Redevelopment As We Know It Is Dead

Come to think of it, don't rest in peace...

Yesterday the California State Supreme Court pulled the plug on the scam known as Redevelopment. The agencies that were created under the Health and Welfare Code to eliminate urban blight had taken on lives of their own, of course, and became sinkholes of waste, abusers of eminent domain, handers out of corporate welfare, and implementers of aesthetic fascism.

Good riddance. Despite stout defense by big government addicts like Don Bankhead, Pat McKinley and Dick Jones, the sad truth is that for every paltry “success” of Redevelopment, there have been a hundred failures – failures for which there was no accountability, and no responsibility. The Redevelopment klown kar had no rearview mirrors.

The Court unanimously found that the Legislature does indeed have the power to disband that which it created – common sense to you and me, but a horror-in-the-making to all the lawyers, bond salesmen, grifters, con men, housecoats, no-talent architects, and design Nazis who make their livings off of the property tax increment theft.

What will happen to all the recently approved projects in Fullerton is uncertain, although there is little doubt that McKinley, Bankhead and Jones will try to keep  building over-dense low-income housing for the benefit of their handlers, especially anti-recall team leader, Dick Ackerman.

Nevertheless, the result of the decision is crystal clear: victory for the people of California; defeat for the Unknown Government and its Invisible Empire.

85 Replies to “Redevelopment As We Know It Is Dead”

  1. If we could just get the legislature to stop forcing local governments into collective bargaining, there might actually be a prayer of California backing away from the cliff. Thanks to Chris Norby, Bruce Whitaker and Tony and George Bushala for all of their years of effort and expense in fighting the cancer of redevelopment. Zero thanks to the dozens of self-serving Republicans who supported this big-government phenomenon as it represented a critical conduit to their fundraising efforts.

    1. …the dozens of self-serving Republicans I’m referring to are the Republicans state legislators who voted against the legislation. Obviously there are hundreds, if not thousands of Republicans who have sold out taxpayers for redevelopment across the state….not to let Democrats off the hook, I just have a hard time holding people who admit they believe that government is the solution accountable for their political actions. Not even sure how they actually feed themselves.

      1. “Obviously there are hundreds, if not thousands of Republicans who have sold out taxpayers for redevelopment across the state”

        That doesn’t sound very Republican.

      2. Be careful throwing every Republican or Democrat or Libertarian(etc, etc) in their own homogenous pool, A political party and it’s members don’t summarily describe each individually. Not everybody agrees even within their own party as you know. To bash one political party as a whole is not a way to bring people together for change. I think it is much better to be more specific and name names, rather than parties in general. IMO

        1. Oh, I don’t. Actually I was sort of kidding. I vote undeclared because I couldn’t identify with either party for a long time. I want to make decisions based the person’s record, rather than his or her affiliations.

          1. My post was directed more towards Chris. I should have stated so, this thread layout messes me up sometimes. I agree with you and how you decide whom to vote for, that is exactly as i consider my votes.

  2. According to Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz interviewed in the OC Register:

    “But 20 percent of Fullerton’s $18 million Redevelopment Agency budget is earmarked for affordable housing, Felz said, and how the Supreme Court ruling will impact three proposed affordable housing projects totaling $18 million is unclear. Those projects have already been approved by the City Council pending the outcome of this decision, the city manger said.”

    One of the three projected referred to by Felz is the Ackerman fronted St. Anton Partners project, moved from # 8 of 9 in order of recommended recipients of redevelopment affordable housing funds to the top three by Bankhead, Jones and McKinley. The rental price for units in this “affordable” project? $ 1,200 per month!

    1. affordable housing for whom? and I am sure $1200 month is the starting rate for an affordable studio apartment. If a family of four with a gross income of $40,000 a year wanted an affordable apt. it would cost more than 1200 dollars a month.
      what perplexes me is there are two very large apartment complexes on Gilbert ave. called Cinnamon Ridge and Fullerton Hills that accepts section 8 housing, so there already exists older but well-maintained apartments that are hooked into the welfare system.
      Instead of earmarking 18 million for construction of affordable housing, why not use this money to temporarily aid people in paying rent, buying food, utlities. After all the welfare system was never intended to be a multi-generational lifestyle only a temporary safety net.
      Oh, I answered my own question. If 18 million is diverted away from new apartment construction there is no personal profit or kickbacks gained from this endeavor.

      1. van, you pointy out the obvious; “Instead of earmarking 18 million for construction of affordable housing, why not use this money to temporarily aid people in paying rent, buying food, utilities.” If that were to happen, guys like Dick Ackerman wouldn’t get their hands on our money. That same money goes right back into McKinley, Jones and Blankheads reelections.

      2. Excellent suggestion. We already have an overbuilt housing market here in Fullerton, and I would think if we were in dire straights on being able to immediately house people, that existing apartment/condominium complexes could be purchased for a fraction of the cost that a new complex would cost the taxpayers, and would be available immediately to provide temporary shelter for those families in need.

