Monday, July 16, 2012

SCAG's 2011 "Compass Blueprint Visionary Planning Award for Prosperity" Went to Now Bankrupt San Bernardino

If you are a regular reader of The Tattler then you are certainly familiar with the Southern California Associations of Governments, or SCAG. These are the guys who recently dragooned us into accepting Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) numbers that will require us to plan for the building of all varieties of high density development in town, even though nobody living here actually wants it. They then turned down our appeal of this nonsense, along with the appeals of a lot of other cities. Each and every one of them, as a matter of fact. SCAG does not enjoy hearing from any community that does not intend to obey their commands.

SCAG's authority on mandates such as those unwanted RHNA numbers is backed up by the central planning regime in Sacramento, who in turn takes its orders from a state legislature totally in thrall to the development and Realty lobbies that never fail to fill their campaign coffers. It is statewide corruption at its most profound, and yet one more indication of how our state government is strangling economic and community life in California.

It must be recalled that SCAG does have a track record for making disastrous, and at time hilarious, projection errors. You may remember that back around 2006 one of the more repeated arguments in favor of high density overdevelopment in our downtown area (the now widely reviled "Downtown Specific Plan") was SCAG's "visioning" prediction that millions of new residents were on their way to California, and unless we built to accommodate the needs of all of these new arrivals there would be massive housing shortages. Current demographic data shows just how wrong SCAG was. The great California exodus of this decade has led to a population stagnation here, leaving a significant amount of the high-density development built on SCAG's recommendation in the previous decade unsold, and a glut on the market even today.

So it is hardly surprising that SCAG should have awarded an economic basket case such as San Bernardino a "planning award for prosperity." Here is how this astonishing news was announced on blackvoicesnews.com May 11 of 2011 (click here). You can also view the big news on SCAG's "Compass Blueprint" webpage (click here).

City Wins SCAG's Visionary Planning Award For Prosperity: The City of San Bernardino won the 2011 Compass Blueprint Visionary Planning Award for Prosperity, Mayor Patrick Morris announced on Tuesday.

The award was presented by the Southern California Association of Governments at its annual general assembly awards dinner May 6 at La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta. The Compass Blueprint Award is considered to be one of the highest achievements in government in Southern California, going to the region's most outstanding projects in planning, development and quality of life.

"This award acknowledges the hard work being done in our community to create better opportunities for our future," said Mayor Morris. "This is not about just what the City of San Bernardino is doing, it's about what we are accomplishing together."

Indeed. Now it is a little more than a year later, San Bernardino has declared bankruptcy, and the press SCAG's award winning city for prosperity has been receiving is not complimentary. Here is some lambasting from a 247wallstreet.com article (click here) posted on Yahoo entitled "Sickest housing markets in America." Guess which market is ranked number 1?

1) Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario Calif.
Average annual list price decline: -1.8%
Rental vacancy: 9.4%
Homeowner vacancy: 4.4%

Riverside is the third California metropolitan area suffering from a sick housing market. In this region, homeowners paying a mortgage have $41.5 billion in negative equity, the fifth-highest amount in the nation. Many of these homes are under water because median home prices plunged by 55.6% from their peak in 2006. The metro had an annual unemployment rate of 14.3% in 2010, the highest among the largest cities in the country (it was 11.8% in may 2012), and 12.3% of homeowners with a mortgage are 90 or more days delinquent on their payments - the ninth-highest rate. According to Southern California's City News Service, the assessed value of all taxable property in the county is estimated to be $204.8 billion for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, a $300 million decline from the $205.1 billion assessment in the previous fiscal year. While the decrease is lower than previous years, it means things have yet to improve.

Obviously SCAG's "2011 Compass Blueprint Visionary Planning Award Winner For Prosperity" is in quite an economic mess. But maybe this happened all of a sudden and SCAG was blindsided by a rush of events that brought San Bernardino to such a sorry pass? According to an in-depth investigation by the Pasadena Star News (click here), they should have known better.

