Redevelopment Agency Fails To Act
When is an emergency not an emergency? When the elected leaders of our city choose to ignore the best professional advice of the city staff and elect to leave at least $1.3 million on the table for the state to scoop up if its weekend session results in the passage of Redevelopment Agency legislation.
PAY BACK INTEREST?
This afternoon a dozen residents saw the Costa Mesa City Council - four of them, anyhow, because Eric Bever was absent AGAIN - meet as the Costa Mesa Redevelopment Agency to discuss whether or not to have the RDA "pay back" monies available as interest on a loan made by the City when the RDA was first formed almost 40 years ago.
This issue seemed like a no-brainer. The staff brought it to the Agency as an emergency item - notice was made barely 24 hours before - because the state legislature is very close to passing bills that would freeze RDA funds and then reach out and snatch them away, to be used for "education". The staff recommended, in the clearest terms possible - so clear that even I understood them - that they were looking for an authorization to transfer funds immediately back to the City before the State could grab it.
"PASSING" ON $1.3 MILLION
The amount in question, $1.3 million, was the minimum amount available. If the state passes its issues as "urgency" items they go into effect immediately. That requires a 2/3 vote. If they pass with only a majority - a slam dunk - then the bills would go into effect July 1, 2011 and it's possible the City would receive additional Property Tax revenues into the RDA - perhaps another $700,000 - that would be available for repayment of the loan interest. If the RDA didn't vote to capture this money we may, effectively, be leaving the money on the table for the State to snatch away.
THEY DID NOTHING!
However, the Agency - led by Jim Righeimer - chose to do NOTHING and thereby left that money in jeopardy. The funds available now could have been applied to our shortfall and aid in balancing the budget this year. That money could save the jobs of a dozen employees.
THEY DON'T CARE
So, the message they sent is loud and clear. The majority on this city council really DOES NOT care about the financial stability of our city. Nope, they are just playing politics with the lives of employees and safety and security of the residents. Every dollar that brings us closer to a balanced budget erodes their bogus argument that we are in a financial crisis. This afternoon they turned their backs on cash that is available right now.
THEY IGNORE THE STAFF
And, as each meeting comes and goes, it's becoming more clear to me that they don't give a darn about the opinion of the staff. Nope, they've already got their minds made up on these critical issues and are not going to be diverted from their path by facts. If the facts interfere with their dogma, the dogma is going to win every time.
WHAT'S IT GOING TO TAKE?
I guess I'm left tonight wondering just when the regular, normal hardworking folks in this city are going to wise-up to these clowns? When will they realize that the future of this city is in jeopardy? Will it be when the crime rate climbs because, as Mayor Monahan said recently, "There are no longer any sacred cows"? Will it be when the graffiti remains on buildings and walls for weeks because the outsourced crew couldn't get around to it? Will it be when gangs begin to take over neighborhoods because the staffing of the police department was cut drastically? Will it be when folks requiring emergency medical aid die before the help arrives because we closed fire stations and understaffed those that remain? What's it going to take?