May 25, 2011
For months, California's redevelopment system, which provides tax incentives for the improvement of communities deemed "blighted," has been hanging by a thread. Gov. Jerry Brown is seeking to eliminate the state's community redevelopment agencies in order to use their money to balance the state budget. Advocates of the agencies, meanwhile, have scrambled to present alternatives and to answer those critics who say redevelopment is plagued by abuse. That debate still is playing out in the Capitol, but one welcome result has been the introduction of two bills intended to clean up some of the problems with the agencies if they survive their brush with extermination.
May 21, 2011 |
In Southern California, there's nothing like a very large piece of real estate to cause discord. And the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station is nothing if not a large piece of real estate. Ever since the military decided to unload the base in the 1990s, Orange County residents have been bickering over what to do with the land, and the decision in 2005 to turn it into the Great Park hasn't ended the conflict. But first the history. Even before the military moved out, county residents divided into two bitterly opposing camps: those who supported using the site for a commercial airport and those who envisioned it as a vast and impressive park.
March 27, 2011
Ever since Gov. Jerry Brown proposed patching one of the huge holes in California's budget by eliminating community redevelopment agencies, supporters of those agencies and their mission have been scrambling to save them or, failing that, to save the essence of them. That's a worthy campaign, because the redevelopment system, despite its flaws and susceptibility to abuse, does provide a useful tool for revitalizing blighted areas, creating jobs and supplying much-needed support for affordable housing.
February 2, 2011 |
Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to eliminate community redevelopment agencies throughout the state may have been made with the best of intentions. But it's overkill. California's system for redevelopment is far from perfect, and it would benefit from implementing key reforms. And in many cases, redevelopment agencies should be contributing more to local government coffers. But simply abolishing the state's network of redevelopment agencies would hurt the people and communities most in need of the jobs and housing created by public investment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 21, 2011 |
Los Angeles redevelopment commissioners agreed Thursday to spend up to $52 million to build parking and other improvements around billionaire Eli Broad's planned downtown art museum, an action characterized by some as an attempt to keep future tax dollars out of state hands. The deal was put together so quickly that the final agreement was still being drafted as the commission, which oversees the Community Redevelopment Agency, prepared to cast votes. Initially, commissioners were asked to vote without reviewing it. But they backtracked after one commissioner, Madeline Janis, said it was unwise to move so quickly without first seeing an agreement in writing.
January 19, 2011
Once a dictator ? Re " 'Baby Doc' returns to tense Haiti," Jan. 17 It has been speculated that former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier returned to Haiti after a 25-year forced exile because loyalists want him to be the leader of Haiti once again, this time in a democratic capacity. But how can a ruthless dictator who for 15 years engineered a reign of terror in Haiti (much like his father before him) ever be expected to rule democratically? It just isn't in his blood or his nature.