Off Beat: Yuba-Sutter mega mania
The grand designers of your future are thinking big — really big.
They're so big, in fact, the great Yuba-Sutter area, might disappear one day, at least when it comes to planning purposes.
That's the proposal from the American Planning Association, which recently released a study, "Megapolitan America: A New Vision for Understanding America's Metropolitan Geography."
The book's premise is that the United States should be divided into "economic engines," 23 of them to be exact.
Yuba-Sutter would be part of the "Sierra Pacific megapolitan area," which groups most of the Central Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area, and don't forget Reno, Nev., into the megapolitan leviathan.
The San Francisco Chronicle story of Nov. 25 carried a neat map of the Sierra Pacific megamonster.
If you looked really hard at the map, you could see Sacramento, San Francisco, Merced, Modesto, Santa Cruz, San Jose and the other usual suspects.
Just north of Sacramento there seemed to be some counties, but they weren't identified. They appear to be Yuba and Sutter.
The APA is pushing a more regional view of planning and economics.
That's really nothing new. You have your Sacramento Area Council of Governments and your Association of Bay Area Governments, regional planning agencies that most people in their respective regions know little to nothing about.
But they do stuff, and the cities and counties in their spheres have to adhere to their rules.
Whether you'd get the Sierra Pacific Megapolitan Planning Authority 20 or 30 years from now is a whole other matter.
The authors, contend, however "Once megapolitan areas are officially recognized, private industry and government agencies will embrace them."
No, mention, though, of what the public might think.
They note that "two-thirds of the U.S. population lives on less than 20 percent of the privately owned land. The United States is not so much a collection of 50 states, more than 3,000 counties, or more than 30,000 cities and places as it is a federation of 23 megapolitan areas composed of networks of multiple large metropolitan areas. This American's new economic geography."
The Central Valley Business Times, which also wrote about this proposal, noted that the APA researchers figured that agricultural land in megapolitan Los Angeles would be gone by 2040.
If that's the case for L.A., one wonders what the fates hold for the ag economy up here, especially as water becomes more precious. An inability or unwillingness to build reservoirs may spell doom for agriculture in the state.