Saturday, April 28, 2018

Sierra Madre Is Getting Ready For The Big SCAG Meeting

Remember those glorious days when Sierra Madre almost escaped the clutches of the delightfully acronymic SCAG? It seems like just yesterday here at The Tattler, while also being kind of far away at the same time.

Two of the major functions of this distressed mess of an Eisenhower-era planning bureaucracy is to crank out ridiculously overstated population growth numbers, and then use them to cram as much LULU housing development as possible down the throats of the communities living under their thumb. All done through the so-called "RHNA Planning Process." Whether they like it our not. And trust me, few cities do.

Inaccurate population increase projections are a SCAG tradition, and they've been making them since way back when Richard Nixon was young. Here is a bit from a Los Angeles Times article written in 1986 bemoaning the numerical idiocy of SCAG's then current crystal ball crack-up.

SCAG Report Predicts 43% Growth: County Criticizes Population Estimates for 2010 (Los Angeles Times link): Orange County supervisors said Tuesday that erroneous assumptions may have been used in a report projecting that Southern California's population will grow 43% by 2010. Supervisor Harriett M. Wieder said the report, issued Sept. 4 by the Southern California Assn. of Governments (SCAG), the area's major regional planning group, "raises a red flag" because its numbers vary so much from the association's past reports.

The SCAG report said the population in the six-county Southern California area will increase to 18.3 million by 2010, a 43% increase over last year's estimated population of 12.8 million. SCAG said that Latinos, the fastest-growing ethnic group, will constitute almost 40% of the population in the six counties in 2010. It said that Anglos, who accounted for 61% of the population in 1980, will then make up 41% of the total.

link
So you know, and according to the 2010 census, SCAG's numbers were only off by a little under 900,000 souls. Which, for the purposes they were designed for, made SCAG's 1986 population projections pretty much near useless. The chart to the left is from SCAG. At least they had the decency to 'fess up. Sort of.

Outside of predicting the future as inaccurately as they possibly can, another important SCAG priority is transportation planning. If you would like to see how they're doing with that, get in your car any early weekday morning and take a ride west on the 210 Freeway. Then spend a moment to wonder how in the world you chose to live under such horrid conditions, and why Utah wouldn't be a better place to spend that precious thing called your life.

But we are talking government bureaucracy in its most voodoo-like form, and it appears that our creaky and utterly ineffectual regional planning organization, one that consumes both large chunks of taxpayer treasure and the work hours of city staff employees everywhere, is having their big convention soon. And apparently it is a big deal who Sierra Madre will be sending there this year. So much so that the City Council is having a special one item meeting Tuesday evening just to decide who will go.

Here is the agenda notice (link):


Doesn't our City Council understand that by sending someone to this thing it not only helps legitimize their absurd and futile efforts, but will also encourage them to do even more stupid things in the future?

If you go to the SCAG website you can view what imperfect joys they have planned for this year's attendees. Here is how it is described.

Secure your tickets: SCAG’s premier annual event is fast approaching. The 53rd Regional Conference and General Assembly will convene on May 3-4, bringing together over 900 of Southern California’s most influential leaders, innovators and policymakers at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, CA. The conference, titled “Southern California at a Crossroads,” will feature collaborative, solution-oriented discussions about the region’s future.

A diverse program of expert panels, keynote presentations and technical demonstrations will share insights on how our local governments and civic partners can work together to make the most of new technologies to enhance mobility, economic opportunity and quality of life. The event will also present the 2018 SCAG Sustainability Awards, which recognize excellence in sustainable planning throughout Southern California.

The event is free for elected officials and city managers in the region. For other attendees, a special early bird registration rate of $250 will be available until April 18.

Here's something I have always found amusing. Do you know where the head of SCAG, the mighty Hasan Ikhrata, got his career start? The defunct Soviet Union. Makes sense, right? Here is an Orange County Register article that shared the news (link).

No joke! SCAG’s new leader was a Soviet planner (Orange County Register): 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!

