Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Thanks for the welcome, Ken! I appreciated your comments below on California redevelopment, and perhaps more importantly, California local government finance generally. Reading your post below I began to feel that perhaps I have grown cynical on California too early. Have I simply bought into the ol’ yarn about Prop 13 being the “third rail” of California politics, snuggled into a mid-life call for realpolitik, believing all-the-while that the local government financing system was just . . . too . . . broken to do anything about it? I like your optimism, and do hope that California might actually try to take a stab at the bigger issues. Maybe California voters will even get a proposition to vote on!
I also thought your idea of trying to either sever TIF from a blight determination or otherwise tighten up the blight findings made sense. I remember when I was first looking through the blight determination statutory provisions some years ago and coming across the one about “construction that is vulnerable to serious damage from seismic or geologic hazards.” (Cal. Health & Safety Code § 33031(a)(1).) I always thought was as good a description as I ever found to describe every building standing in that State. Snarkiness aside, it does seem some integrity could be brought back to the blight determination process. But you also point out the difficulty of creating an adequate standard. Would we prefer something more quantitative ? Or should we just rap the knuckles of judges that interpret qualitative standards too broadly (or, at least, too broadly for us)? Tough choice.
No matter, what’s brewing now is a multi-billion-dollar game of chicken that makes my head hurt just thinking about it, but the next few months of wrangling will be oh-so-fun to watch.