The Los Angeles City Council today rushed to lock up more than $1 billion in local redevelopment money to keep it out of the state’s hands. Lawmakers in Sacramento could vote as early as this week to eliminate redevelopment agencies - and shift their tax dollars back into the state’s coffers.
The council had little time to consider the massive transfer of funds proposed by the mayor’s redevelopment appointees, as Councilman Paul Krekorian pointed out.
“I received this at ten minutes to five last night to consider for a vote today,” Krekorian said.
Krekorian and Councilman Greig Smith said the council should take more time to review dozens of property transfers and new redevelopment projects that involve hundreds of millions of dollars. Councilman Herb Wesson said the details didn’t matter, for the time being.
“The most important thing that we do today is to encumber our assets," Wesson said. "Those assets belong to us and the people of Los Angeles.”
The council’s vote thwarts Governor Brown’s efforts to help close the state budget deficit using redevelopment funds – although legal battles over the money are likely.
A state controller’s audit released this week found that many redevelopment agencies lack transparency and accountability, and that projects don’t always fight blight or create jobs as promised.