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    LB Area Chamber of Commerce Opposes Having Council Become Redevelopment Agency Board Until Pending Study Is Completed & Informed, Public Debate Takes Place

    (November 12, 2004, posted as breaking) -- has learned that the LB Area Chamber of Commerce's Government Affairs Committee has voted to strongly oppose having the LB City Council become LB's Redevelopment Agency governing board until a pending redevelopment study is completed and "informed, public debate can take place." has also learned that a majority of the Chamber Board has voted by email to agree with the Government Affairs Committee recommendation...making it LB Area Chamber policy.

    On November 11, the Chamber's Government Affairs Committee met and heard testimony from 7th district Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga, incumbent Redevelopment Board chair John Gooding and incumbent Redevelopment Board vice chair Tom Fields.

    "In debate, many questions were raised concerning both sides. GAC members ultimately questioned the rush to bring this issue to Council, and expressed concern that the Council has not had an informed debate. Committee members also believe the redevelopment report should be completed as soon as possible with time for public debate," the Chamber said in a release, adding:

    After a long hearing and discussion, GAC voted unanimously to oppose the City Council becoming the Redevelopment Agency before it considers this study. The motion passed read as follows:

    "GAC strongly opposes an ordinance declaring the City Council to be the Redevelopment Agency for the City of Long Beach until the pending redevelopment study is completed and informed, public debate can take place."

    As previously reported by, on October 19, 2004 the City Council voted 6-3 (Colonna, Gabelich, Lerch dissenting) to consider an ordinance that would, in effect, replace LB's current non-elected (Mayor appointed, Council approved) Redevelopment Agency Board with the City Council. As previously reported by proposed indings have been agendized for the Council's November 16 meeting at which time it could direct the City Attorney to prepare an ordinance making the Redevelopment change ( coverage, click here.)

    "The administration of redevelopment in Long Beach is a highly complex issue that effects a wide range of interests. Any action taken in haste and without a complete understanding of this issue is ill-advised. A study is currently pending, which will include an evaluation and recommendations regarding the administration of redevelopment. Until this study is complete and informed debate can take place, the Chamber opposes the City Council's proposed ordinance," said the Chamber in a prepared release.

    Lou Anne Bynum, Chamber board chair, said in the release, "A study is expected this summer which will look at best practices for redevelopment agencies across California, including the specific issue of the City Council acting as the redevelopment agency. The council should wait for the study before taking action."

    The release added that Ms. Bynum favored completing the study as soon as possible...and was concerned that it had been delayed.

    On November 16, Councilmembers are scheduled to confront the question of whether to give themselves direct control over millions of dollars that are supposed to be used to combat blight in nearly half of LB declared within Redevelopment project areas (and the power to put additional areas in Redevelopment subject to a statutory definition of "blight" and other legal requirements).

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