You'll recall that Governor Jerry Brown decided last year that one thing he could probably pretty easily kill off, and net a few billion dollars in the state budget without the public caring very much, was redevelopment. No one knows what it is! There are 400 redevelopment agencies in cities across the state which for over 60 years have used a complicated methodology of collecting property tax surpluses to help finance development projects in blighted areas, and to build affordable housing. These departments, typically housed within city governments, have a February 1 deadline to dissolve themselves, and in places like Oakland which used redevelopment money to fund various salaries in other departments (and on the City Council), this could mean laying off hundreds of people.
In total, Brown projected that the nixing of redevelopment would save the state $5 billion a year (this remains unclear), and it's an easy political win to say you're taking this money out of the hands of developers and giving to education.
But as the Chron discusses today, "Killing off a multibillion-dollar program is a messy, unprecedented process," and cities have been freaking out for months over this, hoping to win an appeal back in December at the California Supreme Court, declaring Brown's decision illegal. They lost. Now, because no one was really prepared to cut these programs altogether, lawmakers are trying to pass something before February that will give the agencies a grace period until April 15 to figure their shit out, and, if necessary, give some redevelopment people jobs within other areas of government, like planning and economic development. But it remains uncertain whether that new legislation will pass in time.
A few really big projects got rammed through the approvals process last year as word of Brown's intentions got out, like one at Oyster Point in South San Francisco, and a dozen or so down in LA that had been languishing in the EIR process (any projects that were approved and had money tied to them will be allowed to proceed and keep that money).
The Board of Supervisors is mulling a proposal to assume the debts and obligations of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency under the aegis of the city, including transferring some employees to its payroll in order to administer all the projects that remain ongoing Mission Bay, Transbay, etc. but it's unclear who exactly will keep their jobs, and for how long. (If you want some background about redevelopment's impacts in San Francisco, see our earlier report here.) Anyway, it's a sad month to be a bureaucrat. Try to be nice to them.
PREVIOUSLY: Will the Redevelopment Cuts Stand, and Are They Legal?