The unelected bureaucracies that keep us stuck in traffic

By Jackie Lavalleye : californiapolicycenter – excerpt

… In December 1991, the role of the Associations of Governments was expanded by passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. This law provided more power over planning to metropolitan areas; thereby, increasing the authority of metropolitan planning organizations over transportation-related activities. In short, every project related to roads, pedestrians, traffic, and all other issues of relevance to transportation must be discussed by, coordinated with, and approved by these agencies…

Four of the largest Associations of Governments in California are the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). SCAG is the largest Association of Government in the country based on population and geographic territory size. MTC also has shared responsibilities with the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). As of late, MTC and ABAG have been working toward consolidating their staffs for improved efficiencies… (more)

This article from 2017, explains the creation and goals of the regional state agencies.

Delineating CEQA’s Scope: First District Holds CEQA Does Not Apply To Ministerial Approval Of Multifamily Housing Project Allowed By Right Under Zoning Where City’s Discretion Was Limited To Design Review

by Miller Starr Regalia : jusuupra – excerpt

In an opinion filed December 18, 2018, and later ordered published on January 10, 2019, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed a judgment denying appellant citizen groups’ writ petition challenging the City of St. Helena’s approval of an 8-unit, multifamily housing project and related demolition and design review…

The Court of Appeal’s Opinion

In affirming the judgment, the Court of Appeal’s opinion set forth a number of significant points and holdings, including the following:… (more)

Planners keep pushing the bogus concept of transit-centered housing

By Dick Spotswood : marinij – excerpt

Regional governments tout the benefits of so-called transit-centered housing. The concept is at the heart of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s CASA (Committee to House the Bay Area) compact and San Francisco Democrat Sen. Scott Wiener’s new Senate Bill 50.

Superficially, it appears logical that people living in high-density apartments adjacent to rail, bus or ferry transit stops won’t need an auto to commute to work. Instead, they’ll take transit because it’s more convenient.

The reality isn’t so simple…

Let’s see if transit-centered housing works as promised in Marin. Presume our typical commuter lives at Corte Madera’s Tam Ridge Apartments, aka WinCup. The four-story 180-unit high-density complex is exactly the housing envisioned in SB 50. When approved, WinCup was touted as transit-centered housing next to a Highway 101 trunk line bus stop…

Whether the transit-centered housing theory works in practice is irrelevant to them [MTC]. They’ll be enjoying big profits while average Bay Area citizens pay the price with increased traffic congestion, higher taxes and crowded schools…(more)

Let’s Declare January MTC Awareness Month!

from nine-county-coalition – excerpt

The Bay Area’s MTC (Metropolitan Transportation Commission) looks really good on paper. It has an attractive website rich with information, it has the support of potent organizations such as SPUR and the Bay Area Council, and since its hostile takeover of ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) MTC holds the transportation and development purse strings.

However, look closer and the stress lines start coming into focus: persistent gridlock traffic, a transit/biking-for-all policy that seems to have no roots in reality, vanishing parking spaces, gentrification, obliteration of neighborhood character, questionable imposition of region-wide taxes, density appropriate only for neighborhoods boasting more dogs than kids. To be fair, the MTC can always point to state legislation enabling its actions. But legislation provides the skeleton plan, and the MTC gives the plan copious flesh. Also, while we can vote a legislator out of office if we do not like his/her plans, we are stuck with whatever MTC bureaucrats devise.

Where you detect challenges look for opportunities

The MTC has felt to Bay Area residents familiar with it as an entity set in stone, partly because of its nature as a bureaucracy, and partly because the federal government says we must have a Metropolitan Planning Organization (whether we like it or not). However, this New Year brings to those not happy with the MTC a couple of opportunities. Thus, let’s declare January 2019 MTC Awareness Month.