I am not sure Hasan ever did get that Phd. Maybe he had trouble with some of the math. I've heard it is hard.

KFI's John and Ken don't like Hasan much, either. Here is a segment from their show they called "Hack In A Dumpster" (link).

So you know, San Bernardino won a SCAG Sustainability Award not too long ago. It was just before they went into bankruptcy. Hopefully Sierra Madre won't win one.

I can only hope City Hall registered in time to take advantage of the early bird special.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

80 comments:

  1. What exactly does one say when you are having a collaborative, solution-oriented discussion about the region’s future?

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    Replies
    1. "Where's the shrimp bowl?"

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    2. You cock your head slightly to the left, rub your chin with your fingers, and then say, "It's a process."

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    3. These conferences are basically networking events to further one's career.

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    4. Dogs in a park.

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    5. SCAG representation is a joke. I remember one meeting when almost all the cities representatives complained that one regulation from Sacramento would cause unintended consequences and was a unfunded mandate. The leader of the discussion dismissed all comments with a wave of his hand an said "it is what it is."

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    6. SCAG is designed to create the illusion of regional consensus on things that are universally detested. Like black boxes in cars, or six story stack and packed developments that are totally out of character with the community that surrounds them.

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  2. It is the usual who do you rub elbows with, dinner party.
    California residents continue voting for these representatives with their mindset geared for future development and growth. Besides the expensive studies paid for by our tax dollars, back the stats on population growth.
    There is no study on families leaving the golden state in droves.
    It is all a numbers game or ponzi scheme from Sacramento betting on which city will claim bankruptcy next.
    The transportation planning on the 210 freeway, the Goldline into the future; those taxes could have built housing for the homeless population's that continue to grow, because they are being priced out of their current homes.

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    Replies
    1. Developers are generally greedy and small minded but that's not the same thing as stupid. In fact, they've been very successful at hurting communities to enrich themselves, and that takes a certain kind of craftiness. It's a sure thing that plans are in the making.

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  3. Yep, Hasan Ikhrata - the head of SCAG (Southern California Association of Governments) - says that Americans can not make decisions about housing and land use. The Association of Governments are UnElected organizations that believe that America must become one big Cabrini Green. Hmm. We already tried that and it didn't work.

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    1. Cabrini Green, 7:21? You must be from Chicago.

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  4. It will be a coin toss for Arizmendi and Harabedian on who accompanies the City Manager, the loser of he toss can ad will still tag along. Then Capoccia and Delmar will attend as well.
    Bet they all attend, after all this is new "stuff" up for discussion.
    Probably not Goss, he still has a teenager at home.
    These weekend government socials can get wild.

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    Replies
    1. I don't think more than two City Councilors can attend at the same time. Not without running afoul of the Brown Act.

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    2. When the Allman Bros. sang about the Crossroads, they spent some time on the topic of being "tied to the whipping post." I hear there is some of that at these SCAG events.

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    3. People who live a little bit too much in their heads, like urban planners, are often attracted to such extreme physical experiences.

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    4. They can all attend but they should sit apart from each other and not confer until the item is agendized and then have their discussion in front of the public (check me on this--but I have heard a past city manager explain it this way).

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  5. Mr.Harabedian should attend, long rang goals are part of personal growth.
    Hob bobbing with the state's who's who, can't hurt.
    He may be one of the few in Sacramento that might make a difference, when he gets there.

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    Replies
    1. How soon before Chris Holden finally terms out?

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    2. Not soon enough.

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  6. "Never make predictions, especially about the future." - Casey Stengel

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    Replies
    1. The Jetsons.

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    2. That's right! Where are our flying cars? We could use them.

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    3. Really? I want one.

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    4. Go for it.
      $621K
      The world's first flying car you can buy is now taking orders
      A Dutch firm is now taking orders for the first commercially available flying car.
      Owners will need pilot's licence.
      PAL V says the first delivery is set for 2019.
      https://www.pal-v.com/en/purchase-your-pal-v

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    5. Think of all the money you could make Ubering with that.

