Monday, January 31, 2011

California Billionaires Profit on Backs of Poor

Redevelopment is Good for the Poor
Gov. Jerry Brown wants to eliminate state funding of Redevelopment Agencies (RDA) as a way to help offset California’s $28 billion deficit. Elimination of RDA funding would save the state $1.7 billion. Speculators and developers are pissed off, as this would take away a huge stream of free taxpayer cash that they had been using to line their pockets. Eli Broad, for example, who has been trying to dismantle public education and replace it with private charter schools, received $52 million in RDA funds for a parking lot for his art gallery.

Supporters of RDA say that redevelopment funds help the most vulnerable Californians. However, it’s hard to see how a parking lot for an art gallery is particularly helpful to a family struggling to keep a roof over its head. Likewise, without the savings from cutting RDA, there could be even greater cuts to education, healthcare, childhood development, Medi-Cal, Welfare-to-work, and home services for the elderly, blind and disabled, hardly a benefit for the most vulnerable Californians. RDA doesn’t even do much to create jobs or help the economy. The state Legislative Analyst says that “there is no reliable evidence redevelopment agencies have improved the state’s economy.”

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