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More Redevelopment Agencies Rush to Squirrel Away Funds

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Who knew the Community Redevelopment Agency of LA was such a trendsetter? Following the CRA board's vote last week to try and protect nearly $1 billion of redevelopment projects, numerous other cities are now scrambling to protect their redevelopment funds from being seized by the state. The Press-Telegram reports the Long Beach City Council will consider a motion to squirrel away $1.2 billion in redevelopment funds tonight, while a meeting to discuss preserving redevelopment funds will also be held tonight by the Pasadena City Council. Additionally, in the last 72 hours, the cities of Fremont and Citrus Heights moved to authorize millions for redevelopment projects, while Riverside County will consider the fate of $155 million in redevelopment funds at a meeting today, according to the Sacramento Bee.

"It looks like others are following LA’s lead," Tom Dresslar, spokesman for State Treasurer Bill Lockyer wrote in an email to Curbed, while also calling the CRA-LA vote last week "unfortunate."

"Apparently, [CRA-LA doesn't] think they have a case to make, so they decided to try and create facts on the ground," added Dresslar. "The Governor’s proposal warrants a serious, thoughtful discussion. Let’s have that adult conversation, not needlessly provocative acts of gamesmanship that warp the status quo.”

But John Shirey, Executive Director of the California Redevelopment Association, which represents the state's hundreds of local redevelopment agencies, defended the actions of the CRA-LA. "When the State government threatens local government, which is the case with the proposal to abolish redevelopment," he wrote in an email. "It should not be surprising that local officials would take actions to defend and protect their funding."

In his recently unveiled budget, Governor Brown proposed killing all redevelopment agencies in California by July 1.

The Los Angeles City Council was scheduled to consider the proposed CRA agreement to protect nearly $1 billion worth of development today, but instead put off the vote by a week. The Council is waiting for more information to come out of Sacramento in regards to the proposed budget, according Yusef Robb, spokesperson for City Council President Eric Garcetti, who said specific issues surrounding the budget are "still evolving."

Last week, Jim Dantona, Chief Deputy to CRA CEO Christine Essel, said the CRA's urgency in moving to protect a comprehensive list of CRA projects was prompted by the word that legislation could be introduced to effectively neuter all CRAs immediately, rather than the proposed summer date.

Garcetti spokesman Robb couldn't comment on the specifics of what, if any, legislature is pending, but said any action the City Council might possibly take in regards to the CRA's nearly $1 billion proposed agreement would be "in the interest of protecting the city, and be based on the Sacramento budget situation."

· Long Beach tries to circumvent state redevelopment take-away [Press Telegram]
· Pasadena City Council to hold special meeting on redevelopment [Pasadena Star News]