TAKE ACTION: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, State Capitol Building, Sacramento CA 95814 Phone: 916-445-2841 Fax: 916-558-3160 http://gov.ca.gov/interact#contact
Please Arnold, veto Felipe Fuentes’ audacious bill AB 2531.
Don’t join the conspiracy to destroy LA in order to save it.
Don’t allow the scandal-plagued Community Redevelopment Agency to take tax money for schools, libraries, parks and other basic services and give it to just about anyone, for any purpose, projects or programs, anywhere in the city, even outside CRA project areas.
Don’t rob four million people to enrich the few.
Don’t destroy the intent of redevelopment law and put billions of dollars in public money into the hands of one man — First Deputy Mayor and Interim DWP General Manager Austin Beutner — without adequate safeguards to protect the public interest.
AB 2531 is now sitting on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk awaiting his signature or veto. Here’s what it does:
“This bill would, until January 1, 2018, authorize the Community Redevelopment
Agency of the City of Los Angeles, at the request of the legislative body, to
prepare applications for, and execute, economic development programs, to
accept public or private assistance, and to expend those funds for any
economic development activities inside or outside a project area within the
territorial jurisdiction of the agency”
This bill would, until January 1, 2018, expand the agency’s programmatic
authority by authorizing it to provide direct assistance including, but not limited
to, loans, financial guarantees, or other financial assistance, to business within
project areas in connection with new or existing facilities for retaining or
expanding employment in the project area, increasing energy efficiency of
buildings in the project area, or for other specified redevelopment purposes. This
bill would specify that these programs constitute redevelopment, as defined.
The legislative history of AB 2531 shows it was written solely for Los Angeles, and nowhere else in California, specifically to empower Beutner as the city’s economic
czar controlling the harbor, airport, DWP, planning, building and safety and among other departments to get his hands on local, state and federal money and channel it through his hand-picked leadership at CRA to whomever he wants.
It’s all being done in the name of “jobs, jobs, jobs” no matter what they cost the public and is backed by city and San Fernando Valley business groups, enviornmentalists and, of course, City Hall’s favorite union, the IBEW, which stands to benefit greatly since the key justification for AB 2531 is that there be some small environmental connection, as small as any increase in water or power efficiency or use of recycled materials.
The sole purpose of existing state redevelopment law is to “expand the supply of affordable housing, expand job opportunities, provide and environment for social, economic, and psychological growth and well-being.”
In other words, it’s supposed to help the poor segments of society. But in LA, the vague language has been used almost entirely used to subsidize skyscrapers and luxury hotels and shopping centers and
Under AB 2531, CRA money can be used for almost any purpose: Job training, small business incubators, funding non-profits, construction loans and for funding capital and equipment purchases without the restriction of being for a new CRA building project.
“AB 2531 allows redevelopment officials to move away from paying for physical projects to paying for programs and services,” according to the Senate analysis. “The bill marks a significant departure from redevelopment’s traditional purposes.”
The bill analysis takes note of Beutner’s extraordinary role and the radical changes he wants to make.
“The City of Los Angeles has a First Deputy Mayor who serves as the Chief Executive for Economic and Business Policy, advocating for investment and jobs by working with the City’s Department of Water and Power, the Port of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles World Airports. However, Los Angeles doesn’t have an economic or community development department that coordinates municipal efforts to attract and retain private investment and jobs. City officials want their Redevelopment Agency to take on economic development duties in addition to its existing redevelopment efforts.”
The analysis then raises concerns about Beutner’s broad role and authority, asking “why an agency committed to redeveloping blighted areas should tackle a broader, citywide mission. Will the CRA-LA lose its focus during a seven-year experiment as an economic development agency?”
Noting this is a “foray into paying for programs, not just projects,” the question was asked: “Where does this mission creep lead?”
The bill passed both houses along party lines and in the end was scaled back in the Senate to only impact LA after a wide array of concerns were raised under headings that included “Mission creep,” “Duplication and overlap,” “Good ideas for good actors, bad ideas for bad actors,” “Protecting the public’s investment,” “Missing: Oversight and Accountability,” and “Only in LA?”
Under “Not Fiscal,” the point is made that half the property tax revenue that feeds the CRA comes from schools so
The analysis shows the ingenuity of this whole maneuver of getting the Legislature to add to the $20 billion-plus deficit to fund Beutner’s Folly:
“This expansion of redevelopment’s definition and purposes means that local officials can divert funding away from physical redevelopment projects to economic development programs. Because about half of statewide property tax revenues go to
schools, it’s fair to say that half of redevelopment agencies’ tax increment revenues come from schools.
If the governor signs this bill, the only protection the public has an unethical mayor who has checked out of his job and a City Council made up of toadies who go along for the ride 99.93 percent of the time unanimously.
Arnold, please don’t sign AB 2531. LA is your city as well as ours. Save us from a government run amok, a government so desperate and panicked by the extent of its failure, it will sell out the city’s future for 30 pieces of campaign gold.