The article “State takes $8 million from GG,” by Kathy Lee Scott, published in the Garden Grove Journal on Thursday, Feb. 25, clearly mischaracterizes the actions of the Garden Grove City Council. The articles states “Without a word, the Garden Grove City Council agreed to let the governor and state legislators take almost $8 million from the city’s redevelopment agency to supplement the state’s Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund.”
If the Journal was paying attention, they would know that since 2003 the Garden Grove City Council has actively opposed fiscally irresponsible state budget decisions that borrow or take local government, redevelopment and transportation funds.
The City Council passed resolutions, sent letters and placed phone calls to Governor Schwarzenegger, senators and Assembly members conveying opposition, in the strongest possible terms, to the state taking these funds to make up for revenue shortfalls.
Moreover, the city has supported the California Redevelopment Association’s past efforts, including the current lawsuit, to prevent the taking of redevelopment funds.
The issue was not debated at the Feb. 23 meeting because the legislature through the state 2009-10 budget had already mandated the matter. The actions that the city council and agency took at the meeting were to approve resolutions making necessary findings to enable the use of housing “set-aside” funds for the obligation imposed by the state.
If the current lawsuit filed by the California Redevelopment Association is not resolved prior to May 10, 2010 (the date the agency must submit its fiscal year 2009-10 payment), the agency’s payment will be made under protest. This will allow the agency to potentially be relieved of the obligation dependent on the outcome of the litigation.
As in the past, we will continue to actively oppose any taking or borrowing of local government revenues by the state. To this end, the city council unanimously passed a resolution on Feb. 23, supporting the Local Taxpayer, Public Safety and Transportation Protection Act of 2010, a proposed constitutional amendment for potential placement on California’s November 2010 statewide ballot.
Approval of this initiative would close loopholes and change the constitution to further prevent state politicians from seizing, diverting, shifting, borrowing, transferring, suspending or otherwise taking or interfering with tax revenues dedicated to funding local government services, including redevelopment, or transportation improvement projects and mass transit.
Although it may not seem important, your choice of headline in this article completely mischaracterized the city’s actions relative to the taking of the $8 million.
When the city should have been commended for its longstanding efforts to fight, not only the taking or borrowing of redevelopment funds, but any local government funds by the state, we were made to look as though as we did nothing. In the future, we would ask that your staff contact us if there is ever any uncertainty regarding the facts of an issue.
Bruce A. Broadwater
City of Garden Grove