San Bernardino struggled for decades before bankruptcy decision: San Bernardino's fall was not fast. The city has struggled for more than 30 years with a declining job base, dwindling business community and a steadily eroding housing stock.

"It's a three-decade long experience," said Mayor Pat Morris, noting, however, that the real blow to the city has come in just the past few years. "Our current dilemma is not so much what happened way back then," he said. "It's what happened since 2007 and 2008."

On Tuesday, the City Council, fearing the city would not be able to make payroll in August, authorized City Attorney James F. Penman to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. City leaders cited immediate cash flow problems stemming from steep declines in tax revenue, skyrocketing pension costs and the state take-away of redevelopment funds.

Penman, addressing the Council on Tuesday, said city budgets in 13 of the last 16 years appear to have been falsified, and in a news conference on Wednesday, he said evidence of suspected wrongdoing has been turned over to the appropriate authorities.

So there you go. Pray that SCAG never hands Sierra Madre a Compass Blueprint Visionary Award for Prosperity, or anything else. Complete disaster and ruin is likely to follow.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

73 comments:

  1. Who is going to make sure that the Bart Doyle's of town read this? Of the 3 Doyle puppets on the council one may understand it and try to help the town. From watching our recent election and council meetings we know that Chris Koerber and John Capoccia understand the problem and are already working on it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. SCAG's function is to bamboozle clueless city govts into believing they have to pack development into their towns. Central planning didn't work for the Russians, and it isn't working here.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Click here to the Compas Blueprint and look at the range SCAG is up to. Slick and nauseating. Find there the language used to lead Brawley to bigger and better things. We gotta get out of this mess, pronto!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I still have a question for Billy Shields that hasn't been answered. We seem to be satisfied that he has financing to complete this project. But have we any idea that the beds will be filled by people with tha kind of cash in hand...$6,500 month...almost what the retired Community College math teacher receives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Getting your 2% raise each year, comrades?

      2 Percent Simple Benefit Adjustment (Education
      Code Sections 22140, 22141 and 24402)

      The CalSTRS (California State Teachers Retirement System) Defined Benefit Program provides an
      automatic 2 percent simple benefit adjustment to
      allowances payable to all benefit recipients to provide
      some protection against the effects of inflation. This
      annual “benefit improvement factor” is applied
      September 1 of each year following the first anniversary
      of the effective date of the benefit.

      Delete
    2. 7:11, Billy is in a booming business. Demand is high and will only continue to grow.

      Delete
  5. In Sierra Madre we have a City Manager that has increased our budget ten fold since her arrival. A police Department that has doubled but the crime rate remains the same. However, issued tickets have been handed out like candy. The City has a City Council that lives in the clouds and we as tax payers have our heads buried in the sand.
    Thank you to the Tattler for keeping us informed about how screwed we are going to be if real changes do not occur.

    The City needs to live within a budget. The City Manager needs to be replaced or FIRED and we need a New City Attorney that works on behalf of "We the People"

    The City needs reform before we have to file for Bankruptcy.

    It may take tar and feathering the Troll, his minions and some of the Selective Few to complete this task.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ANYONE HEARD...

      WHATS THE STATUS OF CIRCULATING A BALLOT & INITIATIVE FOR REPEALING THE WATER & SEWER COSTS

      Delete
    2. 1:11 as far as I know, no one is taking a leadership role, recruiting the 50 foot soldiers required to begin, or putting up the thousands of dollars.

      Delete
  6. This makes sense. The kinds of things that SCAG wants cities to do are poorly thought out and economically insane. Why shouldn't they give a prosperity award to a corrupt city that has filed bogus budgets 13 out of the last 16 years?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I don't head on over to Sierra Madre anymore, it's been awhile. Not going to put up with the ticketfest going on over there. Nice town and shopping area, but just not worth it. East Pasadena will have to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's why they call us Ticket Town.

