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It’s been nearly five weeks and the city of San Diego’s downtown redevelopment agency still hasn’t turned over documents that would support the continuation of its very existence.

At its core, government-sponsored redevelopment is simple: You can fix up a rundown neighborhood by keeping property tax in that area and subsidize development that otherwise wouldn’t naturally occur.

And to do that, you normally have to prove a neighborhood is blighted. This fall, a push led by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and Mayor Jerry Sanders skipped that step, extending the life of downtown redevelopment by nearly two decades through late-night legislation in Sacramento we’ve come to call the porkfest.

But the question is still relevant today: Is downtown really still rundown enough to justify collecting these public funds for decades more?

The redevelopment agency and its consultant have documents that would go a long way toward answering that question, but it has yet to share them with us despite our request under the California Public Records Act.

Quick! Before It’s Gone

The new governor thinks redevelopment has been abused across the state, and he wants to end it to free up cash in the state’s troubled budget.

That means that if the mayor does want to use redevelopment money to help build the Convention Center expansion, a football stadium or a City Hall, he might have to move quickly. Other public official are already acting.

San Marcos just borrowed $85 million for affordable housing because the governor has said he will honor existing redevelopment deals. (North County Times) And Los Angeles approved $930 million for hundreds of projects, worried that the governor will kill redevelopment. (Associated Press)

In Riverside, the county supervisors will consider a similar move Tuesday night. (The Press-Enterprise)

Happy MLK Jr. Day

Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.

That’s my favorite quote from Martin Luther King Jr.

Want more? Here’s a suggestion for a way to spend your MLK Jr. Day: Take a walk on the MLK Promenade downtown on Harbor Drive. The sidewalk is engraved with some of King’s greatest quotes.

And send me your favorite King quote. If I get enough I’ll post them. Include your name and where you live.

Our news partners at NBC 7/39 also have compiled a list of events going on around the city today to celebrate Dr. King. And there’s at least one more King memorial than there was at this time a year ago: we now have a street named after him in the tight-knit community of Broadway Heights.

Finally, the All People’s Breakfast is this morning. We trained a cadre of people to relay insights and observations about the event through Twitter. You can follow the discussion on Twitter at #AllPeople or on our Café San Diego page.

San Diego Could Host the Tucson Shooting Trial

The lead defense attorney and the judge for the trial of Jared Lee Loughner, the man accused of shooting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killing six, are both San Diegans. Now, federal authorities want to move the entire trial here, sources tell the Washington Post. 

Murders Continue to Drop

The last time there were this few murders in the region it was 1968.

There were only 29 murders in the city of San Diego last year and 69 countywide, mirroring a national trend that is attributed to better policing and something I’d never thought of before — better trauma care.

But experts also warn that public officials shouldn’t get complacent just because the numbers look good. (Union-Tribune)

The Man of the Month

North County Congressman Darrell Issa has been a media darling lately, relishing his new role as chief watchdog of the Obama Administration.

The New Yorker, however, takes a deeper look: “Darrell Issa, the congressman about to make life more difficult for President Obama, has had some troubles of his own.”

The story notes Issa’s engineering prowess, how he’s the Martha Stewart of the GOP and his run-ins with the law over car thievery.

Only You Can Plan for Wildfires?

Southern Californians need to treat wildfires like something they can plan for but not prevent, a U.S. Geological Survey researcher is saying. That’s in contrast to the reliance on controlled burns and firebreaks that have been used for decades. (NCT)

Programming Note

Due to incorrect information provided to the media, Saturday’s Morning Report wrongly stated that local attorney Judy Clarke – who’s now representing the suspect in the Arizona shootings – represented domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh. She did not represent McVeigh.

A Fact Check Franchise?

On Friday we fact checked a bold claim: that San Francisco’s average business tax rate is 66 times higher than San Diego’s. The claim turned out to be true and has sparked conversation in the comments section.

There, the leader of the commission we were checking, Bob Nelson, tries to set the record straight. He also has a question: “Do you know where I can find your cute little Abe Lincoln/Pinocchio/leprechaun logo as an inflatable doll for my office?”

No, Bob, we don’t. But we like where you’re headed with this.

You can reach me at andrew.donohue@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0526. Follow me on Twitter: @AndrewDonohue.

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