Not the Mortgage Crisis, Not the Economy, but Foolishness! Greenhut calls it, in “Bankrupt cities suffer for officials’ foolishness”

“California’s exclusively Democratic leaders not only are unwilling to rein in the costs of benefits for their patrons, the public-sector unions, they have been erecting roadblocks in the paths of localities that want to fix the problem on their own. Yet all the political hurdles in the world cannot fix the basic problem of insolvency.”

Click to read the article at OC Reg, July 22, 2012

Judge refuses to halt demise of California redevelopment agencies – Sacramento News – Local and Breaking Sacramento News | Sacramento Bee

By Peter Hecht
phecht@sacbee.com
Published: Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

A Sacramento Superior Court judge Friday refused to stave off the elimination of more than 400 local California redevelopment agencies, rejecting arguments that the Legislature violated the state constitution by cutting off their funding.

Judge Lloyd G. Connelly’s ruling on two lawsuits by 12 cities means the agencies stand to be dissolved by Wednesday. His refusal to grant a stay in the cases handed another victory to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has counted on the elimination of redevelopment agencies to deliver more money for schools and public safety.
Read more here:  Judge refuses to halt demise of California redevelopment agencies – Sacramento News – Local and Breaking Sacramento News | Sacramento Bee

Gadfly Radio with Martha and CalWatchDog: Tonight, Ben Boychuk, John Seiler, with Special guest, Steve Greenhut on Redevelopment–Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead!

Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT


Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929
Jan 3, 2012:  Tonight live at 8 p.m. PT on Gadfly Radio, Martha Montelongo along with Ben Boychuk of CA City Journal and John Seiler of CalWatchDog.com.  Steven Greenhut, the Editor in Chief at CalWatchDog, joins us to discuss the latest and hottest stories in CA politics, but especially, we want to talk about the how California’s RDAs [were] Hoisted on [Their] Own Petard.

Steve’s most recent book, Plunder, about Public Employee Union Benefits and Pensions are bankrupting the nation, is well known and regarded by serious reformers in the field, across the political spectrum nationwide.

But Greenhut also did a compelling and comprehensive book on RDAs or Redevelopment Associations, called Abuse of Power: How the Government Misuses Eminent Domain.  Did he ever think he’d see this program be dissolved in California?  How did it happen?  The title of his report says it all in one sentence.  We’ll have a chance to hear him talk about it in detail. 

Every week we cover an important story concerning education and the struggle to transform it into an effective institution. This week we touch on two stories.

One is very subtly described as State Sponsored Thievery Continues in Plain Sight, in an op-ed by Larry Sand, published today at UnionWatch.org.

The other story is regarding Parents across Southern California Demanding CTA apologize for fear mongering and intimidation tactics used against families who want to organize for reform, and demands that the CTA retract denigrating statements dismissing parents’ interests, intentions and good will. Linda Serrato of the Parent Revolution joins us to talk about this story.

We’ll take your calls, questions and comments on the air at 1-818-602-4929 on on FB instant chat or Twitter.

 

I am a stand for liberty, integrity, empowerment, and prosperity for all people; a stand for vibrant and innovative small businesses that create jobs, that in the process of prospering, nurture and support creative and dynamic culture, in the work place, and in our personal lives.



Thank you for supporting our program, by listening, sponsoring, and or sharing this post with others. 

It’s a pleasure to share this program with 
CalWatchDog’s team of government policy watch dogs and the great investigative work they produce! 

Tuesday nights live, on Gadfly Radio in Southern California or where ever you are. California, the land of beauty and unlimited possibility because of the abundance of our greatest capital resource, our human resources, when we get it right. Join us. 

Or you can listen to a podcast later, if you miss the live call-in show by clicking on the white player to stream or the orange player to download and or subscribe to Gadfly on iTunes:


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RDAs Hoisted On Own Petard | CalWatchDog

Some of my favorite quotes from this op-ed by Steven Greenhut:



“The CRA, the League of California Cities and the foolhardy Republicans, such as Sen. Bob Huff were outsmarted. They were so arrogant that they tripped over their own clever plans. They passed Prop. 22, which then forbade the one mechanism that would have saved redevelopment from the ash bin of history.”


“Philanthropist Howard Ahmanson is best known in the liberal media for funding religious-right causes, but one of Ahmanson’s biggest interests for years was fighting redevelopment, for reasons of faith and justice. He supported two other heroes, Assemblywoman Beth Gaines and her husband, Sen. Ted Gaines, who both defied their parties and voted with the Democrats to end redevelopment.”


