[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
Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 28
1978 - "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park," filmed at Magic Mountain, premieres as NBC Movie of the Week [story]

Commentary by Leon Worden
| Thursday, Feb 20, 2014

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.


You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment

Opinion Section 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: LETTERS (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
Friday, Oct 28, 2016
Words and visuals would show that the current presidential election is the nastiest ever. Right? Not really. History shows that negativity, lies and personal destruction have always been the name of the game.
Thursday, Oct 27, 2016
I retired in 2012 and started hiking and biking into the mountains. I kept running into strange, fenced-in sites, usually located at the top of cul-de-sacs. Each consisted of a pit that ended at a concrete wall. Close to the wall, a strange perforated silo would rise up. What were these things?
Monday, Oct 24, 2016
We learned through WikiLeaks about corruption in the Clinton universe, the like of which is seen only in a crime novel. The problem in this case is that it’s real.
Sunday, Oct 23, 2016
In the spring, I see an increase of people exercising, getting ready for bathing suit weather. Now it’s autumn, and thoughts go to cuddling up on the couch in front of the TV and drinking hot cocoa. But exercise should be an everyday activity, not just in the spring.
Thursday, Oct 20, 2016
The experience of other states such as Colorado and Washington suggests that when medical sales are tax-free, nearly all marijuana users suddenly become patients, even if they are not. The significant loopholes in Proposition 64 mean revenue projections could fall far short of expectations.
Thursday, Oct 20, 2016
This is the time of the year when you should slow down on Placerita Canyon Road, on Sand Canyon and the adjacent roads, as well. Be aware that a buck is not going to pay much attention to traffic if it has located a receptive doe.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Words and visuals would show that the current presidential election is the nastiest ever. Right? Not really. History shows that negativity, lies and personal destruction have always been the name of the game.
A History of Nasty | Commentary by Betty Arenson
1978 - "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park," filmed at Magic Mountain, premieres as NBC Movie of the Week [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, rainy weather has prompted a flash flood warning for Santa Clarita. Plus, inventors and creators have a new space to make their visions a reality. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Thursday, October 27, 2016
Ventura County's Resource Management Agency has selected Ruben Barrera to serve as the County Building Official. He was most recently the City Building Official for the City of Santa Clarita, where he held the position for 22 years.
Barrera, City’s Longtime Building Official, to Ventura County
You're invited to enjoy Solita Tacos and Margaritas for a good cause on Thursday, Nov. 3. with 15 percent of all proceeds donated to the WiSH Education Foundation that serves students of the William S. Hart Union High School District.
Nov. 3: Solita to Give Back to WiSH Foundation
When Jan Sanborn and her husband Loren Janes were evacuated during the Sand Fire in July, they lost everything: from memorabilia of their lives in the arts and entertainment, Sanborn is a pianist and composer, Janes is a renowned stuntman from films like “Blazing Saddles” and “Back to the Future", to the roof they lived under for over 20 years.
Nov. 4: First Presbyterian Holds Concert to Benefit Couple Who Lost Home in Sand Fire
A section of Bouquet Canyon Road within Angeles National Forest will be closed Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, at 9 p.m., in advance of this week’s predicted storm event. The 3.5-mile stretch of road is prone to flooding with even minor flow in adjacent Bouquet Canyon Creek. The road will remain closed as long as conditions warrant.
Incoming Storm Prompts Closure of Bouquet Canyon Road
Playing with mid-season intensity for a new coaching staff in front of a frenzied crowd, The Master's University men's basketball team went toe-to-toe with NCAA Division II Azusa Pacific before falling 90-85 Tuesday evening on Bross Court.
TMU Men’s Basketball: New Coaching Staff, Returning Veterans Show Promise
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Santa Clarita is holding a car show on Saturday, Nov. 5.
Nov. 5: Car Show to be held at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
A flash flood warning has been issued for the Santa Clarita Valley for Friday between the hours of 3 a.m. and 12 p.m. and residents of the Sand Fire burn area are encouraged to take precautions in the event of landslides. (File Photo)
Flash Flood, Landslide Warning Issued for Santa Clarita
The GO Jazz Big Band will again grace the stage in Santa Clarita for a concert next month.
Nov. 20: GO Big Jazz Band Returns to Stage
Upcoming networking opportunities from the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.
SCV Chamber Networking Opportunities
