Redistricting Agencies in California are dead. For some time there will continue to be some stories about the death-throes, since unwinding these agencies is a complex process.
That having been said, I just wanted to remind FlashReport readers that the end of the redevelopment era in California is a good thing, and we should all be very happy about it.
You see in a great many cases, Redevelopment Agencies had been primary violators of the private property rights of Americans. Using the government’s power of eminent domain, private property would be seized by many of these agencies not for widening a road, or laying down a railroad track, but because politicians preferred some other use for the land than that being carried out by the existing owner.
Redevelopment Agencies were also a magnet for crony capitalism. And by that I mean that local politicians would get into the practice of using redevelopment funds to benefit specific businesses and companies, who would then, in turn, help out the politicians. And when I say “helping out” — that came in various forms ranging from the “taking” of someone’s property to make it available to the well-connected developer, to outright subsidies with public funds to those “friends” they are helping out. Add to it the cronyism of all of the “consultants” in the process making money, and even in some cases the cronyism of who was hired to work at the Redevelopment Agencies themselves.
By the way, it is significant to note that not every Redevelopment Agency abused property rights, or participated in crony capitalism. That said, almost all of them either overtly assisted (or covertly through funding of groups like the California Redevelopment Agency) in killing a statewide ballot measure that would have really clamped down on the abuse.
It was very disappointing to see so many Republican legislators in Sacramento oppose the end of Redevelopment Agencies. To those folks I would remind them that our goal should be to provide a level playing field for all business to thrive, but not to use government to create carve-outs or special favor for specific businesses. Here’s a good read.