Brown Meets with Mayors, Continues Attack on Redevelopment Agencies

It doesn’t sound like Gov. Jerry Brown bowed or budged Wednesday when meeting with a delegation of mayors from California’s biggest cities to talk about the proposed elimination of redevelopment agencies.

At a press conference after he met with the nine mayors, which included San Jose’s Chuck Reed as well as San Francisco’s Edwin Lee and Oakland’s Jean Quan, Brown had a clear message, according to the LA Times: “If not you, who?”

The proposed budget would redirect $1.7 billion that currently goes from the state to more than 400 redevelopment agencies across California, effectively shutting down all RDAs in the state.

Brown added in his remarks that the mayors might as well get in line when it comes to displeasure over the budget for 2011-12.

Brown Doesn’t Back Down From Fight over Redevelopment Agencies.

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


  1. Redevelopment is a political slush fund that politicians give out to their cronies and wastes taxes

    After spending billions some good came of money spent but most was wasted or made political contributors, lobbyists, former politicians and city manager rich while wasting 1/2 of more taxes spent

  2. I don’t know about anyone else but this site is losing it’s ability to allow the readers to post without fear of censor without violating any rules or policies.  Basically the site is losing it’s credibility sort of like the Mercury News only tells a one sided story.  Only one side is allowed to post here and the folks who allowed to post are either politicians, business owners, rotary members, and political gadfly’s.  If you try to set the record straight they never post your response.  You wonder why the City of San Jose is in the dumper… No money, corrupt politicians, millions upon millions of wasted tax dollars for private business bailouts. 

    Good Work SJI

    • I want to assure you that 95 percent of the comments that get posted to SJI get approved. Want proof? Read almost any thread and you’ll see comments from every perspective. If you feel that a post has been unfairly spiked please email me directly: eric[at]

      • Just wondering if (I)could be a Columnist for SJI?  Only one thing, I’m not a politician of past or present City of San Jose Administration, or associated with any San Jose business group.  But I do have great topics similar to SJI’s Agenda, but mine more are factual. ;0)  So what ya think?

  3. sounds like Brown took a page out of Reed’s book! “If not you, who?” This is how Reed got those propositions passed and eliminated firefighter positions. I am not complaining, I am a Reed supporter. I just find it interesting that now it’s Brown who is spooning out the medicine, the hard pill to swallow.

    san jose’s RDA has lacked vision for a long time now. anything worth anything was started long before the current exec. dir. took over. and he really hasn’t shown any kind of vision or plan for RDA.  contemplating bringing back an executive who retired last year signals he doesn’t even know how to get the their only goal, the ballpark, moving again.  let it go dark and let it rise out of the ashes when the time is right, better than ever and with stricter spending controls.

  4. The redevelopment projects can be beyond insane. Unless you are one of the favored few union members involved in these “feast today, famine tommorrow” projects. Can you imagine anybody building new housing in the foreclosure center of the universe, Stockton? Their RDA is doing it, adding to the glutted market, spending money that should be going to rehab abandoned properties so neighborhoods don’t crater. And why should everybody in the state pony up redevelopment money to build pro sports stadiums? Let the 49ers and the chargers billionaire owners pony up the money! Why should some sucker in Modoc county get ripped off?

    Then there’s the issue of government costs way exceeding private sector cost or government costs in other states . . .


  5. Well, how does it feel, Chuck? How does it feel to be pss-d on and dismissed no matter how you try to reason or make suggestions? Brown is doing to you what you are doing to City employees. I read somewhere, where you made a statement to the effect that if Brown takes the funds he’s never going to give them back (paraphrasing). Well, isn’t that what you do? Take from the employees and never give anything back? You are getting to feel a little of what we feel. I am glad for that. Somebody said it right: What goes around, comes around. Remember that when your world starts falling apart. Remember how bad you treated your employees.

