Monday, January 10, 2011

Redevelopment Agencies Sac'd

Monday, Governor Brown did what many had suspected, he pushed for the abolishment of the state's 400 redevelopment agencies. Clearly, this would have far-reaching implications for Californian cities. As San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed told the Mercury, "The governor appears not to understand how job creation and job growth happen at the local level, because he is preparing to take away the most important tools we have." Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was equally adamant. He told the Los Angeles Times that his city would do its part but "any scenario that would completely eliminate the redevelopment zones ... is a non-starter." Indeed, if Brown gets his way this summer, his plan could could have a devastating effect on a number of projects around the state, from transit villages to convention centers to road improvements.

So, where does this leave San Jose and its efforts to build Cisco Field?

First, keep in mind that just how the governor will do this is unclear, especially in light of the recently passed Prop. 22; that proposition prohibits Sacramento from raiding the funds of local municipalities. Additionally, San Jose has already pledged to fight the governor and, at least at this point, it seems unlikely that Brown's target date of July is feasible.

As for the remaining parcels surrounding the proposed Cisco Field, the SJRDA announced last week that it would sell some of its properties to pay for the remaining land. And should even that fall through, A's owner Lew Wolff would likely step in to buy the remaining property himself. In short, San Jose remains in a strong position to land the A'sregardless of Sacramento's antics.

The same cannot be said of Oakland, who only recently got serious about keeping the A's; that city just began its own EIR (a one-to-two year process) and has purchased none of the dozens of properties in its ballpark plan. As NBC Bay Area's Mike Anderson put it, "In December, the Oakland city council approved spending $750,000 on an environmental impact study for a 39,000-seat stadium at Victory Square ... The move kept Oakland in the game as an option, but the study might be as far as the city gets." The East Bay Express' Robert Gammon agrees.

So, stay the course, Silicon Valley. You're closer than you think to the San Jose A's.

You're up to bat, San Jose!

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