California’s Redevelopment Agencies had grand plans just a couple of days ago. Now, these agencies, their employees, and the people they serve are facing weeks and months of work just to continue to survive.

That’s because on Monday, Governor Brown proposed a budget that would dissolve all redevelopment agencies by July. Enterprise zones would cease to exist. 

It is a proposition that has some crying foul, and others calling it justice. Either way, the future of Redevelopment agencies is just one example of the give-and-take negotiation that will become the trademark of this wild budget season.

Using various articles from across the state, this article will provide some insight into how different agencies, people, and decision makers view the potential changes.

Take for example, John Shirey, who is the Executive Director of the California Redevelopment Association. It is fairly easy to see why his has already begun a passionate argument against the Governor’s proposal. 

If Redevelopment Agencies cease to exist, it will significantly reduce the number of members of his organization. But his arguments don’t center on the future of the Association. Instead, he’s concerned with the administration’s dismissal of the value that redevelopment brings to localities.

In an article from the Long Beach Post, Shirey, the former Long Beach Deputy City Manager says:

“Redevelopment contributes tens of billions of dollars to our economy and is responsible for more than $2 billion in state and local taxes each year. It makes no sense to kill this economic engine.”

Read that full article here.

Or take for instance the statements made by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher. To the Urban Land Institute, he called the Governor’s plan short sighted, and all but accused the administration of making an end-run around Prop 22. It’s an accusation that the Governor’s own staff admits to.

In the article from the San Diego Union Tribune, Fletcher and others took turns denouncing the Governor’s approach:

“It was reaction one might expect from a crowd that largely if not uniformly believes the disbanding of the Centre City Development Corp. and other local redevelopment agencies would be a mistake.”

They disagree with the claim made in the Governor’s budget proposal that says that:

“As part of the determination of which level of government is best equipped to provide what service, it became clear that the state’s investment in local economic development and redevelopment agencies is less critical than other activities.”

Read that full article here.

Garden Grove disagrees with that claim. Being in the greater Anaheim area, and with the potential to attract huge dollars from tourists going to Disneyland, Garden Grove used its Redevelopment program to attract newer and better hotels.

The OC Register’s article discusses different perceptions of Garden Grove’s redevelopment activities:

“Matt Fertal, city manager of Garden Grove, said he is tired of the state passing on its financial problems to cities. Garden Grove has spent significant redevelopment funds over the last decade to bring hotels, restaurants and retail outlets to Harbor Boulevard, he said.

“Whenever the state has a budget issue, they immediately go for the low-hanging fruit and raid the redevelopment agencies,” he said.

In Garden Grove, redevelopment funds have been used to purchase buildings such as the Fire Station Motel and more recently, The Humdinger Bar, to remove blight and bring in more thriving businesses to benefit the community, Fertal said. A 600-room water park hotel resort has been planned for those properties on Harbor.

You can read that article here.

In at least one city, however, efforts to create a new enterprise zone continue unabated. Tuesday evening, the Stockton city council was scheduled to vote on expanding the San Joaquin County Enterprise Zone boundaries.

The Central Valley Business Times has that story here.

When it is all sorted out, it will be interesting to see how much or little of the Governor’s proposal to eliminate RDAs sticks.

But until then, their future remains tenuous.