If it’s meant to combat blight, why does no redevelopment money reach neighborhoods such as 32nd and Island?
  • If it’s meant to combat blight, why does no redevelopment money reach neighborhoods such as 32nd and Island?
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San Diego fat cats transformed the concept of redevelopment from help for the poor to welfare for the rich. They have a fear of Governor Jerry Brown, who wants to get rid of redevelopment agencies around the state.

Now the local plutocrats have a fear of God too. The San Diego Organizing Project is a coalition of 27 churches throughout the county. Since 1979, it has taken stands on important social issues. “We believe deeply in bringing a moral voice and grassroots perspective,” says Joseph McKellar, who has taken a post in New York with the national affiliate called People Improving Communities through Organizing.

The San Diego Organizing Project, which includes such congregations as Christ the King Catholic Church, First Lutheran Church of San Diego, Nu-Way International Christian Ministries, and St. Jude Shrine of the West, is now concentrating its fire on getting redevelopment funds spread around to the neighborhoods instead of concentrated downtown.

“From a faith-based perspective, we look at equity,” says Father Henry Rodriguez, a former pastor of St. Jude who still helps out there and at other locations. “Redevelopment is focused downtown, but we have areas that have waited for streetlights for years, and then they see construction of new buildings downtown.”

Reflecting on redevelopment money subsidizing luxury hotels, condos, and shopping centers and not helping the truly needy, Bishop Roy Dixon of Faith Chapel Church of God in Christ says, “I wouldn’t call it immoral, but we will keep their feet to the fire.”

Steve Erie, professor of political science at the University of California San Diego (who is not involved with the Organizing Project), explains that redevelopment is more inequitable in San Diego than in any major city in the state. California redevelopment started in the mid-1940s. The idea was to eliminate blight and provide affordable housing and good jobs. Under Mayor Pete Wilson, San Diego set up the Centre City Development Corporation in 1975 to steer redevelopment money downtown.

Back then, there was blight downtown. There is barely any now. But Centre City still bullies the Redevelopment Agency, which is the city council. Under long-standing law, 80 percent of tax increment goes to a city and its redevelopment agency; the money has to be spent in the project area. In the early years, other cities, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, tried to hog redevelopment funds for downtown. But beginning in the 1960s, citizens raised hell (sorry, Organizing Project). Soon, cities throughout the state spread redevelopment funds equitably — except San Diego.

Centre City “was captured by the developers’ agenda,” says Erie, who cites the ballpark district as a classic example of a project that lined developers’ pockets. Centre City “outlived its usefulness years ago,” says Erie. No blight, no right.

The Organizing Project has put out a reform memo that makes excellent points. It criticizes last fall’s late-night, secret deal in the legislature to lift Centre City’s redevelopment cap — an obvious move to subsidize a Chargers stadium. “On that particular episode, we communicated our feelings,” says Father Rodriguez. “We wished the community would have been included in the dialogue.”

The memo says that redevelopment reform is “an issue which the city council has never had the political will to touch because of powerful downtown interests and a strong mayor unwilling to use redevelopment investments in neighborhoods outside the downtown.”

The Organizing Project says that Centre City should be merged with other redevelopment areas to create a neighborhood investment fund. Amen to that. Some argue that Centre City, a corporation, can’t be merged with project areas, but Jose Arenas, executive director of the Organizing Project, says lawyers have said it can be done. Another good Organizing Project idea: Centre City is now obligated to use 20 percent of its funds for affordable housing (although critics say it finds ways around the law). The Organizing Project wants that raised “to 35 percent at a minimum.” And Centre City should study using redevelopment dollars for the homeless.

Redevelopment is focused downtown, complains Henry Rodriguez, former pastor at St. Jude Shrine, which sits in the same neighborhood as this house at 32nd and Martin.

Redevelopment is focused downtown, complains Henry Rodriguez, former pastor at St. Jude Shrine, which sits in the same neighborhood as this house at 32nd and Martin.

Another good idea: redevelopment funds could be used to promote tourism, and proceeds from the hotel (transient occupancy) tax should go into the general fund. “We would like the city council to create a new Neighborhood Pride and Protection pot of money that is dedicated to neighborhood services, particularly youth and family services.”

Says Bishop Dixon, “Should we build a dog park downtown or increase low-rent housing? We should erase blight, not move it to another location,” which effectively happens under the downtown-centric setup. “We need one major agency” to make sure funds are distributed equitably.

