As we noted in a recent post (http://gideonstrumpet.info/?p=676 ) California’s newly elected Governor Jerry Brown has proposed to eliminate that state’s redevelopment agencies in order to save the state budget from sinking through the floor. Now the Los Angeles Times has chimed in editorially, allowing as how the Governor’s proposal may not be a bad idea. It took us a while to recover from the shock induced by this incredible spectacle of the Los Angeles Times taking this position, but hey man, you gotta take good ideas where you find them.
Here is an excerpt from that editorial that says it all:
“…[T]here is considerable question about how redevelopment funds have been used statewide. In its ‘Arrested Redevelopment’ series in October, The Times detailed the bumbling of small-city agencies in which redevelopment officials tasked with spending millions of tax dollars to build commercial projects and affordable housing produced few results and lacked accountability. A third of the state’s agencies, which spent a combined $700 million in housing funds from 2000 to 2008, did so without constructing a single new unit, the investigation found. The state lacks the power to enforce laws requiring agencies to produce housing, and lacks the money even to audit required housing construction. Agencies charged with reducing blight sometimes worsened it. Redevelopment officials often seemed out of their depth habdling projects that required the expertise of finance and real estate professionals.” Emphasis added.
“[S]mall-city agencies”? The Times ought to re-read its own front-page expose of the North Hollywood area redevelopment fiasco that blew some $117 million and created an area that was worse off than surrounding comparable ones that did not enjoy the benefit — if that is what it was — of redevelopment. But those folks achieved one thing: their ministrations engendered such fury on the part of local residents, that they prudently moved their office to more secure quarters. As we are fond of saying: Your tax money at work.
And speaking of redevelopment, it seems that none other than the City of Beverly Hills is into it too. Beverly Hills? You betcha. You don’t believe us? Then check out a city notice on page 2 of the Beverly Hills Courier of January 14, 2011, to the effect that the Beverly Hills Development Agency will hold a public hearing at which it will consider how to spend some half a million unallocated dollars on activities that will (1) directly benefit low and/or moderate income persons; (2) help to eliminate slum and and blight conditions; or (3) address an urgent need.
Golly. And here we had no idea that there are slums and blight conditions in Beverly Hills, to say nothing of persons of low income. We would gladly run pictures of those slums for your edification if we only knew where to find them.
You don’t suppose that Beverly Hills is trying to beat Governor Moonbeam to the draw, and spend or commit that money before he gloms on to it on behalf of the state, do you?