Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed several bills to resurrect redevelopment agencies in limited form, including one that could have been hugely useful to the city of Stockton.
The main bill was AB 2144, a measure by Assembly Speaker John Pérez (D-Los Angeles). Pérez’s AB 2144 would have allowed local communities to create “infrastructure and revitalization financing districts” if approved by 55% of voters.
A bill that would have been most welcome for Stockton was SB 1156 by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). It would have allowed cities to set up “sustainable communities investment authorities” to help the development of neighborhoods near transit hubs with housing and factories that provide equipment for the clean energy industry.
The vetoes “add insult to injury,” writes Steve Pinkerton, Stockton’s former redevelopment director (now city Manager of Davis).
SB1156 fit the city like a glove.
Earlier this year the Urban Land Institute visited and opined the way to revive downtown is to start at the east-end ACE train station. The San Joaquin Rail Commission restored that decrepit depot to a showpiece, built offices and a clock tower. The ULI recommended a “village-type development” with mixed housing built by several developers.
In that way, the city could revitalize the Weber Avenue corridor to the Channel Head and advance revival towards downtown.
In vetoing SB1156, Brown said he liked the idea. But it was premature. Cities should be winding down redevelopment agencies, and giving the money to the state, not ramping up redevelopment, he said.
The back story of the veto may be that the state’s redevelopment money grab isn’t working out as planned. Brown had hoped to raise $685-million; he’s raised one-third of that.
Ergo, ”I prefer to take a constructive look at implementing this type of program once the winding down of redevelopment is complete and General Fund savings achieved,” Brown wrote.
Too bad. Let’s hope Steinberg re-introduces the bill.