Claudia Dunaway is an activist in the Stockton neighborhood, which is bounded by Route 15, Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway, 30th Street, and Imperial Avenue. She attends Christ the King Catholic Church, although she doesn’t live in Stockton, and is very active in the Organizing Project. “Three years ago we were promised 28 streetlights, which are needed in this high-crime area,” she says. At one point, the mayor proposed closing the recreation center, but that decision has been reversed. “Three years later, we are still waiting for our streetlights, and they have just started to paint the rec center.”

She goes to the mayor asking for help in the neighborhood, “but he says he is limited by the system. The money has to stay downtown. His hands are tied.” That’s nonsense, of course. The mayor’s hands are tied because, like the kinky sex addict, he wants them tied: it’s the downtown crowd that shovels him loot. But if Dunaway agrees with that, she isn’t saying. “If I call people immoral, they won’t work with me, and I want to work with them.”

She and others from the Organizing Project asked the mayor about merging all the project areas to spread redevelopment funds throughout the city. “He looked at us and said, ‘I am not sure it is legal.’” Of course it’s legal. Other California cities have done it. Neutering or even slaying Centre City would be the first step.

Says Laura Mercado, another activist in Stockton and in the Organizing Project, “They should stop thinking about the big companies and start thinking about us. What they are doing is wrong. Most of our homes are falling apart. They could help us fix them.”

Dunaway cites the position of the Organizing Project: if redevelopment can be reformed and its benefits spread to neighborhoods, she would oppose Governor Brown’s plan. “But if they can’t reform redevelopment,” then Brown’s plan should go forward, “and the money should go back to the state for schools and other services.”

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Fred Williams April 13, 2011 @ 12:21 p.m.

It's great the churches are addressing this social injustice. For too long the downtown crowd has hid behind the skirts of "Father Joe" to claim they helped the less fortunate with massive downtown white elephants like the money-losing ballpark, and now a fatcat-only football stadium.

In the archives of the UT is a picture of me angrily pointing at Jack McGrory and John Moores during hearings about the ballpark. My face is twisted and ugly because I'm saying, "You are both damned crooks!"

I've sung rude songs to the City Council. "Rip me off with a ballpark"...

Jim Madaffer called me names, in session and on the record. (Years earlier he'd told me, Pat Arter, and Bob Trettin over a lunch about his scheme to get a $50k "minority" grant in his wife's name to fund his own newspaper business..)

McGrory called me an "urban terrorist" in the UT.

Valerie Stallings extolled the virtues of John Moores to me personally, and with great feeling.

I got impolite threats to beat me to death with baseball bats for being a "pussy" who doesn't salivate over professional sports stars like a "true American".

My delivery and timing was clearly flawed, since I didn't prevent the catastrophe...though I tried, on the record...from at least 1997.

It's really a shame I'm not a more forgiving and kindly man, who could have articulated this so much better...

So my hat is off to the faith community. This certainly is a MORAL issue. CCDC's siphoning of money, laundering of funds, contempt for representative government...

How can any moral city justify this situation?

The poorest neighborhoods subsidize the wealthiest?

I know what Jesus would do.

He'd ride up the elevator to CCDC's swank offices and give a fiery sermon.

Churches can change San Diego history.

If those currently in power won't abolish CCDC, the electorate in 2012 WILL! It is NOT difficult to de-seat a city council incumbent. Churches working together are ideally posed to do so in several districts.

My compliments and encouragement to the churches. Keep being polite, and civil to the council...knowing the raw and ugly facts are on your side. They ARE enabling crooks. Make them change or get out of the way!

...but politely. It seems to work better than my approach.

Most importantly, if the current members of the council won't get rid of CCDC, they need to be gotten rid of themselves.

:-)

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Don Bauder April 13, 2011 @ 8:49 p.m.

Fred: You are a man of courage and wisdom. I know you have fought establishment thievery and greed for years. I, too, am glad to see the churches entering the fray. Maybe that's what this battle needs. Best, Don Bauder

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Radical Uterus April 27, 2011 @ 5:43 a.m.

I like your line, "the raw and ugly facts." Justice prevails when good people bear witness for those who can't speak for themselves.

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pellis April 13, 2011 @ 1:41 p.m.

I admit I don't understand how the CCDC is funded completely and I don't know anything about how they choose what projects to allocate funds to, but I'd really like to understand the issue, so please correct me where needed.

It's my understanding that the CCDC gets funding by increasing the property tax of a downtown area. It increases the property tax of an area by "removing blight," which might be a polite way of saying gentrification.

