The fight over redevelopment in California is still far from finished, but Democratic lawmakers on a key state legislative committee took a step that could hurry the death knell along yesterday. The conference committee voted to approve the governor's proposed budget that cuts Adult Day Care, limits doctor's visits for the poor, and kills redevelopment agencies in cities across the state. They took the added step of sending the budget along for a vote by the full Legislature, which could happen as early as Wednesday, months ahead of schedule. The plan also include $14 billion in new taxes.
They didn't make the move lightly, however. Says Los Angeles Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, making a pop culture reference necessary to his part of the world, "I'm so far out of my comfort zone I feel like Charlie Sheen at a rehab clinic."
Meanwhile Oakland's City Council made an end run last night to commit tens of millions of redevelopment dollars to already approved projects, and to sell some property, like the Oakland Army Base, back to the city to maintain control of it in case the Redevelopment Agency is dissolved.
While state lawmakers promised to "work to create a mechanism for local governments to have their own similar [redevelopment] agencies that wouldn't siphon property tax dollars from counties and cities," cities are prepared to battle this out in court. As we mentioned earlier, Brown's dramatic cuts tread into a gray area, legally, and cities are prepared to question whether the all-out death of redevelopment is even constitutional.