California audits redevelopment agencies

January 25, 2011

Jerry Brown and John Chiang

California auditors plan to examine the books of local redevelopment agencies charged with improving blight. [LATimes]

Gov. Jerry Brown wants to use the billions in taxpayer monies spent on redevelopment agencies to pay for schools and basic services.

The state plans to examine the books of 18 state redevelopment agencies to see how officials have been spending the billions of taxpayer dollars they take in each year to improve blight, state Controller John Chiang announced Monday.

“The heated debate over whether redevelopment agencies are the engines of local economic and job growth or are simply scams providing windfalls to political cronies at the expense of public services has largely been based on anecdotal evidence,” Chiang said. “As lawmakers deliberate the Governor’s proposal to close RDAs and divert those funds to local schools and public safety agencies, I believe it is important to provide factual, empirical information about how these agencies perform and what they bring to the communities they serve.”

The cost of funding the state’s 400 redevelopment agencies runs more than $5 billion per year.

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You can send an email to State Controller John Chiang at this Web address: and to Governor Jerry Brown at this one:

I sent them both emails and quoted some of the comments made in response to this article. I think it is important that people let Brown and Chiang know that we are behind them and that this project is going to help stop the bad guys stop funneling our tax money to their buddies – so that our money can finally be spent for the public good.

Maybe if enough people write to them and ask that they include San Luis Obispo cities in their audit, they will do so.

Thank you for posting the links,,,I did write them and asked them to audit our local cities.

Any measure that makes it more difficult for the public to be ripped off by local greed-heads is a step in the right direction. It’s one thing when RDA is done honestly and intelligently, it’s quite another when it becomes a piggy bank for the unscrupulous.

Governor Brown’s off on the right track, I think.

Many people dont know this but the RDA in Atascadero owns the bowling alley because they had to buy it as part of a settlement in a lawsuit with the Colony Square developers, but here is the real kicker, the City leases the building from the RDA and FEMA pays the lease. When the City moves back to the Old Building, they will be able to sell the bowling alley for serious profit because of the movie theater …. now you see why the City backed the movie theater. Very smart. All the RDA money ought to be used to provide incentives to redevelop downtown instead of encouraging urban sprawl. I have said it before, but here I go again, the real problem in Atascadero is the RDA director and financial wiz, Jim Lewis.

I’m not sure if it fair to say this, but….if the City Council of Atascadero is pushing hard for a redevelopment project, and city manager McKinney is giving his enthusiastic thumbs up for it, it is easy to draw the conclusion that redevelopment projects must be an efficient way for some to rip off tax-payers and shovel loot to undeserving crooks.

But perhaps the idea that redevelopment projects are finally going to be scrutinized properly may give some pause to redevelopment fever.

Of course, we are not without our totally shameless and headstrong, insane local politicians and business folk, so they might be willing to push the odds if it means the potential to line their pockets. Some people think they can get away with anything and proceed accordingly.

I guarantee you this type of scrutiny of redevelopment agencies would NOT have happened if Meg Whitman and her gang of crooks took over the governing of this state.

Jerry Brown, uber alles!

The RDA funding has certainly assisted Atascadero with Main Street upgrades and it’s attempts to revitalize our sad little downtown. At the same time, I can’t believe the ridiculous prices we pay for some of the projects. The statue of nymphs that has been out for repair for a few years is a perfect example and comes to mind off the top of my head. I have no doubt that we shovel out deals to the Good Ole Boy’s on some of, if not many of these projects.

Something I saw occur that was very blatant was when a bid was put out for work at the Youth Center. Three bids came in and one of the favored contractors had the highest bid. The lowest bid was from a local contractor and it was 100K less. Suddenly Jim Lewis announced that he had to put the project out for bid again because he hadn’t properly noticed it? It actually was properly noticed but they claimed that it hadn’t reached enough people. The same three contractors re-submitted their bids, only this time, the favored contractor came in with his bid at 100+K lower and beat out the original contractor with the lowest bid. It made me sick to watch this happen. Of course they got away with it.

As for our little local contractor that got screwed out of the job? He said nothing because he still wanted a chance at another job someday.

Oh something I forgot to add about the contractor that cheated to get the job (with the help of Jim Lewis) and ended up coming in with the lowest bid. Later on down the line, he ended up charging an additional 200K+ for the project because of “this, that and the other thing”!! I will have to look this up and confirm the contractors name for certain because I mention it here.

Definitely a step in the RIGHT direction & I’m all for it!

I don’t like Jerry Brown, but I don’t like being ripped off by redevelopment scams even more. Good job, Moonbeam!

RDA is nothing but a scam!


This is good news and shows both conservatives and liberals why Jerry Brown was a good choice for governor.

This should also scare the heck out of a lot of politicians throughout the state who have illegally used the redevelopment agency scam for personal profit . (Is it any wonder that Atascadero poli-crooks are scampering to push their latest redevelopment scam forward before the whole corrupt system is shut down.)

Check out downtown Guadalupe, one of the many areas in the state where redevelop money has been spent by the bucket load. But for what?

I’m not gonna call him the choice for governor until I see improvement. But so far so good.

I like this.