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The state controller's office has announced that it is looking for fraud and malfeasance in redevelopment. Dr. Brian T. Peterson, who heads the Grantville Action Group, has a good suggestion: Grantville. In today's (Jan. 29) letter to the controller's office, Peterson notes that in 2005, the City of San Diego declared Grantville blighted; residents disagreed. The County agreed with the residents and filed suit against the City over the designation. In 2008 the suit was settled "in exchange for Grantville giving the County $49 million for the life of Grantville redevelopment," wrote Peterson. But $31.4 million was to be funneled through the City's downtown Centre City Development Corp. (CCDC) to pay for improvements to the County Administration Building. Grantville was to send money to the City for improvements to the C Street trolley -- 15 miles distant from Grantville. Without giving evidence, the City claimed that improving the C Street trolley would alleviate blight in Grantville. In September of 2008 the Grantville Action Group sued to block this nifty bit of money juggling. In December, Judge Joan Lewis ruled against Grantville. "The premise for Grantville redevelopment is seemingly fraudulent," says Peterson in his letter. In my judgment, he could have deleted the word "seemingly."

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Comments

Fred Williams Jan. 30, 2011 @ 1:04 a.m.

This abuse of Grantville as so egregious that the Legislature voted unanimously to change the law, and the last Governor signed it.

Yet Grantville still has to sue to try to save itself from the greed of downtown insiders.

Grantville faces a phalanx of County, City, and CCDC lawyers...all arguing that this transfer was both legal and for the good of Grantville. None of them believe it, but that's what they get paid tax dollars to do...defend the interests of the downtown crowd.

Judge Lewis, myopically looking at each transfer of money individually, and resolutely refusing to consider the effect of the whole chain of pass-throughs, did the bidding of her political masters, and once again justice in San Diego was thwarted.

Kudos to Dr. Peterson and the Grantville Action Group. They are real leaders. They've already changed state law once, and now, with the new Governor's proposals, they will help change it again.

The downtowner's are so terrified of GAG they are raising hundreds of thousands in political action money to oppose good citizens like Brian Peterson, and slander their names. Kris Michell has been dispatched from the Mayor's office to lead the liars.

Ms. Michell has plenty of experience telling lies. She's worked for both Golding and Sanders, dug us deeply into the ballpark and convention center debt holes, had a hand in every major boondoggle we've seen in the last two decades, and bought herself a very nice place in Scripps Ranch with the money she pocketed.

Will truth-telling citizens like Brian Peterson win?

Will spin-doctors and insiders like Kris Michell continue to pillage San Diego?

We know most San Diego media is already in the back pocket of the likes of Michell...but not all of it. VOSD is finally realizing what's going on, and joining the Reader in exposing it.

Will VOSD soon be blackballed like the Reader? Stay tuned...

Thanks for pointing to Grantville as an example of misappropriation of public money. It may be the most egregious case in all of San Diego.

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Don Bauder Jan. 30, 2011 @ 7:28 a.m.

Your analysis is on the mark, Fred. Another point can be made: how many San Diegans are aware of the law change, and even the entire Grantville controversy? How many San Diegans are aware of the abuses by the downtown Mafia? How many San Diegans know that the deterioration of schools, and the rotting of the infrastructure, and the deepening potholes result in part from the fact that CCDC steers the redevelopment money downtown for structures that should be financed with private capital? How many San Diegans know that the subsidized condos and hotels in the ballpark district have very few people in them? Finally, who is to blame for this ignorance? You know who: it's the mainstream media, particularly the Union-Tribune, which reside in the pockets of the downtown crowd. Best, Don Bauder

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dougw Jan. 30, 2011 @ 9:52 a.m.

If there has ever been a better example of, If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, it must be a duck, I don't know what it would be. The Grantville Redevelopment reaks of unethical and illegal acts, to anyone with a nose, and yet the little guy has to use his hard-earned money to prove it. What chance does he have, against a grossly biased government, and a grossly unbalanced system?

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Don Bauder Jan. 30, 2011 @ 12:20 p.m.

Dr. Peterson never had a chance in San Diego, but Gov. Brown is trying to get rid of the redevelopment agencies, and I would bet that the controller's office is serious when it says it wants examples of fraud. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Jan. 30, 2011 @ 10:21 a.m.

