1 – of many grievances against the State of California
Intro by Mark Baird:
The California Legislature has pushed out another bill which threatens all Californians but particularly Rural Californians and the Good people of Redding, Red Bluff and Chico.
Can you imagine an appointed official with a grudge, who declares your house a blight, condemns it and out you go. All because your property is not considered efficient! Read the following.
This is exactly why we need our own state and nothing else will do. I called several Democratic and Republican Legislators today to find out the status of this bill. No one seemed to know where it was at the moment.
This will be voted upon at the last second in the dark of night the same as all of the Anti Second Amendment bills which are in the suspense file. We will wake up in the morning not knowing what the government has done to us.
Should government get into the business of judging people on the “efficiency” of their property? SB 1 would grant government that capacity — along with the power to take that property if officials decide it’s being “inefficiently” used. SB 1 is by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento.
Two years ago Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature abolished redevelopment in California to transfer from local governments $1.5 billion to the state budget. Redevelopment allowed local governments to declare anything, even nice homes and businesses, as “blight,” seize the property and give it to big-box retailers.
SB 1 would reintroduce property redevelopment. But this time, it only would apply to property that would comply with the “sustainable communities strategy” of SB 375, another Steinberg bill that became law in 2008 when signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. SB 375, among other things, mandated Plan Bay Area and other regional transportation, housing and land use plans throughout the 18 regions of the state.
SB 1 is really the financing and zoning vehicle for creating the new high-density, Plan Bay Area/sustainable communities lifestyle. SB 1’s projects, paid with the new redevelopment money, would have to be high-density and restrict parking.
The SB 1 buildings also would have to be located within one-half mile of public transit, be “walkable communities” or be green energy manufacturing sites. Other styles of redevelopment are not included in this bill, as they are not the way we are supposed to live under the sustainable communities vision.
SB 1 would allow counties and cities to create Sustainable Community Investment Authorities, which would be new government agencies separate from the governments that created them. The SCIAs would be established without citizen concurrence and would be beyond direct citizen control. And the SCIAs would wield the authority of eminent domain, taxing and bond issuance for building such projects within a specified geography. Such projects would have other specifications, including construction under prevailing (union) wages, and large funding for subsidized housing.
In order to acquire property for high density development, the bill expands the definition of blight to include a new concept of “inefficient use.” Under SB 1, suddenly inefficiency has become the big problem. Or, the big excuse. A host of societal ills are blamed on it, such as a poor economy, high housing prices, pollution and more.
What is inefficiency? It is not defined in the bill, nor are its alleged ill effects substantiated in any way. But because inefficiency is suddenly deemed so problematic, it is given powerful status for determining blight.
Normally, slums and damaged property can be determined to be blighted, which enables them to be acquired under eminent domain and rebuilt. Eminent domain is also used to acquire property for public use, such as for new roads. There is an extensive body of case law that has clarified what is blighted, so property owners are safe from abusive governmental takings. This would be superseded by the new inefficiency doctrine.
Since the workings of the free economy are deemed inadequate for creating efficiency, under SB 1 the government must use bureaucratic force to create it. Conveniently, SCIAs could rely on this new legislative definition of inefficiency to acquire property under eminent domain, without a formal process of finding slum-like blight conditions. So, depending upon how an SCIA grades what a person is doing with their property, the owner’s ability to keep it comes at the grace of the SCIA. Since the lifestyle the government wants is high-density-urban, anything rural, neighborhood, single family, small commercial, small farm or suburban seems perpetually vulnerable to the inefficiency charge.
In Plan Bay Area, resident surveys told the regional planning bodies that they didn’t want regional planning by unelected bureaucrats. Further, the Plan itself concluded that “stack and pack housing” (i.e., sustainable communities/transit oriented development) did not reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which was the whole point of the Plan. Yet, the Plan was approved. SB 1 would allow the Plan to be imposed despite citizen objections.
SB 1 recently was amended and will be heard Aug. 30 in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
2 —- The Fire Prevention Fee
The Fire Prevention Fee is an annual fee for fire prevention services that owners of habitable structures in the State’s Responsibility Area (SRA) are required by law to pay. The SRA is the area of the state where the State of California is financially responsible for the prevention and suppression of wildfires. The SRA does not include lands within incorporated city boundaries or federally owned land.
The Board of Forestry and Fire Protection adjusts the fee annually. It is currently $150.00 per habitable structure located within an SRA. If the habitable structure is also within the boundaries of a local agency that provides fire protection services, the property owner will receive a $35.00 reduction for each habitable structure.