  6. How dare Mayor Reed cites BEA System as a success. It’s only one company that could’ve been persuaded with the city’s land and reduced tax rather than being helped by this failing redevelopment agency.  The redevelopment agency wasted so much money on this failed downtown that gives the redevelopment agencies accross the state a very bad name. With the way things have gone, bravo, Governor Brown, for proposing to eliminate the redevelopment agency, which is a money wasting machine.  We, the people of the state hope that Governor Jerry Brown abolish the redevelopment agencies and channel the money where it belongs- school, police and fire department.

  7. Mayor Reed is fighting hard to save redevelopment which was going to be government funding for North San Jose and downtown projects after he leaves City Hall and his future millions as San Jose premier go to land use lobbyist

    As attorney all back room secret conversations with Barry Swenson, Lew Wolff, KB Homes etc are client – attorney privileged and can not be disclosed to public or taxpayers as he lobbies Council for rezoning and redevelopment tax giveaways

    Cancel redevelopment political slush fund

  8. RDA appears to be an idealistic well intended scheme upon inception, but like my father says… The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  When a city grows as large as San Jose has and centralizes an institution with that much capital behind it, it is a recipe ripe for abuse.  I think San Jose residents would have preffered if RDA money had been distributed proportionally to their districts so that residents could see more direct use of their tax dollars working for them.

    Residents should not be anti-redevelopment, at least from the perspective that it can be a good thing if used appropriately.  I support this move, but I would recommend San Jose residents consider it a lesson learned in 30 years time, and not forget it, because RDA is too powerful a force for residents and politicians alike for it to go away.  Essentially I am suggesting RDA reform, because it will come back.

    The checks and balances need to be put into place so that each district feels it is getting there due and proper, but I think also there should be some sort of funneling of funds from each district for Downtown projects, a tithing if you will. 

    Centralized accounting and decision making by the city council and RDA is too much in the style of Chinese government, and there should be district oversight by each particular district by an NGO.

    The NGO’s can help to ensure RDA funds are being used for things the districts residents need, and that contracts are awarded to local businesses, keeping the wealth of San Jose inside SAN JOSE.

    Districts could coordinate together on some really creative projects to create that culture that San Jose seems to crave so much.

  9. I’m ambivalent about RDA. I’ve seen it fund some good projects, including affordable housing. As you might have noted in a wire story a week or so ago, San Francisco has the least affordable housing in the U.S.—a house costs about 7 times annual income. San Jose was second. That is unconscionable. I know San Jose has plenty of tech millionaires, but it also has a large population of underemployed cleaning our schools and houses, working at Walmart, flipping burgers and potstickers. Using redevelopment mechanisms, San Jose has built some affordable housing, and done some revitalization, like the Guadalupe River Park and arts facilities that the town sorely needed if it is to attract residents and visitors. It’s too bad that Team San Jose has so screwed the management that these faciliites can’t be used more fully. But I suspect that any study of the use of RDA money here would show that more of those dollars go to big business supported projects like the Shark tank, etc.

    But San Jose and other cities have certainly abused the redevelopment spirit. San Jose officials say RDA money can’t be used for operations, but we have seen that other cities with more clever officials than ours do use it for critical services, like police. City officials here also claim that projects like the ballpoark won’t use tax money. All RDA money is tax money, but city officials put on their masks as they spend it, for instance as they have used millions to buy land for Wolff’s ballpark. No wonder taxpayers rebel. Brown’s proposal to end RDA agencies will rip away the mask. City officials will have to admit the truth behind their redevelopment spending.Unfortunately for San Jose, it’s too late, because city officials are already moving money around to shelter it from Brown’s action. It’s a shell game, and the hustlers always win.

  10. > I’m ambivalent about RDA. I’ve seen it fund some good projects, including affordable housing.

    I am repelled by the term “affordable housing”.

    It’s one of those dishonest sophistries so beloved by the left that at the same time incorporates an invidious accusation about the market economy and disguises and conceals their motives, as well as obfuscating who is REALLY paying the freight to make someone ELSE’s housing affordable.

