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Fremont sends mixed message on redevelopment

These Fremont leaders have me totally confused.

Last night at the council meeting, everyone was breathing a sigh of relief when they learned that the legislature’s proposal to allow cities to keep redevelopment agencies actually wouldn’t cost the city all that much.

Although the City Council didn’t flat out say so, it was pretty clear that if that proposal became law, the city would most likely keep redevelopment and accept passing through more redevelopment money ($9 million the first year and $2 million in additional years) mostly to the Fremont Unified School District.

For once it seemed that, at least when compared to other city/redevelopment agencies which likely will have to pay more under some complicated formulas, Fremont actually wasn’t getting totally screwed.

But the city just released this statement from Mayor Wasserman stating that the legislature’s proposal would kill redevelopment in Fremont and prevent it from doing a host of projects, even though the city’s own calculations estimate that the legislature’s proposal would cost it less than six percent of its redevelopment funds in most years.

Truly bizzare.

Here is Wasserman’s statement:

“I am extremely disappointed that California legislators last week passed an illegal State budget that essentially steals redevelopment funds in direct violation of the passing of Proposition 22 in November by California voters. 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 the historic districts.

This budget eliminates local government’s best economic development tool at the precise moment when local governments can least afford to loose it and squanders more resources than it provides. By taking away a mechanism that creates valuable jobs and increases tax revenues-something Fremont desperately needs-the State Legislator has not listened to its constituents. Gov. Jerry Brown has the ability to do the right thing and veto AB 1X26 and AB 1X27. This action would help put California back on the road to economic recovery.”

Matt Artz