Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006 | In San Diego, we know that our police force is understaffed; we are short two hundred officers. Not enough money in the budget, we are told. But there is a possible solution, albeit not a 100 percent solution. Downtown redevelopment collects $74 million annually in property tax. But state law does not allow these taxes to be used for “operations”- only for capital expenditures.

The solution was proposed in two 2004 memos to the City Council, one by then city Attorney Casey Gwinn and the other by then Community Development Director Hank Cunningham. Both memos proposed the same thing, namely that an effort be made to amend the state law. Cunningham’s memo was titled, “Use of Redevelopment Funding for Public Safety.” Gwinn’s memo was titled “Use of Tax increment Funds for Public Safety Needs.” There was spirited opposition from the Centre City Development Corporation. The result was that the issue never made it to the council agenda. So there was no effort to amend state law. But the potential sill exists and the need is now much greater than in 2004.

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