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We had the beginnings of an interesting conversation below my Friday post on the mayor’s response to his own thoughts about restructuring San Diego’s redevelopment.

Reader Another Joe had this to say:

I am so sick of the CCDC and SEDC bashing. For all of you who think ‘redevelopment’ is done downtown, obviously you don’t spend anytime downtown. There is MUCH to do. This agency is vital to the future of the region. And right now it is about the only agency that has the ability to provide some needed stimulus to the regional economy. They have redevelopment funds that can be used to build parks and other public works projects that employ people at and above a living wage. 

There’s an important piece here that the reader touches on that the post was supposed to clear up. Few people, if anyone, at City Hall at the moment want to end redevelopment altogether.

The proposals flying around right now essentially seek to do two things: End the lack of oversight that allowed two agencies to be engulfed in scandal in the last year; and make the agencies, which handle hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars a year, more efficient.

Right now, there are basically two schools of thought about what to do with CCDC and SEDC:

  • Just hire new presidents, make small tweaks in the organizations’ bylaws, and move forward on the same track. This has generally been what the City Hall crew — such as Councilmen Tony Young, Ben Hueso and Kevin Faulconer — has advocated. And, until the news we got Thursday, it looked like Mayor Jerry Sanders was headed that way too.
  • Continue doing redevelopment in these downtown and southeastern San Diego neighborhoods, but do it in a more traditional structure. That means moving SEDC and CCDC back directly under the city’s control like every other redevelopment agency in California or merging the two into one super-nonprofit redevelopment agency for efficiency.

Remember, CCDC and SEDC are unique in California in that they are nonprofit agencies run outside of City Hall — with their own boards that select their own presidents. Most of their major decisions, however, must ultimately be approved by the City Council. It’s that distance from City Hall that can be blamed in some part for the problems at the agencies.

Let’s keep this conversation going. What do you think? Are CCDC and SEDC structurally flawed? Or were their problems just the result of individuals? If you want to comment, make sure you’re reading this in The Clipboard (where comments are enabled) and not This Just In. Or just e-mail me at andrew.donohue@voiceofsandiego.org.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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