The California Supreme Court last week upheld AB 26x1, the bill abolishing all of California's redevelopment agencies, and smote with a mighty fury AB 27x1, the bill that would have permitted the agencies to ransom themselves back into existence. Taking a "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away" approach, the court decreed unanimously that the legislature could undo what they hath created sixty years previously. Of course, the fight was over money- redevelopment agencies diverted some $5.7B in tax dollars last year from state coffers- ostensibly money that would cover the costs of land acquisition and development, but some of which got diverted in to things like Oakland Mayor Jeanne Quan's annual compensation. Decades of suspicion about cronyism and back-scratching between commissioners and developers didn't help when there are prison guards and teachers to pay.
The second bill was a compromise to get some legislators behind the dismantling, but the justices decreed it "extortion" and ruled it illegal. No one's really sure what all this means in terms of bricks, straw and the various Pharaoh's pyramids now in planning. Redevelopment agencies produce most of the affordable housing in California. Developers and planners have been cast out of the Garden- we may be in for a decade of "Evolution" rather than "Intelligent Design"- plus it's likely that a bevy of Infrastructure Financing Districts will be created to pay for projects. A new "oversight board" will be formed to to officiate over the agencies' last rites, and we predict a lot more decision-making power in the hands of our favorite local Pharisees, the Board of Supervisors.
· California wins OK to abolish redevelopment agencies [SF Gate]
· Redevelopment Agency: Coming or Going? [Curbed SF]
· California cities seek restoration of some redevelopment spending [LA Times]
· San Francisco Redevelopment Agency [SFRA]
[Image Credit: Expulsion of Adam & Eve, Michelangelo, Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel]