[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: Redevelopment On the Rebound? | 02-20-2014
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
75°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 22
1969 - College of the Canyons opens with first class of students in temporary quarters at Hart High School [story]


Commentary by Leon Worden
| Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 8:43 pm

The same people who championed Proposition 13 in 1978 are working to restore redevelopment in California.

On Wednesday – two years after the governor and Legislature wiped redevelopment off the state’s books – Attorney General Kamala Harris cleared the way for a group of seasoned campaign consultants to gather signatures for a ballot measure that would secure a place for redevelopment in the California Constitution.

It’s called the JEDI Act – Jobs and Education Development Initiative Act – and its official proponent is Philip D. Kohn. He’s an attorney with Rutan & Tucker LLP, Orange County’s biggest full-service law firm.

jedi022014Helping out is Stu Mollrich of Forde & Mollrich. They’re the people who managed the Proposition 13 campaign. Tax fighter Howard Jarvis had his name on it, but Mollrich and partners Arnold Forde and Bill Butcher put it over the top.

Their resume includes the successful campaign to defeat California Supreme Court Justice Rose Bird, way back when Jerry Brown was governor of this state the first time. Between then and now, among other things, they’ve managed the campaigns of two other governors – Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Kohn started gathering support last year for the restoration of redevelopment – a tax-increment financing mechanism designed to eliminate blight in urban centers. It was the mechanism used for 15 years by the city of Santa Clarita to revitalize Old Town Newhall.

Redevelopment has been around for 50 years, but the city of Santa Clarita hasn’t. Santa Clarita was a relative late-comer to redevelopment, and it was nowhere near done bringing new businesses and economic activity back to Newhall when the state pulled the plug.

The mechanics of redevelopment aren’t widely understood, and past abuses in big cities have been well publicized – so it’s an easy target.

In essence, redevelopment is a self-fulfilling prophesy: When public dollars are invested in an urban district, private property values go up. When properties are reassessed at higher values, property taxes go up (with or without redevelopment. Redevelopment isn’t a tax.) When property tax receipts increase, a fraction of the increase goes to the redevelopment agency, which uses that money to make the next wave of improvements, and the cycle begins anew.

In Santa Clarita, it took about a decade from the launch of redevelopment in 1997 before that fraction was big enough to start making the first substantive improvements. Thus, Santa Clarita really only enjoyed the true benefit of redevelopment for a few years, from 2007-2008 until 2011 when the Legislature halted redevelopment activity. That short period was when the city’s redevelopment agency fixed up the streets and assembled property for a new public library, and new businesses moved into the area.

Now, roughly two years from the day redevelopment died, a number of those new businesses are gone – and some of the older ones, too.

Prior to redevelopment, Santa Clarita’s experience mirrored that of other cities with a blighted urban core. A pre-redevelopment economic study in 1993 showed that while property values were increasing throughout Santa Clarita as a whole, they were actually declining in Newhall.

When property values decline, total property tax revenues decline, and the agencies that get a share of the property taxes – schools, water agencies, fire, even the county and city – get less.

So we started redevelopment in Newhall and property values began to rise, and schools and other agencies got more money from tax receipts generated in Newhall. Main Street approached full occupancy, and redevelopment provided good construction jobs even as the nation struggled with its worst economic downturn in 80 years.

Kohn, the proponent of the new initiative, has said that in addition to restoring the financing mechanism for local municipalities, his measure includes “provisions to ensure that school districts are kept whole and will not be subject to revenue loss.” It’s a tacit nod to the argument made in 2011 when the Legislature was looking for another short-term, smoke-and-mirrors budget fix irrespective of the long-term consequences.

Kohn cites figures showing that in 2009, redevelopment was responsible for 303,946 full- and part-time jobs in California including 23.4 percent of all construction jobs; $2 billion in state and local tax revenues; and $40.79 billion in total economic activity.

