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The 4th District Court of Appeals has ruled against Grantville Action Group in a long-running suit. The Grantville group argued that the City of San Diego could not use redevelopment tax money on downtown projects such as the C Street trolley. Grantville had argued that the money should not go elsewhere, and the C Street trolley should have been funded by the former Centre City Development Corp. (now Civic San Diego.) Superior Court ruled for the City, and was upheld by the 4th district. But Brian Peterson, Grantville activist, notes that the California Department of Finance has ruled that the Grantville settlement agreement is not an enforceable agreement, so, in effect, the City will have to find other sources of funds if it wants to go through with the project. "The side of right may still win on this issue," says Peterson.

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Comments

BlueSouthPark May 31, 2013 @ 11:05 a.m.

I feel sad for the Grantville property owners. They gave it a good try and worked tirelessly to obtain a fair solution. The legal decision hinged in part on their supposed failure to "exhaust" every administrative remedy, although the group spoke before the City Council and appealed to the County Board of Supervisors.

Given the stumbling blocks the City and County can put in the way of citizens, I'd say the Grantville group did everything they could.

I hope justice is done in some other fashion, as Peterson suggest may happen.

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Don Bauder May 31, 2013 @ 1:28 p.m.

BlueSouthPark. It was the same old technicality through which scams are ignored by courts. Judges claimed Grantville did not exhaust all remedies. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark May 31, 2013 @ 11:13 a.m.

So the Grantville settlement agreement is legal, but according to the State Dept of Finance it's not an enforceable agreement. So what monies have already changed hands, what monies have yet to change hands, and where does any remaining monies come from to satisfy any remaining payments towards the settlement agreement?

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Brian_T_Peterson_DVM May 31, 2013 @ 3:38 p.m.

The first payment of the money transfer was to be October 2011. Given the existence of redevelopment was up in the air at that point, I don’t know if the first payment happened or not. The most recent ROPS (recognized obligation payment schedule) is when a Grantville money-transfer payment first showed up on an ROPS. The successor agency has been generating ROPSs since last summer. If the money transfer from downtown stands, the funding comes from Grantville property tax receipts. The successor agency will continue to collect tax increment from Grantville until redevelopment debts are paid off.

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Don Bauder May 31, 2013 @ 7:05 p.m.

Brian: I am keeping my fingers crossed that this ROPS does not go through. Thanks from all concerned citizens for your yeoman work on this issue. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark June 1, 2013 @ 10:25 a.m.

Brian--does this mean the payments are currently being made?

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Brian_T_Peterson_DVM June 1, 2013 @ 11 a.m.

Not yet. The California Department of Finance is disputing the $31 million trolley line payment to downtown. I believe this is because this is a cooperation agreement between the RDA and the City. The DOF said they would not allow these. But, will they allow cooperation agreements between the City’s RDA and the County? This is what the rest of the Grantville settlement payments are. So far, the DOF is not questioning these.

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Don Bauder June 2, 2013 @ 8:48 p.m.

Brian: That county caper seemed like an end run in the first place. I don't know if that will affect the DOF. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 31, 2013 @ 1:31 p.m.

Aardvark. Those details will supposedly have to be worked out. Hopefully, the Department of Finance scuttles this redevelopment scam. It is one of many such scams. Redevelopment, good riddance. Best, Don Bauder

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Fred Williams May 31, 2013 @ 10:16 p.m.

It is specifically prohibited for redevelopment money to be spent on beautifying existing government buildings. State law is clear on this.

It's also prohibited to transfer tax increment funding to outside the boundaries of a redevelopment area.

The County wants to spruce up the Administration Building on the waterfront.

The City wants to re-shape the C Street Trolley Corridor.

So they hatched a plan:

  1. Transfer over $30 million of Grantville's redevelopment funding to the C Street Trolley, with the flimsy excuse that the Trolley connection (45 minutes away) to Grantville creates a "nexus" by which the two redevelopment projects are connected.
  2. Transfer an equal amount to the County as part of a "settlement" so they wouldn't object to this blatant mis-allocation of public funds. The County is free to use this money to renovate their Administration Building.

The individual steps of this arcane scheme (much more complex than I'm describing) were kept quiet, and only Grantville Veterinarian Brian Peterson stood up to object. Well educated, well informed, taking countless hours from his personal and professional life, Brian attended all the meetings he could, objecting, even paying for lawyers to help him fight this clear injustice.

