California Lawmakers Push for Oversight of Delta Tunnels Project

By Nick Cahill : courthousenews – excerpt

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – A group of Northern California lawmakers seeking more sway over a mammoth $17 billion water project introduced a proposal Friday that would require new construction contracts to be reviewed by the Legislature.

The Legislative Delta Caucus says because of the scope of the California WaterFix, the project should require more scrutiny from both the public and lawmakers now that former Gov. Jerry Brown has left office.

Brown fiercely advocated for the expensive public works project that he and supporters believe will both update the state’s aging water delivery infrastructure and protect it against sea level rise and other effects of climate change. Also known as the Delta Tunnels, the project calls for two 30-mile tunnels that would funnel water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to aqueducts that supply farmers and cities farther south.

State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, believes his proposal will shed new light on the “flawed” project that environmental groups bitterly oppose….

Senate Bill 204 would require the state agencies in charge of WaterFix, namely the state Department of Water Resources, to submit information about pending contracts with private companies to the Legislature before finalizing deals…

Democratic Assemblyman Jim Frazier, whose district covers parts of the delta, called SB 204 a “common-sense, good-government bill.”. (more)

 

‘Incentive to create havoc’: Self-driving cars set to turn streets into gridlocked hell – study

RT – excerpt

Driverless cars could spark a gridlock nightmare to avoid paying for parking, a new study warns. Autonomous vehicles could even gang up to create traffic delays, allowing them to continuously cruise around instead of park.

The idea sounds like a smart one: Avoid ever having to pay for parking by getting your car to simply continue to drive around the block until you’re ready to take off again. However, this seemingly savvy hack could turn our urban streets into traffic-clogged hellscapes, roads flooded with driverless cars, making it a challenge to actually get anywhere…(more)

Major Regional Housing Plan – CASA Compact discussion on KQED Forum

Re: KQED Forum on CASA (audio track included)Monday at 9:00 am

Host: Rachael Myrow and Guests: Susan Kirsch, Founder, Livable California;
Michael Covarrubias, CASA Co-Chair, CEO, TMG Partners and Guy Marzorati, reporter, KQED’s California Politics and Government Desk.

See https://www.kqed.org/forum/2010101869236/major-housing-plan-gets-approval-from-mtc-association-of-bay-area-governments

Who will pay for the CASA Compact programs if they are implemented? Who will finance a new regional development organization composed of unelected officials with authority to collecting new taxes? It feels as if the major theme is to use our taxes against us to create a dense living situation that we oppose.

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.

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)

Editorial: Good, bad in much-needed plan for Bay Area housing crisis

By Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards : mercurynews – excerpt

It’s great that the region is finally having this overdue discussion, but it’s critical that we get it right

A coalition of divergent Bay Area interests has come together on a plan to confront the region’s housing crisis…

The group’s so-called CASA Compact, unveiled last week and up for its first public review at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission on Wednesday, provides a serious foundation for a much-needed discussion. It hits the target on several fronts but misses the mark on others.

It recognizes, for example, that easing the crisis requires addressing rent gouging, reducing barriers to residential construction and changing zoning around transit stations to enable denser housing.

But it fails to examine how much responsibility employers, especially in the Silicon Valley, have to participate in solving the crisis. And while calling for more housing near job centers, the compact ignores the traffic-easing potential of providing more jobs near housing centers, especially in the suburban East Bay… (more)

Wiener: State will never reach Newsom’s housing goals without taking power from cities

By Matt Levin : calmatters – excerpt (includes podcast)

Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom may have set an astronomical goal for allowing construction of 3.5 million new housing units in California by 2025, but a key Democratic state senator says it will never happen unless the state pries away some local control over housing decisions…

In this week’s episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” San Francisco Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener says: “To build three and a half million homes, which is our housing deficit, you’re never going to do that without zoning reform.”

Last week Wiener re-introduced a controversial housing bill that would force cities to allow taller, denser apartment buildings around public transit—a policy known as upzoning. SB 50, the so-called “More HOMES” Act, makes some important tweaks to its unsuccessful predecessor SB 827, including more robust protections for tenants against eviction and displacement. But the audacious ambition of SB 827—to strip cities of their power to decide what types of houses can be built in what neighborhoods—remains intact… (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.

Wiener’s new housing bill is radically unfair

By Tim Redmond : 47hills – excerpt

cropped-ceqa3.jpg

Mission Bay residents are leaving due to bad air caused by constant construction as they  see no end in sight. Photo by zrants.

The senator assumes the private market will solve our problems. That has never worked.

State Sen. Scott Wiener has introduced a new version of his housing bill that went down in flames last year, and while the current version, SB 50, includes more protection for renters, is still has the same basic flaws.

The new measure is still based on the same assumption: that the private market can and will eventually solve the state’s housing crisis – and that the problem is almost entirely on the supply side… (more)

Here we go again. Wiener world is coming at us. Considering the shellacking his YIMBY minions took at the polls in San Francisco, it appears that the glow is off the grow rose, and Scott may be barking up the wrong tree as his constituents lose faith in his plans to densify an already over-populated 49 square miles of real estate.

With constant bad news MUNI in the headlines, and a bevy of City Hall leaders jumping ship, the leadership is shifting away from the developer-led options  and forced state oversight is losing appeal among the his constituents. More on this subject will be coming out of efforts to fix the broken system before expanding it. The market may also put a damper on his and other plans as the over-bloated government treasuries shrink. This may not be a good holiday season for the growth models stacking up in Sacramento offices.

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