Swalwell seeks federal funds for redevelopment agencies

Brown closed state's RDAs as illegal

Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) has introduced legislation that would use federal funds to replace much of California's Redevelopment Agency development obligations that were declared illegal by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Called the "Restarting Local Economies Act of 2013," Swalwell's bill would make it easier for communities in California to obtain federal redevelopment funding.

In 2011, the state legislature voted and California closed all of the state's roughly 400 redevelopment agencies (RDAs), leaving localities without a source to fund much-needed development, Swalwell said in a statement. In his 15th Congressional District, alone, the loss was over $50 million.

Swalwell was joined at a press conference announcing the bill's introduction by Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison, Union City Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci, and East Bay Economic Development Alliance Director Darien Louie.

Swalwell introduced the legislation at an empty lot in Fremont, which was slated for mixed-use development with housing and retail. The closure of the Fremont RDA delayed the project.

"The state's closure of redevelopment agencies has effectively stalled local economic development across the East Bay," Swalwell said. "With that funding taken away by the state of California, too much land remains undeveloped and potential jobs sit on the sidelines."

"As a former Dublin city councilmember, I've taken my understanding of local economic development to Washington," he added. "While I can't undo the California legislature's mistake, my legislation helps cities whose redevelopment funding was raided by making it easier for them to obtain federal grants for redevelopment purposes. I'm proud to stand with mayors and communities across the East Bay as a federal partner in promoting local economic development."

The federal government's Economic Development Administration's Economic Adjustment Assistance program provides competitive grants to localities for redevelopment projects, should they meet specific criteria related to challenges to their economy.

Swalwell's legislation would include the closure of a government entity, such as a redevelopment agency, as a specific example of an economic challenge to a region, allowing California localities to more easily compete for federal funds.

In addition, Swalwell's bill also would allow greater federal funding contributions to redevelopment activities in cities hurt by an RDA closure – even up to 100% of the project's cost.

"This legislation solves a problem facing our cities and represents a commonsense approach to grow our local economies, create jobs, and move the East Bay forward," added Swalwell.


Like this comment
Posted by Charlie Brown
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 2, 2013 at 9:26 am

Oh Boy! Free money from the Feds and I'm sure there will be NO STRINGS attached, PERIOD!

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Posted by Henry
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 2, 2013 at 10:29 am

RDAs have been the source of some of the most corrupt financial operations in the state. Money has been used to not develop new business, but just move business from one municipality to another. One city's gain is the other's loss. Slush funds and graft have been reported to be rather prevalent. Grandiose ideas and plans that have no possibility of succeeding in the long run and with no plans for future long-term funding result in new construction followed by property and neighborhood deterioration. (Locally, what are the odds of a Livermore regional theater supporting itself?) The state has enough financial problems and debt and retiree benefits to claw its way out of. The governor knew what he was doing in shutting these operations down. I only hope our new representative is proposing this bill only for electioneering purposes and congress realizes this is only a piece of major pork. Of course, congress has rarely seen a piece of pork that didn't make it salivate, so who knows what will happen.

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Posted by Pork
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2013 at 10:45 am

Pure PORK !!! He learned quickly... he's 'gone DC". Sad. Redevelopment is all KICKBACKS, UNION PAYBACKS, PORK, pushing aside the common good.

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Posted by Frank Lynn
a resident of Valley Trails
on Dec 2, 2013 at 11:24 am

Redevelopment money in California was a corrupt misuse of funds in part because of the model - borrowing money at high interest rates and banking on an increase in property taxes. And many examples were fraught with graft and corruption - so Brown's ending it was prettymuch the only decent thing he's done.

Swalwell's bill is pork - but it's at least pork for our area. If you look at the Federal budget, California's Federal income tax collection subsidizes pork from the other states - most figures show California only getting 1/4 of the value of our tax dollars while red states who decry the Federal government get 2-3x what they contribute. So good for Swalwell for trying to reclaim some of of those dollars - and for the purpose of creating jobs.

That's one of the reasons that Stark was such a disappointment - despite joining Congress 100 years ago and being a "ranking" member of many Committees, he didn't use his power and influence to do anything for the district - which was his job.

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Posted by Pork
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Americans saying "yes, but it's OUR district" is how America is got $18 Trillion in the hole.

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Posted by Go
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Im with the governor on this one.

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Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2013 at 8:56 am

If you want your pork, you can keep your pork!

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Posted by Pork
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2013 at 9:14 am

I'd rather, instead of peppering projects in districts throughout the country as payback patronage to individual 'people', that it not happen in any districts. Instead, use it to (help involved state) repair KEY bridges that are ready to bury people in their cars in a number of states. We could NOT possibly do all that are needed, so there would be fights. But IF Eric and others in DC think there are funds to spare,(I don't) but, I'd say start with two or three bridges. Then maybe start a plan, of a bridge repair start about every 2 years. We cannot afford to start 6 jobs at once. Responsible 'bridge' planning is needed. They must be 'co' projects along with the state, some states zero, others might have two. Major intrastate traffic routes would be priorities, but the state involved must contribute.
It's sad that 'politicians' have allowed our country's 'FEDERAL' government to become a giant welfare check for 'individuals', INSTEAD of doing big, permanent improvements for 'all' the people, like founders intended. Our 'country' needs attention. Our founders who created our country declared national defense the primary function of the federal government... to defend us from foreign enemies. States and individuals were to be responsible for local people and problems. Founders intended the FEDERAL government have an 'army', but there's no provision for a 'salvation' army!

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Posted by Chemist
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 3, 2013 at 11:39 am

Vote for a Democrat (and most Republicans) and this is what you get. Mr. Swalwell is a real visionary who intends to make our nation's problems even worse, but that's OK because it's his district that is getting the pork. His district had an opportunity to elect someone who would have helped our country, but his opponent, Chris Pareja, was endorsed by the hated Tea Party. I the district residents will wake up before it's too late.

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Posted by Pork
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Chemist, you don't seem to understand. Your candidate might have been OK last time, but scary, crazy-talking tea partiers in other regions of the country terrified voters and that ripples throughout all 50 states. Tea partiers are clueless about the 'science' of winning elections. Everybody on the team loses when a wingnut makes the evening news. Winning is best left to experienced election specialists.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 4, 2013 at 10:41 am

Democrats and Republicans eat PORKCHOPS 'N RAISING DAILY!

i rest my case...tee hee

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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