Approximately 90-95% of habitable structures in the SRA are covered by a local fire protection agency resulting in most bills amounting to $115 per habitable structure.
3 — California Governor Jerry Brown has signed AB 1266 into law.
AB 1266 allows students to use school facilities, such as locker rooms and bathrooms, with the gender they “identify” with.
AB 1266 is poorly written, so that there is no protection of privacy for students and no mention of the potential for misuse.
Boys can use girls’ bathrooms, girls can use boys’ gym showers… the impending abuse of this new privilege meant for only transgender students is inevitable.
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By Wendell Cox – Wall Street Journal
California Declares War on Suburbia Planners want to herd millions into densely packed urban corridors. It won’t save the planet but will make traffic even worse. It’s no secret that California’s regulatory and tax climate is driving business investment to other states. California’s high cost of living also is driving people away. Since 2000 more than 1.6 million people have fled, and my own research as well as that of others points to high housing prices as the principal factor. The exodus is likely to accelerate. California has declared war on the most popular housing choice, the single family, detached home—all in the name of saving the planet.
Metropolitan area governments are adopting plans that would require most new housing to be built at 20 or more to the acre, which is at least five times the traditional quarter acre per house. State and regional planners also seek to radically restructure urban areas, forcing much of the new hyper density development into narrowly confined corridors. In San Francisco and San Jose, for example, the Association of Bay Area Governments has proposed that only 3% of new housing built by 2035 would be allowed on or beyond the “urban fringe”—where current housing ends and the countryside begins. Over two-thirds of the housing for the projected two million new residents in these metro areas would be multifamily—that is, apartments and condo complexes—and concentrated along major thoroughfares such as Telegraph Avenue in the East Bay and El Camino Real on the Peninsula.
For its part, the Southern California Association of Governments wants to require more than one-half of the new housing in Los Angeles County and five other Southern California counties to be concentrated in dense, so-called transit villages, with much of it at an even higher 30 or more units per acre.
To understand how dramatic a change this would be, consider that if the planners have their way, 68% of new housing in Southern California by 2035 would be condos and apartment complexes. This contrasts with Census Bureau data showing that single-family, detached homes represented more than 80% of the increase in the region’s housing stock between 2000 and 2010.
The campaign against suburbia is the result of laws passed in 2006 (the Global Warming Solutions Act) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and in 2008 (the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act) on urban planning. The latter law, as the Los Angeles Times aptly characterized it, was intended to “control suburban sprawl, build homes closer to downtown and reduce commuter driving, thus decreasing climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions.” In short, to discourage automobile use.
If the planners have their way, the state’s famously unaffordable housing could become even more unaffordable. Over the past 40 years, median house prices have doubled relative to household incomes in the Golden State. Why? In 1998, Dartmouth economist William Fischel found that California’s housing had been nearly as affordable as the rest of the nation until the more restrictive regulations, such as development moratoria, urban growth boundaries, and overly expensive impact fees came into effect starting in the 1970s. Other economic studies, such as by Stephen Malpezzi at the University of Wisconsin, also have documented the strong relationship between more intense land-use regulations and exorbitant house prices.
The love affair urban planners have for a future ruled by mass transit will be obscenely expensive and would not reduce traffic congestion. In San Diego, for example, an expanded bus and rail transit system is planned to receive more than half of the $48.4 billion in total highway and transit spending through 2050. Yet transit would increase its share of travel to a measly 4% from its current tiny 2%, according to data in the San Diego Association of Governments regional transportation plan. This slight increase in mass transit ridership would be swamped by higher traffic volumes.
Higher population densities in the future means greater traffic congestion, because additional households in the future will continue to use their cars for most trips. In the San Diego metropolitan area, where the average one-way work trip travel time is 28 minutes, only 14% of work and higher education locations could be reached within 30 minutes by transit in 2050. But 70% or more of such locations will continue to be accessible in 30 minutes by car.
Rather than protest the extravagance, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris instead has sued San Diego because she thinks transit was not favored enough in the plan and thereby violates the legislative planning requirements enacted in 2006 and 2008. Her predecessor (Jerry Brown, who is now the governor) similarly sued San Bernardino County in 2007.
California’s war on suburbia is unnecessary, even considering the state’s lofty climate-change goals. For example, a 2007 report by McKinsey, co-sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council, concluded that substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions could be achieved while “traveling the same mileage” and without denser urban housing. The report recommended cost-effective strategies such as improved vehicle economy, improving the carbon efficiency of residential and commercial buildings, upgrading coal-fired electricity plants, and converting more electricity production to natural gas.
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