Council Endorses SEDC Expansion
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June 18, 2010 – Find out who stands to gain from extending the reach and life of San Diego's redevelopment agencies.
Related story: Council Endorses SEDC Expansion
GLORIA PENNER (Host): On another matter, the San Diego City Council voted Tuesday to give the Southeastern Development Corporation more power. The decision, if approved by residents, would eliminate boundaries within SEDC’s redevelopment territory and lift restrictions on how the corporation spends its budget. Andrew Donohue, editor of Voiceofsandiego.org. and David Rolland, who of course we know is from San Diego City Beat, are still with me to explain what this means for southeast San Diego. And what does it really mean Andrew? I mean the council voted unanimously to approve this, why? ANDREW DONOHUE (VoiceofSanDiego.org editor): I think this means two things. First of all, there are some small bureaucratic changes that are going to make the organization stronger. The other thing is that I think it’s a pretty strong endorsement that the City Council believes SEDC is on the wrong track. We’ve talked a lot about all the scandals they had back in 2008. They were supposed to come up with this plan. They have this plan. The City Council has endorsed it. The last and I think and probably most important part of it is that it paves the way for SEDC to walk into greater Logan Heights. And there’s been a lot of community opposition to SEDC trying to wrap Logan Heights into its area. So I think that’s probably the next battle we’re going to see. Do they actually win that attempt to get Logan Heights as part of SEDC. PENNER: So let’s give a little more background. Where does the money come from that funds organizations like the Southeast Development Corporation and the Centre City Development Corporation, which is supposed to revitalize and redevelop blighted areas? DAVID ROLLAND (San Diego City Beat): It’s property tax money and under normal circumstances there is a formula for how much of that property tax money stays where it is and how much goes to the state and all the rest. What this does is says that any new development you do in a specific area, that area gets to keep that property tax money, which it’s then required to spend in certain ways in order to spruce up that neighborhood even more and attract even more development, which in theory, perpetuates the revenue generated from the new property taxes. PENNER: But there is a cap. There’s just so much money that these redevelopment corporations are permitted to use and then after that, do they go out of business? ROLLAND: Yeah, they’re supposed to, because they’re supposed to just do a job and then the job is done and then the money goes back to where it otherwise would have gone if you never had done it. So when you establish that redevelopment area, that cap, that time limit, and that dollar figure are set then. PENNER: Well that would be a weird and wonderful thing for an agency to spend itself out of business. Is that one of the reasons that they want to raise that cap? DONOHUE: Yes, they want to raise the cap because they say they’ve got a lot more work to do. There’s still more blight. I think what the interesting thing is that you are starting to see is that people are starting to pay more and more attention to redevelopment. And they’re actually realizing that this matters more to me even if I don’t live in southeast San Diego, even if I don’t live in downtown, because the money that is getting sequestered in those areas isn’t going to other neighborhoods. So now politicians are starting to realize I’m not getting a park, I’m not getting my streets filled, because the money is staying in other neighborhoods. PENNER: Just very quickly, do you think that either one of these agencies actually will go out of business? DONOHUE: I don’t think we’re going to see it our lifetime. PENNER: Not in our lifetime. Okay, well thank you very much – Andrew Donohue and David Rolland.