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Mayor Villaraigosa, CRA Head Essel Speak Out Against Plan to Shut Redevelopment Agencies

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What can Brown do for you? If you're the CRA, he can take your money and shut you down. Under Gov. Jerry Brown's new budget, all 425 state redevelopment agencies, including Los Angeles' Community Redevelopment Agency, would shut down July 1st. Stating billions of dollars in property tax revenues are lost to subsidize redevelopment, Brown's budget looks to shift that revenue to schools, counties, and core city services.

The proposal has the backing of critics like Assemblyman Chris Norby, R-Fullerton, who praised Brown for taking on "a playground for bureaucrats, planners and politically connected developers who prefer profits from the public trough rather than the free market," according to the Sac Bee.

Late this afternoon, both Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Chris Essel, CEO of Community Redevelopment Agency-Los Angeles, came out strongly against the proposal. While saying his office was still reviewing the entire budget, Mayor Villaraigosa criticized the redevelopment plan in a statement, saying that "Los Angeles is prepared to shoulder its fair share of the responsibility, but any scenario that would completely eliminate the Redevelopment Zones and State Enterprise Zones is a non-starter."

Christine Essel, CEO of CRA/LA, an agency which has funded projects from Hollywood to Pacoima, said that “Governor Brown is proposing to dismantle an economic tool that has a 60-year track record of success in creating jobs and stimulating economic activity across the state."

As part of his budget, Brown is also seeking a constitutional amendment that would allow local areas to vote--a 55 percent majority would be needed--whether to tax their jurisdictions for redevelopment.

More details and coverage from the California Planning & Development Report, the Sacramento Bee, and the Mercury News. (Pictured: The CRA's offices in Hollywood are housed on Sunset Blvd. Shot taken before Sign King Mike McNeilly's flashy supergraphics came down.[Curbed Staff]