      Delete
    2. You're just too fast for us, city slicker. And seriously, the cops are pathetic, but I've never heard of getting a ticket for driving the speed limit, although sleeping in a van can get you shot.

      Delete
    3. You can always tell when you are at the Sierra Madre city line. 3 cop cars have their lights on, one car is pulled over, and people of some minority or other are sitting on the curb.

      Delete
    4. I have lived here 40 years and wind my way in and out of town to avoid all the speed traps. Come on back and take this easy solution: drive slow, taking alternate side streets and make all the stop signs a part of your leasurly approach to town. Do not make a downtown U turn (illegal without even having to be posted) and even don't park in the downtown area. Try walking the extra block. I would tell you of all my easy parking spots but only after you tell me of your favorite fishing hole.

      Delete
    5. This is not the first time, I've heard people won't come to Sierra Madre because of the "ticket trap" here.
      They want to kill business, I suppose.

      Delete
    6. Come on, dude, why slow down for children, the elderly, and the blind, we've got important business to attend to. Ahlriiight!

      Delete
    7. Don't hear the speedsters talk about undeserved citations - only that the SMPD are targeting them for rolling stops, making u-turns, going over the speed limit, and otherwise driving in an unsafe manner. The one that stands out in my mind is the report of a "soccer mom" in her SUV running over the tip of a cane belonging to a blind person crossing the street. Lot's of complaints about robberies, burglaries, etc. but when an unsavory suspect may be spotted sitting handcuffed on the curb there's a huge outcry of wasteful police resources.

      I'm going to suggest that Sierra Madre may be one of the last remaining outposts of special people who think they are above the law, in which case, instead of changing out SMPD for sheriffs, a citizens' milita complete with a bucket of tar, a bag of feathers, and some pitchforks would be all the law enforcement tools necessary.

      Let the citizens decide for themselves when the rules of law apply. Wait a minute... is that anarchy?

      Delete
    8. If the law DOES NOT generate revenue, then the law DOES NOT get enforced.

      I see mothers walking their babies in strollers ON THE STREET, while bicyclists ride on the sidewalks. I know several people that have called and filed formal complaints with the police department and the responses from the police have been very dismissive. It is also very common to see bicyclists riding past the police department, on the sidewalk while the police stand there and say NOTHING.

      As far as organizing a citizens' militia is concerned, there is no anarchy in organization. It's time for citizens to start taking responsibility and stop expecting the Nanny State to take care of us. We are 'being taken' by the Nanny State, literally....dollar by dollar.

      Delete
  8. The phrase, "You can't make this stuff up," comes to mind. Compass Blueprint Visionary Award for Prosperity! Can you imagine the morans and doylts who cooked up that gumbo?!

    ReplyDelete
  9. CBVAFP: City Bankruptcy Virtually Assured From Planners.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Maybe someone out in San Bernardino can answer this. Are boarded up unsold condos green?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, because their energy use is very low.

      Delete
  11. Went to Pasadena Star News "click here" and found something even better that the mess on San Bernadino, as follows:

    Updated: July 15, 2012 9:34:09 PM PDT
    Federal judge dismisses TV, LLC lawsuit against El Monte over Transit Village project
    EL MONTE - A federal judge this week dismissed an $18 million lawsuit filed by a former developer against the city over the troubled El Monte Transit Village project.

