Redevelopment Money Paid Part of Brown's Salary in Oakland
**FILE** California Attorney General Jerry Brown speaks at a news conference in this Feb. 1, 2007 file photo, in San Francisco. Nearly four decades after entering California politics, Brown has reinvented himself yet again, this time as a carbon-fighting attorney general. In less than a year as California's top law enforcement official, the former governor, presidential candidate and Oakland mayor has emerged as a major player in the national debate on global warming. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
Wednesday, Jul 6, 2011 Updated at 11:53 AM PDT
If you want an illustration of how redevelopment agencies are little more than giant slush funds for local governments, check out Jessica Garrison's story in today's Los Angeles Times. It's full of examples of cities that have used redevelopment money -- illegally, in some cases, or questionably, in others -- for salaries and other expenses.
Deep in the story is this killer anecdote: when Gov. Jerry Brown was mayor of Oakland, redevelopment paid 15 percent of his own salary. Perhaps his presence was itself an antidote to urban blight.
Brown's budget may not be failing to gain political traction, but his push to eliminate redevelopment agencies looks like a policy winner.