* Steve Heminger, MTC’s Executive Director is retiring on February 28, 2019, and MTC is looking for his replacement. Heminger is the principal architect of MTC’s growth, influence, and consolidation of power. As such, he receives emphatic accolades and criticisms… (more)

If you want to understand how the uses regional agencies such as MTC, comprised of unelected appointees to: control communities, reduce local power, increase taxes fines and fees, and force unwanted changes on society, without public knowledge or consent, you should read this article.

If you want to challenge the appointment process, you should read this article.

If you want to challenge how your taxes are being used against you, you should read this article.

If you think you can escape the crooked development phenomenon by moving awary from it, you have not paid attention to the history of the world, the news, or the prevalent re-occurring theme in most crime novels and films. The first things criminals do with a windfall of cash is invest in property, force occupants out, and wash the cash in construction projects. Fiction follows reality. You can’t escape the greed behind property development. All you can do is change the narrative and inform the public.

BARC-ing Up The Wrong Tree

By Polly Baker : nine-county-coalition – excerpt

What if your government set up and operated a regional system of agencies with the goal of eliminating your legal political power and jurisdictions while it took control of your life? If this sounds crazy, I assure you it is not. Check it out for yourself: https://barc.ca.gov/

The Bay Area Regional Collaborative (BARC) works on climate change, sea level rise, and the many other existential crises facing the human race. They don’t really have the data, and one wonders if they have ever verified the true facts. Whatever you think of climate change, these crises require that you give up your money, property, privacy, freedom and country as you submit to a Soviet style patronage system of unaccountable appointed people and their five-year plans of the collective. It is the Soviet system of central planning. Does climate change really require this level of control over us?(more)

How to Create a Housing Crisis in 12 Easy Steps

By Dick Plakin : citywatchla – excerpt

PLATKIN ON PLANNING-You don’t need to be a lobbyist for the real estate industry to realize that the entire country, especially Los Angeles, is in the midst of a housing crisis.

We can see it for what it is, without using this crisis as a pretext for schemes and scams carved out for real estate investors, such as free up-zones and loopholes to dodge public hearings, L.A’s 1986 Proposition U, and the California Environmental Quality Act. A basic plan-monitoring program would quickly dispel the most preposterous of these ruses, that rolling back zoning laws wondrously solves the housing crisis, drives up transit ridership, and reduces Green House Gas emissions.

The housing crisis presents itself to us in at least four different ways:…

Roots of the Housing Crisis:  The housing crisis did not mysteriously appear one day.  It is the result of at least 12 reversible public policy decisions.

  1. Elimination of HUD (Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development) public housing programs
  2. Termination of HUD-subsidized affordable housing programs,..
  3. Underfunding of Section 8 housing
  4. Dissolving Community Redevelopment Agencies
  5. Freezing the Federal minimum wage at $7.75 per hour
  6. Substituting token affordable housing density bonuses
  7. Restricting Los Angeles’ rent stabilization law…
  8. Spreading data-free narratives
  9. Ignoring the end of raw land in Los Angeles as a leading factor responsible for LA’s reduced middle class housing production
  10. Failing to compile easily accessible housing databases
  11. Slow-walking the formal planning and monitoring processes...
  12. Claiming the market can meet the need for affordable housing

Like climate change, the housing crisis is manmade, and we know who the perpetrators are and what they did… (more)

 

How to Sell Forced Densification to Libertarians

By The Antiplannerti – excerpt

When cities pass zoning rules (as Missoula, Portland, and many Portland suburbs have done) mandating minimum-density zoning — so that people are forced to either build high-density housing in existing low-density neighborhoods or build nothing at all — libertarians lead the charge against such rules. But urban planners have managed to achieve the same result, and gain the support of some who consider themselves libertarian, by:

  1. Drawing an urban-growth boundary or passing similar policies forbidding development outside the existing urban footprint;
  2. Waiting a few years for the resulting supply shorting to push up housing prices;
  3. Blaming high housing prices on residents of single-family neighborhoods who object to densification of their neighborhoods;
  4. Proposing a law or ordinance that effectively eliminates zoning in those single-family neighborhoods…..

