Climate Change: Rancho Cucamonga Proposing Questionable “Mandatory” Tax & Fees on Residential and Commercial Property

November 14, 2023 – Dan Titus, ACSC, Opinion

The Rancho Cucamonga City Council will soon be voting on new ordinances. The information in this review will assist you in challenging overreach by city staff and the city council. As you read consider these questions:

1. Are Climate Action Plans (CAPs) mandatory?

2. Are city Green House Reductions (GHG) mandatory?

3. Are ordinances in CAPs mandatory?

Answers: NO, NO and NO…

Joel Kotkin, a fellow in urban studies at Chapman University, warns in his new book, The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class, about climate fanaticism. It’s safe to say that the city manager, city planners, and the Rancho Cucamonga city council, are climate fanatics.

A transformative agenda is under way in the city of Rancho Cucamonga. It’s called a Climate Action Plan or CAP. It is nothing more than a backdoor way to usurp constitutional rights and charge people for the privilege of existing in a new, highly regulated, “climate”. CAPs are designed by bureaucratic city planners, promoted by unethical city managers, and voted for by amoral city council people, Rancho Cucamonga’s CAP will further erode trust in government and destroy the city’s essential fabric: a suburban city.

In 2015 the city council received a $150,000 grant to develop a voluntary climate plan. Let’s say that again: voluntary. Residents were told by Mayor. L. Dennis Michael, it was simply policy and not for enforcement. Local citizens objected to the plan because of concerns that it could be used against property owners in the future. In 2021, this plan was added to the General Plan Update as a “companion” – whatever that means.  In 2023, the city council budgeted money to develop ordinances that are essentially laws over residential and businesses. The plan promotes getting people out of their cars and spending millions on alternative modes of transportation.

The updated General Plan focuses on creating great places, more things to do, and more ways to get there that don’t always require a carRancho Cucamonga City Manager, John Gillison, The Grapevine Magazine

Southern California is a commuter region, always has been and always will be. People want and like their cars. It is not the responsibility of local city bureaucrats to socially engineer Rancho Cucamonga to fit an urban profile to meet arbitrary climate goals. The council advertises the city as, “A city of Route 66”, embracing the regions rich, historical, car culture; then, turns right around and denounces cars, restricting gas stations, promoting transit-oriented busses, bicycles, and walking. All of this by usurping individual rights for the CommUNITY.

Rancho Cucamonga, a Route 66 City, no more

Further, the city wants to reduce the number of miles residents drive through ordinances, by instituting fees for “congestion pricing”. This is to change driving behavior by punishing driving habits. New York is in doing this now by installing computerized surveillance cameras that monitor different pricing zones and automatically cites and sends a billing. 

The CAP ordinance requires the implementation of Transportation Demand Management (TDM) strategies that reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) by 5 percent in new development by 2030 and 10 percent by 2030 or later. Will they city move towards the implementation of a road charge/VMT tax? The stage is set for that.

How hypocritical it is to sign on to socially-engineering with concepts like, “place-making” that accommodate, Woke, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) “urban spaces” by injecting backdoor capacity building methods through programs like Healthy RC.

Think of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, and New York City with increased congestion, crime and poverty. That is what the city will become in the future because, city manager, John Gillison has stated that the city is entering a new era of “in-fill” development for urbanization, thereby, leaving behind the suburban tradition that has made Rancho Cucamonga what it is today. Gillison has stated that Rancho Cucamonga is the jewel of the Inland Empire and that the city has a mandate, through the General Plan Update, to be the blueprint for all cities in the county. This as he promotes the destruction of the very fabric that his made the city to and county great: suburban. 

Mr. Gillison and the city council think that Rancho Cucamonga is exceptional. How can that be if over time all cities in the county follow the lead of becoming just another homogenized urban landscape?

Officials complain about the cost of housing; however, they really want to use the CAP as an excuse to increase the cost of housing in Rancho Cucamonga for more revenue.

