Monday, December 30, 2013

An L.A. County Superior Court Judge Calls SCAG's Population Increase Estimates “Entirely Discredited”

A Superior Court judge thinks this man is a fool
One of the big challenges cities in the so-called "SCAG Region" face is the demand being made by this Regional Planning Organization that each and every one of them make plans to introduce a lot of new housing within their borders. And what this onerous demand is predominantly based upon are SCAG's projections that claim we are on the verge of being inundated with massive new population growth. And after all, or so the story goes, if we do not build all of this new housing, where are all these new people going to live?

In an April 4, 2012 press release proudly titled "Nation's Largest Planning Agency Approves Plan in Preparation of 4 Million New Residents by 2035"(link), SCAG laid out the wonder of it all.

The Regional Council of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) convened the 47th Annual Regional Conference and General Assembly and, without objection, adopted the 2012-2035 Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS) and certified the Program Environmental Impact Report.

The 25 year plan is an investment plan for our region's economic viability that provides people with transportation and housing options that meet their professional and life style choices while supporting the business community's need to compete nationally and internationally. "Today's approval of the 2012-2035 RTP/SCS was a historic decision made by Southern California elected officials on SCAG's Regional Council. This action establishes a roadmap to welcome four million new residents and 1.7 million new jobs into our region by 2035," commented Paul O'Connor, SCAG President.

So how do you accommodate this supposed vast sea of projected new humanity yearning to experience their "professional and lifestyle choices" here in Southern California? In the de-evolutionary Golden State you have a government-run Regional Planning Organization such as SCAG cook up population and housing growth numbers and coerce each and every city within their jurisdictional borders into accommodating them in their General Plans. All backed up with the muscle of Washington and Sacramento, of course. Armed with draconian central planning mandates such as SB 375.

According to SCAG's "Final Regional Housing Need Allocation Plan" (link), that number of new wickiups comes to just under 700,000 "units" for the region. Which, at the time this little item was cobbled together, called for 139 new housing units here in little Sierra Madre. In a town that is virtually built out like ours, this would require that currently standing buildings be razed and replaced with high density condo complexes, thus radically changing the character of our community.

Oh, and just so you know. In SCAG-think, condos are more "sustainable" than single family homes. Especially when they are near a bus stop.

"This year's theme is 'Towards a Sustainable Future in Southern California.' Sustainable has many meanings; providing for a future where the population will grow but we can expect a reduction in per capita emissions, supporting the construction of new homes and businesses but with a plan to connect the dwellings with multiple transportation options, preserving the natural beauty of the California landscape for today's recreation and our future generations enjoyment, and ensuring that businesses remain in the Golden State and prosper," said Hasan Ikhrata, SCAG Executive Director.

I suppose this all sounds hunky dory if you are the guy who will get to build much of this largely unneeded nonsense. And I guess the news that "emissions" will become less of a factor when electric cars become more prevalent in a few years has yet to cross Mr. Ikhrata's mind. Perhaps he has fallen behind in his reading.

But what if SCAG's population increase estimates are all wrong? Predicting the future can be a dicey proposition, you know. And, to be quite honest, I am not sure that SCAG's Executive Director, Hasan Ikhrata, a man who first learned his central planning chops plying this trade in the now collapsed Soviet Union (link) could necessarily win any soothsaying contests with, say, a street corner palm reader.

And it seems that I am not alone in my skepticism. Apparently the L.A. Superior Court agrees with me. This from the always estimable Joel Kotkin in the December 27 edition of the Orange County Register (link):

Joel Kotkin: Build it, even though they won't come The recent decision by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Allan J. Goodman to reject as “fatally flawed” the densification plans for downtown Hollywood could shake the foundations of California's “smart growth” planning clerisy. By dismissing Los Angeles' Hollywood plan, the judge also assaulted the logic behind plans throughout the region to construct substantial high-rise development in “transit-oriented developments” adjacent to rail stations.

In particular, the judge excoriated the buoyant population-growth projections used to justify the plan, a rationalization for major densification elsewhere in the state. The mythology is that people are still flocking to Los Angeles, and particularly, to dense urban areas, creating a demand for high-end, high-rise housing.

The Hollywood plan rested on city estimates provided by the Southern California Association of Governments, which estimated that Hollywood's population was 200,000 in 2000 and 224,000 in 2005, and would thus rise to 250,000 by 2030. All this despite the fact that, according to the census, Hollywood's population over the past decade has actually declined, from 213,000 in 1990 to 198,000 today. 

Not one to mince words, Judge Goodman described SCAG's estimates as “entirely discredited.” This discrepancy is not just a problem in the case of Hollywood; SCAG has been producing fanciful figures for years. In 1993, SCAG projected that the city of Los Angeles would reach a population of 4.3 million by 2010. SCAG's predicted increase of more than 800,000 residents materialized as a little more than 300,000. For the entire region, the 2008 estimates were off by an astounding 1.4 million people.