Getting rid of redevelopment, as was done in 2012, wasn’t going to “deliver a fraction of the short-term revenues that were promised,” he said, and it has “eliminated a multi-billion-dollar revenue stream that has been used for decades to create jobs, rebuild blighted neighborhoods and energize struggling local economies.”

His new, 78-page JEDI Act mirrors much of the former redevelopment law, with small differences such as a 10-percent set-aside, rather than 20 percent, for low- and moderate-income housing.

“High unemployment is the new blight,” according to the preamble of the proposed initiative. “JEDI will put thousands of Californians back to work and generate billions of dollars in new tax revenue for public schools without raising taxes or increasing state debt.”

The backers must gather 505,000 signatures to qualify the initiative for the June ballot. Mollrich has said publicly that he’s shooting for 850,000, just to be on the safe side.

Watch for his paid signature gatherers in front of a grocery store near you. Just don’t go looking for a grocery store in downtown Newhall.

 

Download the JEDI Act [here].

 

Leon Worden is president of SCVTV and served on the city of Santa Clarita’s Newhall Redevelopment Committee from its birth in 1997 to its death in 2012.

 

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

Comments are closed.

Commentary Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: INFO (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
Related Content
RECENT COMMENTARY
Monday, Sep 22, 2014 12:01 am
We want a dump that does its job without trying to look like it's giving something away. Nothing is free. All of those handouts get paid for by increased fees to dump the trash. Do you think they do it because they “love the community?” No. They do it to buy support now and later for future projects.
Sunday, Sep 21, 2014 4:39 am
What if Castaic had the dump to be expanded and Val Verde didn’t? What if Castaic didn’t want the dump to expand and Val Verde just wanted the mitigation fee money?
Sunday, Sep 21, 2014 12:01 am
If you’ve never had a migraine, you have no idea what your migraine enduring friends are going through. Migraines have driven people to suicide because they just couldn’t take the pain any longer. This article, I hope, will enlighten those who don’t have migraines and give additional options to those who do.
Saturday, Sep 20, 2014 12:01 am
In all the many times I’ve written about the dump in the last couple of months, I kept thinking all the folks involved had at least a little bit of honor and ethics left. I’ve found out I was wrong on that, too.
Saturday, Sep 20, 2014 12:01 am
Perhaps David could defeat Goliath. Perhaps this small community could take on a large, powerful and well-funded entity like the landfill. There was a feeling that maybe we were winning. But then the Castaic Area Town Council had a meeting Wednesday.
Friday, Sep 19, 2014 12:01 am
The Town Council members living closest to the dump voted not to accept the contract. They did as the citizens of Val Verde wanted. The rest of Castaic sold Val Verde again. It has happened before - Val Verde being made a second- or third- class part of the Castaic Area.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
We want a dump that does its job without trying to look like it's giving something away. Nothing is free. All of those handouts get paid for by increased fees to dump the trash. Do you think they do it because they “love the community?” No. They do it to buy support now and later for future projects.
It Isn’t the Money
1969 - College of the Canyons opens with first class of students in temporary quarters at Hart High School [story]
Circle of Hope officials partnered the Moms Club and Eleven 12 Events to present their 4th Annual Bunco For Hope event in Valencia Sunday. Participants were served lunch followed by Bunco games with dessert, silent auction and raffle winners announcement to conclude the day.
Circle Of Hope Hosts Bunco For Hope For Cancer Treatment
About 1,600 Santa Clarita Valley residents attended the 20th annual River Rally and Environmental Expo event at the Santa Clara Riverbed on Saturday. Participants spent the morning cleaning up the riverbed just off Wiley Canyon Road near the Via Princessa Bridge in Newhall and browsing more than a dozen exhibitor booths at the expo.
20th Annual River Rally Draws About 1,600
Representatives from Kenneally Acupuncture in Canyon Country held their 9th annual Fall Seasonal & Festival on Sunday. More than 100 people attended the all day event, beginning at 9 a.m. and continued through 6 p.m.
Kenneally Acupuncture In Canyon Country Hosts Fall Seasonal, Festival
