If you ever want to be able to read every single newspaper article dealing with the affairs of California all in one place, and on a daily basis, you need to go to a site called TotalCapitol. One of the really cool things they do there is rate the amount of hits these articles are getting, and then send the most popular to the top of the vast heap of daily news items they host. The feature is called "Top News & Opinion," and it is about as complete a sensory overload of Golden State political and governmental minutia as you could ever hope for.
Now last Friday an Orange County Register opinion piece by Steven Greenhut lingered at the top of the Total Capitol news article heap for the entire day. The reason being that it was generating hits o' plenty on the internet. Entitled "Grab that redevelopment cash," the column made the rather contrarian claim that when the State Legislature glommed up all that redevo-dough, it didn't just do a good thing, it also accomplished about the only really positive bit of work Sacramento has done in a while. That is, and in true Robin Hood style, robbed the grubby well-to-do and gave the money to the deserving poor.
I'm going to quote a few passages for you. See if you don't agree.
Few things are more ironic, and infuriatingly funny, than listening to California's notoriously ham-fisted redevelopment agencies complain about the state's "theft" of redevelopment funds. Last week, California cities had to comply with a Sacramento Superior Court judge's ruling requiring them to make the first of two payments transferring a total of $2.05 billion to the state over the next two years.
We heard whining, weeping and gnashing of teeth. "They have stolen more than $6 million from the city of Vista," said that city's Councilwoman Judy Ritter, as reported in the North County Times. Ritter and other San Diego County officials followed the California Redevelopment Association playbook to the max: They posed at a press conference with a giant $165 million check to emphasize all the supposedly vital funding that would be diverted from "job creation and economic development."
Actually, the court ruling that allows the state to divert redevelopment funds to public schools is one of the few bright spots in a dismal state budget picture, as state legislators continue to resist the fundamental budget reforms needed to close a gaping $19 billion fiscal hole.
Hard-pressed California taxpayers should not shed any tears for redevelopment agencies, which know a thing or two about theft, given their wanton abuses of eminent domain powers and their misuse of taxpayer dollars for corporate welfare and cadres of government dependent consultants. CRA and the League of California Cities, another taxpayer-funded interest group that has been decrying the loss of redevelopment money, funded a campaign that ultimately stopped serious eminent-domain reform in California, leaving property owners vulnerable to seizures if cities find a "better" use for their land or business. It's good to defund those agencies.
Indeed it is. Having our current City Council flush with redevelopment cash would be like allowing an infant to play with a meat cleaver. Particularly given the bobblehead penchant for unseemly redevelopment and bringing in things like chain retail. Better that the state take the money away so that our fellows cannot be tempted do something stupid like use it to help fund some kind of multi-abuse complex where Taylor's Meats now stands. All in the hopes of fulfilling the addled dream of attracting something like a Sit N' Sleep or BevMo.
Redevelopment turns cities into giant tax-sucking mechanisms that sacrifice the general quality of life for more sales-tax revenue. Redevelopment officials are so intent on maximizing the tax benefit of every parcel that they clamp down on freedom within cities ... Small mom-and-pop stores and suburban-style housing developments are viewed as liabilities, while city officials compete with other cities to lure malls and car dealers and high-rise condos. The cities that have become most dependent on this redevelopment cash - which redirects dollars from schools and public safety to "economic development" - cry the loudest as the state takes back a small percentage of these ill-gotten gains.
As we've seen here recently, the same people who pushed for Measure CC (the parcel tax that would have raised a few million bucks for the Pasadena Unified School District) are now those wailing the loudest over the Sacramento's CRA snatch back. I personally think that the best possible use for Sierra Madre's remaining redevelopment money would be to turn it all over to the public schools. Though somehow I can't imagine those great heroes of the PUSD, John Buchanan and Joe Mosca, getting behind that one any time soon.
The Looney Views News Typo of the Week!
One of our most popular features is back with a truly splendid example of the art of the typo. Actually this particularly bizarre instance came from last week (May 15). Things got so busy around here that I forgot all about it. But it is a fine specimen of Hapless Harriet's flapping synaptical editing process, and certainly does deserve being honored here on The Tattler. The cited article was published on the front page (where all the best LVN typos seem to occur), and is entitled, "A True Sierra Madre Treasure."
On Friday, Sierra Madre resident Xxxx Xxxxxxxxx was honored as the city's 2010 Older American Of The Year. Xxxx is an active member of the Sierra Madre Friends of the Library Board and United Methodist Church, past Scout Leader, strong supporter of the Sierra Madre Environmental Action Council and much, much more.
Each year the President of the United States, the Governor of California and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors designate the month of May as Older American Month. This year's theme is "Age Strong, Lice Strong!" a motto certainly appropriate for the effervescent, ever busy Xxxxxxxxx.
Now I have never noticed any correlation between older Americans and effervescent lice, but I do know that the nitwits at the LVN sure do come up with some astonishing typos. You don't think there might be some disgruntled employee there slipping them in on purpose, do you?