In the last post, I discussed the Pete Wilson model of creating semi-private corporations to administer redevelopment. After 30 years, the city is finally intending to do performance audits of these entities. Prejudging the outcome of these audits, the Mayor assured the public that the structure of these agencies was sound.

The formula for a routine cover-up is to hire expensive consultants, find a few “bad apples”, hope it stops stinking, and hope that the Voice juggernaut runs out of gas. Readers and contributors of voiceofsandiego.org are indeed privileged in their patronage of a media outlet that questioned whether the emperor did indeed have any clothes on. This is where the Union-Tribune failed — in playing a watchdog role. Pete Wilson’s “holy cow” was milked by the Union-Tribune‘s overly generous attribution for success stories, and often as the Grand Jury recently noted, this attribution in the media was inaccurate.

So please keep Voice voicing…

On the subject of the Pete Wilson model, most Voice readers have posted comments that agree with me on the concept that this model is questionable. For example, Watcher suggests:

The first question to ask is whether CCDC should be dismantled and its planning work transferred to the city’s planning staff.

Voice reader Billy Bob Brown opines:

Fold the CCDC and SEDC into the regular development process

These four-letter entities are nothing more than contractors for the city with a contract to provide staffing services to implement the state’s redevelopment law. The mayor and City Council bear final responsibility for creating, implementing and enforcing this contract. Reader Mel points out that the buck stops with our elected officials.

Christopher Hall has an interesting suggestion to make the model work with some modifications:

The non-profit model would work better if the board were comprised of community leaders who were not directly tied to the development and finance industries.

This kind of representation may compromise the smooth interface that these corporations have served between developers and the agency. But it does raise the question of what is the mission, goals and constituents of these corporations?

One reader, Get A Clue has a different take on this issue. If I understand correctly, he thinks that the corporation problems are symptoms of other larger problems at city hall.

… in the absence of strong political and managerial leadership at the City, CCDC became the tail that wagged the dog.

Does this mean that even after two years of strong mayor, we continue to harbor waste, fraud and abuse in our system? How many years does it take to get a performance audit on the expenditure of hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars?

The reader responses to my questions have only raised more questions.

— MURTAZA BAXAMUSA

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