What if Castaic had the dump to be expanded and Val Verde didn’t? What if Castaic didn’t want the dump to expand and Val Verde just wanted the mitigation fee money?
Mendacity
If you’ve never had a migraine, you have no idea what your migraine enduring friends are going through. Migraines have driven people to suicide because they just couldn’t take the pain any longer. This article, I hope, will enlighten those who don’t have migraines and give additional options to those who do.
Know Your Headache
1974 - COC's new Cougar Stadium opens for first game of football season; Harbor beats COC, 26-21 [story]
In an effort to “break their silence” and find healing, domestic violence survivors came together on Saturday to decorate t-shirts that reflect their personal experiences. Officials from the Domestic Violence Center of the Santa Clarita Valley hosted the event, which is known as the Clothesline Project, at Savia in Newhall.
SCV Domestic Violence Center Hosts Clothesline Project
The SCV Boys & Girls Club and city of Santa Clarita officials hosted their annual Day For Kids at Newhall Park on Saturday. A variety of free games, activities, entertainment and prizes were available for Santa Clarita Valley children throughout the day, including a raffle, performance stage and more.
City, Boys & Girls Club Hold Day for Kids
Ryan Cruz, 20, was Friday on a robbery charge after residents of the Valencia Summit subdivision reported seeing a man running naked in the streets.
Valencia Man, Naked But for Towel, Arrested on Robbery Charge
1958 - County of Los Angeles dedicates William S. Hart Park in Newhall [story]
In all the many times I’ve written about the dump in the last couple of months, I kept thinking all the folks involved had at least a little bit of honor and ethics left. I’ve found out I was wrong on that, too.
As the Dump Smells
Perhaps David could defeat Goliath. Perhaps this small community could take on a large, powerful and well-funded entity like the landfill. There was a feeling that maybe we were winning. But then the Castaic Area Town Council had a meeting Wednesday.
Val Verde vs. Goliath
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak: Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill by Senator Fran Pavley Friday to put a life-saving antidote into the hands of first responders to prevent drug overdose deaths.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, September 19, 2014
Castaic Union School District officials celebrated the work of their Teacher of the Year nominee Kim Baljet, who was recognized as a countywide nominee for top educator.
Castaic Teacher Honored at County Level
The Castaic Area Town Council voted 6-4 this week to accept funds from Chiquita Canyon Landfill in exchange for their support of the expansion of the dump once the final environmental documents are released.
Castaic Council Votes 6-4 to Take Cash in Exchange for Supporting Bigger Dump
Ninety-two percent of tenth graders in the William S. Hart Union High School District passed the California High School Exit Exam on their first try, according to figures released Friday by the California Department of Education.
Hart District: 92% of 10th Graders Pass Exit Exam on First Try
After engaging in more than 80 public outreach events across the state, the California Department of Motor Vehicles provided a public update Friday on the status of AB 60 implementation, including plans for new field offices, additional staff and training, license design and regulations detailing documents required to prove identity and residence.
DMV to Open Temp Offices to Handle Rush for Illegal Alien Driver’s Licenses
The Canyon football team will look to even its record against Burbank tonight at Harry Welch Stadium.
SCVTV-KHTS Game of the Week: Burbank vs. Canyon
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies are looking into another digital school-bullying incident, this time at Rio Norte Junior High School, according to officials.
Deputies Investigate Another Incident of Cyber-bullying
Saugus Union School District is proud to share the academic growth the District’s students made in science as indicated by the 5th grade California Standards Test scores that were released Friday.
Saugus School District Scores High Marks in Science
Senate Bill 1438 will equip firefighters, police officers and other first responders with naloxone, an antidote that can reverse the effects of prescription painkillers and heroin and abruptly stop an overdose episode.
Pavley Bill Signed: First Responders to Carry Heroin Antidote
Caltrans plans to implement lane and ramp closures during the week of September 22-27, 2014.
Caltrans Lane Closures in Gorman Area, Sept. 22-27