Tuesday, February 22, 2011
San Diego is doing what it can to keep redevelopment money in the city. City leaders are bringing attention to the affordable housing projects redevelopment pays for.
SAN DIEGO All Councilman Todd Gloria needed was a mega-phone and a letter sweater at a news conference about redevelopment on Tuesday. Gloria stood at a podium in the shadow of an affordable housing project and rallied those who gathered before him.
Categorical Sub Totaled Proposed Master Projects List
“Is City Heights better off today because of redevelopment?” he shouted. A crowd cheered “Yes!” in response.
Gloria was there with Mayor Jerry Sanders and other local politicians to promote the $4 billion wish list of development projects the city wants to get started on in case the state eliminates redevelopment agencies. Projects already underway will likely be allowed to continue.
Gloria and others championed the affordable housing projects built with money generated by redevelopment districts. He said he’s not concerned with the $4 billion price tag of San Diego's wish list or that some of the projects reach decades into the future.
“We know what our communities want. These lists are reflective of that,” he said. “We are going to secure as much of the funding as we possibly can.”
Some have criticized the more than $2 billion slated to be spent downtown. But Sanders said spending downtown helps everyone.
“Downtown has also been a huge economic generator in terms of returning sales tax revenue to the general fund which goes out to every neighborhood in San Diego,” he said.
Sanders pointed out more than a billion dollars of that would be used to create affordable housing projects downtown. Still, some critics maintain too much attention and money is given to downtown, leaving out poorer San Diego neighborhoods.
The San Diego Housing Federation has taken the position that redevelopment should be reformed, but not eliminated. Executive Director Susan Tinsky said redevelopment dollars have contributed toward the creation of more than 15,000 homes throughout the county. She said she recognizes the state's financial challenges.
"But they say they want to protect core services. What is more core than providing shelter for those that are the most vulnerable among us," she said.
California is facing a $26 billion budget deficit. The governor has said the state needs redevelopment money to help close the gap. San Diego's city council will consider whether to move forward with the redevelopment wish list next week at a special meeting.