Wednesday, October 30, 2013

SCAG Head Hasan Ikhrata Wants to Put a Black Box In Your Car and Track Your Every Move

I'm watching.
You may have noticed yesterday that a rather old Tattler article had crept back into our "Top 10 Most Read Posts" list. Originally posted here in October of 2009 (link), it asks this loaded question: "The Head of SCAG is a Former Soviet Planner?" The article was based on a cite from the Orange County Register, and yes. Hasan Ikhrata, a man noted for his striking lack of a forehead, once was an actual Soviet planning official. From The Register (link):

No joke! SCAG's new leader was a Soviet planner This is too good to be true. I have a habit of comparing myriad local and state planners to Soviet planners, given that their ideas seem so similar at times. Recently, I wrote a column about the planners at SCAG, the appropriately named Southern California Association of Governments. I say appropriately, because a dictionary definition of scag is heroin, and these folks are addicted to central planning and tax dollars.

Well, the new head of SCAG, replacing Mark Pisano, is Hasan Ikhrata. Check out this from his bio: "Hasan also worked abroad for the Government of USSR, Moscow Metro Corporation, where he conducted subway ridership forecasting, engineering design and analysis of TDM programs for the Moscow Subway system. Hasan holds a bachelor's degree from Moscow University in the former Soviet Union and master's degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and is a Ph.D. candidate in Urban Planning from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles."

At least now it will be easier to refer to the "Soviet Planner" in charge of Southern California's premiere planning agency!

An interesting blast from the past for sure. And certainly SCAG does have its Soviet aspects. The most obvious to anyone living in Sierra Madre being the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) numbers we are forced to endure from them every few years.

The "RHNA Process," as it is known, being how SCAG's faceless planners help jam hideously inappropriate locally unwanted land uses (LULUs) into quaint little villages such as our own. Unelected and widely reviled bureaucrats, SCAG planning apparatchiks operate at the sole pleasure of an increasingly hostile central state government, and function completely free from any interference by we the voters.

City planning has now apparently become a post-democratic activity.

Obviously this former Soviet planner has found his happy home in today's California. A one party state well into the process of confiscating all local planning authority and consolidating it within our venal central government in Sacramento, where it is then peddled piecemeal to the highest bidders.

Slow growthers and other people who believe that cities such as ours should be allowed to independently plot their own planning destinies apparently being the Kulaks of this troubled era.

So why is an old Tattler article about Hasan Ikhrata attracting so much attention on the Internet now? Apparently our favorite once upon a time Soviet planner is up to no good again. This from the Los Angeles Times (link):

A black box in your car? Some see a source of tax revenue As America's road planners struggle to find the cash to mend a crumbling highway system, many are beginning to see a solution in a little black box that fits neatly by the dashboard of your car.

The devices, which track every mile a motorist drives and transmit that information to bureaucrats, are at the center of a controversial attempt in Washington and state planning offices to overhaul the outdated system for funding America's major roads.

The tea party is aghast. The American Civil Liberties Union is deeply concerned, too, raising a variety of privacy issues.

And while Congress can't agree on whether to proceed, several states are not waiting. They are exploring how, over the next decade, they can move to a system in which drivers pay per mile of road they roll over. Thousands of motorists have already taken the black boxes, some of which have GPS monitoring, for a test drive.

"This really is a must for our nation. It is not a matter of something we might choose to do," said Hasan Ikhrata, executive director of the Southern California Assn. of Governments, which is planning for the state to start tracking miles driven by every California motorist by 2025. "There is going to be a change in how we pay these taxes. The technology is there to do it."

This really is a must for whose nation, Mr. Ikhrata?

That story has now gone viral on the Internet. A website called Zero Hedge (link), also citing Ikhrata's troubling assertions, had this to say:

Big Brother Is Coming To Your Car This is a topic that has been on my radar screen for a while, but one that very few Americans seem to be paying attention to despite the egregious revelations concerning NSA spying that have emerged recently. I first flagged this issue in late 2012 in an article titled: Coming to Your Car: Mandatory Black Boxes That Record Everything.

