The Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC) is laying the foundations for a campaign to reach out to San Diego's residents and educate them on the importance of downtown redevelopment. The campaign comes three months after State Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, Mayor Jerry Sanders, and CCDC president Fred Maas delivered news to residents that the tax cap on public subsidies for downtown redevelopment was raised.
Following the October press conference and public outrage over "backroom deals," city councilmembers and the mayor directed CCDC staff to travel the city and hold public meetings on the cap and the significance of downtown redevelopment.
On Thursday, January 6, the communications subcommittee for the Centre City Advisory Committee (CCAC) met at CCDC headquarters to discuss the public meetings and offer strategies for more effective public outreach.
"There is a very strong misunderstanding about what redevelopment is all about, what works, and how the dollars can be used," CCDC spokesperson Derek Danziger told subcommittee members. "We are trying to show that downtown does provide a value to the entire region. It is truly an economic engine for the region."
Jeff Graham, CCDC's vice president of redevelopment, advised committee members to be prepared to answer questions when presenting to city councilmembers and local planning groups. "A lot of councilmembers get flak from their constituents about why so much redevelopment dollars are kept downtown and not spent in their community. They don't understand redevelopment, and they don't understand why downtown needs new parks and infrastructure when they are not getting theirs built."
Subcommittee members then discussed other ways to inform and educate the public.
Downtown business owner Bill Keller suggested attending Community Planning Committee meetings. "It's a really opinionated, if not an outright snarky group, but these people are involved. That's the place where we can stand up and show some strength."
Another suggestion to improve public outreach was to post meeting agendas a month in advance. "We have a process that's faulty," said downtown resident and subcommittee member David Priver. "We need to get more people involved, and we need to fill this room."
On February 17, after consultant Keyser Marston Associates releases their report on the financial impacts of redevelopment on the city's general fund, representatives from CCDC will hold their first public meeting at Golden Hall.