A proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown to shut down California‘s 425 redevelopment agencies could have a huge impact on the Oakland Athletics, as both San Jose and Oakland are planning on using redevelopment funds to help pay for a new ballpark.
Both cities are planning on using a redevelopment agency as a base for the ballpark effort; that is, acquiring land and infrastructure so Athletics owner Lew Wolff can build a privately financed ballpark. Brown, the former Oakland mayor who was once a proponent of redevelopment agencies, wants to use the money from the closed-down agencies (after paying down existing debt, of course) to pay for basic services in the cash-strapped states. The California Legislature will be taking up the issue in upcoming months: fiscal conservatives say the redevelopment agencies are wastes of money and have moved far past their original mission of improving blighted areas; city officials they are useful and needed tools for bringing in outside investment.
Of course, there are other ways for a city to acquire land for a ballpark than using a redevelopment agency. And in this case neither ballpark venture seems absolutely dependent on a redevelopment agency. But it does complicate things.
And it could delay things. We can’t imagine MLB Commissioner Bud Selig making a decision on whether the Athletics can move into San Francisco’s territory with so much up in the air in both cities.
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