Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2006 | The editorial, “Audit SEDC,” points out one of the follies of redevelopment – affordable housing.

This is how it works. The City Council, when it is not preoccupied with under funding pensions and over benefiting retirees, designates itself the Redevelopment Agency, so that it may declare parts of the city redevelopment areas. In California, these areas must be legally blighted, which is a relatively low bar to hurdle. Conveniently, one of the legal definitions of blight is property values less than other parts of the city. The redevelopment project must then set aside about twenty percent of its tax increment funds for affordable housing. The obvious paradox is this: They have taken an area which is by definition affordable (lower property values) ostensibly to raise property values, while setting aside twenty percent to create new affordable housing from an area which was already affordable. It seems that all SEDC did was do part “A” of this scam too well.

Lucky for us, the free market will likely provide affordable housing for those displaced by redevelopment in Southeast San Diego. Not far from there is the canyon of condos, formerly known as downtown San Diego. With the overproduction of condominiums and the cooling of the real estate market, the free market will make these properties affordable. Then, in true “City of Villages” fashion, the sign-twirlers will be able to walk to work.

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