Monday, August 16, 2010

Norby Speaks on School Funding and Redevelopment Agencies

Judge: Local Schools Get Blight Funds
What is the best way to fight blight in our cities? Subsidize private development or public education? Spend public money on new shopping centers or new schools?

In his CRA vs. Genest ruling, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly decided for the kids. He upheld the legislature's authority over redevelopment agency money, an important step in achieving a balanced budget and returning those funds to their original purpose.

This ruling restores $2.7 billion in education revenues previously lost to redevelopment agencies, including $166.9 million for Orange County schools.

Redevelopment was created 60 years ago to end urban blight in California. It was never intended to be a permanent drain on the budget. Agencies are supposed to sunset after 40 years but are routinely extended indefinitely, and their indebtedness now tops $93 billion.

Redevelopment diverts an ever-growing share of property tax dollars into subsidizing big box retailers, auto malls, theaters, stadiums and low-income housing. Last year, redevelopment agencies diverted $5.4 billion in local taxes - 12% of all property taxes. That amounted to $2.7 billion taken from public schools and $646 million from counties. There is no money to backfill these losses.

Redevelopment agencies are typically operated by California's cities, who see it as a way to maximize local revenue. But most of that revenue winds up in the pockets of developers to stimulate private projects. None of it can be used for salaries or operations. Tax exemptions, rebates and land acquisition - often under threat of eminent domain - typically benefit developers and giant retailers.

L.A.'s Hollywood/Highland Mall got a $98 million public subsidy and has lost 60% of its original value. In Orange County, Costa Mesa's Triangle Square stands virtually empty after being built with redevelopment funds on land acquired through eminent domain, while Cypress used eminent domain to take church property for a Costco. From San Diego to Sacramento, public funds have been used to bankroll sports franchises and plans are on the books to hand out even more.

The state is littered with deserted shopping centers, half-empty malls, abandoned auto dealers and shuttered movie theaters that were originally financed through public redevelopment subsidies. This fiscal free-for-all distorts land use decisions and pits city-against-city to outbid each other for businesses - at public expense.

In the 1970's redevelopment the Anaheim Redevelopment Agency destroyed that city's entire downtown, leveling functioning businesses in historical buildings. Only a year after building its Fullerton location in 1984, the Price Club (now Costco) store threatened to move to Anaheim, unless it received more tax subsidies than the original deal provided. In the 1990's, Fullerton lost several auto dealerships to Buena Park, who lured them away to its new auto mall - at public expense.

Redevelopment has produced few benefits that private investors could not have done on their own. The Public Policy Institute's study "Subsidizing Redevelopment in California" compared 114 different redevelopment project areas statewide to similar areas without redevelopment. It concluded that redevelopment agencies were not responsible for any net economic growth and that they were being financed at the expense of local schools and public services.

A 2000 Los Angeles Times report compared differing neighborhoods in that city and found that redevelopment projects actually hindered development, as private owners waited for public assistance rather than investing on their own, and others - under threat of eminent domain - dared not invest at all.

Look at three commercial centers at the intersection of Orangethorpe and Harbor in Fullerton. The northeast and southwest corners received millions in public incentives, while the southeast corner was improved solely by private developers. There is little difference in vacancy rates.

Judge Connelly has a good grasp of state and local funding issues. He has served on the Sacramento City Council and the State Legislature. His ruling keeps these funds within the cities from which they came - to fund local schools. Funding education is a far more effective way to relieve blight than building more shopping centers.

Many city officials are understandably unhappy with the decision, as they find their redevelopment projects now in jeopardy. To the extent that these monies fund public improvements and infrastructure, they deserve protection. What cities really need is more general fund revenue that can be used for maintenance and public safety. I would support transferring remaining redevelopment monies into municipal general funds.

(Reprinted from Norby Notes 6; May, 2010, Issue 06; www.asm.ca.gov/Norby, Assemblymember.Norby@assembly.ca.gov)

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Greg Sebourn

Orange County Bail Bonds

The Beauty of a Storm

The Beauty of a Storm
Orange County, Ca.

My Grandma - A Eulogy

LET'S TALK ABOUT 1914 FOR A MOMENT.



FOR STARTERS, GRANDMA WAS BORN TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1914 IN HER FAMILY'S ATWOOD RANCH HOUSE.



IT IS WORTH NOTING THOSE ALSO BORN IN 1914:

JACK LALANNE

JOE DIMAGGIO

DANNY THOMAS



AND WHO DIED IN 1914:

JOHN MUIR, THE FAMOUS NATURALIST FOR WHICH NUMEROUS ROADS, PARKS, HOTELS, AND NATURE RESERVES ARE NAMED.



