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Wed Dec 14, 2011, 09:29 AM

Do you know what a Redevelopment Agency is California?


You should.


California’s Secret Government
Redevelopment agencies blight the Golden State.

Governor Jerry Brown wants to eliminate redevelopment agencies and save the state about $1.7 billion annually, with greater savings possible down the road, when debts are retired.
In Sacramento, Governor Jerry Brown is planning to close California’s $26.6 billion structural deficit through spending cuts and tax extensions. Opposition has been spirited but less contentious than expected, probably because of the size of the budget hole. But one item of Brown’s plan—something that would save about $1.7 billion annually—has generated heated debates between local officials and the new administration. The governor has proposed eliminating California’s approximately 400 redevelopment agencies (RDAs).

In theory, RDAs spearhead blight removal. In fact, they divert billions of dollars from traditional services, such as schools, parks, and firefighting; use eminent domain to seize property for favored developers; and run up California’s debt to pay those developers to construct projects of dubious public value, such as stadiums and big-box stores. Most Californians have long been unaware that these agencies exist. As the activist group Municipal Officials for Redevelopment Reform puts it, RDAs constitute an “unknown government” that “consumes 12 percent of all property taxes statewide,” is “supported by a powerful Sacramento lobby,” and is “backed by an army of lawyers, consultants, bond brokers and land developers.”

http://www.city-journal.org/2011/21_2_california-redevelopment-agencies.html

http://www.stopthemoneypit.com/


I offer this as an alternative to the constant drumbeat against public worker retirement systems.
Going after people is what Republicans do.
Going after fat cat corporate cronyism is what Democrats do.


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Response to SHRED (Original post)

Wed Dec 14, 2011, 10:40 AM

1. RDA's are a scam

The concept of government agencies taking private properties in order to sell it to developers is a perversion of the principle of eminent domain. Doing with tax dollars that were basically taken from counties and school districts is even worse.

IIRC the enabling legislation for RDA's was passed during the adminstration of Pat Brown, the father of current governor Jerry Brown. Brown would go down in history as one of California's greatest governors if he ended this clusterfuck.

For some background on how wrong it is to take someone's private property for the benefit of fat cat developers, check out this link:

http://reason.com/archives/2008/06/23/not-for-sale

It refers to the "little Pink House" case that went to the supreme court a few years back.

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Response to SHRED (Original post)

Wed Dec 14, 2011, 12:54 PM

2. The problem is smaller towns use the RDA as a resource to maintain roads, build parks, etc

RDAs are not just for condemning property to give it to developers. Also bonds have been sold with RDA funds being the identified funding source for repayment. For those small towns, the cold turkey approach Brown is taking will be a major impact.

The matter is before the State Supreme Court. Be interesting to see how it goes.

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Response to SHRED (Original post)

Wed Dec 14, 2011, 02:12 PM

3. Many RDAs are frantically transferring their funds to their respective cities

in anticipation of just such a move. Oakland's RDA, for instance, bought an empty building from the city for millions more than it was worth.

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Response to SHRED (Original post)

Thu Dec 15, 2011, 04:22 PM

4. RDA: developers dreams, hoarding the $

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Response to SHRED (Original post)

Fri Dec 16, 2011, 03:59 AM

5. I'm extremely familiar with Redevelopment Agency work.

Some is good. A lot is just corporate hands in the public cookie jar in my opinion.

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Response to SHRED (Original post)

Fri Dec 16, 2011, 09:33 AM

6. In my small town, the city council agreed

to use it to build a new school district office. We have many vacant buildings that could be used, and schools that need fixing, but the superintendent needs a big fancy office building.

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Response to SHRED (Original post)

Fri Dec 16, 2011, 02:10 PM

7. I am pissed about the football stadium

in LA which has to do with those funds I believe.

Play on the football fans and rip off the taxpayer

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #7)

Fri Dec 16, 2011, 04:39 PM

8. In downtown nonetheless...

It's going to be a traffic disaster - they should just build it in Carson or Industry.

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Response to SHRED (Original post)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 09:47 PM

9. I thought it was an agency that develops Reds.

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Response to SHRED (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 02:10 PM

10. State Supreme Court upholds abolition of redevelopment agencies (LA Times)

The state acted legally when it abolished more than 400 redevelopment agencies to help close a budget gap but overstepped the law by permitting some of the agencies to survive if they shared their property tax revenue, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The ruling was a major blow to redevelopment agencies, authorized by law since 1945 and responsible for the creation of such neighborhoods as Old Pasadena and San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, and a victory for state officials grappling with budget shortfalls.

It came in response to lawsuits filed by the redevelopment agencies but represents the worst possible outcome for them.

Redevelopment agencies sued the state to overturn both the law that ended redevelopment and a compromise measure that would have permitted some agencies to continue as long as they shared their revenue.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/12/california-supreme-court-redevelopment-agency-ruling.html

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Response to SHRED (Original post)

Fri Jan 6, 2012, 07:27 PM

11. In the short term, the abolition helps the budget. In the longer term, the prospects are a bit murky

The problem here is simple: Opponents point out that RDA's take vast amounts of tax money that could be spent on other things. This is true. Supporters of RDA's point out that the tax money wouldn't exist if the RDA's hadn't "created" it in the first place. This is also true.

The RDA process is pretty damned simple. Communities form RDA's and prime them with startup money. The RDA's use that money to initiate civic projects that raise surrounding property values and, by proxy, property tax revenues. RDA's then get to keep a percentage of the resulting new tax revenue, which is generally used on other projects.

Where I live, the impacts are already being felt as projects are being canceled and RDA funds are pulled from various construction activities.

The RDA thing is a double edged sword. On one hand, freeing up those revenues for other purposes helps to address our immediate problem. On the other hand, eliminating them promises to further reduce tax revenues in the future as blighted areas are not developed and their values decline. For every dubious park and big box store they build, I can name a dozen parks they've funded, roadways they've landscaped, bike trails they've built, and low income housing projects they've funded.

Eliminating them entirely simply ensures that we'll return to the 1930's era funding mechanism that they replaced...wealthy areas of wealthy towns will continue to have nice parks, public areas, and amenities. And the poor? Well...who the fuck cares about them anyway. If their towns don't generate the kind of tax revenue needed to support that kind of development, they can just do without. Many people seem to be assuming that cities and counties will simply keep investing their own budgets into these development projects once the money goes away. That's not going to happen. One of the primary appeals of RDA's was the fact that they allowed cities to carry out development projects with no real expense or risk to their budgets. When that goes, so will the projects.

If you're wondering, yes, I do have a stake in this. I was just informed that a park project I've been working with has now been stripped of 100% of its RDA funding, and is now effectively dead in the water. Meh, who needs grass and trees?

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