State officials are correct in saying that local redevelopment agencies “sapped money from schools in the name of economic development that rarely materialized in any justifiable way” (“City knocks state payout,” June 17).
Earlier this year, Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) was also correct when he said that redevelopment agencies “have become government subsidies for developers” (“The clock winds down,” Jan. 15).
When California’s redevelopment agencies began, their purpose — to provide affordable housing and eradicate blighted areas — was a noble endeavor. But developers and big business soon realized opportunities to enrich themselves, thereby corrupting the program.
Many sweetheart deals were given to developers and big businesses. In return, city council members (also sitting as agency members) running for re-election could count on generous campaign contributions from these entities. It was classic quid pro quo.
I’m not shedding a single tear for the demise of redevelopment agencies. They disintegrated into another version of pork barrel politics.