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    6. Make you've plenty of air sickness bags.

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    7. Just lean out the window.

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  7. Enterprising = $$Profits = Creating jobs = Employment = $$Income taxes = Consumer consumption = Buying houses, etc = $$sales taxes = Realtors = Bank loans = Loan defaults = Bankruptcy = Unemployment = Homeless = Welfare

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    Replies
    1. your logic is flawed.

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    2. I think it is more of a vibe.

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  8. Profile of the City of Sierra Madre
    Southern California Association of Governments’ (SCAG) Regional Council includes 69 districts which represent 191 cities in the SCAG region
    https://www.scag.ca.gov/Documents/SierraMadre.pdf

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  9. Remember when Hasan Ikhrata wanted to put black boxes in peoples cars and track their milage so they can be taxed on how much they 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 Association of Governments. “There is going to be a change in how we pay these taxes. The technology is there to do it.” Ikhrata’s organization is planning to enact the black box idea in the state by 2025."

    https://theurbantwist.com/2013/10/30/black-boxes-may-soon-make-way-cars-every-american/

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    Replies
    1. How about black boxes monitoring the government employees daily productivities: drinking coffee, smoking, gossiping, Web surfing, etc?

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    2. If they didn't read the blog, how would they know what is going on?

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    3. 9:26 wants government employees in chains with cameras in their offices, cubicles, and restroom stalls. Very strange.

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    4. Quid pro quo.

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  10. Have Sierra Madre's SCAG numbers increased or decrease?

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    1. Sierra Madre is actually in a good place with its RHNA numbers. All of those high income apts at the Kensington having absorbed a lot of our new housing requirements.

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    2. Wasn't there an article or comment on the Tattler not too long ago where we learned that the Kensington had taken a lot of pressure off Sierra Madre's need to come up with more numbers?

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    3. We need low and moderate housing for RHNA. Kensington is neither.

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    4. People are going to put those can things in their backyard and rent them. Just ask Andy from Arcadia.

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  11. It is troubling that local elected officials (who can vote on SCAG policies) can attend the conference for free. But any dissenters (who will be greatly affected by these policies) must pay $250!

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    Replies
    1. We the taxpayers help fund Sierra Madre's yearly dues to SCAG. I think is a few thousand bucks. Not sure. But it is not free for anyone who lives in town.

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  12. Is John H. Really the best one to represent Sierra Madre’s best interest? Think back on his pushing for larger homes for his friends on Rancho and and the Highland Property. Just saying.

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    1. My guess is Harabedian is getting ready to make his run for an Assembly seat. Holden is close to being termed out and patting heads at the SCAG confab will be good for him. Same reason why Capoccia stepped aside to let JH be the next Mayor Pro Tem. That way he gets one more crack at being mayor, which will serve as a platform of sorts for his leap to greatness. Obviously he has the support of his dogs on the council. That is my theory.

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    2. Remember everyone, Sierra Madre now has its first all termed out city council. None of them can run for re-election. Anything can, and probably will, happen.

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    3. Not the way it works: there will be two openings for city council for Harabedian and Capoccia who are termed out. Then two years after that there will be three such openings. This cycle has been going on for a long number of years ever since the city voters voted for a resolution setting two four-year term limits.

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    4. Sure. But right now all five city council members are termed out. They cannot run again with breaking some ages old custom.

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    5. Yes but they don't step off all at once, and the three just reelected will be there when two new ones come on. That "all are termed out" is the way it has been since the resolution was put to the public to vote on it years ago. And it has been the a city councl member has stepped off for the requred two years and then run again and got elected!

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    6. there are no term limits in Sierra Madre for council members

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    7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    8. Is there anything I can do to convince you not to comment here?

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  13. Whatever happened to the Library move and those postcards? Has the city stuck a fork in that yet?

