Vote on Redevelopment Agencies' Future Uncertain
Posted in Redevelopment

Just when it looked liked we had reached the eleventh hour in the California's redevelopment battle, redevelopment agencies appear to be getting at least a temporary stay of execution. Governor Brown had declared a March 10 deadline for a vote on his proposal to overhaul California's budget, including "disestablishing" redevelopment agencies. 

But on Monday, those efforts stalled.  In an open letter to the Governor, five key Republican senators announced:

Although it is clear that you [the Governor] engaged in our conversation seriously, it appears we have reached an impasse.

In other words, don't expect a vote by your self-imposed deadline.  Even the Governor seemed to acknowledge the setback on Monday, admitting that "it might take a few more days than (the target date) at the rate we're going." 

The behind-the-scenes political wrangling undoubtedly continues, and while we all await final word on the fate of redevelopment, the agencies whose future lies in the balance continue to work to secure funding commitments, while commentators continue to debate the issue. 

A March 8 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Jerry Brown makes right move on redevelopment
takes the Governor's side, telling disgruntled redevelopment proponents who forecast "doomsday scenarios" if the plan is approved to "join the club," in which "no individual or public agency is immune from the effects of a disastrous economic situation."

A March 7 article in Voice of San Diego, In a World Without Redevelopment ... may sum the issue up the best:

In reality, the end of redevelopment — and it's looking likely the Legislature will sign off on it — will be a nasty mess with the climax likely to play out in a courtroom rather than an empty office building.

Finally, earlier today I had a chance to listen to one of the strategists working with the California Redevelopment Association in its efforts to save redevelopment agencies from the death chamber.  Ken Lee of Rosenow-Spevacek Group, Inc. reported today at the IRWA Chapter 67 monthly meeting that while things remain uncertain, efforts continue to try to find a less drastic solution. 

Mr. Lee also discussed some (perhaps) unintended consequences of the Governor's proposal, including a potential impact on the ability to remediate contaminated properties.  The Polanco Act is a key tool in the government's arsenal to clean up Brownfield sites, often in conjunction with eminent domain.  But the Polanco Act is part of the redevelopment law, meaning it may well get thrown out along with everything else if the Governor gets his way. 

Finally, he noted a public meeting taking place tonight at the Buena Park City Hall, a self-described "Campaign to Oppose State Budget Elimination of Redevelopment Agencies, and Urge Legislators to Respect the Will of Voters via Prop. 22."  (If you attend, please let me know how it goes.)

As always with this rapidly moving story, stay tuned.

  • Rick E. Rayl

    Rick Rayl is an experienced litigator on a broad range of complex civil litigation issues.  His practice is concentrated primarily on eminent domain, inverse condemnation, and other real-estate-valuation disputes.  His public ...

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