Archived News Release from 2011
For Immediate Release
Redwood City Mayor Jeff Ira Denounces Legislature’s Action on Redevelopment
Loss of Redevelopment Threatens Redwood City’s Programs
Redwood City, CA - June 17, 2011 - Mayor Jeff Ira today denounced the California legislature for its action in passing two bills this week which effectively eliminate redevelopment agencies statewide. Although the bills were made part of the budget package which was subsequently vetoed by the governor, indications are that the legislature will hold those bills in order to attach them to future budget bills.
“Legislators took an illegal action by passing a state budget that eliminates redevelopment agencies and essentially extorts so-called “voluntary” payments from local governments,” said Mayor Ira. “They took this action – with no public airing or analysis of the contents of those bills - so that they could balance their own mismanaged state budget at the expense of local government.”
Mayor Ira joins other local government officials who are outraged about the so-called “two-bill” approach to redevelopment that legislators in both the senate and assembly passed on Wednesday. Critics characterize the legislature’s action as an attempt to force redevelopment agencies to contribute money to the state or face elimination. Such action violates numerous constitutional provisions, including Proposition 22 and Proposition 1A which prohibit the State from directly or indirectly forcing local governments to shift revenues to State purposes or other agencies. These bills are also seen as having been approved in “stealth mode” with no formal legal analysis, no local government input, and no public hearings.
This legislation stipulates that agencies which make a specified payment are exempt from elimination. Statewide, these payments are rumored to be $1.4 billion in the budget year and $400 million annually. It is unlikely that agencies or cities will be able to afford the significant payment to the State required to let redevelopment agencies continue to operate.
Mayor Ira further states that, “This elimination and hostage taking of local redevelopment funds sends our city and the entire state of California on the wrong track. At a time when California, the nation and world fear a double-dip recession, it’s unconscionable that the state legislature would vote to shut down our most powerful job-creation tool.”
To local governments like Redwood City, redevelopment is a tool for building things, an essential instrument for the economic recovery at both the local and state level. It builds and improves communities, spurs job growth and taxes and is the most significant provider of infrastructure, urban development, and affordable housing in the state.
If redevelopment is eliminated, projects and programs throughout Redwood City’s Redevelopment Project Area will be affected including activities to improve circulation and linkages, rehabilitate commercial properties, enhance Downtown economic development, provide financial assistance and investment in public infrastructure, create jobs, and build affordable housing.
The Mayor said that he expects Governor Jerry Brown to do the right thing and veto those bills directly, and help put California back on a road to economic recovery.
Visit Redwood City’s award-winning website at www.redwoodcity.org for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, and local business. Subscribe to Redwood City’s email newsletter and other City documents by visiting www.redwoodcity.org/egov.
Jeff Ira, Mayor