Here is the story - just up on the Pasadena Star News website:
California Supreme Court allows redevelopment money grab - The California Supreme Court on Thursday found that state lawmakers had a legal right to seize $1.7 billion in redevelopment money to help solve the state's budget woes, at the same time reaching a result that may put the state's nearly 400 local redevelopment agencies out of business forever.
California's high court concluded the Legislature had the authority to raid redevelopment funding earlier this year, rejecting arguments from redevelopment advocates that the budget gambit violated voter-approved Proposition 22, a 2010 measure designed to bar the state from seizing local funding to pay its bills.
The justices, however, struck down a separate state law approved as part of the legislative package that would have allowed redevelopment agencies to stay afloat if they agreed to relinquish a large share of their funding to the state. Most redevelopment agencies had planned to take advantage of that safety net to remain in operation, but the ruling is likely to slam the door shut on their ability to fund local projects.
In short, redevelopment agencies have now gone the way of the Edsel. My only question now is what happens to all that money Sierra Madre's CRA spent on things like consultant surveys on consumer preferences and parking planning? Do we now have to give it all to Sacramento? And if so, how much exactly do you get for a used Kodiak?
Click here for the full PSN report. Back to our earlier article ...
Today could be the day that Jerry Brown's quest to end Community Redevelopment Agencies finally comes to an end. Whether it will be a happy one or not depends on how you see this issue, and whether the State Supreme Court in San Francisco rules to abolish them or not. Quite a few people have been awaiting this decision, and an awful lot is at stake today for both the state and cities such as ours.
Here is how the Sacramento Bee (click here) puts it:
The California Supreme Court will rule Thursday on the legality of the state's move to grab $1.7 billion in redevelopment money to help close California's budget shortfall.
The state's high court indicated on its website Wednesday that it would rule by 10 a.m. PST Thursday on the legal conflict. The Supreme Court previously had agreed to rule on the crucial issue by Jan. 15, when half of the redevelopment money is slated to be turned over to the state for the 1011-12 fiscal year.
We posted a couple of fine explanatory articles about all this last fall. The one with all the key information about what could be going down today ("California's Redevelopment Agencies Could Be Down For The Count") can be be accessed by clicking here. Everything you'll need to know to be fully informed about something that has huge ramifications for cities like Sierra Madre. Should CRAs go away the development agenda that has driven so much policy in Sierra Madre in the last decade or so could be severely crippled.
The effect of the abolishment of CRAs could be felt here in other ways as well. CRA money is used to pay certain aspects of staff salaries and related expenses, something that would otherwise come out of our already fully maxed out General Fund. Also the power of the City Council to manage (or mismanage, depending on your point of view) millions of dollars in downtown development money would simply go away.
The decision has been promised at around 10 a.m., and once it is delivered we will post all the results here.
Chris Sutton Defeats Monrovia/Gold Line Private Property Grab
Speaking of all things CRA, an eminent domain land grab in Monrovia was pretty much laid to waste yesterday in L.A. County Superior Court yesterday. In an email I received last evening, Gil Aguirre describes what went down:
Just received the court decision regarding the lawsuit filed against the Gold Line. Basically, the court found that the Gold Line must comply with competitive bidding laws, which it hasn't been doing and that the selection of Monrovia for a maintenance yard failed to meet the requirements of CEQA in that no real alternative locations were considered. This one is huge since it has been claimed that the Gold Line simply selected Monrovia and offered to pay the city far more than the property was worth. This decision seems to support the claim that such a decision was not in line with the law.
Chris Sutton is the attorney who won this decision. His client, George Brokate, owns the property the City of Monrovia and the Gold Line had designated for this maintenance yard. Threatening an eminent domain seizure of this land, Monrovia offered Brokate far less money for his property than what it is actually worth. Monrovia then intended to sell this property to the Gold Line at a much higher price, which gave this transaction the appearance of being a for-profit scheme designed to enrich the city's coffers.
For a related Tattler article on this situation ("Chris Sutton Forces Official To Resign In Gold Line Eminent Domain Case") click here. Also of interest is an SGV Tribune article dated 12/20 ("Gold Line construction authority to weigh eminent domain for Monrovia land") that can be viewed by clicking here.
The Gold Line and the City of Monrovia will have a lot to answer for today once this decision gets to the press.