    This is the counter suit that the crooks that Doyle was hooked up with filed against the City of El Monte when their Transit Village project went south and the principals were arrested. El Monte advanced this bunch some $45 million of city money to get this project started, correct me if I am wrong, and are suing the developer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ohhhh, that is great news, El Monte is suing for 4 million, they lost 40 mill in grants and were going to put in 283 million. Leung and Lang stepped down, but TV LLC went into a BK 7, then miraculously, the non existant assets were purchased by family members, who brought in the whale Zhao Lin, who had a big dinner at the chamber, but nobody in the City of El Monte came. He had a very confused look on his face. I think he was lied to, and grifted like they tried with the dog and pony show they threw for the city. The city thought the property was secured as collateral under Titan, and TV but Leung had it under the Leung family trust. The bonds were Credit default swaps, the city attorney was removed for unclean hands, but mum is the word. There was the Pacific place where the foreign trade zone is, and a big senior apartment complex across the street and a big building beautiful but unused, at stake even without the Transit Village complex and aquired lands. The city did not vet the first 6.5 million in bonds, and Leung gave the job to a contractor his brother, who was not even licensed by the state contractor license board. But those bonds were obtained the same time Doyle got some 6.5 million from Sierra Madre, robbing peter to pay paul, I am thinking. Then there is the 14 million dollars in loans, that leung got by strongarming his E5 investors, taking their id's and making them get fraudulent loans that went into default. Loans on top of their required 500 thousand E5 investment to get their green cards. I think after a certain amount of time and not to embarress the DHS and ICE programs that Leung and Doyle will be sleeping with the fishes. Maybe just disappear like Hoffa. The US gov may be tolerant, but men like Lin aren't so forgiving.

      Delete
    2. Shoot I should have read the story, now there is a Mv properties, who claims they were the highest bidder, and tried to buy the suit to retain the rights to develop. They have filed an appeal. Of course this is the only exact MV properties llc, in Rancho Cucamonga Entity Name: MV PROPERTIES, LLC
      Entity Number: 200223210088
      Date Filed: 08/15/2002
      Status: ACTIVE
      Jurisdiction: CALIFORNIA
      Entity Address: 8577 HAVEN AVE NO 202
      Entity City, State, Zip: RANCHO CUCAMONGA CA 91730
      Agent for Service of Process: NICHOLAS MITSOS
      Agent Address: 8577 HAVEN AVE NO 202
      Agent City, State, Zip: RANCHO CUCAMONGA CA 91730

      Buttt.. there are scads of investment names with 134 blah blah MV in them.???

      I searched the address, and there are several interesting names there at that address on Haven in the different suites/offices a Senator Dutton, a dentist name Hsu, etc. Of course Mr Mitsos has a Mountain View Racing team, but a Mountain View Tire shop is at that same address above. Lots of companies, the city states in the story they think it is a sham company set up by the Langs, Leungs, Lins. But my tattler spidey sense is saying alphabet agencies, remember they drug old Daniel Segritti of Nixon fame out of the moth balled closet to depose one of them in front of Gondek. There is a Nicholas Mitsos, linked to a Financial Science Company. There is a big corporation wiki on him http://www.corporationwiki.com/California/Rancho-Cucamonga/nicholas-mitsos/41518221.aspx

      Big Bios and pictures on the mountain view racing car page..

      From the SGV story today: MV's Attorney quote exerpt:

      "Aronson said he did not know of any properties MV Properties had developed anywhere, nor did he know the exact location of the company's office."

      What kind of attorney does not know the exact location of his clients office?

      The game is afoot Sir Eric...

      Delete
  12. When was the time that any of us drove through down-town San Bernadino. Even less cause now that there is a 210 freeway extension around to the north. Having to get off the freeway to get gas around Redlands is bad enough, or Realto/Fontana, ofdah, makes my stomach churn.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Crawford, would you adress the disturbing news I just heard?
    Eminent Domaine will be used by the government and banks to take forclosures.
    This could lead to "social engineering" could it not?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Of Vallejo, Stockton, Mamouth Lakes and San Bernadino, the story of Mamouth Lakes is the most worrying for me...they lost a huge law suit against a developer...something that could have happened to Sierra Madre but so far has not. I truly do not have faith in the ALF coming to fruition without negative financial impact to the city. We must not give anything to Billy's project to make it happen. This seems to have been the big mistake El Monte made...gave big money to help start up this project. Is that what Monrovia did, too, by dismissing property taxes for several years to encourage developers? Now they have ghost buildings, no future tax revenues and deferred back taxes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it would be awful if that building across from city hall were a ghost building.

