The Editor's Back Fence

Redevelopment: Good or Bad? Tell Us What You Think

Friday January 06, 2012 - 10:10:00 AM

A controversial analysis of the role of redevelopment in funding housing for low-income Californians which first appeared on the IndyMedia news wire is posted in this issue. It raises a number of important issues, though some readers might dispute its conclusions.

Another opinion which takes a negative view of the role of redevelopment in housing was posted by Tenderloin Housing director Randy Shaw on the Beyond Chron site.

Redevelopment has also been used for many other kinds of projects both good and bad. For example, the Planet received this comment from Richmond Councilman Tom Butt: 


Yesterday, the California Supreme Court upheld legislation passed earlier this year abolishing redevelopment agencies in California. Hamstrung by a Republican minority that will not touch California’s current tax scheme and facing reduction of funding for schools and social welfare programs, the Democratically controlled legislature decided to rob the cities. Redevelopment is a 65-year-old program that allows cities to undertake capital projects and finance them with future taxes from the resulting increase in property values. Richmond would likely still look like the devastated shell left over from the WWII boom if it weren’t for redevelopment. Probably the best example is Marina Bay, including the Ford Building rehabilitation, all made possible by redevelopment. As Marina Bay matured, its tax increment funds were tapped for projects all over Richmond, such as the recent Macdonald Avenue improvements. Since 20% of redevelopment funds must be used for low-cost housing, much of what has been built in Richmond was paid for or subsidized by redevelopment.

All of those opportunities will now go away, with the money siphoned off to Sacramento to keep the State afloat.
We'd like to see a frank discussion of whether redevelopment has been good or bad for California, along with suggestions for what needs to be changed if the legislature revives it in some form.

If you have something to say on this topic, please send an email comment of any length, signed by your real name, to

and we'll post it.