State Supreme Court to Decide RDA’s Fate

Redevelopment agencies in California will have their day in court this fall, and a decision on whether or not the 398 active entities will be allowed to continue operations will reportedly be made by January.

The state Supreme Court will hear a case filed by the California Redevelopment Association and a group of cities, including San Jose, challenging the legality of legislation that is designed to repurpose local tax dollars.

As part of formulating his budget, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that requires redevelopment agencies to fork over money totaling $1.7 billion. Many agencies have cried foul, saying they are being held hostage and that the law goes against Prop 1A and Prop 22. Both propositions—passed in 2004 and 2010, respectively—are designed to protect local funds from going to the state.

In anticipation of Brown’s actions, many cities jumped into action, dedicating money to projects, paying off bills or even moving properties into new shell organizations. San Jose grouped properties surrounding HP Pavilion that have been valued at roughly $24 million in the hopes of building a new baseball stadium for the Oakland A’s.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.


  1. RDA’s are dead ducks.  No longer will greasy politicians have billion dollar slush funds to piss away at the expense of schools and other items of infrastructure.  Abuse it and lose it!

    • What is laughable is the thought that you believe “the greasy politicians” don’t also control the school budgets and other infrastructure!  The schools are a joke.  With the amount of money that gets dumped into them, you would think they would actually be better.  At least with RDA funds, I can actually see where the money goes.  Where did all the lottery funds go for schools?  They will remain a mess after RDA is gone.

      • Agreed, there are plenty of greasy politicians to go around.  And I am in awe of you that you can see where the RDA funds actually go.  You must be personal friends of McEnery, Swenson, et al, to see that the money goes directly into their back pockets!  I’ll just be happy that Mayor Chucko and his cronies will no longer be able to rely upon a billion dollar slush fund.

  2. Even without Jerry Brown’s decision, San Jose’s RDA was all but destroyed by its own actions.  Interest due on the Fourth Street Parking Garage has been paid by the City of San Jose for the past few years.  So even though they say RDA funds cannot be used to pay for General Fund projects, nothing stops the money from flowing the other way around.

    Redevelopment has drained our City budget in ways much greater than any Union pension plan could.  Despite occupying many minority-based neighborhoods, most of RDA grants and loans were not issued to minority- or women-owned businesses and entities, but given to those who needed it the least.  San Jose’s RDA was once “Welfare for the Wealthy”.

    The sad thing about this all is that San Jose squandered millions of dollars, and just as many opportunities – and all we are left with is its debt, which will take decades to pay down.

  3. > The state Supreme Court will hear a case filed by the California Redevelopment Association and a group of cities, including San Jose, challenging the legality of legislation that is designed to repurpose local tax dollars.

    Gee.  A GROUP of local governments suing the state government.

    I’ll bet this circus requires a lot of lawyers.

    But I’m sure the nice lawyers who are representing the various government fiefdoms are probably doing all of this necessary legal work pro bono.

    They are, aren’t they? 

    They wouldn’t be charging the taxpayers for this, would they?

    Would they?

    Someone speak to me!

  4. I had to laugh as I watched the 6 pm local news last night.  Mayor Chuck-O was being interviewed and noted that the loss of our SJ RDA would simply mean cutting yet more services to residents.

    What the $%*@?!  Since when did RDA ever pay for services?  Damn near all of it went to big developers and political cronies. 2 to 3 billion dollars and what do we have… a downtown fit only for whores and gangsters!

    Chuck-O was, once again, blowing smoke up the asses of his constituents.

        • “Damn near all of it went to big developers and political cronies”  NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK, AT ALL.

          “blowing smoke up the asses”  NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK

          “a downtown fit only for whores and gangsters” NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK

          Greg Howe= a writer who never believes in getting personal,  Right?

          We cannot strike a nerve with Greg, the fat all over those neurons.

        • Thanks for laugh… I needed that this morning.  Politicians are fair game for criticism, being in the public eye.  When you attack me, that’s a personal attack.  I won’t stoop to your level, however.  Have a pleasant day.

    • Money well spent and downtown is nice and vibrant with alot going for it.  If the city had to do it all over again, do it!  Downtown worked out very well and is the place to be.  As for whores and drug dealers, check out Downtown Seattle, Portland, SF and San Diego.  They’re alot worst.  I’m sure you would freak out if downtown is as bad as Vancouver’s.  San Jose is not that bad luckily.

  5. Greg

    Agree with you that RDA wasted billions and most went to developers and downtown property owners increased profits from biggest city political slush fund that should be closed down,  but:

    Billion + was spent for unnecessary city buildings that increased tens millions year city general fund costs, made commercial contracts rich and thousands of labor union construction job paybacks to 20+ years labor controlled Council during Hammer, Gonzales and first Reed years

    $80 -120 million went to older neighborhoods to repair neglected streets, building, sidewalks, sewers, parks which was the intent of RDA but not done in most RDA cities and only done in San Jose done for 5-6 years of 40 + year RDA

    $25 million a year RDA money for 6-8 years ( 2001 – 2008 ) went to city for Council and staff – city attorney, code enforcement, vehicle abatements and little to police / fire

    History will condemn past Mayors and Council for spending RDA money for political paybacks, unnecessary downtown buildings, and unneeded subsidized housing that benefit other city’s workers

    San Jose Mayors and Councils in last 25 – 30 years stupidly squandered opportunities and wasted billions dollars for political purposes and egos

    Council lost opportunity to rebuild San Jose business, jobs and retail / business tax revenue base during Silicon Valley boom years and city residents will be paying RDA bonds for decades that increased budget deficits forcing city to reduce services and staff for a decade or more

  6. Hahaha, chuck Reed, your gravy train is now stopping! Go cry to your boyfriends Tom McEnry, sobrato and Barry Swenson and tell them their checks will be smaller!

  7. Who needs RDA when downtown is a completed product with everything the city envisioned built.  Downtown is lively and just fine with businesses opening and closing all the time, normal evolution of a successful downtown.  Once criticism, stop approving all the housing in crummy N. San Jose area and start approving them downtown instead!

  8. No one will build housing downtown, BECAUSE no one will buy housing downtown until crime, clubs, drugs , drunks and homeless are cleaned up  

    All the high rise housing buildings are 1/2 full after prices were cut and empty units offered for rent

    Chuckie will collect his retirement cheese when be lawyers for North San Jose housing developers and “Deb and Chuck Pension Consulting” will show other Councils how to f**k other city employees out of pensions and still have Council campaign contributors payoff money

    Happy Weekend at Jazz Festival

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