Jerry Brown: Killing baseball in Oakland not once, but twice

Update 1/4 4:00 PM – San Jose and Mayor Chuck Reed appear ready to fight Governor Brown in order to keep redevelopment dollars intact if Brown’s idea gets past a conceptual stage.

Austerity, thy name is Jerry Brown. As part of the newly sworn-in governor’s agenda to reduce the $25-28 billion state deficit, massive cuts are in store for social services, the University of California and California State University systems, and just about everything else that is state funded.

Robert Gammon thinks this is bad news for any Victory Court ballpark plans, since Brown is looking to eliminate redevelopment agencies as well. Remember that while $750,000 has been authorized for an EIR, nothing has been authorized or raised (via bonds) for further land acquisition or infrastructure work. That part, which is estimated to run $100 million or more, would be unavailable in as little as 12-18 months if redevelopment agencies were killed or if their tax increment funds were diverted to help shore up the budget.

Gammon is unclear whether Brown would try to fight this battle via legislation or some other method. Redevelopment can be viewed in two ways: generally bloated and ineffectual, yet also important for some ongoing smaller projects in many cities throughout the state. Since redevelopment money has more of an indirect benefit for citizens than, say, funds for Cal Grants or Medi-Cal, it’s likely to be less of a hot button issue, which could make it a more likely candidate for the chopping block. However, redevelopment agencies are empowered through Article 16 of the State Constitution, which makes it difficult to see how Brown could do it alone, unless he declared some sort of fiscal “state of emergency” early on in his term and tried to carry out his agenda via fiat. It’s possible that a bill to accomplish this could “sail” through the legislature, but would a referendum be required as well?

Also threatened are enterprise zones, areas designated by cities as economic incubators and eligible for tax credits as a result. Elimination of enterprise zones could raise the price tag on relocation since it’s likely that Oakland/ORA is looking at some of those areas as places where the existing businesses at Victory Court could relocate, with tax credits as an enticement.

Would Brown’s cuts have an effect on San Jose’s ballpark efforts? Perhaps. SJRA’s practice of landbanking has allowed it to use money it raised many years or even decades ago to help fund new projects. With the threat of Brown curtailing SJRA activities severely if not outright, it’s possible that they may see the writing on the wall and sell off various accrued assets to keep existing projects funded or to shore up the agency’s own budget. Better that than for the state to grab the land and sell it on its own, I suppose. Already, SJRA has redone the Airport West deal to suit Lew Wolff’s sliding schedule. They’ve also agreed to sell the long dormant Brandenburg site near downtown to developer Barry Swenson in order to finish a street grid/park project in the North San Pedro area. Going back to the process of killing redevelopment, imagine a June ballot in San Jose with a ballpark initiative and a statewide proposition to eliminate redevelopment agencies. Yikes.

This early on, it’s hard to say how the redevelopment battle will go. Agencies have their own lobbying group and there will be plenty of cities with large agencies who will be steadfastly against such a raid. Lawsuits would be almost guaranteed, as they would be from various other threatened state agencies. Most redevelopment agencies have some ongoing indebtedness, so what happens if their siphon is cut off? Default? Already, CRA is appealing a decision which approved Governor Schwarzenegger’s $2 Billion raid in 2009-10. We’re in for a bumpy ride, folks.

56 Responses to Jerry Brown: Killing baseball in Oakland not once, but twice

  1. Marine Layer says:

    @Vince – The sad part is that it’d take us a month just to get cheaper Chinese steel across the ocean.

  2. Dan says:

    I have no doubt Ellison would make this work if the NBA will have him. San Jose though is quickly going to become a very busy market if the Hornets move to SJ along without the other teams trying to get there. No to mention the Sharks and Earthquakes already there…

  3. jk-usa says:

    Good for SJ if they can land the Hornets. I think they would draw good if the team doesn’t totally suck, but the W’s will get all the attention, just like the G’s over the A’s. There would have to be some work done to the HP for sure.

  4. Dan says:

    Actually the Warriors don’t get that much play in the south bay and lower peninsula. I think you’d find people who otherwise have ignored the NBA suddenly finding interest in it.

  5. ST says:

    @erw – It seems your residence will be directly affected by any proposed ballpark, so i definitely see your take on things, however:

    - Elected officials are representative of the entire population (as well as business/labor). 2 of the most vocal supporters of the stadium have been Sam Liccardo and Chuck Reed and both won their reelections by a landslide. I see much more progress and concern with SJ’s overall fiscal health with our city officials than others with such measures as V and W being drafted and passing.

    - Example 1: the FMC site is actually going to be OVERPAID by LW to the RDA. That is a very reasonable deal for old land that has been used for ages (i should know as my father used to work for FMC decades ago). That is not risk, but being aggressive in a down trodden real estate market. I’m still not sure why LW is doing it to be honest.

    - Example 2: The Autumn parkway reconstruction will be done regardless of a new ballpark as new access will be needed to the whole Diridon transit corridor. I think you are sensationalizing the effects of the RDA raid. Over the last 2 years, CA raided $163million dollars but the RDA is still alive and negotiating deals to replenish itself (and not specifically just for the ballpark i might add).

    Suffice to say, yes there are inherent risks with the whole ballpark venture, but since it is being privately financed, the ROI outweighs almost all the negatives and will establish an additional revenue stream to the city in tourism, nightlife, and jobs.

  6. Guy says:

    Brown may wnat to cut the state budget, but he is going about it in the wrong way. The matter concerning cutting the state budget is such a bogus issue anyway, yet it is used by politicians everywhere on the federal, state , and local levels duping an misinformed public that they are doing something good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>