Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 5, 2012

Redev dead

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

At the end of last year the Supreme Court released a decision in the Redevelopment case, background on that from the Wall Street Journal:

The ruling comes after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a pair of bills passed by state legislators over the summer. The first called for the elimination of redevelopment agencies, while the second allowed individual agencies to stay open if they made payments to the state.

The California Redevelopment Association, a group representing redevelopment agencies, and others quickly sued the state, arguing that both laws violated a voter-approved ballot measure from 2010 that bars the state from taking funds such as redevelopment money.

The Court upheld the ability of the legislature to dissolve redevelopment agencies, but invalidated the part of the legislation that would allow redevelopment agencies to exist as long as they paid to play, so to speak.

Redevelopment, while not huge in Alameda, has played a significant role in the past in projects such as the Alameda Theatre, Webster and Park Street revitalization, and of course, the Bayport development. There are other things, but those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

So how does this affect Alameda? Well first off, the Community Improvement Commission (CIC) which is the Alameda body that oversees redevelopment in Alameda, essentially comprised of the City Council members, will have to disband and choose a successor agency. No surprise that they selected the City Council to be that successor agency and the Housing Authority to take over the Housing portion of the CIC duties — mostly dealing with low income housing. Of course the Housing Board of Commissioners is also comprised of, yes the City Council, and one additional citizen as well.

City staff has put together a quickie overview here to go with the last minute resolution that had to be hurried through in advance of some of the deadlines looming with the Supreme Court decision. According to Staff, the CIC will fully dissolve by February 1.

Something you may be wondering is how many staff will be affected by the redevelopment agency going away, well the good thing is that there are only three full-time equivalent staff that have salaries that are paid out from the CIC funds. At Tuesday night’s meeting the City Manager noted that Alameda is in a much better position than a lot of other cities which have used redevelopment funding to pay for a lot more staff and portions of staff time which will make this process a lot more difficult when trying to separate the different pots of money.

It will be interesting to see what happens when all the redevelopment debt is paid off in Alameda. One of the big annoyances about redevelopment — in Alameda at least — was that the redevelopment areas were in a consistent state of renewal. When redevelopment areas — which in theory have a finite life span — were on the cusp of expiring, they would be combined with other redevelopment areas and their lifespans would be extended. I have a few questions floating out there for City Staff and as soon as I get the answers, I’ll post them here.

Understandably the City Council and other local — not counties though — agencies are a little miffed by this development in the redevelopment scheme given that redevelopment has been one of the main tools that cities have used to spur development within its borders. Some Sacramento watchers have suggested that the legislature may come back with another “pay to play” alternative that will severely restrict redevelopment, but bring it back to its original purpose, to eliminate blight, but in the mean time Alameda will have to continue down the path of winding down its redevelopment program, which will make developing Alameda Point reliant on private dollars moving forward.



  1. Wouldn’t it be fair to say that cities have used redevelopment funds as a cash pot for pet projects which have nothing to do with removing urban blight- the original purpose?

    Comment by Really? — January 5, 2012 @ 6:32 am

  2. If you the read the ruling it is clear that when Prop 13 passed cities, counties and school districts lost local control of local revenues to support local governance. Since the 70s, some cities abused the use of redevelopment funding to recapture local property taxes. In hindisght it would have been smarter for the Legislature to have changed the regulations of redevelopment after Prop 13 to prevent the abuses of the old redevelopment process.

    Moving forward with the current taxation structure unable to pay for schools, prisons and health/human services, the Governor and the Legislature are forcing cities, counties and school districts to make difficult choices. CA Forward is a group that has proposed a framework for dealing with the issue of distribution of government revenues (taxes) and local control

    Comment by Mike McMahon — January 5, 2012 @ 7:35 am

  3. I think that this is the situation of “don’t hate the player hate the game.” There are a lot of legitimate projects, there are a lot of boondoggles if you look at Redevelopment as a whole. Cities have been grappling with a shrinking pot of money — blame it on Prop 13, whatever you want — so they took what they could under the system that was available to them. Not that I care too much about football, but I think the Santa Clara stadium could fall under the boondoggle category and certainly the Redevelopment takeaway will be a huge wrench in the plans.

