Executive Director’s Monthly Report, May 2023


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SCAG Leads Annual Regional Conference & General Assembly 

SCAG kicked off the 2023 Regional Conference & General Assembly today in Palm Desert with a message from outgoing Regional Council President Jan Harnik and a video review of SCAG’s accomplishments from 2022-23.  

We then welcomed our new board officers for 2023-24: Hon. Art Brown (City of Buena Park) who will serve as the new SCAG Regional Council President; Sup. Curt Hagman (San Bernardino County) who will serve as Regional Council First Vice President; and Hon. Cindy Allen (City of Long Beach) who will serve as Regional Council Second Vice President. Additionally, former Regional Council First Vice President Sup. Carmen Ramirez was posthumously named Regional Council President, In Memoriam, for the 2023-24 term.   

The day continued with the recognition of seven exemplary local projects at the 2023 Sustainability Awards Luncheon.  

After lunch, attendees participated in our Student Showcase and panel sessions. The panels looked at some of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the region, including mobility hubs; accelerating clean transportation in Southern California; job growth in an inclusive economy; and housing in the region. 

Thank you to everyone who joined us on day one and we look forward to seeing you tomorrow. 

SCAG Continues Public Outreach Initiatives for Connect SoCal 2024   

Every four years, SCAG updates its visionary plan for the future of the region, Connect SoCal. This process is now underway, and we want to hear from our stakeholders.   

SCAG has been hosting public workshops and pop-up events all over the region for stakeholders to learn more about the plan, ask questions and provide input. These in-person events will continue over the next several weeks. Additionally, we are pleased to announce the addition of seven virtual workshops in May. Find a workshop or pop-up event near you at scag.ca.gov/connect-socal-workshops.    

In addition to the workshops and pop-ups, you can share your thoughts on important issues affecting our region by taking a short survey

Calls for Applications Open for Multiple REAP 2.0 Programs 

Subregional Partnership Program 2.0  

The Subregional Partnership Program (SRP) 2.0 Call for Applications closes May 31 at 5 p.m. The SRP 2.0 Program makes $23 million available to subregional councils of governments for eligible activities supporting member cities and counties implementing housing element work plans. Projects must accelerate infill development that facilitates housing supply, choice and affordability; affirmatively furthers fair housing; and reduces vehicle miles traveled. SCAG has technical assistance available while the call is open. For more information on SRP 2.0, visit scag.ca.gov/post/subregional-partnership-program-20.  

Sustainable Communities Program: Civic Engagement, Equity & Environmental Justice  

The Sustainable Communities Program: Civic Engagement, Equity & Environmental Justice (SCP CEEEJ) Call for Applications opened on April 12 and closes May 15 at 5 p.m. The program has approximately $5 million available and will award funding and direct technical assistance through a competitive evaluation process for projects within the categories of Housing and Land Use Strategies and Multimodal Communities. SCP CEEEJ is open to eligible agencies and local jurisdictions as primary applicants and encourages co-applicant partnerships with community-based organizations and nonprofits. SCAG hosted two application workshops in April to support the application process. To view the workshop recordings and learn more SCP CEEEJ, visit scag.ca.gov/scp/civic-engagement-equity-environmental-justice.  

County Transportation Commissions Partnership Program 

The County Transportation Commission (CTC) Partnership Program call for Applications opened on April 12 and closes on May 9 at 5 p.m. This program awards funding and technical assistance, determined by a competitive evaluation process, for proposed projects that can be implemented quickly to advance new concepts for reducing vehicle miles traveled—while simultaneously achieving other program goals for REAP 2.0. To learn more about the CTC Partnership Program, visit scag.ca.gov/post/transportation-partnership-programs

Programs to Accelerate Transformative Housing – Housing Infill on Public and Private Lands Pilot Program & Notice of Funding Available for Lasting Affordability  

The Housing Infill on Public and Private Lands Pilot Program (HIPP) and the Lasting Affordability Notice of Funding Available (NOFA) calls will be announced later this month. HIPP and the Lasting Affordability NOFA are two of the three funding areas in the Programs to Accelerate Transformative Housing Program, with the Regional Utilities Supporting Housing Pilot being the third. HIPP supports landowners with available underutilized lands in assessing and preparing those lands for development with an affordable component and supports land use regulators in updating regulations and processes to improve housing production and affordability. The Lasting Affordability NOFA will support new permanent financing tools and strategies for creating and maintaining affordable housing, including new housing trust funds and finance products, as well as tax increment financing strategies. For more information on HIPP and the Lasting Affordability NOFA, visit scag.ca.gov/programs-accelerate-transformative-housing-path

Call for Fellowship Providers Open Now  

The Call for Fellowship Providers is open now through May 19 at 5 p.m. SCAG’s Call for Fellowship Providers will award grants, as funding becomes available, to approved fellowship providers that will place students from local universities and/or professionals seeking to work on regional planning issues, expand their experience base and contribute to the realization of Connect SoCal. 

 Through this call, SCAG seeks to create opportunities for early-career and mid-career fellows to gain experience and proficiency in public service and to make a meaningful positive impact in the SCAG region. 

To apply and learn more about the Call for Fellowship Providers, visit scag.ca.gov/call-fellowship-providers. For questions, please contact Elizabeth Carvajal, Deputy Director of Planning, Land Use at carvajal@scag.ca.gov.   

