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Now here’s a surprise: state Senator Christine Kehoe, a veteran player in local and state politics, says she supports the governor’s plans to kill state subsidies that support redevelopment agencies.
The former city councilwoman, who touts her support of one of San Diego’s urban renewal projects, said in a statement to us today that she thinks school funding deserves to be a priority over, say, a downtown stadium.
“I support the Governor’s plan,” Kehoe said in response to a query we sent to local legislators. “His proposal is one way to address our deficit. If we have to choose between funding our schools or funding a downtown stadium, I support our schools. Maybe it’s time for redevelopment needs to be funded locally.”
Governor Jerry Brown’s plans to eliminate redevelopment have sent a chill into the local agencies — like those serving downtown San Diego and the city’s southeastern neighborhoods — that are allowed to divert taxpayer dollars into their coffers. In return, at least in theory, the agencies (like dozens of others around the county and the state) are supposed to redevelop rundown areas.
Locally, the downtown and southeastern San Diego redevelopment agencies have faced allegations of corruption in recent years, and their leaders left their jobs amid serious charges. In the last few months, redevelopment was again in the news after a secretive, last-minute legislative deal in Sacramento allowed the downtown agency to get its hands on potentially billions of dollars in diverted taxpayer dollars.
Kehoe voted in favor of the deal.
I’ve sent a survey about the redevelopment issue to all of the state legislators — senators and assemblymembers — who represent parts of San Diego County. Kehoe is the first to respond. We’ll publish responses as we get them. I thought Kehoe’s position was especially newsworthy because she voted in favor of the recent downtown deal and because she has been a strong supporter of redevelopment in the past.
She’s proudly trumpeted her work with redevelopment as a councilwoman. As Kehoe’s website puts it, “she helped the City of San Diego become partners with Price Charities and CityLink Investment Corporation to redevelop 11 blocks in the City Heights neighborhood. Today, the City Heights Urban Village is a nationally recognized model for combining educational, housing, and recreational facilities in a revitalized urban area.”