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 5, 2012 @ 7:40 am

  4. — blame it on Prop 13, whatever you want —

    Okay, I’ll bite. The cause of California’s ‘shrinking pot of money’, which, by the way isn’t shrinking (GDP CA 2010 = 1.9 Trillion, 2011 = 1.96 Trillion, 2012 = 2.05 Trillion [projected], 2014 = 2.30 Trillion [projected]) is not Prop 13,

    It’s like the dot com heyday spending that took place by the California politicians during flush times and continued through the lean times. It’s currently lean times and the more the state legislature piles more regulations and roadblocks to do business in this state the more difficult it will be to escape the lean times.

    McMahon’s comment about cafwd doesn’t give me much confidence. I would suggest cafwd move forward by promoting the shortening of legislative sessions in Sacramento to two weeks per year, for a start.

    Comment by Jack Richard — January 5, 2012 @ 8:45 am

  5. Unfortunately the current taxation structure does not tax the fastest growing segment of the CA GDP which is services. Ideally, a new taxation schedule would spread the abillity to generate revenues across the broadest base with the objective of minimizes the volatility of the total amount of revenues collected.

    For example in 2007 total tax collections for the State was $111.7 billion. In 2008 the total tax collections were $95.1 billion. The 2011 estimated amount for total tax collection is $108.5 billion.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — January 5, 2012 @ 11:50 am

  6. And now for something completely bizzare that runs contray to a comment about shortening legislative sessions, there is an initiative to increase the Legislature by 100 fold. That is not a typo. The initiative woudl created Assembly districts for every 5000 residents.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — January 5, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  7. Mike, the surest way to stop the growing of the fastest growing industry in CA is to tax it. So, I’m sure the sticky fingers of the legislature will soon add the service industry to their game bag.

    Comment by Jack Richard — January 5, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

  8. Any Services that can be done from another State will probably Move and cripple the ones that are forced to Stay and drive up the prices. So would one look to hire an accountant in Nevada now. I know many attorneys are having trouble keeping their offices open, and most work can be done over the phone and thru Email. Were big on Consultants here in Alameda. Wonder if they will move their offices out of State also.

    Comment by John — January 5, 2012 @ 7:16 pm

  9. I understand the mentality that the best way to control the size of government is to constrict the amount of money it collects. On the other hand, as world evolves and new forms of commerce emerge the tax code needs to be revisited. How many brick and mortar business are struggling because online sellers like Amazon do not collect sales tax?

    Comment by Mike McMahon — January 6, 2012 @ 7:35 am

  10. Bricks and Mortar are struggling do to the State of the Economy as most business are. Especially small business. People are going out of state for the same reason they will on services ,

    Comment by John — January 6, 2012 @ 8:17 am

  11. Manufactures have left the State for what reason…..To Compete… because they Can’t do it in California. Has anyone read in last 10 years any major Corporations say lets move all our operations to California because of all it’s advantages. That use to be common place. Now it’s the Exception.

    Comment by John — January 6, 2012 @ 8:26 am

  12. The Golden State of Failures? California’s Small Business Failure Rate is 69% Higher than National Average

    According to Dun & Bradstreet’s report which looked at 23 million U.S small businesses, California came up at the top when it comes to the highest rate of small business failures. California’s small business failures came in at 69% higher than the national average of failures with Nevada in second place at 65%. New Hampshire came in at 38%, Tennessee at 36% and Colorado at 33% respectively.

    Comment by John — January 6, 2012 @ 8:37 am

  13. 9. Amazon is not a California based business. Why should they be burdened with collecting taxes for states other than the one they’re based in? By the same logic, if I’m traveling and spend money in Oregon (for instance), should Oregon be required to collect the California tax and remit those taxes to the state I live in (since I live in California)?

    Comment by Jack Richard — January 6, 2012 @ 9:05 am

  14. Jack

    I hope you paid your Sales Tax on that Hong Kong Shirt you bought in China. On your Next trip No More Untaxed Massages.

    Comment by John — January 6, 2012 @ 9:23 am

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