Prop Zero
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Housing Dollars Everywhere, But Not a Unit to Live In

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    CHICAGO - MARCH 17: A carpenter helps to frame a house under construction in the Old Irving Park neighborhood March 17, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Commerce Department said housing starts jumped 22 percent in February, the biggest percentage rise since January 1990. Housing Starts throughout the Midwest were up 58%. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

    If you read one media story this week, it should be the LA Times' series on the misuse of housing funds by redevelopment agencies. Here's the killer statistic: 120 cities spent $700 million in housing funds without constructing a single unit.

    The full story is here.

    The series raises the question of whether California wouldn't be better off -- and couldn't save some money -- simply by shutting down its redevelopment agencies. At the very least, this series should put some pressure on the proponents of Prop 22, a November ballot initiative that seeks to stop the state from taking money away from local governments, including redevelopment agencies.

    Remind me again why protecting the money of redevelopment agencies in a time of state budget crisis is a good idea?