Frye and Shapiro keep demanding that redevelopment funds be paid back to the City. “I keep sending emails, asking when this will be on the agenda,” says Shapiro. “Council and the mayor won’t touch it. Councilmembers like redevelopment in their districts.”
Finally, Erie sees good omens. “This is the last gasp of the old guard desperately trying to hold on,” he says. He compares Sanders’s committees with the elite, Waspish Committee of 25, created in the 1950s in Los Angeles. It controlled hospitals, foundations, cultural institutions — almost everything. But the Committee of 25 lost its power. “Smart cities diversify the stakeholders, have labor, environmentalists, minorities at the table. They look to the 21st Century. But this San Diego crowd looks toward the 19th Century. It’s sad.”
Redevelopment funds are concentrated downtown, says Erie. “In other big cities, the money goes to the neighborhoods.” Erie’s upcoming book, due late next year or early in 2011 from Stanford University Press, is titled Paradise Plundered: Fiscal Crisis, Growth and Governance in San Diego.