Response to #2--I encourage anyone to drive through Grantville, and wonder where will this "redevelopment" project put the thousands of new residential units, and who will be able to afford them. Not to mention, where will all the water come from; after all, are we not still in a stage 2 water emergency, as declared by our fearless leader, Mayor Sanders? In response to the condos and hotels downtown; there are more condos than there should be, because the city allowed John Moores and JMI to build fewer hotel rooms, which undermined the ability of TOT revenue to pay off the ballpark bonds (which, in itself, was fantasy), and also gave JMI the right to build more condos, many of which are empty. A perfect example of the "bustling" East Village area is, for me, January 2nd, when I went to the auto show. I parked on a city street, and walked about 8 blocks to the auto show, through the basically deserted East Village area. The only people on the street were other people going to the show, and small groups of people standing in front of realty offices, gawking at the large lists of foreclosed properties in the downtown area. So, tell us again how well this redevelopment scam is working out, Mr Sanders. Tell us again how many jobs will be created in Grantville, to build all of these new residences that very few will be able to afford. It is a scam, pure and simple.

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MURPHYJUNK Feb. 1, 2011 @ 8 a.m.

"Not to mention, where will all the water come from"

in that area wait for more rain, no doubt no planning for ample drainage.

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Don Bauder Jan. 30, 2011 @ 12:52 p.m.

Maybe someone should send the entire story of the ballpark district scam to the controller's office. Some say Moores walked off with more than $700 million in the deal that he wangled with Golding, who wanted his money for her Senate run. Moores got land at early 1990s prices and sold it at huge profits. Buyers built condos on the land. The condos are now almost empty, and it will be difficult to attract tenants because of the HOA fees. Best, Don Bauder

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notgreedy Jan. 30, 2011 @ 7:05 p.m.

In response to the first comment above by Fred Williams, some of the lawyers abusing the Grantville Action Group are out of town and being paid for by taxpayers.

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Don Bauder Jan. 30, 2011 @ 7:15 p.m.

Sure. You don't think lawyers are going to miss out on this grease, do you? Best, Don Bauder

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ursula_villarreal Jan. 30, 2011 @ 9:14 p.m.

Kudos Brian for all you do. Where in the "State of California Community Redevelopment Agencies Annual Reports do we find how much the Redevelopment Agencies collected for "in Lieu of Fees"? These are the dollars that a Developer pays to the County in lieu of building the required affordable housing units that start with 5 units or more. To avoid the builder from providiing affordable housing units the "in lieu of fees" are between $70,000 to $90,000 per unit. These dollar amounts should be shown, I would think, in Table 5 of the Controller's book above. -- TOT Taxes are collected whenever we rent a room in a hotel and these go to the Redevelopment Agencies. The Statewide total for 08/09 is $9,360,877. What a Scam!! The Statewide Property Tax Increments that go to cities and counties for 08/09 is $5,676,516,917. Unconscenable!! To get these dollar amounts you can go to the Controller's website at www.sco.ca.gov/ard_locrep_redevelop.html . Do you know someone living in a Condo downtown that you could ask if they pay property taxes plus fees or assessments in their H/O/A dues that pay for municipal services like schools, fire and police protections, parks and libraries, since they are in a Redevelopment Project Area where the Agency diverts the property tax dollars (increments) into their budget that should be going for these public works projects, services, maintenace and for municipal services within those project area boundaries? -- The California Redevelopment Agencies have the strongest lobbies in the world, which include the Califonria Legislature, California Redevelopment Association, League of California Cities, CSAC (California State Association of Counties, most Associations of Realtors, City and County governing bodies of these Redevelopment Agencies. Have you gone to Tea Party Groups, Sean Hannity, 60 Minutes to tell your story?

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InOmbra Jan. 31, 2011 @ 8:45 a.m.

Ursula, the downtown condo and property owners pay the usual property bill taxes we all do (Unified Bond series, Prop S, Prop N, Open Space, Community Coll, Zoo, etc.) plus the following Fixed Charge Assessments, the largest of which is paid to the Downtown San Diego Partnership for the PBID maintenance assessment district. This assessment money is what the CCDC wants to use to fund maintenance of the porta-potties that the CCDC can buy but not maintain, under Redevelopment law.

Example of assessments from a Ninth and G condo: FIXED CHARGE ASSMTS:
VECTOR DISEASE CTRL $4.34 MWD WTR STANDBY CHRG $11.50 DOWNTOWN PBID $137.64 MOSQUITO SURVEILLANC $3.00 CWA WTR AVAILABILITY $10.00

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Don Bauder Jan. 30, 2011 @ 10:31 p.m.