It takes a big man or woman to give credit where it is due, regardless of how much you would normally disagree with the man or woman you are acknowledging. Here’s a quote that does just that:


I can’t end without tipping my hat to Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democratic Legislature. I almost never agree with anything they do, of course. And I don’t for one minute argue that the state’s Democrats ended redevelopment because of any concern for property owners or property rights. But they did indeed do the right thing. They stuck with it. I don’t believe that we would have this great victory had the eminent-domain-supporting Meg Whitman become governor. Brown’s analysis of redevelopment did indeed show a remarkable understanding of more than the fiscal problems with it. This victory makes many of his other bad policies almost tolerable.

To read the post, go to: RDAs Hoisted On Own Petard | CalWatchDog

Tonight on Gadfly Radio: Martha Montelongo w/CalWatchDog presents Assemblyman Chris Norby, on Tomorrow’s CA Budget Deadline, Prison for Small time Pot Growers, Redevelopment dead or alive? & Matt Rexroad, an expert on the new Redistricted Maps–The First Draft

Tonight on Gadfly Radio: Martha Montelongo w/CalWatchDog presents Assemblyman Chris Norby, on Tomorrow’s CA Budget Deadline, Prison for Small time Pot Growers, Redevelopment dead or alive? & Matt Rexroad, an expert on Redistricting on the new CA Redistricted Maps:  The First Draft–where do we go from here?

Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT

Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929

June 14, 2011 Tonight live at 8PM PT:   CA Assemblyman Chris Norby R-District 72 and Matt Rexroad, a Sacramento based Republican Consultant with an expertise on Redistricting, particularly in CA.  John Seiler of CalWatchDog will be with us on the program.  
 
We’ll talk with Chris Norby about the looming hard set budget cut off date of June 15, for California lawmakers, where no budget means no pay, not no deferred pay, but NO PAY for the legislators for the time they don’t produce a budget. What does this mean for the taxpayers?   How seriously does this hard set deadline influence the legislators?

June 17th, America’s War on Drugs is 40 years old.  Although in CA we have  adopted a somewhat more tolerant policy toward Marijuana use via Medical Marijuana Laws, we still put people in prison for growing plants for personal consumption.  We’ll ask Chris about his support for AB1017, which would have allowed California prosecutors to decide whether folks caught cultivating marijuana should be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.  The San Francisco Chronicle referred to its primary sponsor as “Uber liberal Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco.” The bill failed and Norby is said to have ripped his fellow Republicans for not supporting it.  We’ll ask him why? 

Governor Brown is said to still be determined to redact, not reform Redevelopment in CA  and using the revenue that now goes to Redevelopment Agencies, to go to pay for local city and county services instead.  Is the budget showdown a High Noon moment for Redevelopment? 

We’ll ask Chris about the critical and obfuscated issue of Public Employee Pensions, possible reforms and initiatives being discussed in the Legislature, and what he sees as possible reform initiatives at the State level.

And we’ll welcome Matt Rexroad, political consultant with a formidable grassroots political pedigree and an expert on Redistricting, to discuss the new CA political district maps, what they mean, the issues and possible challenges and changes before they become final.  Yesterday I posted an L.A.Times story on redistricting which cited Matt, and touched on a few of the questions I’ll have him.  You can call in too, and share with Matt and the rest of us, your questions.  

We’ll take your calls, questions and comments on the air at 1-818-602-4929. 

 I am a stand for liberty, freedom and prosperity for all people; a stand for vibrant and innovative small businesses that create jobs, that in the process of prospering, nurture and support creative and dynamic culture, in the work place, and in our personal lives.   Thank you for supporting our enterprise, by listening, sponsoring, and or sharing this newsletter with others.  I value your patronage. 
It’s a pleasure to share this program with CalWatchDog’s team of government watch dogs and the great investigative work they produce!
Tuesday nights live, on Gadfly Radio in Southern California or where ever you are.  California, the land of beauty and unlimited possibility because of the abundance of our greatest capital resource, our human resources,  when we get it right.   Join us.

Or you can listen to a podcast later, if you miss the live call-in show by clicking on the white player to stream or the orange player to download and or subscribe to Gadfly on iTunes: 


iTunes

Poster Children for Abolishment: LA & GLENDALE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCIES

Rudy Martinez, Candidate for 14th District Los Angeles and Challenger to Huizar, incumbent, Princeton Graduate, and friend of the public employee unions and Redevelopment, 

Bob Blue, Vice President of the Hollywood Highlands Democratic Club, founding member and past chair of the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council and activist against the abusive use of eminent domain for Redevelopment.  

