Maybe everyone was just hungry.

Local elected officials took their metaphors in redevelopment debate to the cafeteria yesterday and argued that the state and the school district should stop trying to eat their lunch.

• First off, Mayor Jerry Sanders dismissed a plea from the San Diego Unified School District to front them $64 million in downtown redevelopment funds as a goodwill gesture to show how redevelopment benefits schools. Redevelopment siphons property taxes away from schools, but the district receives all the money it loses from the state. Schools receive additional revenue through an agreement with the downtown agency.

The schools’ request, made by a torrent of education supporters at a Monday City Council meeting, is the same as the city going to San Diego County and asking for $200 million because the city is part of the county, Sanders said. Schools need to deal with their own budget problems and not use the chance that redevelopment might be eliminated to ask for more cash, he added.

“I think that what we’re finding right now is just a giant food fight out there with all these things on the table,” Sanders said. “Everybody’s making that grab and I don’t think that’s the way we’ll go about doing this.”

The U-T’s editorial board also came out against the schools’ proposal in a lengthy piece Thursday morning.

Told of Sanders’ comments, school board president Richard Barrera said he didn’t understand the mayor’s analogy. The city doesn’t have an agreement with the county to share money in the same way, he said. He plans to keep pushing for the council to consider the idea.

“I don’t regard that as the city’s money that they are then bestowing upon the district,” Barrera said. “I regard that as the taxpayers’ money that’s being divvied up.”

• Someone finally spoke with a county leader about Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to eliminate redevelopment. More food flew.

The county, which stands to gain financially from the governor’s plan, hadn’t said a word. KPBS talked to Supervisor Ron Roberts who said he didn’t like the proposal because he didn’t trust the state to follow through on its promises. Roberts also produced this immortal line:

He said California is like a hungry bear and the county doesn’t want to be its snack food.

(KPBS reporter Katie Orr later tweeted Roberts’ exact quotation.)

• Sanders spoke yesterday at a press conference detailing a compromise plan developed by mayors of California’s largest 10 cities in response to the governor’s redevelopment proposal. Our media partners at NBC San Diego did a story and I’m quoted in the piece discussing the pro-redevelopment argument. (I kept the fact I hadn’t eaten lunch yet off camera.)

View more videos at: http://www.nbcsandiego.com.

Also, here’s a link to the mayors’ full redevelopment counterproposal.

• More than compromise legislation and more than trying to lock up $4 billion worth of redevelopment projects before the governor’s axe comes down, redevelopment boosters’ best shot to save the system might be in court.

Thursday morning, backers outlined the reasons they believe Brown’s plan is unconstitutional. Chief among them is Proposition 22, a ballot measure passed in November that prohibited the state’s taking of redevelopment dollars. Instead of taking redevelopment money, Brown figures he can achieve the same end by eliminating redevelopment altogether.

Redevelopment backers say that’s a no-no. Here’s a link to their legal argument.

Please contact Liam Dillon directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/dillonliam.

Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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