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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

Redevelopment Monster Is Aliveeee!

Like the Creature of the Walking Dead, a diabolical scientist with an unquenchable thirst for blood, California redevelopment agencies are also back from the dead. Redevelopment was developed in the 1970’s to fight urban blight, but quickly transformed into a corrupt scheme to divert county and state taxes to cities. What could possibly be wrong with “urban-renewal agencies” which float massive debt and routinely misuse eminent domain to seize private property? Ahem. But I digress.

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Katy Grimes

Sacramento Arena Deal About Power and Politics

This is Part ll; Part lSacramento Arena Deal Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over

Sacramento has spent 13 years trying to build a publicly funded sports arena, with Mayor Kevin Johnson and Sacramento Sen. Darrell Steinberg involved every step of the way. Called arich-people’s playpen,local citizens will be forced to pay an hefty price for a new arena for the Kings, in order to keep them from leaving, of which the Sacramento City Council voted 7-2, to pay two-thirds of the cost.

The arena has been pushed Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star. But many say he acts as he was elected mayor of the Sacramento Kings.

Lawsuits galore

While the other lawsuits against the city hit bumps in the road over the arena scheme, a taxpayers’ case against the city will go forward.

The reason this story is front and center in Sacramento, is because Johnson has Measure L on the November ballot.

“The Checks and Balances ActRead More

Katy Grimes

Sacramento Arena Deal Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over

“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” Lenny Kravitz crooned in the 1990’s. And so goes Sacramento’s publicly subsidized arena deal.

The group of 12 citizens who sued the city under the California Environmental Quality Act, were handed another disappointment last week. Judge Timothy Frawley Friday rejected a pair of environmental lawsuits filed by the citizens over the Sacramento Kings’ new downtown arena.

However, an appeal may keep the environmental issues alive.

The group, led by retired Caltrans director Adriana GianturcoSaltonstall, had filed a notice of appeal seeking to overturn a judge’s refusal to grant an injunction halting construction of the planned Kings arena.

Gianturco wasthen-new-Gov. Jerry Brown’s1976 pick for director of the California Department of Transportation, often referred to as “Our Lady of the Diamond… Read More

Katy Grimes

Sacramento arena: A ‘Field of Schemes’

Sacramento officials have lost all ability to reason, and instead are letting emotions and delusions of grandeur drive their decision over a downtown sports arena.

Arenas are nothing more that fields of schemes, and the joke is on taxpayers. And Sacramento is hardly a bastion of economic splendor. Despite some of the highest unemployment in the country, escalating business closures, widespread home foreclosures and short sales, and declining tax revenue, arena talks are all the rage in Sacramento.

Judith Grant Long’s data on full public cost of stadiums and arenas is groundbreaking. “Where most ‘stadium cost’ charts just rely on self-reporting by teams, Harvard researcher Long has actually attempted to calculate the public and private costs of every major-league stadium and arena in North America, including hidden subsidies like free land, lease breaks, and tax exemptions,” Field of Schemes Neil deMause wrote.

It’s as if the Mayor is so enamored of the idea of driving away from the car dealership in a new Maserati, he’s forgotten he can’t afford… Read More

Jon Fleischman

GOP Legislators Honored For Votes To Abolish Redevelopment Agencies

The Family Action PAC is one of California’s most prominent conservative donor organizations. Founded years ago in Orange County as a ideologically conservative counter-point to the New Majority, the FAP has long worked hard to elect conservatives to office at the state and local levels.

FR readers know that during this latest state budget debate, there was a lot of controversy within GOP ranks over whether to support legislation that would abolish RDA’s — this legislation was tied to other legislation that would allow RDA’s to continue to exist if they paid money from their plush bank accounts into the state’s needy coffers.

It was clear to me and many other conservatives that any solid legislation that would impair, hamper, or abolish RDAs — is a welcome idea. As I have said, Redevelopment Agencies may have started with a good idea in mind, but they have become a good old boys network of redistributing money through taxes into local development projects, typically being awarded to friends and political contributors of local city council members (who conveniently are the members of the city redevelopment… Read More