Here in timorous Sierra Madre we would never even think of daring to question SCAG's population increase projections, and year after year we have meekly accepted this now discredited regional planning organization's demands that we accommodate ever higher amounts of high density stack and pack development through their so-called "RHNA Process." Sort of like the "bungalows" that currently sit unsold at the corner of Sierra Place and Sierra Madre Boulevard

Fortunately the good citizens of Hollywood did have what it takes to dare call out SCAG on their voodoo population increase projections, and there is now a legal decision that for all intents and purposes laughed the ridiculous Hasan Ikhrata and his gang of SCAG bunco artists straight out of court.

Hopefully once the voters of Sierra Madre laugh Nancy Walsh and Josh Moran out of office next April we will finally get a City Council that has the guts to tell SCAG to get lost as well. 

After all, there is now a legal precedent for it.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

56 comments:

  1. We need to hire H Town,
    'S attorney.

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    Replies
    1. whats wrong with our lawyers? fine upstanding and honest bunch if you ask Josh and Nancy

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    2. Our lawyers exist to serve the state.

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    3. It is just about the only place left with money.

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    4. We pay Colantuono and Levin to screw us.

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    5. Yeah. How's that working for you?

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    6. Colantuono & Levin were kicked out of Los Alamitos and La Habra Heights this year. What does that say about Sierra Madre? Like we're stupid, maybe?

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    7. Hey, you can even be someone like child pornography devotee Robert W Matheson and still get along fine in this town.

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    8. Colantuono is not a faithful servant to the state....he is a faithful servant to his own pocketbook.

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    9. It looks like his firm is ditching its cities in Southern California and focusing more on his law practice in Northern California. His named partner (Sandra Levin) has a full-time job at the LA Law Library and is apparently not working at the firm at all.

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    10. I think it all got to be too much for Sandra. She apparently screwed up a trash removal contract in Los Al and they practically ran her out on a rail.

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  2. Hasan Ikhrata wants to put a blackbox in your car. Welcome to Soviet America.
    http://articles.latimes.com/2013/oct/26/nation/la-na-roads-black-boxes-20131027

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    Replies
    1. His friends over at Metro have already started the process with their "transponder" program....really a neat program, you get to pay a toll to use the freeway system which you have already financed with your tax dollars.

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    2. Metro needs the money. They have a tunnel to build. Your tax dollars working against you.

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  3. SCAG is better know by their other acronym "carpet Baggers" these carpet baggers are nothing short of thieves, crooks and political tools sent in by land developer lobbyists from four corners of California and or the USA.

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  4. Why don't more cities stand up to these idiots?

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  5. Bart Doyle, John Buchanan, Joe Mosca, Rob Stockley, Josh Moran and Nancy Walsh (along with a few others insert their names here, Harbedian...)

    our neighbors, who were and still are aligned with SCAG's goals to increase the population of SM to almost 20,000 and they almost got away with it and still are trying

    7:25, because we keep electing idiots like the above who profit from SCAG's agenda - we stop doing that and we may stand a chance of keeping SM a quaint little community

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  6. SCAG has infiltrated local city government's and have become "politically toxic" to small town way of life, they donate monies and endorsements for those ascending, those they want kept in place on a city council.

    In short they have become a "secret government" with in a government, much like a trogon horse virus or cancer attacking democracy and transparency for the inner workings.

    Slowly strangulating any self will from those under their control, AKA; Soviet Communism at it's best.

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    Replies
    1. Unelected and unwilling to listen or compromise. How did we end up with a former Soviet official telling us how we have to plan our town?

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  7. I posted this article to the Facebook page of every politician I could think of. Except Chris Holden. He doesn't allow it.

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  8. The people in San Marino are fighting SCAG dictates too. If enough of us stand up for our rights to plan our communities....

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    Replies
    1. Here's a fantasy for you - the city managers of all the towns in the SGV get together, and decide who wants more planning rights, who wants fewer and is happy about the big bumping "bungalow" by a bus idea. Then the city managers do something worth their inflated salaries, and work out a plan to present to the state.

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    2. The Tattler ran an article a little while ago about cities united against the 710.
      It's not impossible that cities could unite.

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    3. Walsh, Moran and Johnny love SCAG. Love the COG, too. They have no problem with this stuff.

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    4. Ever been to a SCAG meeting? With a handful of exceptions all the little elected officials sit quietly and accept everything the SCAGs tell them. It is pitiful. I guess they're afraid if they speak out they won't get a sustainability award.

