Redevelopment Agency Bd. Votes 4-3 To Proceed Toward Possible Merger of All Project Areas While City Hall Creates Redevelopment Strategy, Defeats Substitute Motion 3-4 For Independent Study First
Councilwoman Reyes-Uranga Tells City Mgr. She's Concerned Abt. Adequacy Of Community Outreach...And Wants Redev. Strategy With Ind. Study First
(June 10, 2003) -- Following a story first reported by LBReport.com, a sizable crowd turned out for the June 9 meeting of LB's Redevelopment Agency Board, at which Boardmembers split sharply over how to proceed on a city staff proposal to merge all LB Redevelopment Project Areas and expand the North and Central project areas.
City staff favored proceeding toward a possible merger while simultaneously creating a "redevelopment strategy."
Many public speakers favored conducting an independent study before moving forward on a merger.
City staff argued, and City Auditor Gary Burroughs essentially agreed, that a vote to proceed toward a possible merger didn't commit the Board to a merger and permitted the Board to say "no" in the future.
A substitute motion was made to conduct an independent redevelopment study before moving forward on a merger. It failed, 3-4.
On a reverse vote, the Board then voted 4-3 to adopt city staff's recommendations basically as staff proposed, including moving forward on a merger while simultaneously preparing a City Hall redevelopment strategy. (An amendment directs staff to prepare the redevelopment strategy instead of recommending that the City Council ask the Redevelopment Agency to prepare a strategy.)
As to whether a City Hall created redevelopment strategy is the same thing as an indepndent study, this exchange ensued:
Boardmember Cartagena: ...[t]he recommendation by staff was for a redevelopment strategy and not an independent study, so...
Board chair Netherton: The redevelopment strategy wording is the study, that is the study.
Boardmember Cartagena: OK, so we're voting for a redevelopment strategy here, not an independent study.
Board chair Netherton: But that is, if I'm not mistaken Dan, and correct me Melanie [Fallon, Community Dev. Director], what we're calling a redevelopment strategy is in fact a study, is that correct?"
Community Development Director Melanie Fallon: Yes, that's how we're defining it.
Ms. Fallon's June 9 memo to the Board, posted as part of LBReport.com's previous coverage, stated as follows:
The Project Area Committees (PACs) have requested an additional Independent Study of Redevelopment that would examine some basic questions about how the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Long Beach carries out its mission. Staff recommends that the Redevelopment Agency answers the questions posed by the PACs in the Redevelopment Strategy [which would include five components; see memo, p. 3 for details]
Meanwhile, in a June 6 memo to City Manager Jerry Miller, 7th district Councilwoman Tonia Reyes-Uranga made clear she wants a Redevelopment Strategy -- including an independent study -- completed before consideration of a merger. Councilwoman Reyes-Uranga also voiced concern over the adequacy of community outreach efforts to date.
"The existing community opposition to the merger -- with two PACs voting against it -- needs to be addressed before proceeding with a discussion of merging the Project Areas. I would like to recommend the preparation of a Redevelopment Strategy, including an Independent Study, to be completed prior to consideration of a merger. I am requesting a report on the comprehensive outreach and educational efforts the staff has conducted and how the comments and concerns received from the PACs have been incorporated in the recommendations," her memo said.
And Councilwoman Reyes-Uranga's memo to the City Manager added, "I am not prepared to move forward and agendize even the discussion of the expansion and/or merger of Project Areas until I have adequate information on the abovementioned items."
The Redevelopment Agency Board's majority supported motion included the recommendation that the Council "request the Redevelopment Agency initiate the process of merging all seven redevelopment project areas"...and city staff indicated in its June 9 memo that it plans to give a presentation to the Council on June 17.
Councilwoman Reyes-Uranga's June 6 memo indicates she plans to raise outreach and other issues, including eminent domain, at a Council Redevelopment workshop, now tentatively set for 2-4 p.m. on June 17.
LBReport.com has also learned that a vote on initiating the process of merging all seven Redevelopment Project Areas may be on the Council agenda as soon as the evening of June 17. However, a final agenda has not yet been set.