Yet the reality is that every major American city except Houston has single-family zoning, but only a few are unaffordable — and those few all use urban-growth boundaries or otherwise restrict development of rural lands outside the existing urban areas… (more)

Pictures of a Gone City: Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity in the San Francisco Bay Area

When: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 6:00PM
678 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
California Historical Society Headquarters

Cost: $10 General Admission,
Free for CHS Members, plus one guest per membership.

his conversation between Richard Walker, author of Pictures of a Gone City: Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Lenny Siegel, Mayor of Mountain View, will take a hard look at current realities of life in the Bay Area in the midst of the tech boom which has transformed the metropolitan area in a number of ways – and not all to the good, despite the immense growth of companies, jobs and incomes. Despite its liberal leanings, the region is marked by grave inequality, millions of workers struggle to make ends meet, transportation systems are overloaded and, notably, an housing is in full crisis mode, featuring exorbitant rents, mass evictions and displacement, and rampant homelessness.

Mayor Siegel will respond to the book and discuss the challenges to local governments faced with housing shortages, low wage work, traffic jams, and much more, but hampered by insufficient revenues to invest in solutions, suburbanites reluctant to be urbanized, and the power of the tech corporations looming over everything.

Walker and Siegel are long-time observers and historians of Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, who connect the present successes and failures of the region to its past and are well positioned to comment on how it has – and has not – changed over time… (more)

Push by Environmentalists to Build Housing Near Transit Centers Meets Stiff Resistance

By Chris Reed : capoliticalreview – excerpt

Over the past dozen years, the California environmental lobby has never seemed more powerful in the Legislature and in state government. Under Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown, the Golden State has passed bold laws and emerged as the global leader in government efforts to combat climate change – with Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom certain to continue this tradition.

But a bracing report from the California Air Resources Board shows that environmentalists’ clout can’t shake the complete control that NIMBYs have over local planning in most of the state – to the detriment of the environment. It found that a 2008 state law – Senate Bill 375 – had been an abject failure. The law requires the state’s 18 regional intergovernmental agencies to push to put new housing near transit stations and to add new transportation options so as to decrease pollution from vehicle commuting…

69% of Californians want local control of housing

But the appetite of state lawmakers to take on NIMBYs may be limited in the wake of new evidence that NIMBYism isn’t just espoused by activists who see every new housing project as detrimental to quality of life. Instead, it’s a core belief of state residents. A USC Dornsrife/Los Angeles Times survey released in October showed 69 percent of Californianspreferred local control of housing decision-making…

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com(more)

RELATED:
SB 827 is not the answer. Advancing equitable development is.

CASA Compact – History for people who missed it

Sometimes it helps to review history in order to understand how we got here. The video clip from Rosa Koire from Santa Rosa.

Savemarinwood reminds us of the history of Plan Bay Area: Six years ago, we had our first “One Bay Area” workshops and near riots broke out. The first people to object were a mix of housing activist and Tea Party groups espousing exotic conspiracy theories. Many dismissed them but they did shine a light on the huge injustice about to be imposed upon the people of the Bay Area. Others got involved. In Marin, long a bastion of environmentalism and intentional growth understood immediately, that this “One Bay Area” plan was nothing but a smoke screen for developers and the destruction of communities. While none of the scenes in Marin were nearly this extreme, Plan Bay Area has awaken a sleeping giant and today, “The CASA COMPACT” is the full realization of the dream legislation. If implemented, it will be the biggest takeover of local government in the history of the United States since the Civil War. We expect Marc Levine, Assemblyman, Mike McGuire, State Senator, and our local politicians to back our sovereignty (more)

Sometimes we need to review the history to see how we got here. This is a good place to start. Labels like tea party and NIMBY are applied early in order to discredit people. As we now know, social media is a weapon, used by all sides, but the cannot be ignored.

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