Council asked to oppose Brown's proposal to ax redevelopment agencies

By City News Service

The City Council this evening will consider whether to publicly oppose plans by Gov. Jerry Brown to eliminate redevelopment agencies.

The governor bills his idea as a way to save money for local governments in an era of tight budgets.

Redevelopment agencies are funded by siphoning off a portion of tax revenues generated by their projects, and those dollars are put into new construction. Brown wants that money to go to the general funds of the cities.

However, City Councilman Kevin Faulconer said San Diego has made far more money from redevelopment than it has lost.

"Redevelopment has been a remarkable success in San Diego," said Faulconer, whose district stretches from downtown to southern La Jolla.

"Downtown generates $60 million a year in hotel and sales tax because of successful redevelopment efforts," he said. "That money goes into the city's general fund and pays for services, including parks, police, fire and libraries, in every neighborhood across San Diego."

The city's redevelopment agency, along with the Centre City Development Corp. and Southeastern Development Corp., oversee 17 redevelopment districts, including downtown, Barrio Logan, City Heights, College Grove, the former Naval Training Center, North Park and San Ysidro.

In the 35 years since the CCDC was established to oversee the revitalization of downtown, a public investment of $1.54 billion has prompted private spending of $12.8 billion, according to the resolution.

"If these dollars are diverted to Sacramento in a misguided attempt to try and fix the state's chronic budget deficit, then the effect on San Diego would be devastating, and our region stands to lose billions of dollars in investment, thousands of jobs and countless neighborhood projects and improvements," the resolution states.

The City Council is being asked to express its opposition to Brown's plans, and to direct the city clerk to send a copy of the resolution to the governor's office.

The resolution has received support from council President Tony Young and Councilman Todd Gloria, who said the redevelopment process is especially beneficial for revitalizing low-income areas.

Cities across the state have rushed through approvals of redevelopment projects recent weeks, some even holding special meetings on Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Faulconer said he is working on plans to ensure funding for a number of local projects that would be threatened by the governor's proposal, including the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan at the waterfront, Horton Plaza Park, Bayside Fire Station and a permanent homeless shelter.

   
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