Cities and redevelopment agencies are pushing for legislation that give them a stay of execution past the February 1 deadline contained in last week's Supreme Court ruling.
In last week's ruling, the court pushed the date for dissolution of redevelopment agencies back from October 1, 2011 – the date originally set by the legislature – to February 1, 2012. The redevelopment establishment is planning to push for compromise legislation to allow agencies to stay in existence – but first they have to push the February 1 date back.
The Supreme Court's redevelopment ruling yesterday didn't just kill redevelopment agencies. By upholding AB 1x 26 – the kill-redevelopment bill – the court ruling also triggered an entire funeral procession that will shut the agencies down and transition their debt and their assets to other agencies.
The new rules of redevelopment – if the courts agree – are now clear: You're dead, but you can buy your way back to life. That's probably enough to keep most redevelopment agencies in business. But is it enough for cities to continue to do redevelopment deals?
That's not clear, though redevelopment agencies have gotten accustomed to doing deals with less and less money over the years. Also not clear is whether this is the end-game on redevelopment or the first step in an effort to truly reform redevelopment – a possibility that seemed far more likely in January than it does now.
The midpoint of 2011 is rapidly approaching, and that means the first glimpses of the "Sustainable Communities Strategies" created under SB 375 are beginning to emerge. In particular, the "Big Four" metropolitan planning organizations – those from the Los Angeles Area, the Bay Area, San Diego, and Sacramento – are all moving forward with their SCS processes, and discernable trends are beginning to emerge.
Since January we have witnessed the unusual spectacle of elected local officials throughout the state expressing intense and emotional anger and frustration about the possible end to redevelopment -- and no reaction at all from anybody else.
Nothing from the people in blighted neighborhoods, who supposedly benefit from better housing and more jobs and more retail choices.
The redevelopment system in California was still standing when the Legislature broke for the weekend Thursday night. But that's only because the bill has gotten caught up in the partisan wrangling over the budget as a whole.
The Legislature will return on Monday, and the betting in Sacramento is that redevelopment will be killed early next week. And discussion around the Capitol is quickly turning to what Gov. Jerry Brown will propose as the "replacement tool" for redevelopment.
George Skelton, the venerable Los Angeles Times political columnist, recently came out in favor of Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to eliminate redevelopment. Skelton's Exhibit #1 is the Dive Bar, a hangout on derelict K Street in downtown Sacramento that is now one of the city's hottest night spots -- complete with a mermaid tank -- thanks partly to the redevelopment subsidies provided to the project's developer.
A few weeks ago, I had a good time taking apart anti-anti-sprawl critic Wendell Cox's self-referential analysis supposedly showing that highly regulated metropolises have higher housing costs because they are highly regulated. ("Wendell Cox's Voodoo Economics.") In sum, Cox concluded that because any variation in housing cost must be due to regulation, all variation in housing cost must therefore be due to regulation.