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Monday, Nov. 20, 2006 | As they will do every now and then, The New York Times recently ran a story on the cooling real estate market in Southern California (“The Signs of a Cooling Market in California”). As a sign of the times, they reported on a phenomenon that has become as ubiquitous to San Diegans as city street gridlock and potholes-sign twirling.

Some cities, however, are not as fond of sign twirlers as San Diego. According to the Times, some California cities have banned them. “City officials say that the twirlers not only pose a traffic hazard by distracting drivers, but also create blight.”

Reading this, I could not help but to reflect on downtown San Diego, which is the largest, on-going redevelopment project in the city, as administered by CCDC. On a recent weekend excursion there, it seemed as if there was a sign twirler on every corner, trying to entice all comers to partake of the cornucopia of condominiums. By contrast, Grantville, which is still awaiting the outcome of a lawsuit to become a redevelopment project area, rarely has a sign twirler. The last one I saw was trying to entice Grantville patrons to drive the few extra miles to attend a closeout sale in Mission Valley.

So, there you have it. Downtown San Diego, the grandest redevelopment project of them all, has sign twirlers; Grantville does not. The conclusion: Redevelopment creates blight. Isn’t that ironic?

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