Opinion

Opportunities Ahead for Civic San Diego

Opportunities Ahead for Civic San Diego

Image courtesy of Civic San Diego

Civic San Diego is tasked with finishing old redevelopment projects, like the Horton Plaza renovation, but is actively looking into ways to expand its influence.

As former chair of the Southeastern Economic Development Corporation Board, I can fill in some information missing from Voice of San Diego’s Oct. 31 story, “How Civic San Diego Plans to Respond to Its Identity Crisis.”

Letters logoMost major cities – including Philadelphia, Austin and Cincinnati – have separate corporations or agencies like Civic San Diego, empowered with tools and funding for neighborhood revitalization and economic development.

Civic San Diego was directed by our mayor and City Council to:

1) wind down the affairs and obligations of the former redevelopment agency;

2) seek new public/private investment, implement economic development and quality job-creation programs, and continue revitalization efforts in long-neglected neighborhoods;

3) identify and secure innovative funding to replace the local revenue lost by the State Redevelopment Dissolution Act.

For more than 20 years, Civic San Diego has performed certain planning and permitting functions for the city. The transparent and cost-effective process includes a rigorous design review and multiple public hearings. Unique to downtown, it has been highly successful in attracting private and public investment to places once considered undesirable and risky.

Civic San Diego’s ability to secure funding and negotiate public-private partnerships creates a “one-stop shop” that is working well today. Its multidisciplinary staff, private-sector expertise and close ties to neighborhoods ensure that new projects meet or exceed the goals of the adopted community plans and serve the public interest. All activities are open and public pursuant to the Brown Act, Public Records Act, and all government ethics law.

No other local entity has the track record to compete as well nationally for New Market Tax credits. With a public/private investment fund for local job creation, affordable housing and healthy communities, Civic San Diego can achieve quality new development and services in two additional targeted locations where neighborhoods need and want them. The Village at Market Street and Euclid Avenue, and Mid-City Bus Rapid Transit corridor are the proposed focus areas.

Instead of losing jobs, this will create jobs for city plan checkers, building inspectors, public facilities financing analysts, parks workers and public works staff. New construction will yield jobs and services, as well as sales and property taxes that pay for police, firefighters and infrastructure projects.

Civic San Diego’s “identity crisis” is not a crisis at all. It is an opportunity for the city to leverage the strengths of its public economic development corporation with those of its government departments.

Civic San Diego augments city functions. Instead of the city and Civic San Diego being in competition, the relationship between them is one of collaboration, teamwork and accountability to our elected officials. This is the vision for Civic San Diego. Its identity is clear.

Daniel Cruz Gonzalez is former chair of the Southeastern Economic Development Corporation Board, and current chair of the New Market Tax Credit Advisory Committee. Gonzalez’s commentary has been edited for clarity. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us what to check out here. Want to respond? Submit a commentary.

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4 comments
David Hall
David Hall

"Daniel Cruz Gonzalez is former chair of the Southeastern Economic Development Corporation Board, and current chair of the New Market Tax Credit Advisory Committee. "

Boards, committees, exactly what our government is overloaded with.

"For more than 20 years, Civic San Diego has performed certain planning and permitting functions for the city. "

Civic San Diego has been around for more than 20 years? Sounds like an easy Fact Check for VoSD. In fact, Civic San Diego needs to "wind down" the affairs of the former redevelopment agency and disband. Daniel Crux Gonzalez's twisting of fact is a perfect example of why people distrust government.

David Hall
David Hall subscriber

"Daniel Cruz Gonzalez is former chair of the Southeastern Economic Development Corporation Board, and current chair of the New Market Tax Credit Advisory Committee. "

Boards, committees, exactly what our government is overloaded with.

"For more than 20 years, Civic San Diego has performed certain planning and permitting functions for the city. "

Civic San Diego has been around for more than 20 years? Sounds like an easy Fact Check for VoSD. In fact, Civic San Diego needs to "wind down" the affairs of the former redevelopment agency and disband. Daniel Crux Gonzalez's twisting of fact is a perfect example of why people distrust government.

La Playa Heritage
La Playa Heritage

http://www.cdfifund.gov/what_we_do/programs_id.asp?programID=5

New Market Tax Credits were first established in 2000, however Civic San Diego finally applied for the first time in 2012. Civic San Diego did a great job in securing the $35 million to be spent on low-income census tracks. Including Mission Valley and South of 8.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_fHftxFXFhyNUxlWGVObmhQX2c/edit?usp=drive_web

However, in the IBA Report 13-20, New Market Tax Credit will pay for 1.56 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) of the 32 Employees.
http://www.sandiego.gov/iba/pdf/reports/2013/13_20_130507.pdf

As far as permitting and planning CCDC changed the minimum fault buffer setback from active faults from 50 feet on each side for 100 feet total, to just 50 feet maximum. There are several lawsuits against the City of San Diego for new condos along Pacific Highway and Harbor Drive and the sewage smells due to construction defect. CCDC and Civic San Diego have never given one seismic report to the State Geologist for any development downtown in violation of the Seismic Safety Hazard Act.

Civic San Diego - CCDC pretended that Homeless was not a form of blight, therefore it would be illegal to use Redevelopment Agency (RDA) Tax Increment (TI). Now the latest is that Downtown Parking Revenue cannot be used to construct and maintain bathrooms downtown for visitors and the Homeless.CDFI Fund - U.S. Treasury - New Markets Tax Credit Programhttp://www.cdfifund.gov/what_we_do/programs_id.asp?programID=5The New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTC Program) was established by Congress in 2000 to spur new or increased investments into operating businesses and real estate projects located in low-income communities.New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Interactive Map || http:cohnreznick.com.pdf - Google Drivehttps://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_fHftxFXFhyNUxlWGVObmhQX2c/edit?usp=drive_webNew Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Interactive Map || http:cohnreznick.com.pdf

La Playa Heritage
La Playa Heritage subscribermember

http://www.cdfifund.gov/what_we_do/programs_id.asp?programID=5

New Market Tax Credits were first established in 2000, however Civic San Diego finally applied for the first time in 2012. Civic San Diego did a great job in securing the $35 million to be spent on low-income census tracks. Including Mission Valley and South of 8.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_fHftxFXFhyNUxlWGVObmhQX2c/edit?usp=drive_web

However, in the IBA Report 13-20, New Market Tax Credit will pay for 1.56 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) of the 32 Employees.
http://www.sandiego.gov/iba/pdf/reports/2013/13_20_130507.pdf

As far as permitting and planning CCDC changed the minimum fault buffer setback from active faults from 50 feet on each side for 100 feet total, to just 50 feet maximum. There are several lawsuits against the City of San Diego for new condos along Pacific Highway and Harbor Drive and the sewage smells due to construction defect. CCDC and Civic San Diego have never given one seismic report to the State Geologist for any development downtown in violation of the Seismic Safety Hazard Act.

Civic San Diego - CCDC pretended that Homeless was not a form of blight, therefore it would be illegal to use Redevelopment Agency (RDA) Tax Increment (TI). Now the latest is that Downtown Parking Revenue cannot be used to construct and maintain bathrooms downtown for visitors and the Homeless.CDFI Fund - U.S. Treasury - New Markets Tax Credit Programhttp://www.cdfifund.gov/what_we_do/programs_id.asp?programID=5The New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTC Program) was established by Congress in 2000 to spur new or increased investments into operating businesses and real estate projects located in low-income communities.New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Interactive Map || http:cohnreznick.com.pdf - Google Drivehttps://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_fHftxFXFhyNUxlWGVObmhQX2c/edit?usp=drive_webNew Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Interactive Map || http:cohnreznick.com.pdf