Steven Greenhut, editor in chief of CalWatchDog.com, author of Abuse of Power: How Government Misuses Eminent Domain, talk with us on Redevelopment in Los Angeles and Glendale, on the radio program, this Saturday night at 11PM on 870AM KRLA and on KRLA870.com 

Bob Blue, City Watch LA
Many Californians were not aware of the Redevelopment Law that allows (but does not mandate) the creation of a Redevelopment Agency (RDA) in order to eliminate “blight.” But Governor Jerry Brown upset the serenity of Redevelopment in California by focusing a beam of light on RDAs, their massive burden of debt on the State and local budgets, and one of RDA’s draconian powers, Kelo-type Eminent Domain.

With a bright light on Los Angeles’ Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA), the biggest in the State, and its neighbor, the City of Glendale, and their Redevelopment Agency, the Glendale Redevelopment Agency (GRA), both Agencies became poster-children for abolishing all RDAs in California.

A hastily prepared plan was first hatched in Los Angeles to shield almost $1 Billion in unused Property Tax increment funds from Brown’s plan to return them to “…schools, counties, special districts, and city general purposes.”

Glendale quickly followed its “Big Brother” one week later with the same short 24-hour Special Meeting notice which had a hyperlink that was supposed to link to a detailed report, but instead lead to single a page with only the following text: “REPORT FOR SPECIAL JOINT CC GRA HA[D] TO BE POSTED SOON.”

Then with all of California watching, the RDAs of Los Angeles and Glendale stepped up to the plate to protect and nurture an often misunderstood species, LA’s Billionaires. Click here to read the rest of Bob Blue’s article.

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Saturday’s Show Guests: Steven Greenhut and Ron Kaye on Redevelopment & Larry Sand on a Landmark Court Ruling in Children’s Favor v. Teacher’s Union Policy

Saturday Nights at 11PM Pacific Time
You can listen live on line at KRLA870AM.com
 
To call us during the show: 1-866-870-5752

This Saturday night, January 29, 2011:
Steven Greenhut, CalWatchDog.com’s editor in chief and former deputy editor and columnist for the Orange County Register and author of Abuse of Power: How Government Misuses Eminent Domain, joins Ron Kaye, publisher, editor and columnist for RonKayeLA Blog in a discussion on Redevelopment.

Podcast Part 1 & Part 2

Podcast: Part 1 Larry Sand of the CA Teacher’s Empowerment Network
and Intro to Steve Greenhut and Ron Kaye
Part 2 Steve Greenhut and Ron Kaye on the CRA/LA, Gov Jerry Brown’s proposal to abolish it, the corruption it breeds, and the LA Convention Ctr and Stadium Project that is a poster child for how rotten it makes all the players involved.

Governor Jerry Brown set off a firestorm almost as soon as he took office, after announcing he was going to dismantle Redevelopment in California (CRAs). Local city government officials have been scrambling to divert funds and political officials and consultants to defend the program or to equivocate over the merits of some Redevelopment Programs over others.

Most people don’t know what it is, unless they’ve been victims of forced evictions by threat of eminent domain, or their homes or businesses have been incorporated into a Redevelopment Zone where all of a sudden their equity became hostage or dramatically reduced. Current Assemblyman Chris Norby’s short pithy illustrated book on the subject is aptly titled, Redevelopment: The Unknown Government.  It explains the billions of dollars in property taxes that are shifted from public services to Redevelopment Agencies.
Dan Walters, a veteran senior columnist for the Sacramento Bee wrote in a column on Thursday: As the battle picks up momentum and the factions exchange barrages of self-serving propaganda, the only safe haven is a report by the Legislature’s budget analyst, Mac Taylor.

Taylor concludes that there is “no reliable evidence that redevelopment agencies improve overall economic development in California” and that redevelopment tends to “shift development from one location to another but does not significantly increase economic activity statewide.” That’s pretty damning.

On Education:
A Superior Court Judge ruled this month in favor of the ACLU versus The Los Angeles Unified School District over the district’s last hired first fired layoff policy.

It is a landmark decision hailed as such by education reformers, but teacher’s unions denounce it as a step toward dismantling tenure policies.

The Washington Post reported:

“The ruling by Superior Court Judge William Highberger approved a settlement between the ACLU, the state and LAUSD in which the district agreed to shield 45 of its lowest performing schools from layoffs and to ensure that the redistribution of those layoffs will not be sent to a school that will experience greater than the district average of layoffs for that year.

It also calls for an incentive plan to attract and retain teachers and principals at the struggling schools.

“This settlement is about giving our most disadvantaged children a fighting chance at their schools,” said Mark Rosenbaum, ACLU-SC chief counsel.

Teachers union United Teachers Los Angeles UTLA will appeal the ruling because it is unfair to pass on layoffs to teachers who have earned their jobs and skills, said Vice President Julie Washington.