      3. Van de, just wanted to let you know, that in community planning and economic jargon, the multi-million dollar houses are and can be considered “affordable housing”.

  3. and I pray the scum that personally fed off of redevelopment funds do not appeal the decision made by this court. One immediate result of the court’s decision is it may eliminate those aspiring politicians who see personal financial reward for becoming a fullerton civic leader

    1. and keeping with popular opinion, finding alternatives to new construction of “affordable” housing would be a “green” approach to solving the problem of homelessness within our community.

  4. Montebello, Ca is in trouble because of Redevelopment money and now has to pay it pack. They put a lot of into the general fund. Now they got caught, and so will other cities.

    We can’t let this greed go unchecked. There needs to be consequences to all these shenanigans. Hence, the RECALL.

  5. No more Potemkin downtowns! (I hope.)

    As for affordable housing, we have plenty of that already in places that accept Section 8 people–rental signs everywhere.

    Give the money back to the taxpayers. It’s ours to begin with!

  6. I just read that due to consolidation Felz is in charge of Redevelopment. But wait! If Redevelopment is no more shouldn’t Felz be giving some of that $212,000 back?

      1. I must be petty, but holding routine city council meetings is a major aspect of representative government. So why the blase attitude about canceling these same meetings/our voice in municipal government?

  7. We need to clean house and get some people in those chairs that know how to create wealth, not steal it and squander it. Those that create wealth, create jobs and general prosperity for all involved. I cannot wait for the elections. This ruling, while not fully teethed, is a step in the right direction. We have a long way to go but now the candle is burning at both ends on this parasitic system. The fat will soon be all the wick will have to siphon and at that point these eukaryotic parasites will starve to death.

    1. Nuh uh. We need to get people in those chairs who can manage the City within the means at their disposal. Leave wealth creation to the private sector.

      1. I agree to an extent. What was I was trying to convey is that those that know how to create wealth are the most inclined to run the government like a business and in so doing allow market forces and reality based ideas to guide the direction of the city government along the lines of efficiency and productivity. I have seen enough boondoggles in my time in Fullerton and with a billion dollars every four years running through those coffers, we need some cerebral individials at the helm. What we have at almost all levels of city government, trustees and the like, are nothing more than crony minded entitlement mentality lackeys that waste our hard earned money on themselves and their white elephants. This has to stop. Those chairs are where it needs to begin.

        1. There I must respectfully disagree with you. Government is not a business and can’t be run like one.

          Businesses make profits an suffer losses. The very terminology of business is ill-suited to government.

          What is needed are skeptical leaders who realize that government tends to grow and tends to become ever more unaccountable for its actions. As it accretes power it becomes more abusive, sometimes unintentionally, sometimes otherwise.

          Cerebral individuals are fine – so long as they cerebrate about the right things.

          1. Joe, I agree with your opinion that our town’s government has devolved into a self-serving entity instead of representing the interests of its constituents. a glaring example of this is the six million tax payer dollars spent on moving a private franchise a few feet from its original site.
            this misuse of tax dollars and numerous others by our chronic civic leaders highlights their lack of intelligence/wisdom.
            Voter apathy not Bankhead, Jones, Keller, McKinley ‘s qualifications gave rise to their personal control over our tax dollars. and this raises a bigger question, who did push for these morally bereft individuals into public office?

    2. Wealth creation is like pumping heroin in the arm of a adict to get him well.The best way to create wealth is by learning to manage it from the bottom up, not by experimenting with someone elses.

  8. They will waste our money from redevelopment on other useless porkbarrel projects….like our useless law enforcment.

    1. Great idea Vernon! Count me in. I’d love to be the one that personally tells the three stooges cover up artist, and recent Pat McKinley political appointee, Larry “the political Lackey” Bennett, that his days are numbered as the Fullerton Planning Commissioner, and that his ilk are persona non gratis here in Fullerton, and to go back to being a smarmy Financial Consultant for his fellow parasitic Rotarians.

  9. Thanks for sharing RDA abuse in Fullerton. What most readers may not realize is that these agencies issue mulkti million in bond debt without voter approval.

    If you have a hard hat consider driving down to Mission Viejo ,the poster child of redevelopment abuse.

    Wishing the FFF blog team a safe and prosperous New Year.

  10. Larry,

    We north county residents are very concerned about the rampant “blight” in your master-planned community of Mission Viejo. Is it true that without redevelopment you may soon be consigned to third-world conditions?

    1. I think this quote from the OC Register about Mission Viejo’s Redevelopment plans says it all:

      “In Mission Viejo, the court’s ruling will delay completion of a project to widen about one mile of Oso Parkway from the I-5 to Country Club Drive, which is partly funded by redevelopment dollars, according to City Manager Dennis Wilberg.”

      Will no one stand up for the golfers?

