Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wall Street Journal: California Declares War on Suburbia (Plus Thursday's SGVCOG Uprising)

"If California were a small country somewhere, the U.S. military would invade it and restore democracy and freedom." - John Seiler

(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.

(Later)

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.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

70 comments:

  1. Chief Black KettleApril 21, 2012 at 7:44 AM

    Good morning friends and neighbors. You're all familiar with the old saying, "Familiarity breeds contempt." And as we've discovered from the world of behavioral science, when lesser species are confronted with dense population counts they try to solve the problem by bumping one another off. The jury is still out on whether homo sapiens can tolerate living close to one another with a count on the order of 20 units per acre as the urban planners have in mind. So, I say good luck to you all. I'm working on acquiring reserve seating on one of the Titanic lifeboats.

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  2. Didn't the guy who runs SCAG originally work as a planner in the Soviet Union?

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    1. He should feel comfortable working in California.

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  3. Excellent news about people finding their own voices at the COG (no surprise that Walsh didn't - probably doesn't understand what's going on)
    The corruption has gotten so rank that everyone needs to stop membership.

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    1. Maybe Nancy can give us a report on the buffet.

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    2. She's probably bummed that Nick didn't take them out.

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    3. Walsh will report that she attended. And that's it.

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    4. Maybe she will call it all a distraction. That is the word she used when Nick's malfeasance blew up there a few months back.

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    5. An unpleasantness.

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  4. Star News is also covering this COG revolt in today's newspaper.

    8:08am - If most cities discontinue their membership, it could lead to just a few corrupt people making decisions for all of the cities. If the COG is dissolved completely on the local level, then what? It might make more sense for the cities to band together and vote to get the bad seeds off of the COG and start over.

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    1. Good for the Star News!!

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    2. Thanks for pointing that out. I've linked the PSN article.

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  5. Thats bad news about the RHNA numbers. Any idea what they are?

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  6. Didn't our friend, Laurie Barlow write about these issues last year?

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    1. Yes. But it is still good to see Berlin on the American River getting some national exposure for its bad behavior.

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    2. Barlow has been ahead of the curve for a long time - maybe all her life.

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  7. The PSN article reminds me of articles past - tepid, Slick Nick's opposition called "small", and nary a peep about the enormous conflict of interest issues with Nick's Arroyo Associates.

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    1. There you have it. Supporting Nasty Nick through virtual silence.

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  8. Off topic, but this is The Tattler. I see there is a special City Council meeting on Monday, called for the purpose of one thing. Elaine Aguilar's performance review. Why is this being done under the old City Council?

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    1. Because they are the ones who have worked with her.

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    2. Yes, but they are not the ones she will be working for. Are you suggesting that the 3 new council members will not have informed opinions on her job performance to date? You know, like lying about the reasons for the water rate hike?

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    3. Elaine probably thinks she will get a better shake under the old city council since so much of her dirty work was done for their benefit.

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    4. I dislike Aquilar's work as much as anyone, but it's just business procedure - the people who review a job performance are the people who have the most experience with the job performer, and it focuses on the past. Or the review would need to be postponed for some months.

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    5. The city manager will be praised to the skies by Buchanan and Moran for the reorganization and all her many sacrifices.
      Wanna bet?

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    6. The City Manager serves at the pleasure of the City Council, who serve at the pleasure of the voters. By having her job review done under the old council, the city manager and her allies are attempting to deny the newly elected members the opportunity to decide who will be working for them. Thereby cheating the voters.

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  9. Remember when Joe became Mayor and "nominated" Nancy to represent SCAG and someone from the audience gently suggested to him that MaryAnn also go along with her since MaryAnn had attended SCAG and knew what was happening and could assist and continue the work for the CITY ....... Joe blibbled and blathered and the audience booed. Coulda been different if Joe took the suggestion a little intelligence always threatens Joe and Nancy, John and Josh. Amazing.

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  10. You've just gotta wonder why such hatred of MaryAnn has put this city in the fog it's in?

