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.
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.