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Or so San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders would have you believe. Tuesday, in City Heights, the mayor and Councilman Todd Gloria rallied with others in opposition to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies across the state.
They were announcing a list of $4 billion worth of projects they were going to protect from the governor’s brazen attempt to “steal money” from our neighborhoods.
In an email sent out to constituents that day, Sanders wrote this (emphasis mine):
The projects we’re seeking to protect represent the very essence of redevelopment, which for the past 60 years in San Diego has been working to transform economically depressed older neighborhoods throughout the city into places where families and businesses can thrive, providing jobs to our citizens and additional revenue to our general fund.
Very moving. If you take a look at that list, however, you’ll see that $81 million of these projects are in Liberty Station, the former Naval Training Center. And $43 million of that set not for affordable housing or parks, but rather restoration of historic buildings.
I work, play, shop and eat here in Liberty Station. I love it. I know it has a troubled past but its parks are vast and perfectly manicured, its sense of community is unique and it is thriving. Its only problem to me, in fact, is that it almost seems too new and sterile. I was a little stunned to learn from the mayor that it is one of these economically depressed older neighborhoods the mayor feels obligated to shield from the heartless governor’s larceny.
The mayor and other redevelopment boosters have tried to pull on all kinds of heart strings to keep redevelopment alive after the governor surprised everyone with his proposal.
But they should probably let this string loose. Liberty Station may have benefited from redevelopment, but that’s the point: redevelopment is supposed to be a temporary investment. This neighborhood now needs to pay the investment back and help schools, including its own High Tech High, thrive.
Or maybe there’s an argument that it is an economically depressed neighborhood and that it will not continue to thrive without sequestering its property taxes.
Maybe I should think about it deeper, as Randy Dotinga, the Morning Report’s steward, wrote to me on Twitter:
I get economically depressed when I see the prices on the salads at the salad place. Does that count?
In the mayor and City Council’s world, apparently.
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