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    1. The source of all the lying about MaryAnn is the community of permanent losers who invested in the DSP, and certain ditzy nitwits from the realty industry. People who would sell their first born for a listing.

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    2. Unfortunately, MaryAnn's demise is only a symptom of a larger problem, uniformed voters.

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    3. Rumors of her "demise" are greatly exaggerated.
      She will now be able to participate much more freely.

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    4. I'd much prefer her serving as a City Councilperson acting as an anchor of sanity, instead of as a private citizen. By "participate much more freely" you mean being ignored by the CC during the public comments period?

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    5. MacGillivrey was totally ignored for the last 2 years, and she was on the council.

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    6. MaryAnn has amassed an extraordinary amount of information and knowledge about the garbage that is going on at SCAG and the COG. Her help there is essential. With Sid and Nancy calling the shots here starting next week, we are going to need all the help we can get.

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  11. I cannot understand why District Attorney Steve Cooley has remained so silent over the COG issues. The conflicts of interests, the payment of rent from the Homeless Council to Arroyo which you unearthed.

    I can understand why the ACE cities want to bail on Conway. They depend on Federal funds to fund the rail crossings. They probably do not want to be affiliated with Conway. It appears they are pretty transparent. Their website lays everything out pretty well.

    If the opposition to Nick is small. We have major integrity problems in the San Gabriel Valley. How many is small?

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  12. Why is Sierra Madre required to be part of these organizations? (SGVCOG, etcetera) Under what authority do these entities act? If the city stopped paying the dues wouldn't that act alone automatically terminate membership?

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  13. Question: the Green Advisory Committee has a color 11 by 17 flyer out advertising such activities as a drum circle in Kersting Ct. For Sunday they have listed a film showing and community discussion at Bean Town @ 7:30. Bean Town has no knowledge of this event. Anyone here heard anything?

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    1. I heard Kim Kelly on the phone at Mary's Market with Paul Hagen discussing advertising for the event yesterday. You remember Kim, right? She's the one responsible for the virulent anti-homo barrage against MaryAnn MacGillivray during the election campaign. Apparently part of the Green Committee's activities is attacking property owners with scurrilous accusations. BTW, Kim is a renter and a member of the LGBT lobby that supported Joe Mosca. What a legacy Ms. Kelly will leave when she moves on to "greener" pastures.

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    2. Wow. Our very own Green Shirts. I am sure all that drumming from Kersting tomorrow evening is going to please the residents. Especially the parents of newborns. Talk about noise pollution!

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    3. Do you think the Green Committee has a TUP for all these activities? Do they get special dispensation from Elaine?

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    4. I think the idea of a drum circle is cute.
      One of those pilfering of other people's traditions that bring a certain pathos to the performance.

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    5. I think that they march to the beat of a different drum.

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    6. Aren't drum circles something defeated American males do in the woods to get back in touch with their inner beasts?

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    7. Don't you know, 10:17 am, that the Green Committee operates under the UN Accords which trumps Beantown's rights? Just ask its owner, the President of the Chamber of Commerce. He's best buds with Bill Coburn. Its a whole new concept in Sierra Madre - individuals have no rights; the Greenies have a mandate.

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    8. Actually there is a new guy running the Chamber these days. He's from Athens Sanitation. They're very green, you know.

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    9. Will Bob Matheson be drumming? He must have some frustrations to work out by now.

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    10. Are you serious 11:39 am? An employee of Harabedian's family conglomerate? Little Johnny better be prepared to do some 'splainin...

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    11. That's right! JH will have to recuse himself when the city cuts those checks to the Chamber of Commerce.

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    12. And the cops. And the trash truckers. And anything to do with the UUT since garbage is a taxable utility in this burgh.

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  14. Funny stuff going on at the Patch this morning. Debate over who is worse, pot smokers or alcohol drinkers. At last, a topic Patch readers know something about!

