As the effort to close a $26 billion deficit in Sacramento continues, the fight over funding of particular programs heats up. The source of arguably the biggest debate are the community redevelopment agencies, which have either been responsible for thousands of new jobs, new affordable housing units and blight reduction in California cities or are a source of graft and excessive waste, depending on who you ask. This morning L.A.’s Mayor Villaraigosa joined together with mayors from other cities in L.A. County and business leaders to hold a pep rally of sorts to keep the pressure on Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislature to preserve funding for California CRA’s. The mayor claims that the L.A. redevelopment agency has created tens of thousands of jobs since 2009, and if redevelopment funding is eliminated it would put an estimated 113,000 jobs at risk. So far Gov. Brown and critics of CRA’s remain unconvinced, arguing that development money is spent with little or no oversight and often on useless projects. We continue the debate as Sacramento inches closer to a budget deal.
Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles
Assemblyman Chris Norby, R-72nd District; former Supervisor on the Orange County Board of Supervisors