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    Replies
    1. Since the realtor candidate for city council, Andy Bencosme, flip-flopped in spectacular fashion on the issue, there must be some rumors in city hall that the library move was a wildly unpopular idea.

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    2. In Sierra Madre, it's the process. Don't you know that?

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  14. 9:36am. Any idea of the head count city council submitted to RHNA about the Kensington numbers? According to the legal definition the Kensington has no bedrooms, the council could count any homeless sleeping on benches in the same numbers category then?

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  15. I think we are so lucky to have someone who grew up here, knows the law and has a true feeling in his heart as to how this community feels on sustainability and preservation. We will only know how well Mr. Harabedian has represented us after he is done. We are all hopeful of you Mr. John Harabedian, make us proud.

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  16. 11:06am. B A N K R U P T C Y !!!
    probably will happen.

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  17. RHNA requirement are divided into income categories. Different levels of affordable housing and market rate (i.e., no income limit) housing. For RHNA purposes, the Kensington suites count as market rate housing units, so we've already exceeding our RHNA allocation in that category. Thanks to second units, we are ahead of schedule for low income units. We are behind schedule for very low income and moderate income units. http://www.cityofsierramadre.com/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=12544024

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  18. Off topic, but why did Kin Hui set up a company called "SINGPOLI SIERRA MADRE, LLP" in 2015, which is still active? Here's the registration info:

    https://businesssearch.sos.ca.gov/CBS/SearchResults?SearchType=LPLLC&SearchCriteria=SINGPOLI+SIERRA+MADRE&SearchSubType=Keyword

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    Replies
    1. We're all on Short Round's menu.

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  19. 5:53 PM, he also has a company called "Invest LA Regional Center, LLC", which sponsors the EB-5 green card program:

    http://www.investlaeb5.com

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    1. The EB-5 program should be put to an end. Check this article: "The Immigration Law With Huge National Security Implications No One Is Talking About -- The EB-5 visa program allows wealthy citizens of foreign countries to effectively buy citizenship, with little vetting."

      http://thefederalist.com/2018/01/18/the-eb-5-visa-program-needs-to-go-for-the-sake-of-national-security/

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    2. https://www.mansionglobal.com/articles/92302-u-s-s-eb-5-program-gets-six-month-extension

      (U.S.’s EB-5 Program Gets Six-Month Extension: The half-year reprieve for controversial visa-for-investment tradeoff is part of $1.2 trillion spending bill)

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    3. But isn't that the American way? It's never enough that the rich are rich. They have to get advantages over everyone else otherwise they'll whine and whine about the inherent unfairness they have to endure.

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    4. Agree to get rid of EB-5 b/c we don't want the rich to come to the US. We only want the ghetto poor from the south of the border.

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    5. People who live in million dollar homes and whine about oppression are crybabies.

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    6. Never seen so many jealous bitches in one place.

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    7. I've never seen so many crooks in one city like there are in Arcadia.

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    8. And many of them work in City Hall, APD... Oh, I forgot they are mostly white.

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    9. The Singpoli building is not City Hall.

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    10. The last I check the cause of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis was caused by greedy crooked Wall Street, not Arcadia. Read some real news around you instead focusing on tiny Arcadia.

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    11. I bet their lawyers are white.

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    12. 7:19 - Isn't it time for your parents to slide your dinner under your door?

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    13. My parents are dead. Do you have anything intelligent to say? Or go back and take your early bird sleep.

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    14. What landfill did you bury them in?

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    15. Believe me dude. You can't afford to burry yours.

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    16. If you want to find your mom, look for the sea gulls.

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  20. Will Andy Bencosme's supporters request election by districts like Arcadia any time soon? Looks like Andy and his supporters are not giving up easily in the near future. Remember it took Sho Tay six runs to get on the CC in Arcadia, with the last one heavily backed by Kin Hui's Invest LA regional center (Eb-5 program sponsoring company) donation of $10,000.

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