One very basic question I have is, why should the money that's raised by improving one area go to gentrifying another area of San Diego? Couldn't individual neighborhoods establish their own redevelopment agencies with a similar goals as the CCDC, but for other areas of San Diego?

Another question I have is, if my general understanding of CCDC (or redevelopment agencies in general) funding is correct, wouldn't removing all redevelopment agencies slow the overall gentrification of San Diego? If the increment money wasn't going to a redevelopment agency, wouldn't it go back to the State of CA and after that there's no way to know where it would get reallocated. Whether that's a good thing or not is probably a matter of political leanings.

Lastly, at the very least I would love to see more money going to low income housing, however we need to make that happen.

Thanks in advance to anyone who decides to answer my questions.

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Don Bauder April 13, 2011 @ 8:57 p.m.

Let me just take a crack at a couple of your points. Redevelopment was originally established to fight blight, provide affordable housing and provide good jobs. I ask you: where is blight in downtown San Diego? (The entire Coronado is considered blighted.) Second, CCDC has not fulfilled its obligation to provide affordable housing. And as they subsidize luxury hotels and condos, along with ballparks and a (proposed) football stadium, they are only providing low-paying jobs. The reason CCDC gets away with this is that it utterly dominates the Redevelopment Agency, which is the city council. This is another way of saying that city councilmembers are in the pockets of the rich who make sure that redevelopment money goes downtown for projects that are far outside the purposes of redevelopment. Yes, other areas of the city have their redevelopment project areas. But CCDC has all the clout. That used to be true in LA and San Francisco, but was wiped out decades ago. The people CAN fight to have the money spread around. San Diego by far is the worst city in the state on hogging of money downtown for projects that only benefit the rich. Best, Don Bauder

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Fred Williams April 13, 2011 @ 10:29 p.m.

Some say "if the money isn't captured by CCDC, it's lost to Sacramento".

In fact, the money would go directly to local San Diego schools. In the case of CCDC's demise, the money would go directly SDUSD and the County Board of Education.

As it stands now, CCDC TAKES money from the local schools, and then Sacramento is legally obligated to make up the shortfall.

Low income housing is what CCDC claims to have provided over the years. They'll get together with the Housing Commission (whose board is made of political hacks) and announce they've built thousands of units. Look into the details, however, and you'll find that they're double counting, mislabelling "affordable", ignoring how many of the really desirable units were picked up by staffers and their friends or family...and on, and on.

CCDC and the developers will claim that it's only through their near-divine intervention that we have Horton Plaza, Gaslamp, the "thriving" ballpark district...ad nauseum.

Don Bauder has documented how Horton Plaza is a money loser. Gaslamp is basically bars, restaurants,and nightclubs...great fun, but not something to call an economic engine. The ballpark is costing taxpayers $25M annually. Those "luxury" condos built with CCDC money are still too expensive for any sane person to buy, so they sit empty.

It's a shell game. Fraud. Immoral, unethical, illegal, and still unprosecuted or unpunished.

If the legal community refuses to take action, it's time for the religious community to jump in and condemn what is so obviously an abomination in San Diego.

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Don Bauder April 14, 2011 @ 11:10 a.m.

Good points. One of the columns I wrote -- maybe a year ago -- was titled "How the rich steal from the schools." It described the very scam you talk about: money that would go to schools goes to ballparks for billionaire owners, luxury condos, etc. If these funds were spread around the city, or better, CCDC were abolished, the money would go to the truly needy. The religious group is saying that if redevelopment can't be reformed, then the redevelopment agencies should be shut down, as the governor desires, and the money go back to schools. Best, Don Bauder

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strawman April 14, 2011 @ 1:38 a.m.

