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The City Council is set to vote Tuesday on whether to adopt a plan the Southeastern Economic Development Corp. says is critical to assure the agency’s ability to operate in the future.
Active residents of some communities are gearing up to oppose it at the meeting.
SEDC is in charge of redeveloping four blighted areas of southeastern San Diego. It collects tax money from those areas to do so. The plan before the council Tuesday would give SEDC the green light to start a technical process of creating one big pool of money from all four areas that it could spend anywhere within them.
Currently, it’s only allowed to spend money in the area where it collects it, but the agency says that’s made it difficult to get anything done, because there’s not enough money.
The plan has been controversial in Logan Heights, east of downtown because SEDC envisions creating a fifth redevelopment zone there. Some residents aren’t happy.
Even though there is still a long process ahead before that happens, residents say the fact that it’s included in the general plan gets the ball rolling even before community residents have had their say.
Some said they felt even more voiceless because Council President Ben Hueso, who represents Greater Logan Heights, is recusing himself from the vote because he owns property in the area.
“Even if we oppose it, we don’t have representation on the council to vote that way,” said Remy Bermudez, an active Sherman Heights resident.
In recent days, Bermudez has asked SEDC and the City Council to remove the plan from the docket so SEDC can reach out to more community members before the vote.
Brian Trotier, interim president of SEDC, said the plan sets nothing in stone. It is just the beginning of a year-long process of expanding SEDC territory. He said community members will have the opportunity to get involved once it gets underway, and can reject redevelopment in their area if they want.
On Monday, at the request of active residents, officials drafted an amendment to the plan that Councilman Tony Young plans to adopt. It commits SEDC to involving residents in the redevelopment process and considering allowing neighborhoods that don’t want to become part of a redevelopment zone to be excluded.
I’ve spoken with active residents in Logan Heights who said they’re trying to organize large numbers of people to attend Tuesday’s meeting in opposition to the plan.
— ADRIAN FLORIDO