The new USC study pointing to a much-slower rate of population growth in California has been greeted by demographers and urban planners as good news, in that it supposedly gives our state’s leaders a little breathing room to better plan for the future. The rate of growth has slowed to about 1 percent a year, the result of fewer immigrants coming here and many Californians heading to other states.

“The cooling pace means the state, city and county governments and other entities will have more time to prepare for a bigger population than they did in years past, allowing for more effective planning,” according to the Los Angeles Times, paraphrasing the study’s authors. “That could ensure that new roads and parks, for example, are put in areas where they are most needed and where growth is likely to be sustained, they said.”

That’s an absurdly optimistic spin. California’s elected officials have been doing as little planning as possible, unless one counts planning to spend tens of billions of dollars the state doesn’t have on a high-speed rail line that will partially replicate what the airlines already do. Our leaders are battling new water-storage facilities and punishing farmers with absurd water-use restrictions. They impose roadblocks to building new highway systems, and land-use regulations make it nearly impossible to build the homes and businesses necessary to meet the needs of a growing population. You can hardly call that planning.

Read more here.

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