Ruarri Serpa 10:30 a.m., July 31
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4 Egregious Examples of Redevelopment Fraud and Abuse in San Diego
Developers are scrambling to flood the internet and airwaves with stellar examples of redevelopment so they can save their multi-billion dollar state subsidy, but they are ignoring the vast vast majority of what redevelopment funds are used for.
I would like to provide you with a set of examples of redevelopment fraud and or abuse here in San Diego. These examples represent the majority of the kind of projects your tax money is paying for.
(1). Imperial Beach: The 1960s-era Miracle Shopping Center at Palm Avenue and Ninth Street was taken using powers of eminent domain by the city. The city plans to demolish the much loved center and start building a replacement that will house multi-national corporations like "Fresh & Easy" a chain that has been charged with grossly misrespresenting themselves as organic and pesticide free.
The Shopping Center was more than just a place to shop, it was part of a collective history and identity to this small, humble beach town. Most of the businesses in the shopping center are small, local businesses. This is what redevelopment is supposed to create not destroy.
( 2). Coronado: Redevelopment is being used to build housing projects in Coronado. Redevelopment money is restricted to "blighted areas" so this notion that the City of Coronado is blighted and needs state subsidies is outright fraud.
Coronado contains a total of 189 affordable housing units in Coronado, 64 of which are owned or operated by the San Diego Interfaith Housing Foundation which also participated in other questionable redevelopment projects like the Rennaissance at 30th and El Cajon Blvd seen here... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...
The Orange Villas complex is located at 450 Orange Avenue. The companion portion of the project is located at 225 Orange Avenue.
The projects were funded by Coronado’s Community Development Agency and are managed by the San Diego Interfaith Housing Foundation (SDIHF).
This begs the question "why are state funds being taken from State Parks, Libraries and schools to build housing in one of San Diego's wealthiest and most coveted neighborhoods?" Is it right for redevelopment to be used to build ocean front property?
( 3). Redevelopment funds to hire expensive Consultants, LeSar Development Consultants $464,750 contract.
Ex CCDC Treasurer and wife of State assembly Majority WHIP Toni Atkins received a questionable contract that paid $464,750 dollars "essentially cobbling together demographic information about the homeless people who live Downtown and cajoling various agencies to work cooperatively on getting them housed—sounds a lot like what former San Diego City Councilmember Brian Maienschein is supposed to be doing on a regional basis."
This notion of using redevelopment funds to pay really expensive consultants to do jobs that the city already has agencies in place to do is very troubling at the least. She billed her time at $225 per hour.
CityBeat article questioning the lucrative contract:
( 4). McMillin NTC Deal: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...
McMillin received 250 acres of prime San Diego Point Loma real estate worth 1 billion dollars for $8 and that the city spent $11 million to acquire. Additionally McMillin brings to light the issue of the Delaware LLc. A Delaware LLc essentially hides the names of investors thus anyone could be an investor in this project and we would have no way of knowing. And if that wasn't bad enough 1 of the NTC LLcs is an off shore account.
Our City Charter prohibits the city from doing business with anyone it does not know the identity of in person yet they continue to offer redevelopment projects to these LLcs that could easily be hiding Councilmembers or other City officials as investors. Mike Aguirre said this, "The provision of the charter that requires disclosure of principals doing business with the city has not been enforced. The city attorney should be conducting a proper investigation into whom the city is doing business with. Relying on the judiciary to perform the obligations of the city attorney's office is unfair and unrealistic."
Keep in mind there are many many more examples of redevelopment fraud and abuse up and down the state of California. Sadly, the abuse has become the rule and not the exception to the rule. It is why we MUST remain vigilant and engaged in the debate where special interests are working overtime to create the impression that the state is benefiting from the 5 billion dollars a year they receive in tax money.