The dissolution of Chula Vista’s Redevelopment Agency began in earnest April 9 when the newly appointed oversight board met for the first time. The board is charged with, among other things, paying off the defunct agency’s debts and disposing of assets and property.
The difficulty of the tasks facing the oversight board was captured in the early remarks of the new chair, David Watson: “Why would any sane person apply to be on the board? Welcome to the loony bin.”
Four of the seven members on the board were appointed by county supervisor Greg Cox and mayor Cheryl Cox. Supervisor Cox appointed Paul Desrochers and David Watson.
Desrochers and Watson served on Chula Vista’s recently disbanded redevelopment corporation. Desrochers has a long working relationship with Chula Vista redevelopment, serving under former mayor Greg Cox as redevelopment director in the 1980s.
Watson, an attorney, is listed as partner in the Duane Morris firm. Watson’s biographical material states that he was vice president of Yokohl Ranch Company, a subsidiary of J.G. Boswell Company, from 2006 to 2008. Bill Ostrem, CEO of Eastlake Development in Chula Vista, was also a principal in the Boswell Company.
In 2007, the U-T wrote about Ostrem, “Now that eastern Chula Vista is almost built out, Ostrem has set his sights on the Visalia area in Central California, where Eastlake parent company J.G. Boswell is planning a community, called Yokohl Ranch, with 12 times as much acreage as Eastlake.”
Mayor Cox’s appointees, Eric Crockett and Janice Kluth, both served in the city’s former redevelopment agency.
Also serving on the committee are Oscar Esquivel for the County Board of Education, David Gonzalez for Otay Water District, and Wayne Yanda for California Community Colleges.
A particularly difficult position for the board is they have the obligation “to determine whether any contract, payments or agreements between the former RDA and private parties should be dissolved or renegotiated based on taxing entities best interests.”
Following that dictum, the oversight board spent considerable time looking at the possible financial obligations of the redevelopment agency.
The board was also challenged by attorney Christopher W. Garrett, who has been retained by Chula Vista resident Earl Jentz. A question looming for the board is whether they are capable of or willing to suspend development impact fees on pending projects in the former redevelopment area.
Detailed information on contracts and obligations was requested by the board for the April 20 meeting.