Few things are defining San Diego’s public affairs as much these days as the question of redevelopment.
Put simply, if a neighborhood is determined to be “blighted” city officials can sequester tax revenues that are generated in that area and use them to subsidize developers, build amenities or otherwise provoke a rejuvenation of the area. This deprives the rest of the city, the county and the state of those tax dollars under the theory that, ultimately, the investment will prove to be good and money will flow to every area in the years following it.
Redevelopment is now at the heart of most major issues the city of San Diego is dealing with — from how to shape the waterfront and whether to build a new convention center, new main library, City Hall or Chargers stadium to questions about whether neighborhoods across the city are suffering while redevelopment areas overflow with funds.
Now, redevelopment officials in southeastern San Diego want to kickstart the scandal-plagued and overhauled Southeastern Economic Development Corp. by allowing it to absorb some of Greater Logan Heights. But some residents there are suspicious of the beleaguered agency.
- We have done a lot of work lately covering Barrio Logan and southeastern San Diego. Here’s a quick rundown so you can catch up:
We profiled a not-well-known enclave serving as a model for self-improvement and community organizing for the rest of San Diego (Florido later went on the radio with one of the neighborhood’s leaders, you can listen ). Residents in the area are bracing for an influx of parolees after state cuts to prison budgets. But they have a new gathering spot to talk about all these issues as two brothers, during a brutal recession, took the chance to open a restaurant that has become instantly popular as a place to see and be seen. Barrio Logan seems to be closer to getting its long-awaited Mercado project off the ground. And that’s a big deal in the race for District 8 on the City Council. And don’t forget the fun Q&A Florido did with Barrio Logan’s first vintner.
- We have a new edition of San Diego Fact Check TV up for you to see.
- In case you missed the news over the weekend, the man at the center of our major 2009 investigation “A Staggering Swindle” has been indicted by federal prosecutors but they haven’t been able to find him yet.
- If voters approve the strong mayor initiative (Proposition D) in coming weeks, it will not only make permanent the system of government in place right now at City Hall, but it will also make two important changes.
First, it would expand the City Council to nine seats from eight. This would cost the city about $1 million a year. Councilmen Kevin Faulconer and Carl DeMaio, both proponents of Proposition D, have been trying to articulate how they could welcome an extra council member on board without it costing the city more. Their answer: by siphoning funds from the other eight council members. But Councilwoman Donna Frye and others have forced the city to acknowledge it’s not going to be a free expansion. The U-T explored this debate today.
The second major change Proposition D would make, though, is a bigger deal. It will give the mayor a true veto over the council’s votes. Right now, the mayor can veto a City Council decision. But the City Council only needs to vote again, get the same number of votes it had before, and override the mayor. If Proposition D passes, the City Council will need six of the nine votes on the new council to override the veto.
You can refresh your background on these issues with our video explainer of the strong mayor decision.
Make no mistake, Proposition D doesn’t just keep the status quo, it gives the mayor substantially more power than we’ve seen during this test phase for the strong-mayor form of government. The city of Sacramento is facing the same sorts of decisions and the Sacramento Bee has an interesting story up about business leaders looking to a strong-mayor initiative to help them influence City Hall (San Diego’s Ben Hadad is quoted).
- As the North County Times reports, Duane Roth, the CEO of Connect, told Escondido officials that the city is not far away from becoming a hub for biotechnology companies. “Roth explained that biotech companies want to maintain their research and development teams in La Jolla and Sorrento Valley, but that they’d like to move assembly of biotech products to where land and labor are cheaper.”
- Finally, right after we named them the “heroes of the week” on our radio show (AM 600, KOGO, Sundays at noon), the Padres went off and got swept by the Dodgers on Sunday.
Go ahead and let us know who we should label the hero this week so we can ruin their weekend too.
— SCOTT LEWIS