We just came across an item that sheds light on redevelopment. Professor George Lefcoe teaches at the University of Southern California, which befits a classy guy like him. Our high regard for his acumen notwithstanding, we do differ on the virtues of redevelopment. Last time we spoke he was steadfastly in favor of redevelopment and extolled the joys and virtues of it, at least in the context of the Santa Monica beachfront area — the sort of place where God would live if He could only afford it.
So imagine our surprise when we came across the following quotation of his on the USC Law School web site. Here goes:
Los Angeles Times
October 1, 2010
“George Lefcoe was quoted about a lack of transparency at California’s municipal redevelopment agencies. In many projects, even the most basic accountability is lacking, said Lefcoe. ‘What we really want to know as taxpayers is, what kind of public funds were involved — what did we give and what did we get?’ he said. ‘You cannot get those answers anywhere.'”
We couldn’t have said it better, even if our formulation would have been more trenchant and less polite. But any way you slice it, those redevelopment guys are blowing gobs of your money, but are reluctant to tell you how they do it, as was duly noted in a recent Los Angeles Times expose that we duly noted in this blog of November 12th. See http://gideonstrumpet.info/?p=519
In the meantime, last time we looked, the bonded indebtedness of California Redevelopment Agencies has gone up from $5 billion in 1985 to $81 billion in 2006. And counting.