“What it is really saying is that experience in teaching has no value,” she said. “We feel that this remedy, if allowed to go through, will actually exacerbate the problem.”

The union was supported by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, who filed a brief opposing the settlement on Friday noting it “could have far reaching, unintended consequences throughout the state.”

Larry Sand of the California Teacher’s Empowerment Network joins me to talk about this ruling, the firestorm it has caused statewide, and you can be sure nationally as well, and what happens next. He’ll also speak with us about a little known law that was passed by the legislature last year, as part of a move to capitalize on the President’s Race to the Top financial incentives for states to adopt certain education reform measures. This law is unique to CA and the brain child of Ben Austin, Executive Director of the Parent’s Revolution and it says simply that a simple majority of parents at any failing school can force a change of staff and programs. It gives the parents of failing schools power they have not had before.

But Governor Jerry Brown’s first action as Governor was to remove Ben Austin from the State Board of Education as well as a majority of the board who supported the Parent Trigger Law and replaced them with what many critics call union sympathizers. What is the fate of the Parent Trigger Law?

The mission of this radio program is (and I quote here the mission statement of The Future of Freedom Foundation, with whom I have no affiliation other than that I agree with there stated mission, by which I am inspired and for which I stand, to the best of my ability), “to advance freedom by providing an uncompromising moral and economic case for individual liberty, free markets, private property, and limited government.” I hope the president of The Future of Freedom Foundation is flattered and not offended by my copying their mission statement here.

We talk politics, business and culture, and feature ordinary individuals who accomplish extraordinary feats, who act and lead to help transform the future of California such that our best days lay ahead.

Make us your nightcap on Saturday nights in Southern California or where ever you are. California is a land of beauty and unlimited possibility because of the abundance of our greatest capital resource, our human resources. Join us.

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Redevelopment: The Unknown Government. Politicians on Both Sides Are Scrambling to Defend Some or All of It. Bottom line: Is it ethical at all? Can it be reconciled with the fundamental principles of Liberty?

Ron Kaye, Resident citizen and publisher of of Ron Kaye L.A. Blog and Steven Greenhut, Editor in Chief of CalWatchDog.com join me this Saturday night at 11 PM on 870AM KRLA and KRLA870.com to set the record straight on the inherent abuse of government power on the individual citizen built into the framework of Redevelopment. There is no such thing as a good Redevelopment Agency or Program; not if you stand on principle of individual liberty as enumerated in our U.S.Constitution.

Have a look at the work Ron Kaye has produced of late on his blog on this controversial issue that California Governor Brown has brought to the fore with his announcement that he would abolish Redevelopment. Here is a page Ron Kaye has set up to speak to this issue as it applies to Los Angeles. To read an older version of Redevelopment: The Unknown Government, click here. And tune in Saturday night for spirited discussion on your liberty and Redevelopment.

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Repost from Friends for Fullerton’s Future Blog: Redevelopment on the Chopping Block?

Humn? Maybe there really is a Santa Claus… Or maybe it really could snow in Haiti. Posted by Assemblyman Chris Norby: (If this is true, wow, this is a big deal!)

Dear Friends, I just returned for my first full legislative term here in Sacramento, having gained valuable experience serving for the past 10 months since the special election. One announced reform I can embrace is the new governor’s goal of abolishing redevelopment agencies and restoring their funds to counties and schools. As a longtime critic of these agencies, I’ve been called by numerous media outlets and colleagues on issues related to this little understood level of government.

Redevelopment agencies capture 12% of all property taxes statewide-that’s $6 billion annually diverted from school districts, counties and municipal police and fire protection. The funds are largely spent subsidizing private development projects whose promoters acquire land under threat of eminent domain, while 20% pays for low income housing projects.”

Click here to read the rest of the story.

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Chris Norby: Local officials susceptible to ‘Bell syndrome’ (As in City of Bell)

By CHRIS NORBY The state assemblyman represents Fullerton and other parts of North Orange. Chris has been a City Councilman in the City of Fullerton. He’s also served as a Supervisor in Orange County. I know Chris because of the work he’s done for decades, helping ordinary people who either lost their properties, their homes and or businesses, or were able to fight City Hall and triumphantly save their properties. He founded M.O.R.R. (Municipal Officers for Redevelopment Reform). For more information about his work on helping average Joes fight Redevelopment) click here

“Stockholm syndrome” refers to the counterintuitive behavior of hostages who come to identify with their captors, based on the study of a Swedish kidnapping. Its counterpart in local government is the common acquiescence of elected officials to professional staff. In place of their own judgment they were elected to use, city councils often simply take orders from the city manager.

Call it “Bell syndrome.” Click here to read the column.
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