Brown proposes eliminating redevelopment

That would mean doing away with Fremont’s redevelopment agency, which has built many beautiful freeway interchanges in its day.

Click here for the story.

Below are key portions:

The other interesting story here is Gov. Brown’s proposal to eliminate the redevelopment agencies. Getting rid of enterprise zones is a no-brainer; those things have been a costly failure. But the redevelopment agencies aren’t as clear-cut a case. Many such agencies are providing some of the most effective and forward-thinking urban planning in the state, much moreso than the relatively status quo-friendly planning departments of most cities. Further, many major urban projects are dependent on redevelopment dollars, such as a convention center expansion in San Diego.

On the other hand, one could make a pretty strong case that funding our schools is more important than enlarging the San Diego convention center so that Comic-Con doesn’t move to LA or Anaheim. And Gov. Brown may not need voter approval to abolish the redevelopment agencies and redirect their funding to schools.

Overall, this is a very risky move by Gov. Brown. I’m a bit surprised that he appears to be trying for tax increases and financial solutions that were rejected by voters in 2009 and 2010, and while Californians do need to be shown what will happen if those revenues aren’t approved, Brown would also do well to add some new kinds of tax solutions as well – particularly higher taxes on those making $200,000 or more. Either way, progressives are going to have quite a fight on our hands this year, and if we lose, California will be headed into the abyss for some time to come.

Matt Artz


  1. I see Brown is going to try and eliminate redundancy in our governments before touching compensation. I haven’t heard the words “labor” or “union” even once from him this week. It’s almost as if labor is a non-issue in CA. Fair enough, he’s a Dem after all.

    I wonder if local school-directed parcel taxes in Nov passed statewide for the most part, just like in F-mont, and this is influencing his effort to try and raise taxes to sustain pensions and entitlements for a few more years?

    Because as the article states, voters wouldn’t even pony up 18 bucks to fund parks. Brown is banking on the state doing less, cities doing more and people raising taxes on themselves because the money is more local.

    I’m not renewing the tax hikes until labor takes a real hit, how bout you?

  2. Marty,
    Once again you are presenting a one sided arguement. The Argus (San Leandro Newa) Had a article where Brown is talking to the two main State Employee Unions.
    I am going to, at least give him a chance. Gov. Brown may suprise you.
    California is in deep finacial trouble. Brown did not get us there, but wait you will find some obscure article blaming Californias crisis on Gov. Brown.
    Sorry your Meg did not make it!

  3. Well, of course I presented one side, my side!

    West, I voted for Brown. I want him to succeed. But if he’s going to pull an Obama and ram through a non-representative agenda, then I won’t cry for him when he fails.

    But, yes Brown did talk to the public employee unions, at the party they threw him across the street from his inaugural. If you can show me where/when he mentioned union concessions in any of his speeches since taking office, I will pay your way at this year’s convention.

  4. Hey Marty,
    If it wasn’t for “Labor and Unions” We would’nt have 8 hour work days (which is considered a day’s work). We would’nt be paid overtime (for work in excess of 8 hours). We would definetly not have a living wage to survive on, probably no health benefits, 401’s, Ira’s and the list goes on. We can save 1 trillion by just cutting the Defense spending by 4% (they would still get a 6% increase as estimated). Why did Arnold store his personal jet in Arizona….so he did’nt have to pay California TAXES!!! Cheaters are one of the problems, so don’t blame people that are trying to make a living.

  5. Martin U, Thanks for summarizing the fruits of private sector unions prior to 1950. We have a somewhat different situation with regards to government employee compensation today.

    You may be interested to hear that in many metro areas, private sector industry union workers have an unemployment rate that rivals high school dropouts. That’s a zero hour work day, if you needed help with the math.

  6. West, Marty is a highly one sided individual. He only pretends to play nice as long as his kind of politics is well represented. Martin U presents some great points.

  7. Well, Robert – yourself, West and Martin are pledged Democrats. Is 1 of 4 in opposition too much for you “men” to handle?

  8. Marty,
    Not that it matters much, but I have been a refuse to declare, Independent. I actually look at both sides of a issue then decide who will this benefit the most. It is called a “Open Mind”

  9. Well, let me pat myself on the back too. I’m a registered Republican who voted for Jerry Brown.

    @Martin U, I didn’t catch this at first, but your statement about savings from cutting the defense budget is off by about 3,500%

    The entire defense budget in 2010 was ~0.7 trillion. A 4% cut is 28 billion saved. It would take 35 years to “save 1 trillion”.

  10. i’m impressed by Governor Brown’s proposal to eliminate redevelopment. I’ve argued that redevelopment takes money from schools to benefit developers and it looks like there are some folks who agree with me, though that list doesn’t include any of our City officials or local loyal Democrats:

    “But critics, including school and county officials, say the idea is welcome and overdue. They argue that although redevelopment has its merits, local leaders have overused it to subsidize questionable private development at the expense of basic public services.

    Santa Clara Unified School District Superintendent Steve Stavis said eliminating redevelopment would mean about $35 million — about a 25 percent funding increase — for his district.”