The development fees the city charges developers are already some of the highest in the county. Now they want to add fees, increasing the price for new housing and squeeze property owners and businesses, too. Consider this statement from the CAP:

Rancho Cucamonga city planners want to, “go beyond requirements in the 2019 California Green Building Standards Code requiring new construction and major alterations to existing structures…”

The City Council wants to adopt several ordinances:

  • That is consistent with and to provide “EV Ready” and “EV Installed” parking spaces according to land use type. Ordinances assume the electric vehicles (EVs) are a standard in the marketplace, they are not. The market for EVs is in its infancy and there is no evidence to predict that the technology will prevail over competing technologies in the future. Promoting charging stations and infrastructure for EVs could backfire. There are competing standards. Mandating this technology is picking winners and losers. It skirts the free market. The market decides what consumers want, not bureaucrats. Major auto manufacturers are saying climate mandates are unrealistic and that electric vehicles are not ready for prime time. Car companies backing off from climate commitments. Companies like, BMW, Ford, Honda and Toyota are saying they can’t sell EVs because people can’t afford them.

”Banning combustion engines will destroy the middle class! EVs are NOT the future, and 100% electrification should be STOPPED at all costs! – BMW CEO, Oliver Zipse, October 2013

EVs are not selling because they cost too much and are unreliable for distant travel. The charging infrastructure is not ready for mass adoption of millions of vehicles; even if built, charging times make EVs impractical. Betting on unproven technology is risky and is negligent to free market consumer demand. However, despite these concerns there is a ordinance proposal in the CAP to:

  • Require 50 percent of heavy-duty construction equipment and vehicles to be electric or use other zero emissions technology or fuels by 2030, and 75 percent by 2040. Did the city do an impact report denoting the cost to local business?

The city council wants to use housing to increase revenues.

  1. Existing Housing Require energy efficiency improvements and upgrades at the point of sale in order that would reduce building energy consumption in existing residential and nonresidential buildings.  This means that people will have to do expensive upgrades to their property before you sell it. What happened to grandfather clauses?
  2. Requires that new single-and multi-family residential development to meet a standard of zero net energy (i.e., on-site generation of energy is equal to on-site energy consumption) and,
  3. Requires new non-residential development to meet a standard of zero net energy. “Experts” claim this is needed to combat climate change; thereby, increasing costs for development and the price tag goods and services to consumers.

To accomplish CAP goals, the city is promoting changing resident’s behavior by recruiting stakeholders (grifters who are groomed by city staff and benefit from social and climate justice) to build artificial, fake, consensus. Mr. Gillison and city planners are overtly promoting CivicSpark, a biased program offered by AmeriCorps for capacity building, which is designed to create a faux buy in for CAP ordinances.

This completely skews local input and local control for residents in the city; however, this is by design. The city council uses stakeholder consensus and outcome-bases surveys to justify their decisions. They see stakeholder groups as their constituency and typically state, “We are doing what the people want…”

If the city council is doing what the people want, tax and fees issues should be put to a vote of people in the city!

Proposed Funding for CAP Goals

  • New development impact fees – Increased costs for commercial development and housing.
  • Issue general obligation bonds – Really? Increase debt?
  • PACE/HERO finance programs and Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEM). These types of programs are corrupt and have been shunned over the years because of fraudulent marketing practices that encumber private property with liens. Note: As of 2017, the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) does not endorse these programs because in 2017 residents forced the SBCTA board to vote them down. Mayor Michaels was at the meeting.
  • Private equity funding – claims that, “Private equity can be used to finance energy improvements, with returns realized as future cost savings.”  There are no guarantees of future cost savings, especially with the current price inflation and mismanagement by the Federal Reserve Bank.
  • Rent increases for retrofits to commercial buildings. – Seriously?
  • Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) – This is Government buying electricity for consumers. It is a fraudulent idea. These programs were defeated at SBCTA in 2017. Mayor, Dennis Michael was present at the meeting.

More Climate Ordinances…

Rancho Cucamonga Urban Forest Management Plan

The city closed its outcome-based online survey for a Urban Forest Management Plan or UFMP in October 2023.

If you want to trim your take down a tree, you will have to pay for an inspection and then get permission from the city to do so

Urban Forest Management Plan: In another plan to soak residents, the city council approved a program and hired consulting company, Dudek, for the sum of $250,000 (taken from the general fund), to draft a forest management plan and ordinances to control trees on residential and business property. They claim is that this will result in reduced carbon in the air. Tree ordinances have been defeated in other cities and ruled by courts as unconstitutional.

This has all come about because of the city manager’s and council’s unapologetic support for Sustainability: The Green New Deal