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  15. If the new council has the will, it should disband the Greenies weenies as absolutely irrelevant to the town, and tell them to "beat it" out of town.
    Take Buchie with them

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  16. What's the film at Beantown?
    Is it a secret?
    Can't find the name on the city web site - just "film"

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    1. Probably the same development propaganda the City been showing ad nauseum on SMTV3.

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  17. Funny how being gay was never an issue during joe's first run and then he made it an issue during his second run. Anyone ever look around and see the Canyon and the history of Sierra Madre? It is filled with Artists and a variety of creative/interesting/gay people. Joe and Co used this tactic to attack MaryAnn.

    People who have lived here from the beginning until the present never made it an issue. Only the DIRTS did, what a dirty shame they are...

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    1. Joe Mosca was the dirtiest politician this city has ever seen. Even Doyle himself never resorted to such low tactics. Hopefully he never comes back.

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  18. Back to the question of cramming too many people in once place. Urban renewal raised the slum areas and built up high rise low cost housing in inner cities which became dangerous, overcrowded verticle slums. Now in many eastern cities these highrise, low cost housing derilects are being demolished and single family homes are popping up in their place. Habitat for Humanity projects never builds multiple houses. They build single family residents, but small ones. It is the building of the individual starter castles, 5000 plus square feet that is the scourge of the suburban housing. Think of how many nice, modest sized single family residents you could build, 1/4 or 1/3 acre of land each, to one of these mega mansions, lot line to lot line (check out areas of Arcadia in particular), monsters that were all the range and still so. Real waste of resosurces, gas, water, electricity, not to mention the lunber, marble for countertops, limestone for stucco, etc.

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    1. Yes indeed, 12:43.
      Don't have to go to Arcadia to check them out, though I agree the rows of monuments to conspicuous consumption there are truly astonishing.
      You can find the same gargantuan in Sierra Madre, up on Auburn. The Meaglia Palace I, and if he has his way, there will soon be a Meaglia Palace II.

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  19. It's really interesting how our local greensters in league with the developers and dirts don't say a word about over sized mansions. I guess anything that generates folding money is the true green philosophy.

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    1. Given their allegiance to high density stack and pack development it seems obvious they're just sock puppets for the usual gangsters.

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    2. It is all just a sales job for SB375. Stack and pack is the new green.

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  20. Can't get the right answer if you don't ask the right question. Where do you put Too Many People? Remember China's One Child policy? Female infanticide resulted.

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    1. Back in 2006 SCAG's message was that things like the DSP had to be built because millions of people were coming to California. Instead millions of people left California. So the new message now is high density development is going to save the world from global warming. They just make this stuff up. None of it is true.

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  21. Look on City website for Earth Day functions. At Kirsting Court, Bailey Canyon, etc. Some composting demo at the parking lot at Mary's Market. Maybe that is all it is and under banner of the Green Committee.

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    1. Ever eaten at Mary's Market? I'm not certain compost is going to improve the ambiance much.

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  22. The whole regional government/redevelopment system is collapsing because it's nothing more than a massive corruption setup that's gone on for nearly a century, according to Kevin Starr. Hence the article comparing California's fiefdoms to Chicago's wards. Jerry Brown really had no choice but to use the budget issue to start to take some of it down. We all have to finish the job

    Click on the link above

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  23. PARKING lot at Mary's Market. I has served for several meetings: mud, canyon zone walk, etc., and now a demo on how to keep your kitchen and green waste out of the landfill. In Canada the municipality recycles all household food scraps (you put it in a designated plastic bag by the roadside, next to your recycling and garbage), including tea bags, peelings, etc., and it goes to the compost dump where later you go pick up buckets of the nice, sweet smelling compost for your garden.

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    1. I am sorry, but I don't think that an establishment that serves food should have garbage strewn all over their parking lot.

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    2. The bears would love that designated food scraps bag.

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    3. Remember what the ranger told us, "A fed bear is a dead bear."

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  24. Enjoy your services!

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