Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Downtown Blight Out

A Downtown Blight Out
Voice of San Diego
January 16, 2011
by Liam Dillon

San Diego's downtown redevelopment agency and a consultant have not released their proof that downtown remains rundown despite a promise to do so more than five weeks ago and requirements in state public records laws to release the information within 10 days.

The documents in question are central to the legitimacy of late-night state legislation that removed a key limit on downtown redevelopment.

Under the legislation, the Centre City Development Corp. will grab a substantial share of billions of dollars in future downtown property taxes for public improvements and development subsides.

Downtown, backers of the legislation argue, continues to require those taxpayer subsidies for redevelopment's purpose: improving rundown neighborhoods.

But the state move meant that CCDC no longer had to prove that downtown was rundown, a public process that it had begun to undertake. Central in that effort was a $500,000 study that CCDC canceled after the controversial legislation passed.

The study and the information behind it are key to understanding if boosters would have been able to justify the need for downtown's continued tax subsidies through the standard process.

In its unfinished state, the study asserts that downtown remains rundown. But the document, written by lead consultant Keyser Marston Associates, had yet to include evidence to back up those findings beyond simple crime statistics...

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