These are all provocative variables you have introduced. I certainly did not know of some of this. Best, Don Bauder

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Founder Jan. 31, 2011 @ 9:13 a.m.

One thing not mentioned above is what CCDC costs to "run"...

Administration fees keep everyone working in ReDev. very happy and you can bet that all these employees are very nervous about what changes may take place in San Diego's ReDev "Business" and how that will affect their jobs/future!

In fairness, I think it is also important to remember that many of these folks are totally committed to making things better for all those that they serve but are VERY LIMITED by the ReDev Agency/City Council who are their bosses!

An Analogy: An airplane may have a first rate crew that really tries to please everyone but if the Pilot and Co-Pilot don't do their jobs then all are at risk!

SD's Leadership is now and has been, fiscally amuck!

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2011 @ 11:20 a.m.

The redevelopment agency is the city council. It is supposed to be CCDC's boss. But CCDC runs the council around by its nose. Don't worry about CCDC personnel losing their jobs. They come out of the downtown real estate industry, and work for that industry while they are with CCDC. They will go back on the developers' payrolls. Best, Don Bauder

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Fred Williams Jan. 31, 2011 @ 9:39 p.m.

The CCDC has announced a series of "Community Benefit" meetings where they'll be selling redevelopment, desperately trying to save their positions of privilege and power.

They shouldn't go unchallenged. In fact, they should be heckled mercilessly.

Their plan is to paint such rosy pictures, unopposed, that the audience will be fooled into thinking CCDC does good in the community.

Facts, presented plainly, will prevent this.

Please, attend the meetings and tell the CCDC flacks what you think of their attempts to sell us (using OUR money) on their wonderfulness.

Don, perhaps you could publicise the meeting schedule here on your blog...at the moment they're only inviting supporters.

Best,

Fred

P.s. Also, look who's CCDC featured speaker next week? Marco Li Mandri.

http://www.ccdc.com/meetings-and-events/calendar/icalrepeat.detail/2011/02/08/572/127/downtown-sound-bites-featuring-marco-li-mandri.html

Someone may want to go and ask him a few questions...hmmm?

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Don Bauder Feb. 1, 2011 @ 7:53 a.m.

Good idea. Here are meetings outside of downtown: 1. Feb. 23 6pm to 7:30 pm, Tierrasanta Recreation Center, 11220 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.; 2. March 1 6pm to 7:30 pm, Carmel Mountain Ranch/Sabre Springs Recreation Center, 10152 Rancho Carmel Drive; 3. March 2 6 pm to 7:30 pm Otay Mesa-Nestor Library 3003 Coronado Ave.; 4. March 8 6pm to 7:30 pm North Park Recreation Center, 4044 Idaho St.; 5. March 10 6:30 pm to 8 pm Ocean Beach Recreation Center, 4726 Santa Monica Ave.; 6. March 15 6pm to 7:30 pm Mountain View Community Center, 641 South Boundary St.; 7. March 16, 6 pm to 7:30 pm Temple Emanu-El 6299 Capri Drive; 8. March 22 6pm to 7:30 pm Serrra Mesa Recreation Center, 9020 Village Glen Drive; 9. March 24 Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, 4126 Executive Drive.

I would not heckle these moguls. I would ask them, first, why they do not believe in free enterprise. Why can't private sector buildings be built with private sector funds? Why for example, should the county and the schools be deprived of funds so that a billionaire family (the Spanoses) can put only $200 million into a downtown stadium? Why are shopping centers subsidized? Hotels? Do they realize that the Legislative Analyst's Office has shown that redevelopment does not stimulate the economy? It simply shifts development from one area to another. How has CCDC managed to hog most redevelopment funds for downtown? Doesn't CCDC believe that infrastructure deficiencies, lack of maintenance, closing of libraries in the neighborhoods, etc. result from CCDC's hogging of funds for projects that should be supported with private capital? Can CCDC say with a straight face that Horton Plaza has been successful financially? Petco Park? (Attendance the last two years has dropped below the last several years at Qualcomm when the team was terrible. The condos and hotels subsidized by the ballpark district project can't attract people.) There are plenty of other points that can be made. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Feb. 7, 2011 @ 4:24 p.m.

I think a "Citizens-in-Exile" meeting OUTSIDE the room (leaving the "audience" chairs conspicuously empty) would be far more effective and draw more media. Fred would be a good spokesperson.

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Don Bauder Feb. 9, 2011 @ 9:33 a.m.

I agree. Fred Williams should lead this crusade. Best, Don Bauder

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