected officials seemingly hellbent on destroying the character of our town in the name of saving the world from whatever fashionable scourge is being hyped at the time. But apparently this isn't just the work of a few control freaks and their enabling real estate investors in Sierra Madre, the madness is also state-wide. This from the Wall Street Journal ...)
California Declares War on Suburbia - Planners want to herd millions into densely packed urban corridors. It won't save the planet but will make traffic even worse. By: Wendell Cox
It's no secret that California's regulatory and tax climate is driving business investment to other states. California's high cost of living also is driving people away. Since 2000 more than 1.6 million people have fled, and my own research as well as that of others points to high housing prices as the principal factor.
The exodus is likely to accelerate. California has declared war on the most popular housing choice, the single family, detached home - all in the name of saving the planet.
Metropolitan area governments are adopting plans that would require most new housing to be built at 20 or more to the acre, which is at least five times the traditional quarter acre per house. State and regional planners also seek to radially restructure urban areas, forcing much new hyperdensity development into narrowly confined corridors.
In San Francisco and San Jose, for example, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) has proposed that only 3% of new housing built by 2035 would be allowed on or beyond the "urban fringe" - where current housing ends and the countryside begins. Over two-thirds of the housing for the projected two million new residents in these metro areas would be multifamily - that is, apartments and condo complexes - and concentrated along major thoroughfares such as Telegraph Avenue in the East Bay and El Camino Real on the Peninsula.
For its part, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) wants to require more than one-half of the new housing in Los Angeles County and five other Southern California counties to be concentrated in dense, so-called transit villages, with much of it at an even higher 30 or more units per acre.
To understand how dramatic a change this would be, consider that if the planners have their way, 68% of new housing in Southern California by 2035 would be condo and apartment complexes. This contrasts with Census Bureau data showing that single-family, detached homes represented more than 80% of the increase in the region's housing stock between 2000 and 2010.
California's war on suburbia is unnecessary, even considering the state's lofty climate-change goals. For example, a 2007 report by McKinsey, co-sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council, concluded that substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions could be achieved while "traveling the same mileage" and without denser urban housing. The report recommended cost-effective strategies such as improved vehicle economy, improving the carbon efficiency of residential and commercial buildings, upgrading coal-fired electricity plants, and converting more electricity production to natural gas.
Ali Modarres of the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles has shown that a disproportionate share of migrating households are young. This is at least in part because it is better to raise children with backyards than on condominium balconies. A less affordable California, with less attractive housing, would disadvantage the state as much as its already destructive policies toward business.
(To read the rest of this article, click here. Not coincidentally, this week SCAG denied Sierra Madre's request to cut our RHNA numbers from the absurdly high amount they are at now. Apparently SCAG believes that in order to save Sierra Madre, it must first destroy it. And they aren't alone in this belief. Some of those who agree are actually elected and salaried officials right here in town.)
Revolt at the SGVCOG? The "Code of Silence" Goes Down to Defeat
We got some great comments and e-mail about the uprising at "The COG" Thursday evening. Thought they ought to get posted here. Apparently things are not going very well for Nick Conway and his coterie of slavish followers. Which is always good news.
"Sustainability" means a subsidized green initiative whose inception was formulated by a friend, relative or contributor to a politician.
A couple of us made it to the COG last night. Nancy had nothing to say all night.
On a bright note, King from Walnut was eloquent last night in convincing the COG dead heads to table the "Code of Silence" as a Bradbury councilmember called the proposed COG Code of Ethics. He and a few others helped torpedo the new parcel tax for the WAG districts. He pointed out the tax had a 40 percent return of money to foothill cities, whose water is clean when it leaves their communities. Sierra Madre would pay to clean up the trash thrown into the rivers by downstream cities. Can we get this councilmember to transfer to Sierra Madre?
There were also signs of the end times for "The COG" last night. Someone was video taping the meeting. Suggestions were made to let the Alameda Corridor separate from The COG, based on suggestions from Washington DC. Washington must be hearing something about this train wrecked organization. The entire COG scam may be unraveling. Conway was red in the face and obviously uncomfortable. People were asking questions for once.
One councilmember told me that his city would not be putting The COG in their budget next year.
Wouldn't it have been nice of our representative there, Nancy Walsh, to mention how unfair this new LA County parcel water tax would have been to us? It will be interesting to hear how she explains the important role played by herself at this meeting. Maybe instead of participating vocally she was using telepathy? Next comment:
During the presentations on the proposed parcel tax, the county was forced to admit that it's "$54.00" per parcel projection was nonsense. Larger properties will face a much higher fee if this proposed "rain tax" ever passes. For example, the average Home Depot sized parcel will probably pay $11,000 per year.
But the real gold in last night's meeting was the proposal made to split the Alameda Corridor Authority (ACE) off from the SGVCOG and the control of Nick Conway. Seems the powers in Washington D.C. aren't too keen on the prospect of Conway controlling the multi-million dollar ACE budget.
This from an email I received yesterday:
I'm guessing you know by now the Barbara Messina "Code of Silence" blew up in her face last night. The event started with her explaining how she was doing this s a directive from the retreat and that she worked on it a lot. The Bradbury rep acknowledged her efforts, but told her he took issue with it. She asked "what part" and he very kindly said, "the whole thing." This resulted in an outburst from others that "it looks like you are trying to silence us," with others harmoniously agreeing ...
An uprising at The COG. A bad night for Nick Conway, bad regional government and those who think they can just steamroll over the rights of individual cities.
Related Pasadena Star News article here.