Friday, October 15, 2010

Frye's Disgust at the Late Night Pork Fest; Marti Emerald stands with Frye

Frye's Disgust at the Late Night Pork Fest
October 15, 2010
by Scott Lewis
Voice of San Diego

Perhaps nobody was more angry about what happened last week when Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and the Centre City Development Corp. just decided themselves to extend the life of redevelopment downtown than City Councilwoman Donna Frye.

Not only has she been demanding CCDC begin paying back the loans from the city that got downtown redevelopment started in the beginning, she's also been sticking her neck out for Proposition D, the tax increase paired with 10 financial reforms.

Her alliance with the mayor, once an arch rival, on that has been rather inspiring to see. But like a lot of us, she was startled to learn of the news from Sacramento that the deal had been done.

On Tuesday, she came up with the idea to send the governor a letter asking him to veto the legislation. As it turned out, the governor had yet to sign that part of the budget and she figured that if the city of San Diego officially sent him a letter asking him not to, he actually might not.

But it didn't happen.

Why? I told the story earlier of Councilman Kevin Faulconer grappling with the issue. He, like Frye, was so incensed by what Fletcher did that he just ... well ... couldn't bring himself to undo it.

But that ended up being dwarfed as a display of insecurity by what Council President Ben Hueso did. He had supported the idea of sending the letter to the governor but when the opportunity to try again — after Faulconer killed it — he balked.

Well, he didn't balk. He ran away. Seriously. After expressing his concern about it and saying he thought everyone should relax a little, he called a recess on the meeting and then disappeared. Since he runs the City Council meetings, Faulconer had to take over the dais.

Whatever bug Hueso caught also, then, landed in Councilman Todd Gloria's donut. Gloria suddenly decided that the discussion they'd been having about how outraged they were was enough for him. That is, just them bloviating in council chambers was enough to send a message to the state that they aren't going to take getting undermined like that anymore...

And Frye was angry. When I talked to her on the phone after the tumultuous day, I told her that I thought people might feel like they couldn't trust city leaders right when they're asking people to have faith in their pledges about how extensive the Prop. D reforms will be.

"I don't blame them," she said...."We sat through a very lengthy public process to assure the public that there would be a full blight study and a public process they could participate in. Not only was that not true. But at nighttime, they essentially went behind the back of the redevelopment agency members — which means the public — and completely thumbed their nose at the process and that is wrong."...

Wednesday, the letter went out, authored by Frye and Councilwoman Marti Emerald...

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Nathan Fletcher in the dark of night gets stealth stadium deal into California's budget

In the Dark of Night
Voice of San Diego
Randy Dotinga
October 9, 2010

Should law be patched together in the middle of the night when hardly anyone is watching? Sacramento seems to think so: in a last-minute move that sent local eyebrows skyward, the state legislature slipped a bill into budget negotiations Thursday night that would pave the way for San Diego's downtown redevelopment agency to more easily pay to build a downtown football stadium.

This is hardly a case of simple bureaucracy at work. As we report, the mayor's promised "transparent process" over this issue is now history, and the effect of the deal on the city's day-to-day budget is unknown, just as voters begin considering boosting their sales taxes to bail out the city. On top of all that, "the deal was done in stunning secrecy."

The assemblyman who spearheaded the deal defends his move, saying it's a big job creator, but acknowledges that the county wasn't thrilled about the idea. County supervisors issued statements, with one saying the deal could actually spell trouble for the stadium.

Also: the city attorney says a public vote on the stadium won't be necessary if only redevelopment funds are used to build it. The city's head of redevelopment says this deal will save the city money.

Fletcher: Bill About Jobs, Not Chargers
October 8, 2010
by Liam Dillon

Republican state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher said the word "no" a lot when we spoke on the phone about the last-minute deal that removes a major financial hurdle to the city building a new Chargers stadium downtown.

Fletcher authored a provision introduced and approved in last night's state budget that lifts San Diego's downtown redevelopment cap, a necessary step before the city could build a new Chargers stadium using public money.

Was this bill something you required to support the state budget? No, he said.

Was this bill done to build a Chargers stadium? "Not exclusively, no," Fletcher said.

Fletcher emphasized that lifting the downtown redevelopment agency's cap would affect hundreds of projects, not just a football stadium. He did say a football stadium was the most high-profile effort now being discussed. He said he had been in contact with the Chargers in the last week, along with other stakeholders.

Is this deal similar to the 2009 one the city of Industry received, and Fletcher opposed, to help build a potential football stadium there? No, he said. That was an environmental waiver specific to the stadium, he said. This action affects lots more, Fletcher said.

"It's like comparing apples to carburetors," he said.

Instead, he said, this was all about jobs. Fletcher released a fact sheet saying it would create 110,000 permanent and temporary jobs.

But not everyone's happy. San Diego County, for one.

"The county expressed their opposition to this," Fletcher said.

County leaders had been meeting with city officials to discuss increasing the cap and potential financing for a stadium. In June, the city hired a consultant to examine the need for further redevelopment downtown. The $500,000 study was expected to take 18 months and City Council members had praised it as a public process.

This deal ends both of those things.

Fletcher conceded the process wasn't pretty.

"We can have a long debate on the process," he said. "There's probably fair criticism. I criticize the legislative process frequently, but at the end of the day what we're focused on is the product and the results. If we have the opportunity to take action to get tens of thousands of San Diegans working again, we had to do it."