  11. I did not see a date as to when the RDA is not a functional entity.
    Does this mean that when the Gov. signed the bill into law that RDA managers and staff are no longer employees and will not received any compensation as of that date?
    If the RDA no longer exists, does this mean that the City Council cannot adjourn and reconvene as the RDA directors?
    Does this mean that all RDA records and minutes of meetings must be made public ?
    Has a call been made by the City Council for an emergency meeting for the purpose of ordering the city manager and the RDA manager to NOT destroy any records and to limit the access of RDA staff to the premises?

    1. All that is still in limbo. Brown can just grab the money for other stuff now. At least the unions will be happy. Corzine grabbed the segregated accounts and Brown will grab the RDA accounts and I wonder whose accounts will be next?

  12. Can somebody make a huge piñata to resemble one of Fullerton’s failed RDA projects for people to take swings at on the lawn of City Hall? Fill the piñata full of Snickers candy to symbolize our sentiments. LOL

  13. Yeah Vernon D. thats a great idea and I’d put some $$ into it.
    We may have a problem with protestors in trying to give away those UNhealthy Snicker bars.
    Same people have pretty much layed the school lunch program to the garbage can.
    Victims of the adverse consequences of good intentions.

  14. This is a huge victory, boudly so because the court said a compromise, revenue sharing version, call it ‘redevelopment lite’, was unconstitutional. So, redevelopment is good and dead

    As an aside I love the fact that fiddling Neros like Rob Zur Schmiede (ex Fullerton redevelopment agency and all around bad guy) finding themselves unemployed.

  15. Pinata with Snickers – I love it! lol This is shaping up to be a good party. Might I suggest Laughing Cow cheese and crackers? Should the three want to attend, I’ll bring black pudding and mountain oysters just for them! Ick and then some but shows clearly what I think of them.

  16. Exhume the body, for autopsy, in the name of science, and community. Since towns are bankrupt, not just financially.

  17. This is just the tip of the iceberg.


    California city abusing public assets, funds-state

    “The city may have to pay back nearly $1.3 million in misused federal Housing and Urban Development funding.

    A businessman sued Montebello earlier this year, saying it illegally borrowed up to $19 million from the redevelopment agency. At the same time, city employees began uncovering off-the-book bank accounts and officials projected a $2 million deficit in its $45 million general fund budget, according to the Los Angeles Times.”

    1. again, thank you Jane for showing how redevelopment funds only constructed widespread corruption at the municipal level of government.
      As an aside, I find it amusing how civil servants have extreme difficulty telling corrupt officials the truth evidenced by the chief of California’s audits division,Jeffrey Brownfield “As a result of the significant control deficiencies, the potential for waste, fraud, and abuse of public resources is extremely high,” .
      Translation is the tax paying public can’t trust their elected city council persons to use tax dollars to benefit the community. Unless closely watched, city council persons will divert tax dollars from needed municipal infrastructure into their personal bank accounts to buy political influence or just to have a good time at the tax payers expense.
      and all this time I thought the thousands of dollars spent by our individual city council persons for a week-end in Long Beach to attend the league of cities annual or semi-annual was to benefit the tax payer who struggles to pay their mortgage or rent every month.

      1. Has anyone ever noticed that redevelopment projects take place mostly take place around city hall and the homes of city politicians? The true blighted areas go untouched. Long Beach and Norwalk are perfect evidence of such corruption!

        1. Very true statement. The question is, what is happening to the rest of Fullerton? Only the hills and DTF are being addressed. West Fullerton really needs to be addressed.

  18. and all this time I thought the thousands of dollars spent by our individual city council persons for a week-end in Long Beach to attend the league of cities annual or semi-annual bash was to benefit the tax payer who struggles to pay their mortgage or rent every month.

  19. If $10 million was spent on physical renovations for fullerton library, it is a well-kept secret as there seems to be little physical improvement of this building. There must exist a legal document that shows what was renovated and at what cost to the tax payers. How would I find this and other like documents?

    1. They expanded it by building 2-3 meeting rooms, which I think they charge a fee to use, and a coffee bar which I have never seen in use. Guess they can’t afford the employees to staff it.

      I don’t think they bought any new books which, IMO, is what I want from a library. But that’s just me.

  20. Another choice quote from the LA Times today:

    “”What we know going in is redevelopment … probably needs to change,” said Jim Kennedy, the interim executive director of the California Redevelopment Assn., which filed the lawsuit that led to the program’s demise.”

  21. From a couple days ago LA Times – love this quote (kinda says it all):

    Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky said redevelopment over the years “evolved into a honey pot that was tapped to underwrite billions of dollars worth of commercial and other for-profit projects.”

    The projects “had nothing to do with reversing blight, but everything to do with subsidizing private real estate ventures that otherwise made no economic sense,” Yaroslavsky said.

  22. By law, every city is required to have a “city general plan” and by law it is by law required to be updated every 20 years.

  23. Who benefits from redevelopment? Look to your city council and all involved in redevelopment, architects, contractors, redevelopment agencies all are getting our money no matter you live in. Cdbg grants are frought with corruption as well. No accounting as to what lowlifer is getting the free subsidy from H U D.

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