Court Gives RDAs Death Sentence

A ruling Thursday by the California Supreme Court is more or less the nail in the coffin for the San Jose Redevelopment Agency. It’s also a critical victory for Gov. Jerry Brown, whose budget has been under scrutiny for major shortfalls compared to rosy projections regarding revenue.

The state’s high court decided $1.7 billion can be legally taken from RDAs across the state, and the ruling also denies agencies the ability to “pay to play” by giving money over to the state to remain in existence.

San Jose’s RDA prepared for this day by dramatically scaling back the agency earlier this year to just eight employees. Just a few years ago, the agency had more than 100 employees. In May, Harry Mavrogenes resigned as the agency’s executive director.

San Jose’s RDA is responsible for some of the city’s most notable structures, such as HP Pavilion and the Tech Museum, but it now functions as a quasi debt service agency, mainly managing financing and payments of previous projects.

However, there is still one project for the future that the RDA could claim as its own success. In March, the City Council moved parcels of land near HP Pavilion into a shell organization called the Diridon Development Authority in the hopes of saving the land for a ballpark. San Jose is still waiting to hear if the Oakland A’s will be allowed to relocate to San Jose. A tweet sent out by a CBS reporter increased speculation that the A’s will get the thumbs-up from MLB.

Mayor Chuck Reed released a statement Thursday denouncing the court’s decision, adding that it “will stall job creation efforts in San José at the worst possible time. Redevelopment funding provides critical tools to rebuild our economy, create jobs, and build affordable housing—exactly the kinds of investments we should be making in this recession. Instead, we’ve had to cancel and delay projects that would get our economy moving again and put people back to work.”

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


  1. State Supreme Court Justices, sans the Chief Justice, were in unanimity on Thursday afternoon, when they aimed their criticism at San Jose Mayor Reed’s earlier denigration of the Court. 

    One Justice claimed that Reed “… is nothing but a greasy politician.”  Two others indicated that Reed “… has been little more than a pimp for local developers.”  More to follow as updates are available.

  2. Long (82 pages ) but worth reading if you want to understand California redevelopment, state taxes and courts decision .. that eliminated redevelopment agencies rather that read all political speak and misinformation from politicians, their friends and worthless Merky Mostly Reprinted News

    Note Sac Bee has California Redevelopment Decision not worthless Merky Mostly Reprinted News

    Good bye to California’s largest political slush fund that gave out billions each year with no taxpayer accountability and in most cases did not produce jobs, local taxes, new businesses or economic development promised but enriched ex politicians, campaign contributors, insiders , sports team owners, corporations, low income housing developers and former government employees now lobbyists

    Lots of soon to be ex politicians and unemployed wetlobbyists will now have to get real jobs instead of making deals for taxpayers money

  3. Greg

    If you can back up your comments

    ” One Justice claimed that Reed “… is nothing but a greasy politician.”  Two others indicated that Reed “… has been little more than a pimp for local developers.”

    with facts might start downfall of McEnery – Reed political machine financed by housing developers and sport team owners wanting millions taxes from city that should be spend on city services not making local 1%ers and their political friends richer

  4. Greg,
    Sadly, the SJI community is unable to comprehend the more obtuse forms of expression, especially hyperbole.
    If you wish to be understood here, try speaking in grunts from now on.

  5. Greg, I’m no supreme court justice but if you wish to quote me feel free!

    Reed is nothing but a greasy politician. He has been little more than a pimp for local developers.

                —- Professore Vaf Fanculo ABD

    PS. And if I am repeating what some supreme court justice or any person anywhere in the universe has ever expressed about Chuck Reed Mayor of San Jose – SO BE IT.  Chuck Reed,  Mayor of Atlanta is quite the opposite.

  6. Reed is not a Pimp… pimps take care of their employees…. At least they are not happy when their workers leave.  I bet all those developers are crying that their personal piggy banks are locked up now.  What will Tom do now.  Oh wait they all have a bigger scam working its called Professional sports.  Professional sports is now the new slush fund for the elected.  They doll out tax dollars to high rollers under the scam that the billionaire owners are Job creators.  Listen to them they sound a lot like an hour of Fox news without the commercials asking you to buy gold or to listen to the a hidden message about the coming down turn in the economy. 

    Timing is everything the ballot will be loaded the next election and Reed will try and slip this one in. Watch there will be an item on the ballot that said a yes vote will allow the City to build a ball park and a No vote will require the City council to vote to stop the building of a ball park.

  7. After decades of waste and corruption, the City’s favorite credit card was finally confiscated by the equally wasteful and corrupt State, and witness the tantrum.

    “It’s my card, not theirs!” is the mindless, default reaction of just about every irresponsible card holder who has ever had a cashier confiscate an overheated credit card, yet it pretty much sums up the crux of the high-priced appeal the municipalities made before the court. Quite amusing to hear people who illegally shift and conceal tax dollars for a living accuse the State of trying to do the same, and do so while claiming the high ground.

