Mayor of Redevelopment No Longer?
(Click on the link above to get all the links in the story.)
by Scott Lewis
Voice of San Diego
December 13, 2010
Redevelopment is the reason the city of San Diego can consider building a new Convention Center, football stadium and other enhancements downtown at a time when rec centers, libraries and swimming pools are in danger of closing elsewhere.
Cities all across the state use the mechanism for their blighted neighborhoods. But unlike most of them, San Diego does things differently. For one, it allows two nonprofits, fully funded by the city, to manage its redevelopment efforts downtown and in southeastern San Diego: CCDC and SEDC respectively.
And, also unlike other areas, San Diego made its elected mayor the executive director of the Redevelopment Agency -- the entity that oversees not only CCDC and SEDC but the other areas considered blighted in town.
Now, that may change. The City Council is considering ousting him as San Diego's redevelopment leader and hiring a professional manager wake of the mayor's efforts to extend the lifespan of downtown redevelopment without involving the public or City Council.
U-T: We Want Maas Redevelopment
The Union-Tribune made its case for downtown redevelopment this weekend featuring an editorial about, and a Q&A with, the outgoing chairman of CCDC, Fred Maas.
If that didn't give you enough Maas, the man himself penned an op-ed of his own with a now common claim that visionaries like him are only held back by shortsighted "small-town undertakers."
In the Q&A, Maas blasts the proposal supported now by five City Council members that the downtown redevelopment agency take over from the city's ailing general fund, the duty to pay back bonds on the last expansion of the Convention Center - a move that would free up $9.2 million a year.
"We run the risk of bankrupting ultimately over the next 20 years the redevelopment agency. This is not that different from underfunding pensions or from granting benefits without a way to pay for them by raiding our coffers to pay for things that were never contemplated."
Moral: If you don't like something that's happening in the city, compare it to the pension system! But question: Aren't redevelopment efforts eventually supposed to run out of money?
The new City Council president is considering your thoughts on those questions and others as he proposes a new ad hoc committee for redevelopment. And he has set up an email address to collect them: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The U-T drew a direct line from the major snowfall and incredible collapse of the roof of the Metrodome in Minneapolis to the Chargers search for a new stadium (did you see the video of the roof collapse?). Presumably, this adds urgency to the stadium debate there - the Minnesota Vikings are often mentioned in the same breath as the Chargers as possible teams that could relocate to Los Angeles.
Back in San Diego, it was a pretty nice day at the stadium yesterday, as Sam Hodgson's photos prove...
Sulking in San Diego
» Last week, we mentioned a video provoking guffaws across San Diego's political twitterati the last few days. It portrays San Diego as an insecure teenage girl uncomfortable that "the boys" keep making fun of her big pension. It's clearly trying to chide the media for begin so negative while making the case that we shouldn't worry so much about the city's problems, and we should support a new stadium and other projects championed by downtown redevelopment officials and the mayor.
As the U-T summarized, nobody wants to take credit for the flick.
I actually agree with another anonymous commenter, though, who said that the city is better represented by the mother figure in the video - always trying to convince people who are worried here that everything is fantastic. And she does that, even though she regularly admits (even trumpets) how bad things are going to get if we don't deal with our big pension.