Sun Could Set on Local Projects

Some of San Diego's most beautiful projects are in jeopardy

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Chris Nahaolelua
    Our skyline.

    The debate is raging at San Diego's City Hall. Money needed to remodel the bayfront and improve downtown's shopping district could evaporate.

    It will take millions of dollars to transform the boring bayfront into a beautiful, people-friendly walkway and millions more to turn a haven for the homeless into a safe and relaxing urban park.

    Money for Local Projects Could Vanish

    [DGO] Money for Local Projects Could Vanish
    That debate is raging right now, at San Diego's City Hall. (Published Tuesday, Jan 25, 2011)

    But Governor Jerry Brown says redevelopment robs the state of much needed revenue and contributes to California's budget problem. He wants to disband those local agencies and use the money for state programs.

    The stakes are high and one city councilmember says thousands of jobs are at risk.

    "We've been planning that for ten years and it's very close to being a reality. The Governor's proposal would say, ‘you're not going to be able to do that’," Councilman Kevin Faulconer said.

    He wants to keep redevelopment dollars in San Diego and says downtown redevelopment has generated more than 20,000 jobs by keeping tax receipts in that district to help build new projects.

    "When you look at all the tourism we have, when you look at all the conventions we have, it's in large part because of the success of our redevelopment agency," Faulconer said.

    Taxpayer advocate Richard Rider is also a redevelopment critic. He says the agencies take too much credit for urban renewal and have too much power.

    "It's not driven by what's best for the taxpayers and it diverts taxpayer money from what normally we think of as important functions, such as police, fire and other aspects," said Libertarian Richard Rider.

    San Diego's city council is scheduled to discuss the issue Monday at a special nighttime meeting and is expected to formally oppose the Governor's plan to disband local redevelopment agencies.

    Other local cities, from Oceanside to Chula Vista, may take similar action.