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    5. SCAG, and the COG, are simply mechanisms for furthering the interests of entities such as the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership.....take a look at their membership. Simply all of the real estate developers who are clamoring to "partner" with local governments to bring in "affordable" housing. You know, condos clustered next to non-existent mass transit hubs. Wonder how many of these developers have used Latham & Watkins for legal advice.....you know, Harabedian's employer.

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  9. Gene "Tax Me Goose" Goss is pulling papers for another City Council run today.

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    Replies
    1. Gosh, Goss again.

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    2. Goosey gets to be an apologist for our sky high utility tax rates again. He must be a glutton for abuse.

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    3. Professor Goss, Professor Goss! Will you support a 20%+ UUT tax increase like you did in 2012? huh, professor, huh?

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    4. Of course he will. As a government employee himself he has no problem with taxpayers paying for pensions. What else are we good for?

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    5. Goss is a buddy of John Buchanan so that alone puts him in my "no confidence" column
      plus he's a political ally of Josh Moran

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    6. when somebody runs for Council because he or she "loves" the city....we heard that from Mosca and Buchanan and look where that got us

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    7. "I love this town!" - Josh Moran

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    8. Tax increase? Eugene, say it ain't so!!

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    9. Tax me Gooooooooooose!!

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    10. No way, this Goose guy is just another Bart Doyle puppet.....please don't fall for yet another one, Sierra Madre.

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    11. The Doyle Party Platform: Pay up, never ask why.

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    12. The Doyle motto:
      "It's not your money, its the City's!"

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    13. Goss is also a good friend of Ken Goldstein's.

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    14. Goss will have a lot of money. Goldstein is a major money bundler for corporatist candidates. Expect postcards that discuss the library, Little League and how much he loves this town.

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  10. The $50,000 housing element consultant, Warner, was asked about the population estimates. She gave the $50,000 answer that the numbers came from the State Department of Finance. So I figure the Building Industry Association owns the State Department of Finance.

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    Replies
    1. All of that stuff is bought and sold on the State Legislature floor. Think of it as a commodities market.

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  11. Go See the Movie Wall Street... Hookers - Sex - Drugs - Fast Money

    ONE OF THESE DAYS THE PROPERTY OWNERS OF SIERRA MADRE WILL WAKE UP AND REALIZE THAT HUMPTY DUMPTY HAS FALLING OF THE WALL AND ALL THE KINGS HORSES AND ALL THE KINGS MEN WILL NEVER PUT HUMPTY DUMPTY TOGETHER AGAIN.

    1) Sierra Madre city management has continued to bankrupt the city we live in.

    2) These guys are __- ing__ crazy!

    Lets increase taxes - water rates - and Let the city borrow another $20 Million dollars!

    any comments ?

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    Replies
    1. Sure, I'll bite. The reason the city wants to raise water rates is to improve their bond ratings so they can sell even more bonds. We live live in a city run by lunatics. Bonds and pensions. That is all they care about.

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    2. Dare You...To throw the BUMS OUT!!!! Time is long overdue!

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    3. The City wants to raise the water rates in order to keep the water department solvent, it has nothing to do with bonds. A bankrupt business which is what our water department is, will not help the situation. It is crazy to think that a new bond would help when the department is having trouble paying our existing ones. No miracle will magically appear to pay for water services, we just need to suck it up yellow water and all, put the foolishness of past Councils behind us, and pay up.

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    4. I agree, at least to a point. But until the city fully explains how a $6 million dollar bond sale turned into $15 million in debt, why this happened and, most importantly, who exactly was responsible, I won't play. The truth is important to me. As it stands now this looks like a politically expedient cover up.

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  12. Sunday...
    last night...
    CNN had a 60 minute story on Stockton, the city who filed BK...
    The city paid creditors 5 cents on the dollar - and the court retired the debt...
    the x-city employees lost their pensions or their pensions were reduced!

    Hopefully this happens to Sierra Madre....
    The pissed of x employees only have the city staff and city councils to blame...

    there all a bunch of yo yos!!!

    the "water paying customers" need to file "NO PETITIONS" and let the cards fall where they fall!

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  13. These issues remain real comical!

    If the city council had any __alls,

    they would fire - terminate the city management and let them try to find new jobs...

    it is not the property owners responsible to continue feeding them !!!

    O - I get it... the city staff wanted to build homeless shelters for their families!!!

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  14. How did Hasan ever get the job he's got?

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    Replies
    1. I think it was understood that he would do exactly as Sacramento told him. He's an apparatchik.

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  15. Everybody steal the designs of other mostly. Only few are there who genuinely make their own campaign signs.

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  16. I worked at SCAG for years. I know for a fact that their demographic statistics are contrived, as is their internal accounting system, custom designed and developed developed in-house by SCAG Application Development Manager, Alex Yu.

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