      Delete
    2. We didn't give Shields anything except a bigger, bulkier building in insisting he build shops in front of the ALF. I know, I know, it is in our General Plan, but couldn't they have insisted he also trim down the ALF?

      Delete
  15. Southern California Zombie Towns are the wave of the future. I'm sure a bunch of them will have SCAG awards in their resumes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are we still in SCAG? If so, WHY?

      Delete
  16. You really can't make this stuff up. What a wonderful illustration of why we, as the taxpaying public, should demand the dissolution of these regional agencies. Their role is murky, their power is oppressive and their drain of our tax dollars and resources for their pet projects is abusive.

    I wouldn't be surprised to learn that SCAG has nominated Nick Conway as Public Administrator of the year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now THAT is funny ... except it is also probably true!!

      Delete
  17. Pasadena Star News Poll: Disband COG?

    411 Yes
    87 No

    ReplyDelete
  18. SCAG needs to be disbanded, just like the SGVCOG does.
    Maybe there was a good idea in there somewhere, but just as the development industry (and yes that includes realtors) took over the environmental movement, greedy and immoral 'pubic servants' have taken over these regional governmental bodies, for their own profit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The feds and the state are going broke and need to save money -- What better places to start than SCAG and the damn COG?

      Delete
    2. SCAG is an arm of our wonderful California Legislature in action. It can't be abandoned, thanks to AB32 and SB375. SCAG is the enforcement arm of these two bills.

      Delete
  19. I had SCAG figured out when I found out that San Marino's requirement was 2. Two.

    ReplyDelete
  20. 8:45 Howdy Partner. Your frontier style of jusstice went south when the auto replaced your four footed transportation. Speeding (as on Grandview commonly 45-50 mph in the 30 mph zone) is easily detected. Speed in SM and get an appropriate citation thats it and you are in control. Hats off to the SM Police.

    ReplyDelete
  21. @ 8:57 Monrovia is a model city that Sierra Madre should strive to become. Yes there are vacant buildings but that is a result of the current economy. They will fill up in time. If there is anything keeping SM from moving forward is people like you who do everything they can to stall projects causing developers to miss markets. The ALF project would be a fantastic addition to the city creating synergy and a dynamic center in the CBD. If SM isnt careful they will find themselves left behind. We are so focused on insignificant things here like No Stop lights in town, ringing the bell at noon, volunteer FD, no drive thrus. Who cares. People living in the pre-War era.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And which war would that be, please, 10:18 am? We're involved in interminable war in the middle east, there was the war in the Balkans, Vietnam, WWI and II, the Korean War. Then of course the bucolic America of the pre-Civil War, the War of 1812, the Spanish American War, the Revolutionary War, what else? I like picket fences, rose covered cottages, a walk to the market or the coffee shop, kids buying ice cream at Kersting Court. Let's hear it for pre-War - any era!

      Delete
    2. "People like you"?

      Delete
    3. "Left behind"?

      Delete
    4. 10:18 am

      How about if "people like you" just leave Sierra Madre? You obviously don't like it here, so go somewhere else.

      Delete
    5. More than happy to live in a town that gets "left behind". That was the whole reason we moved to Sierra Madre in the first place.

      Delete
  22. Where was and what was San Bernadino City Attorney James Pennman and predecessors doing when San Bernadino was creating "fradulent financial documents for 13 of the past 16 years"? Obviously not defending the tax payers of the City. Attorneys carry large liability protection insurance (most likely paid for by the City). Would a City Attorney not be culpable if on their watch, cowboy economics were carried on right under their noses? Or are they part of the scam of State Government / City Government funneling lots of dough into their projects. It is so corrupt!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point 10:31.
      Unfortunately, attorneys probably led the way in making sure participants were immune from prosecution for decisions made while in city service.

      Delete
  23. When one makes a comment regarding Pre-War era, it is typically agreed upon educated people to mean WWII.