“There isn’t enough money to pay for basic services", they say. Why the hell not, I ask? Where’d all the money go?” Answer: We are victims of a budgetary HOAX. There is no shortage of government funding! In fact, there is a huge surplus. The media and gov't and Wall St. have colluded to cover up this fact. The collective government entities’ (local, state and national) gross earnings from all sources (investment, taxation and enterprise) amounted to fourteen trillion dollars for the year 2007. The entire U.S. population’s net income, after direct and indirect taxes, was five trillion dollars (out of a gross of ten trillion dollars). The public sector is far wealthier than the private sector! See cafr1.com Over 87,000 government entities in the USA collectively own and control more investment assets than the entire private sector. Two-thirds of government's annual gross income has come from non-tax sources. Yet, only tax sources are advertised in annual budgets and “budget shortfalls” are trumpeted as the reason for more taxes and more cuts in services. What we are not shown is the real total income, as contained in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) filed by every entity. Even in the CAFR, assets are mislabeled as liabilities, in order to hide the truth. Finally, when cornered, bureaucrats claim that the unspent revenues are all in retirement funds. That would make every civil servant a multi-millionaire. Smells fishy. What is needed is an independent audit and statistical review of each CAFR. This scheme for skimming off up to half of public revenues and sending them to Wall St. has been going on since 1951 --60 years! As of 1999, cumulative totals of all "liquid" investment assets of local, state and federal government entities in the USA conservatively exceeded 60 trillion dollars. Totals as of 2008 were approaching the 100 trillion dollar mark. There is a remedy: the profits from this collective ownership, amassed by government, can revert back to the people to pay all government costs, resulting in the phasing out of all taxation. Refer to the Tax Retirement Fund Association (TRFA) at TaxRetirement.com Pat Palmer, Normal Heights

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Don Bauder April 14, 2011 @ 11:15 a.m.

I believe it's difficult to make a case that federal, state, and local governments in actuality have a huge surplus. Best, Don Bauder

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Brian_T_Peterson_DVM April 14, 2011 @ 6:08 a.m.

The best way for the Organizing Project to address the inequities in San Diego redevelopment is to push for the abolition of redevelopment agencies and the reversal of Mayor Sanders’ $4 billion wish list. At the City Council hearing, where they ultimately authorized the expenditure of $4 billion in future tax increment via a series of cooperation agreements, the Independent Budget Analyst reported that if redevelopment were to end right at that instant, the City’s general fund budget would gain $20-30 million. We know that the City’s general fund pays $50 million annually, via property tax diversion, to subsidize redevelopment activities. This is money that should go to maintain every neighborhood in San Diego.

Based on current evidence, the best guess is that the merger of all redevelopment project areas would not work the way the Organizing Project would hope. Three years ago the City Council determined that Grantville and downtown have a shared asset in the C Street trolley line. Now the Grantville project area is on the hook for $31 million to pay for downtown improvements. Merging project areas may just suck more money into downtown.

Further, the Organizing Project should be aware of the anti-community-development nature of redevelopment. In California redevelopment annually diverts $2 billion away from public education. Recently there was an excellent column in the Wall Street Journal by Harvard economics professor Edward Glaeser arguing that funding infrastructure projects at the expense of education actually leads to urban decay. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704050204576218884253373312.html ) His example is Detroit, where historically young people took line jobs, forgoing education. Now, of course, Detroit is a dying city, whose best plan is to bulldoze buildings, returning land to open space. To reverse the trend, the Obama administration wants to dump money into Detroit by creating infrastructure projects, the most absurd of which is light rail.

Professor Glaeser’s argument is the cities that are truly vital in the 21st Century value education over infrastructure. The idea that the current model of redevelopment with the current funding mechanism should be used to pay for affordable housing or infrastructure in truly blighted communities is not a model for success. If redevelopment continues, the best reform San Diego could undertake would be to keep funds earmarked for education away from the Redevelopment Agency.

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Don Bauder April 14, 2011 @ 11:19 a.m.

Admittedly, the ugly Grantville situation tosses some water on the thesis being pushed by the Organizing Project. Grantville was to get funds for local redevelopment. The money was stolen and spent downtown. A judge whose wisdom has been challenged many times upheld the theft. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard April 14, 2011 @ 11:27 a.m.

These districts and the Port Authority should be abolished. If entities like this should be formed in the future, they should be elected, not appointed. This is founding principle of our Republic, and the perverted behavior of these unelected bodies has been civics lesson for the whole State. Tax money should be allocated by elected officials with the assistance of those they hire and fire. Eminent domain should be the exclusive right of elected government.

The whole CCDC entity was created to destroy the homes of the poor so that they wouldn't offend the upturned noses of those working or owning downtown. If they were allowed to vote on the issues the poor might have defended themselves and their low cost housing in the historic hotels downtown. As it happened, homelessness was imposed on them from on high.

One person's blight is another's home.

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Don Bauder April 14, 2011 @ 3:57 p.m.

Yes, one person's blight is another's home. And as the Organizing Project points out, redevelopment money should be used to fight homelessness. In San Diego, Katheryn Rhodes has been trying to achieve that. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh April 17, 2011 @ 10:18 a.m.

