Saturday, January 20, 2018

City Watch: Pushing Back Against City Hall Cheaters

Mod: Since it looks like the bad old days of development double-talk could very well be on the way back to town in the form of City Council candidate Arcadia Andy, I thought I'd introduce you to one of my favorite writers on the topic of building babble. His name is Dick Platkin and he writes for the site City Watch. Here are the lead-ins for two of his most recent articles. Very LA-centric, but then again what isn't?

The “Build More Market Housing” Quack Miracle Cure for Los Angeles (City Watch link): PLATKIN ON PLANNING Jan. 11, 2018 - Los Angeles is heading toward a perfect storm of gentrification, well-camouflaged behind spurious claims of boosting transit ridership and addressing LA’s housing crisis through zoning and environmental deregulation.

This perfect storm is propelled by huge tail winds from the State Legislature in Sacramento, with big city Democrats fronting for the real estate interests that fund and mentor them. San Francisco State Senator Scott Wiener and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti are their current favorites, but many more are lining up at the trough.

To begin, there is a treasure trove of successful programs that they could turn to if they really wanted to increase transit ridership and address the housing crisis, but they are totally mute on these options.  As for their cheerleaders, their silence is also deafening since the following public programs are at odds with their “build more market housing” miracle mantra for LA’s urban ills.

Pushing Back Against City Hall Cheaters (City Watch link): PLATKIN ON PLANNING - Jan. 18, 2018 - City Planning has developed a host of ways to assist real estate developers building for the high end of the real estate market. Their helping hand, though, is based on cheating, and it also hides behind several totally spurious claims. While they don’t yet concede their bait-and-switch approach, their friends, like Senator Scott Wiener, unabashedly support real estate speculators with many outlandish predictions.

According to Wiener and friends, the new market housing will boost transit ridership, reduce residential segregation, slow down gentrification, and meet the housing needs of the homeless, the overcrowded, and the rent-stressed. Since I debunked most of these claims in last week’s CityWatch column, this week I will zero in on the cheating.

City Hall’s first cheating tactic is to rely on inflated population forecasts from the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) for the plan horizon years of 2035 or 2040. With these inflated numbers in place, the media and the public are then told that Los Angeles will soon experience another population boom. It must, therefore, loosen up its planning, zoning, and environmental regulations to make sure there is enough housing for these newcomers.

One of the best-known cases of these inflated SCAG population numbers was the General Plan Framework Element, an otherwise exemplary planning document. Based on SCAG’s extrapolation of prior decennial census data, SCAG’s 2010 population forecast for Los Angeles was 4,300,000 people. But, when the Bureau of the Census released its 2010 data, Los Angeles, only had 3,790,000 people. Without any explanation, 500,000 people never materialized.

Despite SCAG’s subsequent silence, it is not hard to figure out why the 2010 numbers were so incorrect, and why SCAG’s 2040 forecasts will suffer the same fate. SCAG’s methodology relies on historical trend data. Since Los Angeles was once a boomtown, it is easy to extend long-term historical trends into the future and predict enormous population growth.

Then, when the inevitable mistakes become apparent, there is too much resistance from local municipalities, especially Los Angeles, to make mid-course corrections, explain why the forecast methodology was so flawed, and to detail how it will be corrected in the future. Given this uncertainty and the prominent role of the urban growth machine in local politics, the political winds invariably blow in the direction of inflated population numbers. Boosterism, not sound social science, prevails.

Inadvertently dubious headline

Mod: This comes to us from the news site "The Hub" (link):


I hear you, man.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

37 comments:

  1. Please, if you believe in responsible slow growth and are anti Mansionization, talk to your friends and neighbors about voting for our three incumbents, and make sure they do vote.

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    1. Will do, though I hate the idea of getting back into the back-biting and small-mindedness of our local politics. The pro over-development folks will say or do anything to get votes.

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    2. Keep the Three !!!

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  2. Mary and Joseph gave birth to an anchor baby.

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    1. And a Jewish one at that.

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    2. And a refugee
      In a s**thole country

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  3. I wish we were voting on the Tattler “Illuminati” to leave town. That would be awesome. It would be daily rainbows, unicorns and happy thoughts.

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    1. If the usual Tattler reader left town, say adios to any open space, and hello to the DSP style 4 story buildings downtown, and the hillsides covered with mcmansions.

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    2. Oh ok. And Without this brain trust we may even turn the YMCA into a combo human trafficking/drug ring. Get over yourselves.

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    3. If you’d like to see another example of sickening development, in this case the latest fad of ‘residential over retail’, go check out the 37 condo project being built at Duarte Rd and First Ave, just east of Santa Anita. It’s a 5 story massive beast, what you’d see in Alahambra on Main St. Arcadia will approve ANYTHING. The previous Arcadia city council approved it after about 10 minutes of discussion. Why should they care? They don’t live near there. Chandler will maybe notice it as his fat ass drives to Taco Lita. You SM residents have done wonders blocking crap like that Condo Compound.

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    4. 9:09, perfect example of what 9:39 was talking about. Helpful of you.

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    5. I've seen that behemoth at Duarte and First - most of First Avenue south of Huntington and North of Duarte is an odd survivor for Arcadia, human scale, walkable, pleasant - it's probably just a matter of time.

