Governor rejects redevelopment replacement, approves related measure

By Allen Young : bizjournal – excerpt

Gov. Jerry Brown nixed a proposal on Monday that would have breathed new life into the abolished redevelopment agencies by creating authorities capable of financing community-supported infrastructure projects.

But the governor also signed legislation that reforms an economic development tool known as infrastructure financing districts, which are similar to the former redevelopment agencies in that they use property-tax growth to fund infrastructure.

The difference, however, is that infrastructure financing requires a public vote, which local governments say have historically undermined its viability. The new law lowers the needed voter approval to 55 percent from the current two-thirds threshold.

In a veto message for Assembly Bill 2280, which would have established “community revitalization and investment authorities,” Brown said the proposal for was well intended but “unnecessarily vests this new program in redevelopment law.” The governor pledged to find a better solution with author Assemblyman Luis Alejo, a Salinas Democrat.
Infrastructure financing districts rely on tax-increment financing, a system that directs increases in property-tax revenue to finance building projects. The districts only can receive about half of the funds that were accessible to redevelopment agencies because they cannot siphon away revenues that would otherwise go to schools…

Sen. Jim Beall, a San Jose Democrat who authored Senate Bill 628, said infrastructure financing is an improvement over the redevelopment program because the voter requirement and other transparency provisions protects against abuse of tax dollars.
“I think a public vetting washes out all the flaky projects,” he said.

On Monday, the governor also signed Senate Bill 614, a related measure that allows for tax-increment financing to be used to repair infrastructure in some low-income areas when the effort is done in conjunction with an annexation plan… (more)

400-Square-Foot Two-Bedrooms Proposed, Planning Has Concerns

socketsite – excerpt

Panoramic Interests plans to raze the single-story industrial building at 333 12th Street and build up to seven stories and 274 apartments on the parcel and adjacent parking lot between Folsom and Harrison.

s currently zoned, the Western SoMa site could support around 200 units of housing in buildings up to five stories in height, but Panoramic intends to invoke California’s Density Bonus law, which could allow for the additional height and density for the “affordable-by-design/workforce” project if approved.

Regardless, the proposed units would average 398 square feet apiece, or roughly 350 square feet excluding the bathrooms.  And that includes the two-bedrooms as well..(more)

398 square foot two-bedroom units are being presented to qualify as additional units under the state bonus housing plan. Now Mayor Lee wants to extend this plan to include even more density and height for more affordable untied on site. This could be your worst nightmare. The Planning Commissioners aren’t sure about this. A good reason for our petition: We need a better Plan

Brown deal allows steals local rights

hanfordsentinel – excerpt

“CANOE THEORY AT WORK IN GUV’S CEQA EXEMPTION DEALS”

Gov. Jerry Brown has never professed to be the model of political or ideological consistency. In fact, he’s a decades-long advocate of the “canoe theory” of politics, which goes like this: You paddle a little to the left and you paddle a little to the right, and you keep going straight down the middle of the steam.”

You also keep all sides guessing a lot of the time and you make sure opponents of some of your policies are allies on others.

So the governor who once proclaimed that “small is beautiful” and announced an “era of limits” for California apparently has no stomach for limits on huge developments.

That’s the meaning of the agreements he made with legislators to exempt some of the most significant building projects on California drawing boards from many environmental regulations. These deals were part of the horse-trading that led to easy passage of the new state budget.

Brown’s press release on the budget, of course, made no mention of such deals, which also exempt the project-enabling bills from thorough legislative hearings because like the developments they promote, they are fast-tracked…

This is the same governor who has not opposed changes in the California Environmental Quality Act, known as CEQA, that allow developers to qualify initiatives okaying their projects for local ballots and then let city councils adopt those initiatives without a public vote or debate.

If this is what Brown really meant when he campaigned in 2010 on a promise to devolve more government authority to locals and away from the state, it will surely go down as one of the least green and least positive legacies of his long political career…  (more)

These discrepancies have not gone unnoticed by the press, but this a particularly well-authored interpretation. Good reading for those of us who lack the clarity or the nerve to call the Governor out on his tactics.

Worthy topics for Jerry Brown – but it’s an election year

Worthy topics for Jerry Brown – but it’s an election year

By Phillip Matier And Andrew Ross : sfgate – excerpt

Gov. Jerry Brown pretty much kicked off his re-election campaign the other day with his State of the State address when he told the assembled lawmakers and media, “I used to say, ‘Take the ins and throw them out – take the outs and throw them in.’ I don’t say that anymore.”

So let’s look at some of the issues that may give Brown fits, starting with his two biggest projects – the largely unfunded, $68 billion high-speed rail line and the twin tunnels that would send Northern California water south.

Neither one is exactly a winner with voters these days.

“I certainly wouldn’t vote for them,” said state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, who happens to be the front-runner to succeed retiring Rep. George Miller in Washington – which is where much of the money for those projects would have to come from… (more)

Very sneaky, Walmart: How the mega-retailer rolled back California regulations

Labor, environmental, and political leaders cry foul as Calif. Democrats curtail landmark environmental law

By : salon – excerpt

Labor, environmental, and political leaders cry foul as Calif. Democrats curtail landmark environmental law

While Washington has been warring over the shutdown and the debt ceiling, California Governor Jerry Brown has signed bills expanding access to abortion and restricting local police collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement – bills that advocates hope will join past Golden State laws in proving to be national precedents. But if those bills have gotten little notice amid the showdown in Washington, another – signed by Brown the Friday afternoon before the shutdown – has gotten even less. It’s a “reform” that critics say waters down what’s been the country’s strongest statewide environmental law – and represents Walmart’s latest lobbying coup in a state where Democrats control every branch of government.
“It’s amazing to me how few people are willing to stand up to this corporation,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. “And mainly because they’re afraid.”… (more)

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