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Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2006 | Monday evening within a span of two hours, I heard two divergent views from two different elected officials on one subject – redevelopment.
First, on City TV were Donna Frye’s comments after her swearing in for a second term as City Council District 6 representative. Councilmember Frye presented a number of suggestions for improving city government. Among these, she suggested that for all development projects that the city should provide the public with the true costs. She contended that all these projects create new demand for city services, such as public safety, and the city must pay for these services from the general fund, regardless of the financing of the individual projects. One may conclude from Frye’s statements that she realizes that redevelopment creates a drain on city funds.
Next, was the Grantville Redevelopment Advisory Committee meeting, hosted by Councilman Jim Madaffer, where the public was finally presented with the proposed “Vision Plans” for Sub-Areas A and B of the Grantville Redevelopment Project. Essentially, the plans seek to transform the Grantville commercial and industrial area into another cookie cut from the “City of Villages” mold. Imagine downtown, uptown, City Heights, North Park, or any project in San Diego in the past twenty years, complete with increased population density. This would be Grantville.
True to his form, Councilman Madaffer presented no indication of how much his Grantville project would cost the city, or how he would pay for it. There was no acknowledgement of the increased demand for city services that increased Grantville population density would bring. To be fair, there was a reference to using property tax increment to pay to rehabilitate the neglected Grantville infrastructure. This, however, ignores the fact that tax increment would divert Grantville property tax to the Redevelopment Agency and away from the city, creating a further drain on the funds that must be used to provide services.
From a broad perspective, redevelopment seems eerily similar to the pension under funding schemes – cutting revenues, while increasing expenditures. In her comments, Donna suggested that those with contrary points of view deserve to be heard, and she thanked Diann Shipione for being the lone voice against pension under funding. In her second term, perhaps Donna can be redevelopment’s Diann Shipione.