Monday, June 12, 2006 | As I read “Madaffer Overbudget” Friday morning, I thought I had a suspicion where the $176,000 went. “Deficit Explanation” confirmed it. This money was lost to the Grantville redevelopment project.

Not only did Mr. Madaffer create the position of “Director of Grantville Redevelopment” with a sizable salary for Colleen Windsor, but last year’s CityBeat article goes on to say that the Council District 7 office further loaned money to the Grantville redevelopment project to “prime the pump.” To add insult to injury, the project legally does not even exist, because the county has brought suit to stop it.

The pretext for redevelopment is to eradicate blight. As evidence of blight, the Redevelopment Agency’s report on Grantville redevelopment cites a high crime rate. We in Grantville dispute this, along with about everything else in the report. After the recent city budget debate, police officers leaving the San Diego Police Department in protest, and Mr. Madaffer’s own complaints of lack of funding for public safety, one cannot help but wonder how many police officers could be paid, or enticed to stay, with $176,000. My guess is that Mr. Madaffer’s deficit could have paid for at least two more officers to police Grantville for the past year.

Or to battle blight on another front, how many code enforcement officers could the city employ per year with $176,000? Rather than the truly criminal act of threatening every business in Grantville with eminent domain, the city could require the few properties that actually cross the line into blight to rise to community standards.

Mr. Madaffer has sought to create the Grantville redevelopment project so that District 7 – meaning Mr. Madaffer – could direct and plan the economy of this area. His past personal financial difficulties and now his District 7 deficit suggest we should hide the checkbook, and that planning and directing may not be his strong suits.

A better plan for Grantville is to leave it alone. Let the businesses that have been successful continue to thrive, let the free market determine which businesses must go, and leave Mr. Madaffer to figure out how to turn on the water.

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