Audit Faults California Redevelopment Agencies

SACRAMENTO (AP) – An audit by the state controller’s office has found that redevelopment agencies in California do not have a way to show how well they are fighting blight or creating jobs.

Controller John Chiang said the findings, released Monday, are troubling because redevelopment costs taxpayers $5.5 billion annually.

Gov. Jerry Brown wants to eliminate the state’s more than 400 redevelopment agencies to send more local tax money to schools, police, fire and other local services. Local governments are defending the agencies and say Brown’s plan is illegal.

The 18 agencies subject to the audit represent 16 percent of redevelopment dollars.

The review showed great differences in how cities define blight. Palm Desert, for example, used redevelopment money to renovate greens and bunkers at a 4.5 star golf resort.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Mary Pea

    What an eye-opener! I did not realize that there are 400 redevelopment agencies state-wide! My belief was that there was one per county. As far as using taxpayer money to renovate (possibly) private golf courses, I believe that this is a gross misuse of redevelopment funds. A municipal golf course – that anyone in the redevelopment district can use – that’s another matter.

    If taxpayers have to continue to “contribute” funds to already obscenely wealthy real estate and other developers to build venues or buildings that do not contribute to the benefit of everyone in the agencies’ districts, then maybe it’s time the state closes all of them down and commit the funds to *public* services.

    If, as the article states, the opposition thinks this is illegal, perhaps voters should go to the ballot box again and decide for themselves how they want their money spent. If the majority decide it’s okay to let the agencies continue to spend their money on baseball and football stadiums, as well as private golf resorts, then so be it. If they decide that they no longer want their monies spent that way, at least they get a chance to say so.

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