Re-thinking Redevelopment

BY JORDAN SALINGER
January 24, 2011

Our new governor is proposing to eliminate redevelopment in California. Yesterday, SPUR's executive director, Gabriel Metcalf, weighed in on the debate with an opinion piece in the Chronicle, arguing that we should reform, rather than eliminate, redevelopment.

For contrasting opinions, see the LA Times series from last fall that un-earthed many examples of problems with redevelopment, and an opinion piece in the Contra Costa Times defending the governor's proposal.

There are clearly many examples of bad uses of redevelopment funding across the state and here in San Francisco. But overall, there is simply no way for us to bring areas like Mission Bay, Treasure Island, and the Hunters Point Shipyard back into productive use without the financing tools of redevelopment. Our hope at SPUR is that the governor's proposal leads to a serious effort at reforming parts of redevelopment, perhaps leading the state to be more careful about where redevelopment areas can be created and about what redevelopment funds are spent on. At a time of such unprecedented budget cuts, it makes sense that redevelopment should be looked at for cost savings. But redevelopment done right is a solution to our budget problems because it is the way we bring areas that are polluted or lack basic infrastructure back onto the tax rolls.