    And from our pathetic mayor, something akin to this: “We were going to do something good for the people and now we can’t!” I see, after decades of providing the public with overhyped and overpriced bad ideas, our local redevelopers were just about to turn their attention away from needy billionaires and take care of the little people. BS. What Mr. Reed is really worried about is strokis interruptus… he doesn’t want Lew Wolff running off to greener pastures half-cocked.

    Someone needs to let our mayor in on a little secret: the job market and the housing industry don’t need his help. Somewhere out there is a free market, just waiting to wiggle out of the government’s grips. But as long as idiots like Chuck Reed support a wage-destroying immigration invasion wages will never recover, and cheap apartments will never go empty long enough to pressure landlords into lowering rents.

  8. “Redevelopment funding provides critical tools to rebuild our economy, create jobs, and build affordable housing – exactly the kinds of investments we should be making in this recession, Reed said.

    Rebuild our economy.  Check.
    Create jobs.  Check.
    Build affordable housing.  Ch.. Wait.  What the?  Really?

    • Actually the true count is 40 as a double homicide which occurred on SJSU property, which is in the SJ city limits and was investigated by the SJPD is not counted. Hmmm does the FBI do separate crime stats for colleges and universities, ummmm no!  The political shell game run by the mayor, council and Murky News continues even as they scramble to do damage control as killings for 2011 double that of 2010. Come to think of it maybe the true count is 41. The woman’s body that was found in a 55 gallon drum in Southern Division was never officially declared a homicide.

  9. It’s actually 41 murders. SJSU parking lot does not take away the fact that the double murder was right here in downtown SJ. If it had occurred at the fairgrounds would we deny it again and say it belonged to the County. And let’s not forget the woman sealed in the barrel. There’s no fargin way she accidentally fell in and sealed the lid on herself.

  10. This won’t be the last court decision disappointment you’ll have chuck! Your gravy train has been derailed! Hahaha, sucks huh!  How are you going to explain to your boy friends Sobrato, Barry Swenson and Tom McEnry why they are not going to get any more checks? Carma has caught up to you! I love it!!!

  11. I looks like Mr. Burns will have to Continue to lie and Cheat the Residents of San Jose some other way instead of just using RDA .  Lying and Cheating is what he does best , Im sure he will solve the dilemma. Im sure McEnery and the rest of Reeds Developers could care less as long as “they get theirs”
        Maybe we can lay off even more Public safety ( already the lowest staffed in the nation) I mean really , how many more homicides can occure before the new year. Lets waste millions on an illegal ballot measure , that will be surely contested, in court for years to come , only to lose. lets continue to give real estate to billionaires.( wonder what kind of secret deal was given for the Hotels downtown) Lets continue to rezone areas to allow MORE low income housing. lets continue to blame City Employees for the Citys Problems , instead of focusing on the corruption in city hall that has allowed Mr Burns to dismantle this city for his own gain. Good Luck to residents of San Jose , my house is on the Market and Im Leaving this cesspool within a few short monthes.I refuse to spend one more cent in this city. This once good city is no longer the oasis it used to be

  12. What will Tom, Barry, and the other “developers” do now? who is going to give their “gifts”? Score one for common sense, zero for Mayor Greed and his Council minions!

    All RDA ever does is give away money to the landed rich (i.e “Developers” and Builders), act as the “interior decorators” of the City, and provide a funding source for Council pet projects.

    Thank you California State Supreme Court!!!!

  13. Some say RDA supported “affordable housing”, at least in San Jose, What affordable housing do they speak? ever see how much a condo and/or a home costs in San Jose? Do you honestly expect people to believe that given the outrageous housing prices in San Jose that RDA made any difference in the arena?

  14. It’ll take another 50 years for us to pay down RDA’s enormous debt—created by politicians who used its funds to build huge buildings they named after themselves.

  15. another waste of money on a ball park that will not come.  Time to lay off more public safety to make up for lost money.  Must be the pensions for this loss.  We can build this if we lay off another 60+ officers.

    We don’t need stinking cops anyway.

  16. Mona Lisa

    You got it right , Now maybe the residents of San Jose will wake up and start educating themselves about this Corrupt City Government!

  17. I propose as an honorific to the now defunct RDA that we name the City Hall Dome, officially that is, the “Gonzo Dome”. Already, this is what most City employees call it, in a derisive sense; that is, when Mayor, Council, and the City Manager’s Office folks are not within earshot. Let’s make it official, I propose that a public collection be started for the money to create a plaque!

  18. So now Mayor Reed is taking money from the non-profit groups and giving the money to the RDA supposedly for a new Firetruck?
    This is how he strikes back at the State by taking money from the people that need it the most?


  19. Mr Burns might be taking money from non-profit groups to give that money to McEnery, Swensen or any of his other developer buddies. that is totally believable , but follow the money I would say its a safe bet burns is not giving the F.D. anything. Mr Burns hates public safety with a Passion! He has done and i continuing to do EVERYTHING in his power to cripple P.D./F.D.

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