Sanders Defends His Role In Redevelopment Bill
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders says sidestepping the City Council in order to extend the life of downtown’s redevelopment organization was the right thing to do.
Sanders worked behind the scenes with Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and the Center City Development Corporation (CCDC) to create legislation that would remove the limit on how much tax revenue CCDC can collect.
The mayor has been strongly criticized by some members of the City Council for keeping them in the dark about the deal, but Sanders said limiting the number of people involved was the smart thing to do.
“There were a lot of people in other cities who didn’t want this to happen. And my fear was the wider this got out the harder it would be to get done,” he said.
Sanders said the council will still have to approve any major projects that are proposed for downtown.
“What’s been missed in this entire ugliness of the past week is that the City Council is the redevelopment agency. The City Council controls redevelopment,” he said. Sanders said the council can create any process it wants when deciding whether to approve a project.
The council had been in the middle of studying whether to lift CCDC’s revenue cap, but the state legislation trumps that process. At a recent meeting, several councilmembers expressed outrage that they were kept in the dark about the deal.
Councilwoman Donna Frye proposed writing a letter to the governor asking him not to sign the legislation, but that idea was ultimately rejected.
Critics of the deal said it is a way to funnel millions of dollars in public money toward a new downtown Chargers stadium. But Sanders and other supporters said lifting the cap will create jobs and enable CCDC to complete a number of projects downtown.