[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
88°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 1
1887 - Town of Saugus founded; Saugus and Castaic train stations open [story]
Saugus


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 1, 2014 4:17 pm
Due in part to California's oppressive tax and regulatory climate, the recession was markedly worse in our state. As a consequence, we ended up with a bigger jobs hole, and we now need more jobs than other states to fill that hole.
Monday, Sep 1, 2014 12:01 am
I am frustrated by the new top-two primary system where all of the candidates are thrown into a heap for the first pass, and the November election is between the top two vote-getters. The rules are so strict that a November voter doesn’t even have the right to write in a candidate’s name. Isn’t writing in “Mickey Mouse” a time-honored American tradition?
Monday, Sep 1, 2014 12:01 am
Labor Day is a day for us to celebrate workers. But who really loves to work? Wouldn’t most people love to have enough money not to have to work? So, why do we celebrate the American worker?
Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 12:01 am
William Mulholland’s fame, respect and honor were drowned the night of March 12, 1928, when the St. Francis Dam collapsed. He took full responsibility for the failure and the deaths. He died a broken man in 1935. The story of his life has all the makings of a brilliant Greek tragedy.
Saturday, Aug 30, 2014 6:31 pm
Tamarisk is pretty but it's an invasive species that soaks up the water in the river bed, choking out native plants and animals. On the other hand, eucalyptus trees aren't native, either, but they have become part of the landscape in California, and let’s face it: Eucalyptus can grow in places where not too many other trees can grow.
Saturday, Aug 30, 2014 3:43 pm
Even many healthcare professionals do not know the difference between assisted living and a board-and-care. When the time comes in our aging process to move from our comfort zone, distinguishing the alternatives can be helpful when making a decision for you or your loved one.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak: Former College of the Canyons pitcher Dana Eveland is playing for the New York Mets where he's enjoying the second-best season of his career.
SCV NewsBreak for Monday, September 1, 2014
Due in part to California's oppressive tax and regulatory climate, the recession was markedly worse in our state. As a consequence, we ended up with a bigger jobs hole, and we now need more jobs than other states to fill that hole.
Tax News & Views From Sen. George Runner
Prayer Angels for the Military are asking for help from Santa Clarita Valley residents to prepare care packages for deployed U.S. troops. The group is planning to meet Sept. 13, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Newhall Library to fill boxes.
Angels Praying for Help with Care Packages for Troops
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’s Heroin Overdose Prevention Bill Goes to Governor
1887 - Town of Saugus founded; Saugus and Castaic train stations open [story]
Saugus
I am frustrated by the new top-two primary system where all of the candidates are thrown into a heap for the first pass, and the November election is between the top two vote-getters. The rules are so strict that a November voter doesn’t even have the right to write in a candidate’s name. Isn’t writing in “Mickey Mouse” a time-honored American tradition?
Just Vote ‘No’ for 25th
Labor Day is a day for us to celebrate workers. But who really loves to work? Wouldn’t most people love to have enough money not to have to work? So, why do we celebrate the American worker?
Happy American Dream Day
One person has died as a result of a multi-car collision on Interstate 5 in Castaic. The extent of six others' injuries is unknown.
1 Dead, Several Injured in Multi-Car Pileup
Already a successful fashion designer, Davis’ first project for Walt Disney was designing the live-action reference costume for Princess Aurora in “Sleeping Beauty.” Davis went on to design extensively for Disney, creating the costumes for two of the park’s signature attractions, It’s a Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Sept. 17: Legendary Disney Costume Designer to Talk at Newhall Library
This is the first year more than half of the county’s rabid bats have been found in the SCV. It's been close to that, the last four years, with the SCV accounting for about 40 percent of the rabies cases despite being home to just 3 percent of the county’s human population.
SCV’s Rabid Bat Count Now 15 of 26; Sick Skunk Found in Long Beach
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church begins its full Fall Program with a bang on Sunday, Sept. 7, starting with its 10 a.m. Worship Service.
Sept. 7: St. Stephen’s Kicks Off Fall Schedule
All the latest news from the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.
SCV Chamber News: State of the Chamber Breakfast Sept. 10
William Mulholland’s fame, respect and honor were drowned the night of March 12, 1928, when the St. Francis Dam collapsed. He took full responsibility for the failure and the deaths. He died a broken man in 1935. The story of his life has all the makings of a brilliant Greek tragedy.
The Man Who Brought L.A. Its Water
Our Lady of Perpetual Help invites the community to join in celebrating “Seventy Years of Happy” at the 70th annual parish barbecue Friday, Sept. 19, through Sunday, Sept. 21.
Sept. 19-21: OLPH to Host 70th Annual BBQ
2001 - LASD Deputy Hagop "Jake" Kuredjian gunned down in Stevenson Ranch while backing up ATF [story]
On the final day of the 2014 Asics/Wyndham Labor Day Classic, The Master’s College volleyball team ended its time with a win over Menlo College at 10 a.m., followed by a loss to Great Falls University of Montana at 4 p.m.
TMC Volleyball: Win One, Lose One on Last Day in Irvine
Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, along with Chief Daryl L. Osby and members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, marked the fifth anniversary of the Station Fire by honoring the memory of Fire Captain Ted Hall and Fire Fighter Specialist Arnie Quinones.
Hall, Quinones Remembered on 5th Anniversary of Station Fire
Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich sharply criticized current efforts by the Democratic Legislature to ban plastic bags a deeply flawed proposal that only hits the state’s economically distressed communities in the pocketbook.
Antonovich to Brown: Plastic Bag Ban Hurts Impoverished Communities
Tamarisk is pretty but it's an invasive species that soaks up the water in the river bed, choking out native plants and animals. On the other hand, eucalyptus trees aren't native, either, but they have become part of the landscape in California, and let’s face it: Eucalyptus can grow in places where not too many other trees can grow.
Native vs. Non-Native
The Santa Clarita Valley Latino Chamber of Commerce’s upcoming gala is more than just an evening to honor local businesses, it’s a chance to honor a longtime elected official.
Latino Chamber Announces Nominees for Awards; McKeon to be Honored
Families stepped right up and had a bundle of good times at the first-ever Brandon Chandler Foundation End of Summer Carnival.
Chandler Foundation Helps Qualifying Inmates Reenter Society
A 31-year-old Littlerock man was found guilty Friday in the deadly mauling of a Palmdale woman by a pack of pit bulls, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
Littlerock Drug Dealer Found Guilty of Using Dogs to Kill Woman
Even many healthcare professionals do not know the difference between assisted living and a board-and-care. When the time comes in our aging process to move from our comfort zone, distinguishing the alternatives can be helpful when making a decision for you or your loved one.
Why Can’t I Live at Home?
Lancaster Station deputies responded to a call about a person screaming in the 43000 block of 7th Street East in the City of Lancaster on Friday at 10:48 p.m. Upon arrival, deputies contacted the victim of a carjacking, kidnapping and attempted murder.
Deputies Searching for Suspect in Lancaster Carjacking, Stabbing