IT IS ALSO WORTH NOTING THAT IN 1914 WOODROW WILSON SIGNS MOTHER'S DAY PROCLAMATION AND BABE RUTH MAKES HIS MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT WITH THE RED SOX. MOTHER'S DAY AND BASEBALL- TWO OF MY FAVORITES!! (PERHAPS HER NICKNAME "BABE" CAME FROM BABE RUTH???)



GRANDMA WAS BORN INTO A PERIOD OF TIME FILLED WITH TURMOIL. IN JUNE OF 1914 ARCHDUKE FRANZS FERDINAND WAS ASSASSINATED. WITHIN ONE MONTH WORLD WAR I RAGED ACROSS EUROPE. TWO DAYS AFTER HER BIRTH HOWEVER, GERMAN AND BRITISH TROOPS INTERRUPTED WWI TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS. (PERHAPS THEY PAUSE KNOWING THAT A GREAT WOMAN WAS BORNE) WORLD WAR I CONTINUED UNTIL THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES IN 1919.



ALTHOUGH SHE WAS ONLY 5 YEARS OLD, SHE SAW THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS CREATED AND THE 19TH AMENDMENT WAS APPROVED BY THE U.S. CONGRESS GUARANTEEING THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN TO VOTE.



SHE LIVED THROUGH MANY NOTABLE EVENTS. LIKE THE 1933 LONG BEACH EARTHQUAKE OR WHEN ATWOOD FLOODED ALONG WITH MOST OF ORANGE COUNTY IN 1938 AND THE FLOOD-WATERS CLAIMED MORE THAN 50 PEOPLE, 43 OF WHICH WERE FROM ATWOOD! ALL OF THIS DURING A TIME THAT WE READ ABOUT IN SCHOOL AND KNOWN AS "THE GREAT DEPRESSION". SOMEWHERE IN ALL OF THAT SHE FOUND THE LOVE OF HER LIFE, GRANDPA LEO, GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL, GOT MARRIED, AND HAD KIDS!



THEN THERE WAS WORLD WAR II. FROM PEARL HARBOR TO HIROSHIMA, GRANDMA WAS RAISING MY UNCLE BOB AND MOM ARLINE. WITH AIR-RAID SIRENS AND BLACKOUTS SHE WAS A WIFE AND MOTHER. WHAT A TIME TO RAISE CHILDREN! I BET GRANDMA'S PARENTS WERE ABEL TO TELL HER A THING OR TWO ABOUT RAISING KIDS IN WARTIME.



GRANDMA WAS THERE WHEN THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA HELD THEIR 3RD ANNUAL NATIONAL JAMBOREE IN 1953. SHE SAW AIRBASES OPEN IN '42 AND CLOSE IN '99. SHE WATCHED WALTER KNOTT START UP HIS BERRY FARM AND WALT DISNEY TURN ORANGE GROVES AND STRAWBERRY PATCHES INTO DISNEYLAND!



SHE SAW THE HORSE AND CARRIAGE FADE AWAY INTO HISTORY AND SPACE TRAVEL EXPLODE BEFORE HER WITH THE FIRST LUNAR LANDING. JUST IMAGINE HOW MUCH TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED OVER THE LAST 100 YEARS. FROM TUBE RECTIFIERS TO SUPERCONDUCTORS; FROM TRANS-ATLANTIC TELEGRAPH CABLES TO SATELLITE TV.



SHE SAW MORE IN HER 93 YEARS THAN MOST OF US WILL EVER READ ABOUT, LET ALONE LIVE THROUGH!



OF THOSE 93 YEARS IT IS MY HONOR TO HAVE BEEN HER GRANDSON FOR 35 OF THEM. SHE WAS MY MOTHER WHEN MOM HAD TO WORK. SHE WIPED MY NOSE AND PUT FOOD IN MY MOUTH. SHE LET ME PLAY WITH GRANDPA EVEN THOUGH SHE NEEDED HIM TO TAKE HER TO THE STORE. SHE WAS MY GRANDMA AND I WILL MISS HER IMMENSELY.



JUST LOOK AROUND THIS ROOM; SHE DID THIS. SHE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR BRINGING SO MANY GOOD PEOPLE INTO THIS WORLD AND TOGETHER TODAY. THIS IS HER LEGACY.



A Dedication To My Loving Wife, Stacey. Thank you for all you do for me!

Brad Paisley - I Thought I Loved You Then


I remember trying not to stare the night that I first met you
You had me mesmerized
3 weeks later in the front porch light taking 45 min to kiss you goodnight
I hadn’t told you yet but I thought I loved you then

Chorus
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I remember taking you back to right where I first met you
You were so surprised
There were people around
But I didn’t care I got down on one knee right there
And once again I thought I loved you then

Chorus
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I can just see you with a baby on the way
I can just see you when your hair is turning gray
What I can’t see is how I’m ever gonna love you more
But I’ve said that before.

Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Well look back some day at this moment that we’re in
And I'll look at you and say I thought I loved you then
And I thought I loved you then...

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