It has only been a few weeks since California’s Redevelopment Agencies were killed, but Legislators are already dreaming up ways to re-incarnate the beast.
One approach under study is to loosen the rules governing “infrastructure financing districts,” which can issue bonds and repay them from increases in property taxes in project areas. That’s similar to redevelopment, but the districts are more limited in scope and, under current law, require approval of two-thirds of local voters.
Two pending bills, including one to underwrite the upcoming America’s Cup boat races in San Francisco, would eliminate the voter approval requirement, but Brown is unlikely to go there. Backers of the concept are hoping, however, that he might accept lowering the voter threshold to 55 percent, similar to that for school bonds, or even to a simple majority.
While the current two-thirds threshold for local bond measures sounds like a lot, it guarantees all interests are represented. Without it, advocates for bikes, peds, and transit don’t get a seat at the table. Reducing the bar to 55%, or even simple majority, would allow cities to revert to their bad old ways of subsidizing parking garages, and other auto-centric crap.