The latest push for tracking devices in cars is being sold as necessary in order to raise funds to pay for the nation’s decayed highway infrastructure ... This is simply idiotic. There is already a tax per gallon on gasoline, so people are already being taxed based on how much they drive. Only a control-freak, moronic government bureaucrat would come to the conclusion that the solution to this problem is to install Orwellian tracking devices in people’s cars.

And then there is this observation from a Libertarian news blog called American Thinker (link):

Big Brother Never Sleeps - The statists never stop their quest to figure out how to control our lives. I haven't adjusted to the new reality in America that we will face penalties for not having health insurance (and hope I never do adjust to it), when along comes another absolutely crazy leftie plan, "Track and Tax."

Can you guess what this might be about? Think outside the box and don't be afraid to be completely outrageous as you brainstorm ideas. Headline Hint: "A black box in your car? Some see a source of tax revenue: The devices would track every mile you drive -- possibly including your location -- and the government would use the data to draw up a tax bill."

American Thinker also cites Hasan Ikhrata's quote, and then shares these thoughts:

Next, anyone affiliated with something called the Southern California Association of Governments would be a person I would steer clear of when seeking guidance on, well, just about anything. Who knew that in addition to The Government, there would be an Association of Governments?

Then, I have to say, that while I appreciate the ACLU being concerned about privacy, I have no interest in anyone figuring out a way to make this plan to track and tax be one that are eventually feel "more comfortable" with. I don't want the government (or anyone!) keeping track of where I go, what day I go, what time I go, how many miles I drove, or anything of the sort.

It appears that we are cursed to be living in interesting times. Times where everything you do is carefully watched, tracked, analyzed, and then taxed.

Look at it this way, perhaps Hasan Ikhrata never really did leave the Soviet Union.

He just brought it here with him.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

45 comments:

  1. Take a look at your smart phone contract. It allows random sampling of audio video, and is continually tracking via GPS.

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  2. if I drive mt California car to Nevada or Oregon, will I be charged for the miles I drive in those states?

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  3. Great job! It was that "must" that got to me also. You are doing the job that I wish the LA Times would get around doing. Two articles that you may want to take a closer look at: Antonovich and Metro's contract with BYD for electric buses: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lancaster-china-20131027,0,247357,full.story#axzz2izp5oaz4 and one that includes a speech by Metro Board Chair Diane DuBois. http://thesource.metro.net/2013/10/29/one-tidbit-from-mobility-21-conference-mayor-garcetti-says-another-transpo-ballot-measure-is-possible/#more-61039

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    1. The Tattler is on the story when the traditional sources are silent. What has happened to the Tribune/Star News? There was a time when they were a pretty decent investigative news agency and provided good coverage of local issues - those days are long gone. I hear the Orange County Register is looking at starting a paper in the Valley, much like they have in Long Beach and now in the Inland Empire.

      Keep up the good work at the Tattler. Oh and why stop with a black box in our cars? Why not just implant a microchip at birth and then they could tax us based on all kinds of habits and patterns.

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    2. Thanks Peggy! Great articles.

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  4. You can turn your GPS OFF on all cell phones.

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  5. And like a good neighbor, Hasan is there.

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  6. I am not sure he doesn't have a forehead. His wig may have slipped forward.

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  7. let them eat cake!October 30, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    we really need to go with a pay per mile system. this will benefit moi - the super rich - in many ways.

    first, it will create a system under which the less will off, who are forced to live in down market communities far from centers of culture, will be foreced to pay more in taxes than the well off such as myself. We, of course, choose to the opera, symphony and other places where people of simlar socio - economic backgrounds gather.

    second, it will discourage the use of autos by those in the lower economic echelons. this will leave the roads free for me to travel on workdays. more importantly, i will be able to travel on weekends, covertible top down, to the beach and other recreational places. The side effect is also great - the common folk will not be there to disturb by peace as the cost of such a drive will be ever present in their minds.

    i think this is a great idea that will provide welfare for the better people. kind of like the diamond lanes for rich folks who can afford a volt, rather than laying out the cash for a virtually identical cruz. the only thing that would be better is if the government provided a welfare check or tax credit to rich people who buy a volt. that would be really cool.

