Cities speak out against proposed revelopment cuts

February 9, 2011 9:29:14 PM PST
City leaders from Oakland to Oakley stood shoulder to shoulder Wednesday to express their collective opposition to a proposal from Gov. Jerry Brown to eliminate the state's redevelopment agencies.

"It would stop a lot of our growth in housing, a lot of our growth in business," Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said.

The group estimates the elimination of redevelopment would cost 29,000 jobs in the East Bay.

"I can certainly appreciate the state and their poor economic situation," Concord Vice-Mayor Ron Leone said. "But I can't appreciate them taking away our tax dollars again."

City officials there estimate they would lose about 1200 jobs.

"Redevelopment projects generate a tremendous amount of employment give the fact that they are extremely labor intensive," Andreas Cluver, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alameda County Building Trades Council, said.

A report released earlier this week from the independent Legislative Analyst's Office reiterates the LAO's earlier conclusion that there is no evidence redevelopment activity improves the state's overall economy. It also questions the methodology used by the California Redevelopment Association, which claims eliminating the agencies would wipe out more than 300,000 jobs statewide.

Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia acknowledges redevelopment has benefitted many of the cities in his district, but he thinks the larger system needs to be reformed.

"We're just asking if it's the most effective way under its current form to finance community revitalization," Gioia said.

On Thursday in Sacramento, the state Senate Committee on Governance and Finance is scheduled to hold an oversight hearing on restructuring redevelopment.