City News

City of L.A. Smuggles $884 Million From Redevelopment Agency At Surprise Meeting, Ducking State Cuts And Public Scrutiny

Comments (0)


Fri, Jan 14, 2011 at 11:40 AM
click to enlarge cralaimages_thumb_250x111.jpeg

Update: Do we really want $1 billion and the future of L.A. urban development to remain trapped in the incestual CRA-City Hall family?

Update: Turns out they actually transferred all CRA assets and projects, bringing the total city transfer to more like an abstract $1 billion, according to Kaye.

Ron Kaye, ex-editor of LA Daily News, spotted the sneak thundercloud yesterday: a mysterious "special meeting" posted to the Community Redevelopment Agency's website, at which CRA commissioners would decide the fate of $884 million. (Too bad we were busy pulling our hair out over that silly meeting on the Zoning Code.)

The note was only posted 24 hours before the meeting's start time -- a painful 8:30 a.m.

This morning, despite the best efforts of Kaye and erratic city activist John Walsh to thwart them, all six CRA commissioners OKed the $884 million "cooperation agreement" with the City of Los Angeles.

How did they get away with this?

Yesterday afternoon, in a panic, Kaye urged his loyal readers to barrage L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and CRA-involved officials with a cease-and-desist letter of sorts, "to call for the immediate halt of this fraudulent action of the CRA to try to evade the legitimate budgeting process of the State of California."

The meeting announcement contained only the following vagueties:


However, by all appearances, the gigantic transfer is a blatant attempt to evade a July 2011 slash of all local redevelopment agencies like the CRA -- one of the many strict budget decisions made by Governor Jerry Brown in his first week at the helm of California. Brown's proposal would save the state $6 billion a year.

Even the Associated Press caught on:

The Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency has allocated $885 million for projects throughout the city before it is possibly dissolved under terms of the austerity budget Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed for California.


Commissioner Kenneth Fearn says there would be no assurance the money would go back to the city of Los Angeles if it falls into state hands.

Eliminating local redevelopment agencies is proposed in Brown's budget, which calls for $12.5 billion in cuts.

L.A. city officials also had the usual pack of political citywatchers to look out for. However, their efforts kinda backfired, in our opinion, considering they managed to violate the Brown Act's 72-hour-notice requirement on an item in which state officials have every reason to invest themselves. (Kaye notes that the reason for the Brown Act was actually invented right here in L.A., when City Councilmembers unanimously approved a certain "Number X" -- a boost in their own salaries -- without notice. So yeah, you see the precedent we're working with.)

In the sample letter form, Kaye states:

"The CRA has no legal authority to proceed with this special meeting. The CRA has failed to comply with the Brown Act. This decision, if it is approved today, will result in massive public outrage against the elected and appointed officials of the City and CRA, including a City Attorney that allowed this patently illegal meeting notice to be posted. Actions taken at this proposed meeting of the CRA will be subject to nullification in the Los Angeles County Superior Court."

No one is answering the phones at the Community Redevelopment Agency this morning. What we really want to know is: Where exactly will the $884 million go now? Same place as all those other "special" funds, we suppose.

Update: Kaye just posted a video of the meeting. It appears CRA Board President Kenneth Fearn also motioned for an agreement with City Hall that would essentially preserve all the CRA jobs, including their pensions, by making the agency into a city-run nonprofit. So much for Brown's bright idea...

Related Content


Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets


  • 21st Annual Classic Cars "Cruise Night" in Glendale
    On Saturday, spectators of all ages were out in multitudes on a beautiful summer night in Glendale to celebrate the 21st annual Cruise Night. Brand Boulevard, one of the main streets through downtown Glendale, was closed to traffic and lined with over 250 classic, pre-1979 cars. There was plenty of food to be had and many of the businesses on Brand stayed open late for the festivities The evening ended with fireworks and a 50th anniversary concert from The Kingsmen, who performed their ultimate party hit, "Louie, Louie." All photos by Jared Cowan.
  • The World Cup Celebrated And Mourned By Angelenos
    The World Cup has taken Los Angeles by storm. With viewings beginning at 9 a.m., soccer fans have congregated at some of the best bars in the city including The Village Idiot, Goal, The Parlour on Melrose, Big Wang's and more. Whether they're cheering for their native country, favorite players or mourning the USA's loss, Angelenos have paid close attention to the Cup, showing that soccer is becoming more than a fad. All photos by Daniel Kohn.
  • La Brea Tar Pits "Pit 91" Re-Opening
    Starting June 28th, The Page Museum once again proudly unveils the museum's Observation Pit, which originally opened in 1952 but has spent most of the last half century closed. Now visitors can get an up-close look at Pit 91, which is currently under excavation. The La Brea Tar Pits, home of the Page Museum, is one of the world's most famous ice age fossil locations, known for range of fossils from saber-toothed cats and mammoths to microscopic plants, seeds and insects. The new "Excavator Tour" is free with museum admission if purchased online at tarpits.org . All photos by Nanette Gonzales.