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  8. Poor people need to be shoved into public transportation. Only the rich can be allowed to have cars. Taxing people per miles driven will help accomplish that. The American dream is about to become that for most people. A dream.

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  9. Since this is such a "leftie" idea, let me think like a fat cat "righty"... who will make this black box so I can buy their stock? Get me Dick Cheney on the phone, he did pretty well with his two dirty little wars. I love the smell of money!!!

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  10. For California's bureaucratic elite getting all of those other people to make the sacrifices is how to get "green" done. One rule for them, another rule for everybody else.

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  11. RFID implants are next.

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    Replies
    1. Radio Frequency IDs. Better than barcodes, and far more discreet!

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  12. A true Soviet would understand that personal transportation is bourgeois individualism. To become a true member of both the world community and proletariat public transportation is the way to go. And as a former planner for Metro Moscow, Ikhrata knows the way to go. The glorious future is here!

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  13. Our State's Nomeklatura has selected a right and proper Soviet trained Apparatchik to help quell that pesky Middle Class Democratic Non Conformity!The elites are becoming increasingly impatient with our lack of respect and appreciation of their vision for our future!

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  14. You just have one communist to worry about, I heard a city council man declare in a open city council meeting that he and the rest of the city council member's were Stalinist's?

    And of course they all took a oath to defend against enemy's with in and out of the united states of America?

    Seems a little backwards, to declaring tot he world they are Stalinists and yet to defend?

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    Replies
    1. I'll bite. Was it a City Council in North Korea?

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    2. Sorry, I meant that the "communist on the council" remark was silly - not that North Korea quip. That was clever!

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    3. 12:39 was still more lucid than Steve. And on his best day.

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  15. Let's not exclude the Trotskyites !!!!!

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  16. Odd, our politicians want to force our use of mass transit....the communists on the other hand, are creating the fastest growing auto market in the world. (China)

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  17. As tot eh North Korean council, your getting colder, try something more to the East of Sierra Madre, California.

    Let the man hunt begin, any takers as to who and what city council made this outlandish remark?

    I'll be monitoring the reply's.

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  18. If we give the government all of our money, we will be happy. At least that's what they'd like us to believe.

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    Replies
    1. That way they would have enough money to take care of us and supply all of the services we need. We could be like happy children again.

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  19. Good choice, since Irwindale, Ca. is trying to shut down there largest land developer and income generator [$60 million a year] , answer is still NO.

    Try a city farther towards the East.

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    Replies
    1. Rancho Cucamonga?

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    2. So there's an out communist on a city council, and it's in Southern California?

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    3. 4:32, so what?

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  20. if we took the SCAG reports and tossed in the trash where they belong, what's the worst that could happen?

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    Replies
    1. Johnny Process would not get his sustainability award.

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    2. Lawsuits and fines. And then? Bankruptcy at the end of their demands? Unless the state wants us bankrupt, I say throw everything from SCAG into the recycling bins.

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  21. You were warm then you slipped past the city and landed on Rancho Cucamonga, come back to the West a little, please.

    Thanks for playing guess who's city council was proclaimed communists during a public meeting and it's on video.

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    1. Well, that narrows it right down: is it Upland? Claremont? La Verne? or San Dimas? Or, you could just tell us.

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  22. Well, here in America, it's actually a matter of individual conscience what political ideology a person chooses.

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  23. BOSTON STRONG !!!!!!

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  24. Well I have watched City Council Members first hand in Pomona, La Verne, San Dimas, Glendora, Duarte, Azusa and Covina........there are "Stalinists" on every one.

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  25. Hit the nail on the head / Glendora, California and the announcer/city council member was Douglas F. Tessitor.

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