    ReplyDelete
  24. 10:18 Yipi ky-yay you got it backwards. Sierra Madre should be careful and "get left behind". I like your list for the Planning Commission. Lots of stuff that never should be allowed in SM. Good Job!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Ooooh! Woo Woo! "Typically agreed upon educated people to mean WWII." Another elitist! Allriiight!

    ReplyDelete
  26. @10:32 your interpretation of Sierra Madre sounds more like the Victorian times of Polyanna. I dont know if you have noticed but those "cute" little children buying ice cream in Kersting CT. typically are not SM kids but the "stray kids" from the un-attentive parents down in the flatlands below. Left waiting for hours after school for a ride home from your endearing Sierra Madre Elementary. Bunch of hoods in the making. Not to mention their foul mouths. I have even heard some hair raising language from the private school Bethany kids. Living on the west side of town Ive witnessed your innocent SM kids walking home from LaSalle going at it in public not to mention this one girl who walks to school in her uniform smoking a cigarette. If a property owner in another city doesnt maintain their home grounds they are considered "trash" but in Sierra Madre it is considered quaint. Double standards in SM of course.

    ReplyDelete
  27. people on this site are so sensitive.

    ReplyDelete
  28. You have to give Attorney James F Pennman credit. After "13 of the past 16 years" he finally smells a rat. Great job Sherlock!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The rats in San Bernardino are very fastidious about their personal hygiene. They give off a very slight odor.

      Delete
  29. People that live, work and school in Sierra Madre are so isolated from the realities of life. When they go down below they are in culture shock. They create their own sense of reality.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's just stupid. Most people come here because they are painfully aware of how rotten things are elsewhere. Believe me, it is a full time fight to keep it nice here.

      Delete
    2. Rule of thumb for our simple minded friend. If things are nice, and everything looks peaceful and kind, it is because the people living there are cantankerous and very tough. If thing look horrible, and the neighborhood is in chaos, it is because the people who live there are weak and afraid. Never make the mistake and believe that the people who live in Sierra Madre are weak or afraid.

      Delete
    3. Well said 11:22 and 11:30.
      If the casual tourist knew what it has cost us, is continuously costing us, to keep the 'village', they'd be shocked.

      Delete
  30. 10:59 I live in Sierra Madre and work "down below" been successful at both. Perhaps you should arrange your life differently. Maybe you are swiming upstream.

    ReplyDelete
  31. 2 quick questions....

    We continue to fund SCAG with our tax dollars because??????

    Shouldn't these law firms, who are paid millions each year in our tax dollars, be held financially accountable for the poor advice they provide to their municipal clients?

    just wondering...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You bet! But they have become acostomed to working only one side of the legal street; the City Administration & wanna be's

      Delete
  32. Lived in Sierra Madre 50 years, only received 1 ticket for not turning my wheels to the curb when parking on a hill.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haved lived in Sierra Madre 28 years. I received a polite admonishment for making a left turn over a double yellow line into a angled parking lot. Thats It! We have some real "envelope pushers" right here in River City Madre!! but I do watch out for them.

      Delete
    2. I have lived here 30 years and have never gotten a ticket. Guess I have to watch out for the next 20 years if I don't want to tie 1:25's record.

      Delete
  33. Star News Poll: Disband the COG?
    Yes: 506
    No: 100

    ReplyDelete
  34. Yes: 518
    No: 102

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't that 102 about the number of COG/Arroyo Associates/phony City appointees combined?

      Delete
  35. Good story dear editor,

    Excerpt from your story:

    So there you go. Pray that SCAG never hands Sierra Madre a Compass Blueprint Visionary Award for Prosperity, or anything else. Complete disaster and ruin is likely to follow.

    Amen SCAG must be smoking it's own tweaked pie charts. oh noes!!! Run, back away from the compass blueprint VAP, well on the positve side maybe they can sell it for a few bucks, ya think?

    ReplyDelete