  11. I, to believe Redevelopment Agency has been abused.
    Check out the fiasco over the Centerville redevelopment. There were stores operating there and small business men who are still upset over being forced out. All this so we can look at a large vacant lot.
    This was a mess far before, there was a economic problem.
    It is a excellent example of part time councilmembers not being smart enough, they are the Redevelopment Agency!

  12. Using Fremont redevelopment as an example, it should be reasonable to assume that if any residential units are part of any redevelopment effort, then the classrooms and schools needed to house the students generated by the redevelopment should be entirely funded by the redevelopment. Otherwise, any additional facilities that are needed for these students would have to be funded by taxpayers who live outside the redevelopment zone.

    I (not representing anyone other than myself) asked our City Council (our Redevelopment Agency) to agree to this simple proposal when the budget for redevelopment in Fremont was expanded by 1.1 billion dollars last year.

    Redevelopment and education can coexist, but education has to be a full partner and receive appropriate funding for students generated in any and all redevelopment projects.

    Example: If a new school costs 35 million dollars, and the increase in our redevelopment budget is 1.1 billion dollars, then an entire new school would only amount to about 1/3 of 1% of the budget increase! Needless to say, a new school in Fremont would be a huge attraction for any housing development, thereby increasing the ‘value add’ of the school to our city and redevelopment. Everyone wins.

  13. Focusing on Centerville is a disservice to the whole idea of redevelopment in Fremont. I guess someone would have to remember what Irvington looked like before redevelopment rebuilt the blighted areas, and remember what Niles looked like before we used tax increment to upgrade the streets, urban landscape, and build the new plaza. And, in 1983, we established the industrial area redevelopment district to rebuild the freeway overpasses at Durham (Automall), Fremont Blvd., Mission, and Dixon Landing. The assessed evaluation of that whole area was around $50 Million and, without access, would remain at that level. Today, the assessed evaluation exceeds $2 Billion. That is the purpose of redevelopment.

    I too look at the Centerville site and wring my hands. I see a nice fence, period. But I remember the failing shopping center, the ramshackle remnants of an auto dealership, and a disfunctional assortment of land parcels with no ability for the private sector to assemble them and do something right.

    Time will resolve that problem. One of the two votes against the original development proposal is back on the council, so there will certainly be discussion of it.

    And, as for the governor’s proposal, who actually believes that the money gained by cancelling redevelopment will remain in the city. The state is looking to fill huge holes in their budget and none of those holes is local government. So, in Fremont anyway, the city would recover 15% of the tax increment (not 25% as others have stated) and the other 85% would go to the state to do whatever they want with it. So prisons, medicaid, welfare programs all get their share and half would go to schools. But it would be divided up amongst all the schools in the state, not back to the districts supplying the money.

    It really is time for the state to gather together the brightest minds in the state to define the roles of each layer of government and to establish a funding source for each. Patching the system hasn’t worked and won’t work in the future. It is time for some radical change and, hopefully, the current crisis provides the opportunity to begin the change process.

  14. “Time will solve that problem . . .”

    Oh good – that makes me feel so much better.

    Hey, here’s a thought – since we’re all in agreement this is a bit of a miss – let’s at the very least take a cold hard look at what kind of management reasoning got us into this mess in the first place and then take some steps to ensure that we dont continue to repeat those same steps elsewhere . . . . you know, cause times are tough and all and we should invest the taxpayers monies with care and consideration. . . . .because – just maybe- there’s someone out there that might put another sandwich in the kids lunch bag, if they didn’t have to pay that extra $.79 in taxes due today . . .

    (cue crickets chirping)

  15. I believe Gus is wrong about what would happen to property tax dollars if redevelopment were to be abolished. Property tax dollars do not go to the State’s general fund to spend on prisons, medicaid, etc. All property taxes collected by the state are redistributed to various agencies within the county where those taxes were collected, including City Government, County Government, Local School districts, etc. That’s the reason for pass-throughs in Redevelopment agreements: because it’s the local agencies that are being deprived of tax money, not the state. So if there is no Redevelopment Agency to collect its tax increment, that tax increment will return to the local governments and special districts in the County where the taxes were collected.

  16. Robert, thank you for your comment.

    Marty, I can “do the math”. Read the article in CNN,(of which I was referring to) that is, at least try and understand it.
    As to my political beliefs and the party that I vote for….I consider myself a conservative democrat.

  17. Martin, you don’t know your math. You’ve made two comical calculation mistakes in this thread. But it’s all good, because we all know your respect for hard data.

  18. Sigh…three comical calculation mistakes.

    Martin, a billion is 1000 million. Can you figure the rest out from here?

  19. Marty,
    I was just wondering when you are going to realize that I was having fun at your expense.

    You want to go fishing…..I got you on the first, second and third cast.

    And…………WON and WON is what? 🙂

  20. Nice cover, Martin.

    Of course, there’s not a single person who believes you were pulling my leg. But union guys are experts at making excuses for their shortcomings, so I cant expect much else from you, buddy.

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