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Old 02-11-2011, 12:53 PM
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Jeanfromfillmore Jeanfromfillmore is offline
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Default Southwest cities stand up for redevelopment

This issue is going to get really big in the next few months. Redevelopment money is being stopped in its tracks, and a much closer examination of where it's being used, and in some cases abused will come front and center. These issues will be hitting Californians very close to home.

Southwest cities stand up for redevelopment
10:18 AM PST on Friday, February 11, 2011
The Press-Enterprise
PDF: Read Temecula's letter to Gov. Jerry Brown about his redevelopment plan
Temecula and Wildomar have formally joined the fight against Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to abolish redevelopment agencies.
Both cities this week passed resolutions opposing the plan, which is part of the governor's budget. Brown wants to take money slated for redevelopment and give it to schools, courts and health care for the poor.
Lake Elsinore, Perris and Menifee are among the California city councils that have officially expressed their support for redevelopment.
Riverside County supervisors last month committed $155 million in redevelopment bonds as a pre-emptive measure.
Under state rules, redevelopment agencies exist to remove blight and support affordable housing. Local agencies receive funding from property tax increases resulting from improvements and new development within a redevelopment zone. Most of the revenue pays off bonds issued to raise money for projects within the zone.
Temecula officials credit the city's redevelopment agency with leveraging $130 million in tax revenue to spur $1.6 billion in private investment in the last 20 years. Agency-funded projects include a satellite campus for Cal State San Marcos, parking garages, museums, bridges and the Old Town Temecula Community Theater.
Critics say redevelopment is rife with abuse and amounts to public welfare for developers. Two members of the public asked Temecula's council on Tuesday to reconsider its stance.
"I see (redevelopment) as the greatest of all scams in California, where it's become a pot of money for ambitious developers and their compatriot people in the political community," Murrieta resident Robert Wheeler said.
But Councilman Mike Naggar said that, if redevelopment is abolished, "You're going to find a slew of people who are unemployed, and a lot of people who can't find housing ... It's a ridiculous, absolutely knuckleheaded notion that (Brown is) bringing up."
Councilwoman Maryann Edwards said Sacramento continues to spend money it does not have.
"And now they're reaching down to any pools of money at the local level that they can find to rob and steal and pillage, and that's exactly what they're doing," she said.
While Wildomar has no redevelopment funds of its own, Mayor Marsha Swanson said the 2-year-old city wanted to join with its neighbors in standing up to the state.
Murrieta is planning to take its turn expressing opposition to the plan during a City Council meeting on Tuesday.
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