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Bernardi Vows to Fight Bradley Spending Plan

Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles City Councilman Ernani Bernardi, again thrusting himself into the political turmoil of redevelopment, said Wednesday that he will oppose Mayor Tom Bradley’s proposal to raise a spending limit on downtown redevelopment projects.

“I am flatly opposed to it, and the way it stands now, I would go to court to block it,” Bernardi said in an interview. “The money should go back to the city, the county and the Board of Education.”

Bernardi’s comments, which came shortly after several groups staged a small demonstration outside City Hall against the mayor’s plan, end several months of speculation about whether the councilman would actively seek to defeat the mayor’s initiative.

Result of Earlier Suit It was Bernardi’s lawsuit against the city over a decade ago that resulted in the spending cap, which prevents the Community Redevelopment Agency from spending more than $750 million in downtown property tax revenues for rehabilitation of the area. The revenues are derived from taxes paid on properties that have benefited from redevelopment projects.

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Under Bradley’s proposal, the spending limit would be increased to $5 billion, thereby allowing the CRA to continue its revitalizion program. CRA officials expect to reach the $750 million limit by 1991. Without the increase, they say, downtown revitalization will grind to a halt.

In recent weeks, Bernardi has publicly criticized the mayor’s proposal--most recently at a City Council meeting last week--but he has also voiced support for part of the plan that calls for new low-income housing. Bradley has proposed that about half of the additonal tax revenue be spent on low-income housing and an after-school care program for.

Other Sources Urged But in the interview Wednesday, Bernardi said the mayor could find other financial sources to build low-income housing without turning to the downtown redevelopment project. He suggested looking to the city’s 18 other redevelopment projects that do not have spending caps, or using the tax dollars the city would receive if the downtown spending cap is not increased. Once the $750 million limit is reached, property tax revenues from the downtown redevelopment project will go to the city, the county and the school district instead of the CRA.

“We are all trying to get more police, get additional fire protection, fix up our streets, and just make the city safe,” Bernardi said. “The only thing that is holding us back is money.

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