The Department of Motor Vehicles has restored services to all but 21 field office websites after hundreds of offices were affected by computer hardware failure.
Hundreds of DMV Websites Back Online
I retired in 2012 and started hiking and biking into the mountains. I kept running into strange, fenced-in sites, usually located at the top of cul-de-sacs. Each consisted of a pit that ended at a concrete wall. Close to the wall, a strange perforated silo would rise up. What were these things?
Mud Catchers | Commentary by Mike Summe
1892 - Birth of Robert E. Callahan, owner of Mission Village in L.A. and Old West Trading Post on Sierra Highway [story]
Santa Clarita-based Princess Cruises has promoted SCV resident Marsha Patrick to the role of sales director for the western region, succeeding Stephanie Brennan who recently retired after 39 years of service. In her new role, Patrick will lead a team of 15 business development managers promoting the Princess Cruises and Cunard Line brands to travel consultants in the western United States and Canada.
Princess Names New SCV-Based Sales Director for Western Region
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, a local congressman addressed the Department of the Interior about a local mine. Plus, impatient drivers are causing problems on some Canyon Country roads. See what's happening on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Tons of exciting news from the College of the Canyons Foundation.
COC Foundation News, 10-26-2016
Free spooktacular events will be brewing at local Santa Clarita Public Library branches on Monday, Oct. 31.
Oct. 31: Free Halloween Activities at Santa Clarita Libraries
Thursdays@Newhall’s 10 by 10 variety show continues to amuse and entertain attendees month after month and November should be no exception.
Nov. 3: 10-by-10 Variety Night Stacked with Talent
A 26-year-old Santa Clarita Valley resident and Marine was killed in a single-vehicle motorcycle crash last month on Ortega Highway in an Orange County.
Marine from SCV Killed in Motorcycle Crash
The Master’s University men’s soccer team posted two goals in the second half of Wednesday’s match against Westmont College, but couldn’t rally past the Warriors, resulting in a 3-2 loss.
Soccer: Mustangs Fall Short Despite Late Rally
Mission Valley Bancorp's President & CEO Tamara Gurney has announced the year to date net income of $2,190,000 for the period ended Sept. 30, 2016 – the strongest 3rd quarter in the history of the company.
Mission Valley Bank Posts 25% Higher Year-Over-Year Profits
California Pizza Kitchen is hosting a fundraiser for the Michael Hoefflin Foundation for Children's Cancer on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.
California Pizza Kitchen Hosts Michael Hoefflin Foundation Fundraiser
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reminds individuals to take precautions to reduce lead exposure to children during National Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. Lead poisoning can cause serious health effects and developmental problems in young children.
Public Should Take Precautions Against Lead Poisoning
Four Santa Clarita Valley homes will be decked out in true holiday splendor during Henry Mayo’s 36th Annual Home Tour this December.
Dec. 3: Henry Mayo Presents Annual Holiday Home Tour
Santa Clarita resident, Justice Enlow, has been chosen to represent North Los Angeles in the upcoming state pageant to be held December 2-4, 2016 in Long Beach.
SCV Resident Chosen to Represent North LA in Miss California USA Pageant
The College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus will host a pair of family-friendly events with its annual movie night and garden walk activities returning to campus on Nov. 4 and 5.
Nov. 4-5: COC to Host Garden Walk, Movie Night at Canyon Country Campus
The Valley Industry Association is pleased to host Bill Bellows as keynote speaker for the November luncheon meeting.
Nov. 15: VIA to Host Bill Bellows as Keynote Speaker
Former Santa Clarita resident and renowned songwriter, Julia Michaels, recently signed a solo deal with Republic Records.
Songwriter from SCV Signs Record Contract
The 5th Annual Bowling for Kids Charity Event is back again on Sunday, Dec. 4 with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.
Dec. 4: Bowling for Kids Returns to Valencia Lanes
On Thursday, Nov. 10 the SCV Senior Center Silvertone Singers will present an audible feast of all-time musical favorites to put you in the mood for holiday culinary indulgences.
Nov. 10: SCV Senior Center to Feature Feasting Melodies
The College of the Canyons women's golf team competed at Western State Conference Tournament No. 8 on Monday, with two Lady Cougars finishing in the top-15.
Golf: Individual Lady Cougars Finish 8th, 14th in Conference Play
With the win, TMU’s 2016 record improved to 19-9 and 11-2 in Golden State Athletic Conference play. Currently, TMU sits just two matches behind the No. 1 nationally ranked Westmont College Warriors.
Volleyball: Lady Mustangs Get Past Vanguard in 3
1992 - Newspaper editor Scott Newhall (SF Chronicle, Newhall Signal, SCV Citizen) dies at 78 in Valencia hospital [story]
An elite helicopter tour of Los Angeles and an all-inclusive visit to Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's home in Arizona, are among the unique items that will be on the auction block at Zonta's 2016 Tribute to Women sponsored by Zonta Club of SCV.
Nov. 4: Unusual Items to be Auctioned at Zonta Tribute