From time to time when I stray into central San Diego, far from home in No County, I'm struck by the condition of many of the neighborhoods close to downtown. I know the houses are old, over a century old, and were of modest size and cost, but do they have to look that bad? As the photo caption asks, "Why does no redevelopment money reach neighborhoods such as 32nd and Island?" Many US cities have old neighborhoods, many older than those of San Diego, yet are able to keep them looking halfway respectable and not uniformly sad and neglected. In many cities there is a certain cachet to living in an old neighborhood in a well-kept and comfortable antique home. In SD there may be an example of that here and there, but those are the exception that proves the rule. Those old areas of SD are just going downhill, and the only thing that happens to "improve" some of them is to see a tiny cottage razed and replaced by one of those wretched 6-unit apartment buildings, aka "pushbutton slums."

For all the money pooured into downtown San Diego in the past, say, three decades, there is not all that much to show for it. Horton Plaza started out as an island of retail commerce in the middle of an area that was a virtual ghost town during the evening or on weekends. The Gaslamp is an interesting tourist trap, a nice adjunct to the Convention Center, but as mentioned, not an economic engine. All that public finding has done far too little for San Diego and its downtown. What could it have done for those woebegone neighborhoods if it had been spent there?

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Don Bauder April 17, 2011 @ 11:01 a.m.

You have asked the right question. CCDC has lined the pockets of developers, but hasn't really helped downtown that much. That money should have been spent in the neighborhoods. Perhaps the best question is: why did it take so long for San Diegans to start raising hell about this travesty? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder April 17, 2011 @ 9:12 p.m.

This sounds SO Texas. Are you sure it only happened in Abilene? Best, Don Bauder

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laplayaheritage April 17, 2011 @ 9:17 p.m.

The San Diego Organizing Project (SDOP) has a great idea to Merge all CCDC with SEDC to allow funds in downtown to be used in Council President Tony Young's Districts 4 and Councilman Alvarez's District 8.

CCDC is making up an excuse, which is not based in fact.

SDOP should force CCDC and the Redevelopment Agency take out a loan for the $144 million they stole from the poor and homeless in misappropriated Federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) funds.

www.tinyurl.com/20110310

www.tinyurl.com/20110321

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Don Bauder April 18, 2011 @ 6:56 a.m.

This is from Katheryn Rhodes, who has worked tirelessly to steer redevelopment funds to the homeless. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 April 18, 2011 @ 8:15 a.m.

SDOP should force CCDC and the Redevelopment Agency take out a loan for the $144 million they stole from the poor and homeless in misappropriated Federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) funds.

============ The wealthy and connected stealing from the poor and homeless........another day in our corrupt Banana Republic government.

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Don Bauder April 18, 2011 @ 7:53 p.m.

Railsplitter, you are definitely ready for the poetry of Robinson Jeffers and the plays of Samuel Beckett. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder April 19, 2011 @ 11:53 a.m.

My favorite Robinson Jeffers line is, "And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man." My favorite Samuel Beckett line is from Waiting for Godot. It drips with sarcasm: "the beauty of the way and the goodness of the wayfarers." Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder April 19, 2011 @ 9:06 p.m.

My wife and I collect antique typewriters. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder April 18, 2011 @ 11:50 a.m.

You're right once again: it gets more like a banana republic every day. Best, Don Bauder

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nan shartel April 19, 2011 @ 2:25 p.m.

nice to see a little classic literature mingled in with the SD political horrors of the day Don and Rails....loven it!!!

A Happy Easter to u and family Don ;-D

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Don Bauder April 19, 2011 @ 9:11 p.m.

Beckett, though, was oft criticized for his "Ashcan School of Drama." In one of his plays, the prosperous son keeps his parents in an ashcan, tossing them scraps of food a bit each day. The father keeps asking, "Is it not time for the painkiller?" Best, Don Bauder

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escomaniac April 19, 2011 @ 4:21 p.m.

Thanks for another fine article exposing the seedy underbelly of San Diego politics. It's too bad that Gov. Brown's push to end redevelopment agencies has hit a snag. How about a nice in depth article on Escondido's RDC and the out right thievery of redevelopment money going to projects such as C. Clark"s downtown Marriott and the Padres AAA ballpark?

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Don Bauder April 19, 2011 @ 9:14 p.m.

I did one column on the folly of the subsidization of the AAA baseball team by Escondido, a city that has big financial problems. Maybe I should follow up with another. However, I just checked recently, and was told the project was on hold while Brown's initiative was hanging fire. Brown can still possibly get it passed. Best, Don Bauder

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escomaniac April 20, 2011 @ 3:23 p.m.