And the courts found that, while the overall effect is clearly illegal, because each baby step in the process was either technically allowed or, found no objection at the time -- hocus pocus, it's all somehow legal. By myopically focusing only on the details, and willfully refusing to acknowledge the big picture, and public policy implications, the judges have disgraced themselves and the legal profession.

Should the Grantville Action Group continue the fight? Take this to a higher level?

Or will Mayor Filner and the City perhaps reconsider this folly with the trolley, and restore justice and common sense to redevelopment.

Filner has made it clear he stands for the neighborhoods. Here's a good test case. Grantville's money should be spent in Grantville, not downtown.

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Don Bauder May 31, 2013 @ 10:54 p.m.

Fred Williams: Well articulated as always, Fred. Yes, this was clearly illegal. Yes, judges looked the other way at the blatant illegality. This is quintessential San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

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Brian_T_Peterson_DVM June 1, 2013 @ 8:38 a.m.

Fred, Just to clarify, for the Grantville Action Group, it has been a team effort. Thanks go to the thousands who signed “Stop Grantville Redevelopment” petitions and became supporters, the hundreds who donated to the legal fund, the hearty folks who attended meetings and worked Spring Fest booths and walked the community, and to our attorney who did much of his work for GAG—especially the appeal—pro bono.
Brian

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Don Bauder June 1, 2013 @ 9:04 a.m.

Brian: Yes, you had a lot of assistance, but you are being too modest. Best, Don Bauder

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Activist May 31, 2013 @ 11:03 p.m.

When the public gets a ruling like this it causes them to ponder how do we not elect them to office in the first place? Secondly why isn't easier to remove them once they reveal what they are. Thanks Don Bauder for your dependable reporting.

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Brian_T_Peterson_DVM June 1, 2013 @ 8:12 a.m.

The judges who ruled in favor of the Grantville redevelopment money-transfer scam are: Joan Lewis (Superior Court); P.J. Nares, J. McIntyre, and J.Irion (Fourth District Court of Appeals).

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Don Bauder June 1, 2013 @ 9:13 a.m.

Brian: The Joan Lewis decision at the Superior Court level was disgraceful. The upholding of her decision by the appeals court was reprehensible. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 1, 2013 @ 11:13 a.m.

Daniel Beeman: At some point, Joan Lewis could be removed by voters. This is overdue. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 1, 2013 @ 9:11 a.m.

Activist: Unfortunately, judicial elections are hardly examples of democratic government. Most voters don't know one judge from the other. Many voters simply take the local newspaper in the booth and do what the paper says to do. Given the UT's obvious biases and ignorance, judges who champion corporate welfare, are blindly pro-business, and refuse to look at blatant scams keep getting elected. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh June 2, 2013 @ 12:37 p.m.

But there have been a few judges removed from the superior court bench over the years as a result of elections. Does that mean the bench is then "politicized?" Yes, I suppose it does, but which came first, the bad decisions and/or conduct that resulted in the election of a different judge, or the campaign to replace the errant judge? With the waning influence of the Mill, there may be far better opportunities to remove the bad jurists.

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Don Bauder June 3, 2013 @ 7 a.m.

Visduh: Good point. The Manchester UT is a laughingstock. It only has influence with a dwindling audience that gobbles up ignorance. So activists should figure ways to start removing judges. Best, Don Bauder

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Daniel Beeman June 1, 2013 @ 10:23 a.m.

Once again it is so sad to see the judicial process, most times by judges, many appointed, &/or re-elected encumbents, deciding for profit/business/big money, against those who entrusted them & elected them. We really need to change the way judges get appointed/elected and stay in office. If you don't get more than 50% of the voting district to vote you back in your out!

Thanks again Don for your keeping us up to date and aware! And Dr. Peterson thank you and your activist friends for putting up a good fight. Keep it going, be- cause you have a long battle ahead in your area.

P.S. The judge ruled against my case about the pension system, and City Hall insider fiddling in the 1990's before the "shi_ hit the fan".

Sincerely yours, Daniel Beeman

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Don Bauder June 1, 2013 @ 11:19 a.m.

Daniel Beeman: There was an interesting study -- I believe I read it in the New Yorker -- showing statistically how the current Supreme Court is overwhelmingly pro-business. In some cases, such as Citizens United, this blatant bias will have repercussions for many years unless Americans force the Congress to overturn it. Chief Justice Roberts had plotted this big business seizure of politics for some time. Best, Don Bauder

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