Cities fighting to keep local redevelopment funds

A lawsuit has been filed to keep the state from raiding local redevelopment funds.

The “League of California Cities” has gone directly to State Supreme Court to prevent the Governor and the legislature from confiscating local dollars.

As part of this suit, the League and the California Redevelopment Association are asking the court to put everything on hold until the court can rule on the merits of this lawsuit.

The merits will show that the voters have twice amended the constitution to prevent these types of state raids. The latest was Prop 22 last November.

But, the Governor wants that money for his budget so language was added to allow the state to raid these dollars no matter what the courts do.

There are two poison pills in this legislation. One would attempt to force the cities to make these payments to the state even if the supreme court ruled this legislation is unconstitutional.

The language allows the cities to keep their redevelopment agencies if they send a part of those redevelopment dollars to the state.

For San Diego, that's $70 million next year and $16 million every year thereafter.

The second poison pill says a city must dissolve its redevelopment agencies with not a chance of keeping them if they join this lawsuit.

Some call this extortion, others a ransom.

“This is more than ransom. Jesse James used a gun when he robbed people. Believe me this is a gun at the head of each and every one of our communities,” said National City Mayor Ron Morrison.

“What they're saying is not only are we sticking a gun to your head, and taking your money, but if you try to fight at all then we're taking away your ability to do anything locally. It is the most arrogant piece of legislation I've ever seen,” said Mayor Jerry Sanders.

It sort of turns the justice system on its head.

You can win the lawsuit, yet you're still being punished for overturning an illegal law.

To La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid, this is 121 elected officials in Sacramento who have no regard for the people who elected them.

“That's 120 legislators, and the Governor, who could care less about the will of 38 million people,” Mayor Madrid said.

City officials across the state have to live within their means, saying the state government needs to do the same by doing what cities are doing, embracing reforms.

“They cannot balance their budget on the backs of local neighborhoods. They need to take the reform measures that we are doing in every single municipality to get control over their budget, not steal our local tax dollars,” said City Councilman Kevin Faulconer.

“Because the state can't manage its budget our neighborhoods will suffer with their attempted extortion in taking money from us,” Mayor Sanders said.

The reason for the stay is to allow redevelopment agencies time to process their payments to the state. First payments are due in Early October.

Categories: KUSI