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    6. Yes, 10:09, that area of 1st Ave truly sucks. That area is the poster child for a city letting business growth DIE. Oh wait, I’ve got an idea, let’s put in another 20 NAIL SALONS, that will really get that area popping !!!

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    7. Yes, 9:09am, we all should stop being so unrealistic and let you line your developer pockets while we welcome your endless streets of empty mcmansions and increased crime. BTW, where is your other home?

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    8. Uh oh. 9:09 is talking about unicorns. The valium fairy must have been visiting our favorite real estate office today.

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    9. It is always about them, isn't it? Level the library, scalp the hills. All so that these very vain and mediocre people can sit in those little real estate offices and sneer.

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    10. So much stupid here. All your assumptions are wrong. Not a realtor. Not a developer. Not a second home owner. No Valium either.
      What I do have is a heartfelt disdain for you angry, spiteful, vindictive destroyers of this community. Please for the love of all that is holy, stop this nonesense and go hug a woodland animal.

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    11. Spitting like a viper this one. Please. Take the valium.

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    12. 6:26 - Can you detail exactly how the town has been destroyed? Considering how much money people are getting for their homes these days, your kooky comment seems a little over baked.

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    13. 6:26 ~ Rather Trumpish of you. Do you tweet?

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    14. 6:26 - Look your posts - you call people Illuminati, stupid, angry, spiteful, vindictive, community destroyers that you wish you could vote out of town. It certainly doesn't sound like someone who wants harmony in the community, more like a bully who is angry that the town is not made up entirely of sheeple.

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    15. 6:26 - Pot - Kettle - Black.

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    16. 6:26 - You know what they say. The more you fib the bigger your butt grows.

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  4. "Inflated population forecasts" have been used by just about every development push we've had here.

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    1. Yes. We are still waiting for our Metro subway station.

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  5. Had to borrow these posts from Wednesday and Thursday:
    "Anonymous ~ January 17, 2018 at 3:56 PM
    For those of you new to Sierra Madre and pro-preservation citizen group's long, hard-fought efforts: Measure V is something you must study. Pro-preservation citizens put this on the ballot when alarmed by the development pressures apparent from actions of former City Council members investments in downtown projects and the impending implementation of the Downtown Specific Plan. The Arcadia Board of Realtors funded the opposition with a huge amount of money, outspending the preservation group and yet they lost. Measure V passed and it is the law governing development in the downtown along wth the Canyon Development Zone, the Hillside Development Ordinance and other Residentail development constraints are in place due to work by the entire city during the update of the General Plan. The Planning Commission continues to fine tune these development issues. I don't know what Andy Bensecom's election platform will be but you can bet that the preservation group in town won't have any part of it."

    Just google "Bensecom+Mursol+Century 21". This guy will be more than happy to work with the development interests circling Sierra Madre. I'm sure these folks would love to get their hands on the Library property...develop and sell them units! Buy low, sell high. They already have plenty of experience...and friends, in town.
    Our CC is not perfect, but is the best we've had in quite a while. I say keep the three. Our new City Manager seems to be a straight shooter, has experience , and wants to serve our citizens (more than can be said of the previous group). The City needs to take a closer look at the shenanigans that go on in the Building Department...lots of cozy relationships between builders and staff...perhaps time to tidy up.
    Bensecom...dude, this isn't Arcadia.

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  6. I'd like to know who talked Bensecom into running, instead of waiting two years when he could run unapposed. He will be "for preservation," "keeping Sierra Madre small and funky," just like Mosca, et al. Can't tell the good guys from the bad guys, until they take office, and we have five good guys on City Council now.

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  7. Yes, 9:09am, we should stop being so unrealistic and just let you line your pockets in a neighborhood you don't call home, while we experience street after street of empty McMansions and increased crime. BTW, where is your home?

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  8. Yes, agree 11:58am, waiting 2 years would be the smartest long-term move, but the developers' greed just can't be contained with the library real estate issue heating up. Their motto to live by "The point is you can't be too greedy". Donald Trump

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    1. They want One Carter, the Library property, and the monastery. If they can get those three to align the town wreckers will have a huge payday. Oh, and don't forget who still owns the Howie's property.

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    2. So the corner of Baldwin and Sierra Madre is good for you like that? An ass ugly 60’s building, an under utilized corner, a huge parking lot that Nobody uses. Good grief.

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    3. What would you build there? A memorial to the victims of Measure V?

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    4. Build a traffic circle

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    5. The silly plan for the Taylor's market site was a two story condo on top of a garage. The garage spaces were to be available to the public to use when the condo residents were off for the day. And how in blue blazes was that supposed to work? A couple of investors in that silly, silly plan lost a bundle and were very depressed over their folly.

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  9. Money to build the second story on the recreation center and all it the YAC was cribbed together from HUD and Antonovich's Prop A reallocation from Open Space foothill purchase based on "inflated populated forecasts." The number of young people the city said it would serve was exagerated as will be the library usage in its new location. Then poof, the old library property is sold, the library in the old rec center main hall is just a big echo chamber.

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    1. I marvel that anyone thinks now is a good time to create an expensive new physical library. The writing isn't just on the wall...

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  10. His real name Jose andres bencosme

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