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    News

    Leaders of NLB Community Action Group Declare Opposition To Redevelopment Area Merger


    (June 18, 2003) -- Leaders of a grassroots group whose membership spans the 8th and 9th Council districts have issued a joint letter opposing a city management-favored plan to merge all LB Redevelopment Project areas.

    In a letter to Councilmembers, members of the Board of Directors of the North Long Beach Community Action Group declaring their "opposition to the merging of the various Redevelopment Project Area Committees' (PACís) money."

    LBReport.com posts the letter text verbatim below.

    The NLB Community Action Group leaders call "study" of the issue "a further waste of our tax monies," putting the word "study" in quotes in referring to city management's proposed "redevelopment strategy" that City Hall proposes to create for itself while proceeding toward a merger.

    As previously reported by LBReport.com the Redevelopment Agency Board narrowly approved city staff's proposal to initiate steps to pursue the merger on 4-3 vote. Whether that approach continues may turn on whom the Council permits the Mayor to appoint to vacancies on the Redevelopment Agency Board. The Mayor has refused to appoint two individuals whose names were presented to her, under current city law, by the Central Redevelopment Project Area Committee. Instead, the Mayor has insisted that the Council change the law -- retroactively -- to provide her with more nominees.

    At the June 17 Council meeting, the Mayor said her desire was to promote diversity, which prompted open disbelief from 7th district Councilwoan Tonia Reyes-Uranga, the Council's only current Latina. Councilwoman Reyes-Uranga called the Mayor's attempt to change the law "very, very, very political."

    When 9th district Councilman Val Lerch also dissented from the Mayor's position, Mayor O'Neill declared, "[t]his community being the most diverse does not need every PAC [Project Area Committee] to present names of white males." (The Council voted 6-3 to direct the City Attorney to draft a change in city law that does what the Mayor wants; Councilmembers Reyes-Uranga, Webb and Lerch voted no. The law requires further Council votes to enact.)

    Among NLBCAG Board members voting to send the letter opposing the Redevelopment Area merger is the group's recently elected president, LaRose Hodges. Ms. Hodges is an 8th district resident...and an African American woman.

    Others opposing the merger include Christopher Hicks and Dan Schulz, Jennifer Snelgrove, Richard Clapp, Loretta Boras and Martha Sims-Green (boardmember at the time of writing the letter and chosen by current NLBCAG board to be its rep. on the NLB PAC).

    The text of the NLB Community Action Group letter follows below:

    While we could discuss the various reasons for or against the merging of the PACs, one very important reason should be in the forefront - that is, the promise to The Top of the Town seven years ago that if we waited five years we could spend the monies in the NLB PAC. In addition, PAC regulations mandate that 20% of all monies are to be set aside for "affordable" housing that can be used anywhere in the city. Indeed, the NLB PAC has already "loaned" money to the downtown PAC for their 20% of "affordable" housing set asides and several other projects.

    Even though there are new members of the City Council now, the promise by the City Council seven years ago should be kept. Indeed, a reversal of that promise would set a dangerous precedent for the future of all projects approved for any part of Long Beach!

    We respectfully request that you do not even "study" the issue - a further waste of our tax monies - and abide by the original agreement for the North Long Beach PAC!


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