By James R. Riffel
City News Service
San Diego and other cities plan to band together to fight a proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown to phase out redevelopment agencies, an official with the mayor's office said Wednesday.
While discussing the 2011 state and federal legislative agenda of Mayor Jerry Sanders, Jaymie Bradford told the City Council's Committee on Rules, Open Government and Intergovernmental Relations that opposition to the plan was coming together.
"We are already working on ... forming coalitions with other cities," Bradford said.
The League of California Cities, an organization made up of officials from municipalities across the state, has announced that it opposes Brown's plan.
Redevelopment agencies, like the Centre City Development Corp. and Southeastern Development Corp. in San Diego, collect a portion of the tax dollars generated by their projects, and use the money to fund future construction.
By eliminating the organizations, their portion of the tax revenues could be redirected into the general funds of local governments.
"Currently, taxpayer dollars are being diverted to fund private development projects, instead of being used to preserve core services like public safety and education," said Evan Westrup, a spokesman for the governor.
"There are many strong redevelopment programs, and if local government wants to provide incentives for private development, they continue to have the ability to use local funding without a state subsidy," he said.
According to the state Legislative Analyst's Office, California's redevelopment expenses are growing markedly, while "there is no reliable evidence that the program improves overall economic performance in the state."
But Councilman Kevin Faulconer said the redevelopment method has "helped to transform our city."
The city of San Diego is not even halfway finished with redevelopment, and should "lead the fight" against the governor's proposal, Faulconer said.
Bradford said the mayor was concerned the budget put forth by Brown on Monday does not create jobs or stimulate the economy.
Bradford said the city will also lobby to support a pair of redevelopment programs.
The Renewal Community program gave private companies income tax incentives to invest in older, inner-city neighborhoods. The city plans to support federal legislation to restore the program, which expired at the end of 2009.
The city also wants to protect Enterprise Zones from elimination. The zones also give tax incentives to invest in the inner-city and provide jobs for the disadvantaged.