Redevelopment: mend it, don't end it
Local leaders respond to the state budget plan that would seize $1.7 billion in local redevelopment funds and put an end to redevelopment agencies in the long run.
I can speak from personal experience about how redevelopment can save a city. It literally rebuilt Paramount after years of decline. Redevelopment wiped out blight, created new housing for low-to-moderate-income families and produced a completely refreshed commercial sector for the benefit of our residents.
This action, now, in Sacramento will have extreme consequences for our city's quality of life. The expansion of our sheriff's station, improvements to our senior center and construction of a critical new water well could be stopped. Maintenance of parks and facilities and sidewalks will be hindered. Our programs to help needy families and small businesses enhance and beautify their homes and properties will be crippled. - Daryl Hofmeyer, mayor, Paramount
It makes no economic sense for Long Beach, hurts our local businesses and will cost jobs. Any economic recovery for Long Beach has just been chopped at the knees for the foreseeable future. - Randy Gordon, president and CEO, Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce
The action on redevelopment is nothing but an extortion attempt by Sacramento politicians that enables them to avoid dealing with systemic financial problems for yet another year. We've spent months trying to negotiate legitimate reforms that would help close the state's budget gap without imperiling urban revitalization and the much-needed affordable housing that redevelopment provides. Instead, the Legislature put a gun to our head, threatening to kill redevelopment agencies if they don't hand over local tax dollars to the state instead of using them for streets, parks, housing and other local needs. It's not legal and it's certainly not in step with California voters, who said very clearly in November that they wanted the state to address pension reform and other fiscal issues instead of raiding cities' tax dollars. - Jerry Sanders, mayor, San Diego
Without our redevelopment agency and the tools it has available to eliminate blight and create jobs, the City of Marina will be faced with a nearly catastrophic set of budgetary alternatives including the elimination of jobs in our police and fire departments. The very safety of our community is at stake with this decision. - Bruce Carlos Delgado, mayor, Marina
Shutting down the Rancho Mirage Redevelopment Agency will have dire consequences for our community including the possible elimination of over $32 million in previously approved public infrastructure and economic development projects to be funded from locally generated tax dollars and authorized by local elected officials. - G. Dana Hobart, mayor, Rancho Mirage
Monterey can no longer afford to bear the brunt of the state's inability to balance its budget without draining local funds. Elimination of redevelopment agency funds will cost the City of Monterey $2.8 million for essential safety and maintenance projects, and another $700,000 that is dedicated to our housing programs and grants to community services organizations that deliver vital services in Monterey, every year. - John Della Sala, mayor, Monterey
In Santa Clarita, our small redevelopment agency has yielded long-term, tangible results, including the creation of 300 new jobs, $600,000 to local schools, an 11 percent reduction in crime since 2005 and an increase in sales tax of 60 percent since 1998. The state can't claim any of these accomplishments, yet the legislature is trying to eliminate successful agencies that add jobs, value and tax dollars. - Ken Pulskamp, city manager, Santa Clarita
This is just one of the most horrible things that could be done right now because it will put agencies out of business overnight, literally. It's blackmail in the sense that it requires agencies to pay huge sums of money, that most us will not have, in order to stay alive. - Harry Mavrogenes, San Jose Redevelopment Agency chief
This puts at risk the majority of Fremont's future projects, most notably the Irvington BART station, as well as Fremont Boulevard improvements and streetscape enhancements, the Grimmer Boulevard greenbelt and creek restoration, quiet zone safety improvements to railroad crossings in various locations and pedestrian sidewalk streetscape and sidewalk improvements in historic districts. - Bob Wasserman, Mayor, Fremont