Here’s a stunner for politics watchers: newly inaugurated Governor Jerry Brown may want to wipe out hundreds of redevelopment agencies across the state, The Sacramento Bee reports.
The agencies that are supposed help run-down areas — like downtown and southeastern San Diego — get back on track through building funded by an extra share of property tax proceeds.
The state raided redevelopment coffers not too long ago, so if Brown gets what he wants, funding for proposed projects like the downtown football stadium and the Convention Center expansion would be in a heap of trouble.
Reporter Liam Dillon finds there are plenty of hitches. For one thing, redevelopment agencies owe a pretty penny — almost $30 billion — in long-term bonds. Someone will have to pay that off if the agencies go bye-bye. A proposition that just passed could be a hurdle, too.
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On the other hand, schools and some local governments — San Diego being a major exception — might welcome getting their hands on property tax dollars otherwise destined for projects some see as boondoggles designed to boost local budgets instead of rebuild blighted neighborhoods.
Fred Maas, previously board chairman of the Centre City Development Corp., told the Union-Tribune, “I can’t imagine, even if he were to issue an edict, how he could survive a legal challenge in any type of time frame that would have any type of impact on the budget.”
We should know more details when the governor’s budget is revealed January 10th.
That Didn’t Go Over Well at All:
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Criminal coddler. It’s not an image that he had to deal with during his term as governor. But it looks like critics will consider it part of his legacy thanks to his last-minute reduction of the term of a son of a former state assembly speaker. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison in connection with a fatal stabbing near SDSU in 2008.
San Diego’s city attorney is mighty upset: he says the now-former governor “reduced the sentence by over half to help his political crony’s son” and added that “I speak for the overwhelming majority of San Diegans in stating that we are appalled and angry.” The district attorney is steamed too, as is the editorial page of the L.A. Times, which said “the commutation was a close judgment call, but … leaves a very bad smell.”
If it was a political favor, it may have been for more than one person. As we reported in 2009, plenty of top-level politicians and civic leaders stood up for Esteban Núñez, the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, after he landed in court.
Bikers vs. 137 Parking Spaces
Merchants in the Midtown/Little Italy area, just north of downtown by the airport, are worried that proposed bike lanes will eliminate too much street parking — 137 spaces. But bicyclists say the current layout isn’t safe for them. It may all be moot, however: the city doesn’t have money for new bike lanes.
Let the Sunshine In:
The Photo of the Day captures a room filled with light and the man sitting in it, a resident who lives at a downtown homeless shelter called Safe Haven.
While You Were Out Carousing:
You may have had more important matters to attend to over the last couple of weeks than keeping on top of local news. Never fear: we’ve compiled a quick look at several of our top stories from the holiday period.
Here Comes Trouble:
You just can’t get rid of some people. Our former reporter Will Carless left for Indonesia back in 2009, but now he’s back as our new investigative reporter and is looking for stories to uncover.
SD Mayor Sent Brown Into Exile:
More about our new governor: The AP notes that he lost a bid for U.S. Senate in 1982 to Pete Wilson, who was then the mayor of San Diego and went on to become governor himself. Brown then became a world traveler: “After his Senate defeat, Brown — who comes from a Roman Catholic family — travelled to Japan to study Buddhism. He also visited Mother Theresa in Calcutta and helped her care for the sick in one of her hospices. Brown claims both these experiences helped him look at politics from different points of view.”
What a Din … Oh Never Mind:
Shenanigan, thy name is North County politics.
Before the November election, someone named “Billy Dingleberry” alerted the media to a DUI charge against a man running for City Council in Escondido. Well, that was sure helpful. Did Mr. Dingleberry do it out of the goodness of his heart? Well, perhaps not.
The NCT says he’s actually the son of another candidate (this one for mayor) and his name is Bobby Daniels: he “said he tipped the media because ‘it was pertinent’ information for voters, not because he was trying to help his father or his father’s political allies.”
Is that all? Nope. The story also includes mentions of sexually explicit emails, an ethics complaint and “moral turpitude.”
Or, as some people might call it, just another New Year’s Eve.