Vincent Farnsworth 6:31 p.m., Dec. 4
CCDC Paying For Convention Center Development A Wise Move? You Bet!
Recent statements by a majority of San Diego city council members indicate that there should be a transfer of payment responsibility for prior Convention Center redevelopments to the downtown redevelopment agency Centre City Development Corporation. The move could decrease the City's annual budget operating deficit by a little over $9 million, freeing up those funds for vital public safety and infrastructure needs that CCDC won't otherwise pay for.
Fred Maas, departing CCDC chief and senior cheerleader for downtown condo developers and sports teams looking for a new stadium site without freeway access, worries that making his redevelopment corporation actually pay for redevelopment might lead to CCDC bankruptcy.
This all sounds good to me.
For context, this is the same CCDC that will benefit from untold billions in tax increment funds, courtesy of a Sanders-Fletcher collusion on state budget legislation that eliminated the $2.9 billion cap on what CCDC could divert from the City's tax revenues in the CCDC project area. CCDC initially sought to raise that cap to $9 billion. Without the cap, CCDC's ability to divert funds from public safety and other necessary government functions is unlimited over the next four decades, perhaps much longer if San Diego redevelopment prompts the state legislative collusion to continue in the future.
If a $9.2 million annual redevelopment payment from CCDC's anticipated tax increment revenues of $100-$150 million a year in any way threatens to bankrupt CCDC, then we may finally be getting some truth about the complexity of developers' downtown financial "arrangements." The fact that Maas feels that threatened by redevelopment corporation payments for convention and tourism redevelopment expenses may show that CCDC long-term financing rivals AIG's derivative and default swap shenanigans that nearly brought down Wall Street during the Crash of 2008; otherwise, the Fletcher earmark is just about the political pork of guaranteed funding with no defined purpose.
Most interesting is Maas' contention that no "appropriate findings" were made to justify transferring payment responsibility to CCDC. The Fletcher budgetary negotiation earmark that provided the early holiday season gift of future billions to CCDC also eliminated the necessity of blight findings before CCDC can push out existing taxpaying businesses downtown in favor of those newer, larger ones that provide even more future CCDC tax increment funding.
Not having a tax increment cap is mighty convenient for CCDC and the developers who feed at that trough. There's no point in CCDC discriminating against $9 million in annual Convention Center redevelopment costs that are incurred within the CCDC project area when CCDC has already been gifted with unlimited billions for the foreseeable future.
Let's see if there is enough gumption among our San Diego city council members to get this done. Despite the protest of CCDC's chief cheerleader, this is not a threatened matter of a local corporation that is too big to fail, and with billions in the pipeline from now to the middle of the 21st century, such a threat truly does not exist.