SCAG’s Local Data Exchange Process Concludes for Connect SoCal 2024

SCAG facilitated the Local Data Exchange Process from February to December 2022 for the purposes of gathering and sharing planning, land use and growth-related data with our local jurisdictions in preparation for the development Connect SoCal 2024. During this time, SCAG’s Local Information Services Team met one-on-one with 167 local jurisdictions and received input from 148 to feed into Connect SoCal.   

Since December, SCAG has been analyzing and aggregating the refinements received and following up with individual jurisdictions to ensure that input is appropriately captured.  All edits and comments received have been reviewed, integrated into the updated projections and will be recommended to our policy committees and Regional Council in June. SCAG appreciates the support and participation of local jurisdictions in reaching this critical milestone in the planning process. 

Print Requests Open for Co-Branded Go Human Creative 

SCAG co-brands Go Human safety advertisements with partner logos and provides them at no cost. Local jurisdictions, agencies, nonprofits and community-based organizations can request print or digital materials. SCAG is now taking requests for materials through the Materials Request Form.   

Regional Utilities Supporting Housing Panel and Industry Forum 

SCAG hosted the Regional Utilities Supporting Housing (RUSH) Industry Forum on April 28 in partnership with PlaceWorks and the Urban Land Institute of Los Angeles. The RUSH forum brought together thought leaders from Southern California and across the country for recommendations to implement the basic utility infrastructure needed for housing in the region: water, wastewater, stormwater management and electricity.  Results of the forum will help guide the delivery of SCAG’s RUSH grant program. For more information, visit scag.ca.gov/programs-accelerate-transformative-housing-path

SCAG Comment Letter on Draft State Rail Plan 

The California State Rail Plan was last updated in 2018 and is currently out for public review and comment through May 10.  SCAG staff reviewed the draft plan and have prepared comments that will be submitted to Caltrans. SCAG supports California’s efforts to develop an integrated network – that will support 6.5 million daily passengers and provide zero-emission rail service.  This plan aligns regional and statewide efforts for reducing vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions. 

SCAG Comments on the Office of Management and Budget’s Proposed Updates to Statistical Policy Directive 15 Standards for Maintaining, Collecting and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity  

SCAG’s role as advanced data users and disseminators, along with our Regional Council and Policy Committee’s commitment to racial equity, prompted staff to engage on proposed updates to Statistical Policy Directive 15. The Federal Interagency Technical Working Group on Race and Ethnicity Standards developed the proposed changes:  

  1. Collecting race and ethnicity together with a single question  
  2. Requiring detailed race and ethnicity categories by default  
  3. Adding a response category for Middle Eastern and North African (MENA), separate and distinct from the “White” category  
  4. Updating Statistical Policy Directive 15’s terminology, definitions and question wording  

SCAG’s comments generally supported all proposed revisions but noted limitations of race and ethnicity categories in their ability to distinguish people who experience racism and asked for consideration of ancestral identity and experience in the way terminology is updated, given the context of slavery, discriminatory public practices and potential for reparations. SCAG specifically asked to consider the inclusion of an “Armenian” subcategory under the MENA category, and for guidance documents to help standardize the way race and ethnicity data is reported across agencies.   

SCAG Hosts Successful Sacramento Summit  

SCAG’s annual Sacramento Summit took place on April 17-18, gathering elected officials and private sector partners from throughout Southern California to discuss transportation, housing and greenhouse gas reduction goals with our legislators. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon kicked off the summit with a powerful message on the importance of local government. Thank you to all who met with us, and we look forward to our continued partnership in addressing these key policy issues. 

California Public Utilities Commission Roundtable Meeting on Broadband   

SCAG led a roundtable discussion with California Public Utilities Commissioner Darcie Houck on April 26 to discuss opportunities and challenges pertaining to bridging the digital divide in our region.   

Access to broadband is an emphasis for SCAG. Connected communities have greater access to a better quality of life. Broadband is foundational in achieving regional goals in transportation, housing, climate, equity, and supporting and growing the economy.     

We were pleased to learn that the California Public Utilities commissioners are aware of the concerns and various challenges of local jurisdictions and are developing solutions to streamline the grant process.  We look forward to future conversations with the California Public Utilities Commission on ways metropolitan planning organizations can continue to support the commission. 

Multiple Toolbox Tuesday Sessions Held in April  

SCAG hosted the Engage and Co-Power Toolbox Tuesday on April 11. The session focused on the importance of creating an inclusive environment where everyone can share their experiences and is equipped to talk about racial inequities. Speakers from the San Diego Association of Governments shared their experiences, best practices and lessons learned in a variety of settings, including with community-based organizations and tribal governments.   

Paul Philley from the California Air Pollution Control Officer’s Association presented Integrating Equity and Adaptation into the Planning and Environmental Process at Toolbox Tuesday on April 18. Philley demonstrated the new CalEEmod Tool – a statewide land use emissions computer model designed to provide a uniform platform for government agencies, land use planners and environmental professionals to quantify potential criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions associated with construction and operations from a variety of land use projects. 

SCAG Presents at Esri 2023 GeoDesign Summit 

SCAG staff presented on our Regional Data Platform at the Esri 2023 GeoDesign Summit on April 11. SCAG represented the only public sector agency presenting at the summit and provided a unique on-the-ground public service perspective. Staff demonstrated how the Regional Data Platform can enhance the quality of planning at the regional and jurisdictional levels. 

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