The City Manager along with Mayor Sam Abed don't seem to want to let the balpark die the death it deserves. City leaders have proposed making Escondido a charter city. Just a feeling but I can't get it out of my mind that the charter is a backdoor attempt to push the ballpark through even without redevelopment money.

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Don Bauder April 27, 2011 @ 8:25 a.m.

There may be such a backdoor move afoot. Meanwhile, other AAA teams, such as Memphis, have suffered problems even though they are in big markets. The proposed Escondido ballpark would be in a small market within a small market. Best, Don Bauder

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escomaniac April 20, 2011 @ 3:26 p.m.

It was a very good article and I emailed a link to it to all the Escondido council members that support the ballpark.

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Don Bauder April 27, 2011 @ 8:26 a.m.

I doubt that emailing the column did any good. The column had information in it. I don't think the Escondido politicians want information. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder April 27, 2011 @ 8:28 a.m.

With politicians, what you call "sheer stupidity" could simply be a smokescreen to cover up greed. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister April 19, 2011 @ 8:26 p.m.

"To be, or not to be" remains the question.

People will wait until it is too late to join together. They would rather envision themselves as "John Wayne" (or Galt) on top of the heap by arguing than finding common ground.

Fiefdoms like the CCDC and the Port AUTHORITY need to be abolished. Start OVER!

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Don Bauder April 19, 2011 @ 9:16 p.m.

CCDC in particular should get the axe. Best, Don Bauder

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DX April 20, 2011 @ 11:19 a.m.

What was the original intent for having a Center City Development Corporation, again? San Diego has a "sister city" in China. You think that maybe...? Naw. Perhaps instead to a Middle East kingdom for maintaining a lucrative camel racing/bookie operation.

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Don Bauder April 20, 2011 @ 2:11 p.m.

Whatever the stated intent, the actual intent from the outset was to steer redevelopment funds from the needy to projects such as the ballpark, luxury condos and hotels that subsidize the rich. Best, Don Bauder

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milossd May 19, 2011 @ 2:24 a.m.

The CCDC is no longer needed....it hasnt been needed for years...especially since its board members make $$ of thier votes...do i hear special interests groups...currupt like the mayor, city council, and the board...time for a change...where is maureen o connor!!

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Don Bauder May 19, 2011 @ 6:22 a.m.

I agree. CCDC's mission was accomplished years ago. There is no significant blight downtown. But there is lots of blight in the neighborhoods. CCDC should either be closed down, or it should be folded into a larger tent that distributes the money where the blight actually is -- in the neighborhoods. CCDC's continued power is just another example of how the downtown plutocrats have Mayor Sanders and his administration dancing at the end of puppet strings. Money talks; why must it nauseate? Best, Don Bauder

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evavrgs Feb. 1, 2012 @ 9:31 p.m.

Your wish has come true Fred. As of Feb 1, 2012, ALL redevelop agencies are closed and closed by the state no less. I, for one, am so sorry they helped a great deal in my poor neighborhood--District 8 or 9 yeah, that's right there's been another change, Southcrest a neighbor of Shelltown. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh.

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Twister Feb. 1, 2012 @ 10:59 p.m.

"These districts and the Port Authority should be abolished. If entities like this should be formed in the future, they should be elected, not appointed. This is founding principle of our Republic, and the perverted behavior of these unelected bodies has been civics lesson for the whole State. Tax money should be allocated by elected officials with the assistance of those they hire and fire. Eminent domain should be the exclusive right of elected government.

The whole CCDC entity was created to destroy the homes of the poor so that they wouldn't offend the upturned noses of those working or owning downtown. If they were allowed to vote on the issues the poor might have defended themselves and their low cost housing in the historic hotels downtown. As it happened, homelessness was imposed on them from on high.

One person's blight is another's home.

By Psycholizard 11:27 a.m., Apr 14, 2011"

Psycho said it best; I couldn't improve upon it. I hope he or she keeps saying it.

Back in the Model Cities era when I was a member of a "task force," I was asked for recommendations about a neighborhood (block) improvement project. I went down and looked over the neighborhood and took pictures of residents struggling to make improvements. I "made a presentation" using photographs I took of the residents in action and labeled one "help HIM!" I recommended that most of the funds be placed in an interest-earning account which could be use to buy materials like bricks, etc. Naw, they said, that's not VISIBLE enough. What they wanted was window-dressing--a cover for the impending large scale fraud. They hired an expensive consultant and closed a street intersection, added some fancy street lights, etc., and blew a chunk on publicists, ad nauseam.

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