The Morning Report
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Judging from the letters, e-mails, calls and the mayor’s reaction, an investigation by my colleague Will Carless detailing how the president of a city of San Diego redevelopment department, Southeastern Economic Development Corp., “has been paying herself and her top deputy tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses and extra compensation unbeknownst to members of the City Council or the agency’s board” caused quite a stir yesterday.
The mayor has demanded answers and other media outlets are now following the story.
Tuesday’s story was the latest in a series of investigations that Carless and I have undertaken in the last two years into SEDC, which is the city of San Diego’s redevelopment wing for southeastern San Diego. It manages and subsidizes development and beautification projects in some of the city’s most blighted neighborhoods.
Will and I are co-hosting Café San Diego on Wednesday. We’ll be the people’s reporters. So please, we’re at your service. Do you want to know more about a specific story? Do you wonder how or why we did something as journalists? Do you have questions about how these redevelopment department works? About redevelopment itself?
Trust me, it can be confusing. It’s been quite a learning experience to have studied this stuff over the last couple of years.
Our first investigation in October 2006 revealed that an SEDC consultant had been allowed to purchase one of the agency’s coveted for-sale affordable homes; how owners of the affordable homes had been allowed to flip the homes for sizable profits despite provisions against it; and how a local developer had been permitted to sell the affordable homes at prices that were at least $10,000 more than had been authorized by the City Council.
Last year, we also followed the saga of Valencia Business Park, which was put back out to bid earlier this year for a new developer after our reporting raised concerns about the original developer. (That original developer was awarded the deal again last month at a purchase price for the land that was nearly $1 million lower than its original bid.)
There was also this other story about unusual budgeting practices at SEDC.