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County supervisor calls out Lafayette RDA

By Jonathan Morales
Friday, February 11th, 2011 at 9:50 am in Lafayette.

UPDATE: I caught up with Lafayette City Manager Steven Falk at last night’s Tri-City Council meeting and asked him about Gioia’s remarks.  SeJohn Gioia 2010e below for Falk’s comments.

County supervisor John Gioia, right, who represents West Contra Costa, had some pointed words about Lafayette’s redevelopment agency Wednesday.

Gioia was attending, but did not speak at, a conference where many East Bay leaders railed against Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies.

Although he didn’t fully endorse Brown’s plan, Gioia told Bay Area News Group reporter Sean Maher the proposal is causing people to have discussions about redevelopment reform.

“I support the goals of redevelopment,” Gioia said. “But in its current form, is it the most effective way to get those things done? I voted to create redevelopment agencies in my county, but I’m willing to put them on the table if it means we’ll do better funding local schools, health programs and youth centers.”

In addition, Gioia said, “Redevelopment funds many good projects, but some are pretty questionable. Look at Lafayette. Why would there be blight in one of the highest-income cities in our county? We don’t need to be using redevelopment money to fund higher-end stores coming into town.”

Steven Falk, Lafayette’s city manager, said Gioia’s comments could be a case of “selective political amnesia,” as the vast majority of Lafayette’s redevelopment money was spent on the new library, built at the request of the county, and the new veterans hall, a joint project with the county for which Gioia voted.

“We’ve spent the vast majority of redevelopment money on efforts to promote lifelong learning and on projects for veterans of America’s wars,” Falk said.

Elsewhere Thursday in redevelopment news:

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