    It is TAXPAYER subsidized, NON-SUSTAINABLE housing, justified by REDISTRIBUTIONIST social and economic theories intended to BUY VOTES for selfish and self-interested politicians.

    ENOUGH OF THE social psychobabble. To borrow a phrase from Harry Truman, we need some “plain speaking” . . . and some honesty.

      • > Could you share with us your solution for providing housing for those at the lower economic levels?

        A. Get jobs and earn a living.

        B. Live in smaller, more affordable housing.

        C. Live in lower cost areas where housing is cheaper.

        As far as “getting jobs” is concerned:

        Give the people who provide jobs a strong incentive to create jobs and hire people.

        This is done by enabling job creators to make GREAT BIG PROFITS!!!

        This is what Obama and the socialist morons just don’t get.

        If a greedy, profit seeking businessman hires one worker, pays the worker $35,000 and makes a PROFIT of $5,000 on the work the worker does, the greedy, profit seeking businessman will hire one, two, five, ten or even more workers to make even MORE profits.

        The socialist morons declare profits to be evil, or excessive, and do EVERYTHING THEY CAN to PREVENT greedy businesses from making profits.

        As a consequence, they PREVENT greedy buinesses from creating jobs, too.

        Socialist morons would rather see people NOT HAVE jobs than see a businessman make a profit.

        • That is a naive oversimplification.  You’re better then that.

          “A:  Get a job and earn a living”

          When the economy crashed there were employment refugees in exodus en masse into the country of blue collar land.  They came like the great deluge (sp) from the old testament but there was no arc to save either group because even that sector got hit with layoffs.  Telling people to get a job and earn a living is ignorant condescending and insulting.  I literally applied to over 1000 jobs in a six month period with absolutely no response after being laid off.  I did this through the internet, pounding the pavement, and references and leads from friends and colleagues.  I even lied about my experience because I was overqualified for most positions but needed to get bread on the table for my family.  It’s not that simple.

          “B.  Live in Smaller more affordable housing”
          Is there such a thing?  If there is there certainly is not an infrastructure in place to support such a thing.  I looked at houses I could afford to buy. They were nothing fantastic or outrageous.  But it would have cost me more to live there because of the distance they were from the city.  And guess what… there were no jobs there either!

          How about we stop over-valuing California property instead?  The inflated values are propped up by statistically inflated income averages by a minority group in California as a whole.
          Even in the assessors office they are overvaluing residents properties.  I know of one person who the city claimed the home was worth $700,000 dollars.  I was shocked when I heard this.  Mostly because it seemed like a city that had overextended it’s spending and was grasping for any tax income it could.  There was no way this persons house was worth $700,000 You cannot overvalue undermployed under-earning populations property then tax the hell out of them.  Likewise renters should not have to pay equivocally the cost of a mortgage on a 4 walls and a hole to take a crap in.

          and C.  I already answered, there are not enough jobs in those areas.

          It’s too easy to say it’s some socialist agenda liberal or other divisive political term being used improperly(anyways), not to mention unoriginal.  Do better.

        • > That is a naive oversimplification.

          Quite the contrary.

          Your tale of woe is utterly simplistic.

          You, like the Obama crowd, think that “jobs” are just something a government bureaucrat orders up, and the reason you don’t have a job is because bad people are somehow preventing those nice bureaucrats from doing their job.

          What the Obama lunkheads are totally incapable of grasping is that JOBS AND PROFITS GO HAND IN HAND.

          If business profits go up, jobs are created.
          If business profits go down, jobs go away.

          Obama and his leftist base DESPISE profits.  Profits are EVIL!  Profits are UNFAIR!  They are not going to allow unfair profits!

          BECAUSE they are intent on preventing businesses from making profits, they are making it impossible for you, me, or anyone else from creating or finding jobs.

          American businesses have a TRILLION DOLLARS ready to invest, and IF those dollars were invested, they would create zillions of jobs.  But they will invest those dollars ONLY if they can make a profit.  If Obama is going to tax or regulate away every dollar of profit, why bother?

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