The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is safe for now. As you may recall, I first wrote about SCAG here and later here. There was even a visit by a SCAG employee who is also a
I have been critical of SCAG, not so much for their roll in slowing down Southern California's economic recovery, which they have, but because the City of Fullerton is a member of SCAG thereby making my home town part of the problem rather than the solution. The worst part is that you and I as taxpayers contribute to SCAG's existence. Even taxpayers in
Oklahoma, New Hampshire, and contribute to SCAG because much of SCAG's "revenue" is based on federal grants. Virginia
SCAG has 6 committees, 10 sub-committees, 4 task forces, and 3 working groups. SCAG has 67 districts, each with its own Regional Council member, who is a local elected official, and 3 Regional Officers. There are as many as 83 Regional Council members who receive $120 per diem for any SCAG sponsored meetings or events up to 6 times each MONTH! Up to $720 per month to talk about regional planning issues. Considering that there are 23 various committees and the like, it's easy to imagine how 67 Regional Council members might want to meet frequently to discuss urgent land planning issues. And just to make sure they can all attend the meetings and events, SCAG reimburses for mileage.
But why bring all this up?
First, let's consider some of the other organizations in
which our local council members may be appointed to such as the Orange County Transportation Authority, the Orange County Sanitation District, the orange County Water District, and many others. These are agencies that provide specific services to local communities. They also pay members a per diem for their involvement and I assure you I will get to those in the near future. However, SCAG does not provide water, manage our sewers, move people on buses, etc. SCAG is a publicly funded think-tank of sorts that prepares reports and creates mandates for its members. Orange County
Second, you and I are paying for every penny of SCAG's existence which most
taxpayers know nothing about. SCAG is a regional shadow government very similar to our local redevelopment agencies. Both are quite content to mandate and ramrod boondoggle after boondoggle with no regard for the wishes of the taxpayer much less any consideration for personal economic liberty. Fullerton
Rather than improving the economy, SCAG seeks to control all segments of the economy from what is "acceptable" as public transit to where and how we build. The recent Redevelopment Agency meeting which rezoned several city blocks is exactly what SCAG wants to see more of: vertical development over transit centers. 2010 Green Party state assembly candidate Jane Rands pointed out at the meeting that the entire purpose for the area was public transportation and here we are hiding the buses in an underground garage (of a massive publicly subsidized business and housing project, I would add). And that is the least of our worries.
SCAG is trying to put the breaks on urban sprawl and personal automotive transportation through their regional planning efforts. I suggest that they lead by example and have all directors and employees move into one of their planned and subsidized apartments above a transportation center. I know some of them do and I commend them for their efforts to live the way they talk.
The most important point I can make here is that no one, especially our government, should be sticking their nose into my home or my life and telling me how I should live. If I wanted to live in a high-rise apartment, I would have moved into one. My wife and I chose to live in a single-family home on a quarter-acre so that we can live as we see fit while raising our children. I don't have to ask permission from anyone to have a party or cook a burger on my grill. I don't need special permission to own a dog or cat. I can hang the flag of my choice on my flag pole without an HOA telling me otherwise. I pay my fair share for my residential footprint and lifestyle via high property taxes. Those tax dollars are used to subsidize many of these failed projects. If everyone stopped living in the suburbs, how would local governments be able to afford some of these boondoggles? I’m sure they would find something else to tax, such as the air. Oh but wait; the State of California already taxes air via the California Air Resources Board and the AQMD. Maybe its time to sprawl to another state, but that would be too easy.
We cannot give in to those who want to take away or tax our liberties.