ACTION ALERT: The Community Redevelopment Agency Board meets at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Garland Center, 1200 W. 7th St., to rush through approval on a variety of projects, including $648,100 for guidebooks and mobile apps for downtown, Koreatown and Hollywood and increasing the subsidy to the Broad Museum from $35 million to $53 million. CRA staff also will report on the notorious 1601 N. Vine St. office project and the gift of $4 million to its developer Hal Katersky.
The spectacle of city officials across California defying the rule of law and showing contempt for democratic processes to enrich wealthy developers and serve their own personal agendas exposes the depths of their own political corruption.
The only parallel that comes to mind is Alabama Gov. George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door in 1963 to block two black students from entering so he could symbolically fulfill his promise of “segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.”
Nothing can compare to the evil of racial injustice and racial discrimination under the cover of law but the greed and selfishness being displayed by city officials across the state are no less reprehensible.
Led by the mayor and City Council of Los Angeles, officials in dozens of cities are trying to lock down billions of dollars in taxpayer money now being used for economically dubious redevelopment projects — money that in these times of financial crisis could keep teachers in classrooms, cops and firefighters on the job, reopen libraries and restore programs in parks
“A revolt by city officials against Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to abolish municipal redevelopment agencies is rapidly spreading across the state,” Jennfer Garrison reports in today’s LA Times.
“To block the governor, some cities
have launched a mad dash to lock up future revenue — in effect laying
claim to the money Brown wants. They are quickly approving deals with
their redevelopment agencies to move forward with a long list of
projects, even those described in the vaguest of terms.”
Reports by Simone Wilson in the LA Weekly and Ryan Villancourt in the Downtown News among others have documented the controversy over redevelopment and provided details of what amounts to nothing but welfare for the rich.
What is at stake here are Community Redevelopment Agency project to help build a streetcar line downtown, $35 million to support Eli Broad’s Grand Avenue museum project, millions to bring even more poor people into Boyle Heights.
These people are so blind to the folly of what they are doing that Tom LaBonge boasts in the Larchmont Chronicle community newspaper (LaBonge-Larchmont.doc) that he used CRA money for a couple of traffic islands and “my staff and I wrangled $6 million in CRA funding to improve the Wilshire/Hollywood YMCA.”
The governor, backed by the state Legislative Analyst and many economists, have questioned whether the benefits of redevelopment subsidies are worth the amount of money given away in subsidies.
That’s why Brown wants to abolish the 400 local CRAs and use the nearly $6 billion freed up for schools and local services to help eliminate the state’s $25 billion deficit once and for all.
The defiance of city officials will test his leadership and his courage and reveal whether state legislators who created the financial crisis the state faces are worthy of their positions.
We already know by their provocative actions that the mayor and City Council are not.