We know most of you are probably not on the edge of your seats waiting to see how Jerry Brown's threats to kill redevelopment in California shake out, but we thought we'd keep reporting on the issue because we think it's important, and because Jerry's banking on voters not really caring either way because they don't understand it. Redevelopment has become a political pawn, something beloved by mayors and city economic development departments but not often understood by the public, and occasionally misused by cities and occasionally corrupt city officials.
But without redevelopment, there'd be no Mission Bay, there'd be no Yerba Buena Gardens, and there'd be no Fox Theater. It's property tax money that belongs to cities, and critics argue that Brown is pushing the state's budget problems down to the local level, and trying to suggest an either/or choice between economic development and education. He argues that development projects would proceed without this source of funds, but as local real estate consultant Denise Conley argues, smaller communities are going to have a much harder time getting things done without the public-private partnerships that redevelopment creates. "In communities where there's real economic depression," she says, "redevelopment has a harder row to hoe, and projects just take a lot longer. These cuts could stop projects dead, projects that have been in the works for a decade or more."