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Politics

City Council Approves 5-Year Agreement With Civic San Diego

A sign for Civic San Diego.
KPBS Staff
A sign for Civic San Diego.

The City Council on Tuesday narrowly approved a five-year operating agreement for Civic San Diego, a quasi-independent organization that assists city officials with development projects in certain parts of town.

The original open-ended deal didn't receive the six votes necessary for passage.

Once a five-year cap was proposed, only a simple majority was required, and a motion by Councilman Todd Gloria to approve the agreement passed 5-4. Council members David Alvarez, Marti Emerald, Sherri Lightner and Scott Sherman dissented after expressing concerns about various terms.

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Councilwoman Myrtle Cole acknowledged that the deal was "not perfect" but was an improvement over the agreement currently in place. She said it formalizes accountability and city oversight without expanding the agency's responsibilities.

Gloria said among other things, the deal sets requirements for hiring local workers for construction, sets aside a portion of projects for affordable housing, and observes city rules on living and prevailing wages.

Civic San Diego was created when the state abolished the redevelopment process, consolidating the remains of the Centre City Development Corp., which led the reinvigoration of downtown, and the Southeastern Development Corp., which worked in neighborhoods in Southeast San Diego.

Employees at Civic San Diego have since overseen several new hotel developments, worked on older projects left over in the redevelopment pipeline like the park at Horton Plaza and managed funds collected from parking meters.

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