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Los Angeles City Council members at a meeting in 2010.
A California state law passed last year requires the elimination of community redevelopment agencies by Feb. 1, and the tax dollars that fund those agencies will revert to the cash-strapped state. Like a lot of cities, Los Angeles had the option of taking over the shutdown of its local agency, but on Wednesday, the City Council voted not to.
No council member really wanted to cut ties with the CRA, but the alternative was just too costly: more than $100 million in expenses, city officials warned, and potential legal face-offs with developers and unions alike.
David Bloom, a spokesman for the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles, was stoic.
"The City Council, despite its great affection for the agency and the work that it’s done over many years in their districts, the substantial uncertainties — financial, legal and other — led them to vote to not take on the task," Bloom said.
The shutdown of the agency puts dozens of redevelopment projects in jeopardy, including the mayor's clean-tech business incubator east of downtown, the renovation of the Westlake and Watts-Star theaters and hundreds of units of affordable housing.