Austin Straus 8:30 a.m., April 23
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Ben Hueso and Toni Atkins Quietly Recreate Redevelopment Agencies under IFDs
Just when you thought the nightmare of Redevelopment was finally over, our very own Assembly-persons Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) and Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) are busy in the state legislature recreating Redevelopment under a new name: IFDs!
The bill expands the existing infrastructure financing district (IFD) program to include funding of watershed land used for the collection and treatment of water for urban uses, flood management, levees, bypasses, open space, habitat restoration, brownfields restoration, environmental mitigation, purchase of land and property for development purposes, including commercial property, hazardous cleanup, former military bases, and specified transportation purposes.
Thats right, did you catch that?.... "purchase of land and property for development purposes"!!!
So while the media is saturated with stories about cities reeling from the effects of the end of redevelopment, our representatives are busy making sure the entitlements and the slush fund continue.
This as they continue to plead for tax hikes and while they continue to close 70 state parks and actually sell state lands off to developers.
Reason Magazine has been one of the only media to cover this clandestine plan:
"We first wrote about these little-known programs in May as Democratic San Diego Assemblyman Ben Hueso proposed expanding them to allow cities to issue bonds to fund renewable energy projects. His bill got final approval by the Assembly yesterday and now sits in the State Senate. There it joins legislation by Speaker of the Assembly John Perez (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) that would drastically increase the types of projects IFDs can fund, making it more closely mimic the defunct redevelopment agencies (even changing the name of them to Infrastructure and Revitalization Financing Districts)."
No surprise Atkins and Perez have been consumed with ONE goal, making sure tax money continues to flow to developers (despite a record glut of housing in California, housing that could be rehabbed instead of demolished for far less money).
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks) said in a phone interview to Reason magazine last Thursday that "while he had supported the idea of RDAs as job creators when Gov. Jerry Brown was pushing to end them, he now feels as though the government shouldn’t be involved in picking winners and losers in the private sector."
"“[When] an industry requires a subsidy, it becomes a government program, not an industry,” he said. “The entire green agenda is one that doesn’t make any sense. … I just think 50 years from now we will look back that this fixation on the green dream will be one of the most misguided, costly and destructive efforts ever to have occurred in the state of California and it will be difficult to undo the mistake.”"
IFDs are more restrictive than RDAs as they require a 2/3 public approval to be created and another 2/3 public approval to actually issue bonds.
BUT AB 2144 would loosen those restrictions of public approval requirements to 55 percent and AB 2551 would completely eliminate the need for a public approval create an IFD for energy projects.
One thing is clear Redevelopment Agencies are not going down without a fight. They have made way too many people rich in both the public and private sector. All of these RDA projects are organized as Delaware LLcs which have unprecedented secrecy and would allow a politician likeToni Atkins who is married to major Redevelopment/previous Bank of America Investment Banker/developerJennifer LeSar and other politicians to be investors and financial beneficiaries in projects that receive this money.
In the meantime Gov Brown now wants the 250 million that was supposed to go from redevelopment to schools to go BACK to redevelopment aka the Counties to spend on redevelopment contracts.