Despite its whining about Gov. Jerry Brown's successful move to wipe California's local redevelopment agencies off the face of the earth, City Hall wants nothing to do with the remnants of its own “CRA.” No life vests here.
The City Council just voted 9-3 to just let the thing die instead of becoming a “successor” agency and taking up its liabilities, including employees, according to The City Maven.
It turns out workers at the city agency charged with injecting “blighted” neighborhoods with much-needed cash and redevelopment have been injecting their own wallets with amazingly high paychecks.
The average salary of a CRA employee is $109,000 a year. No wonder Brown wanted to do away with these things and keep some of the money for the budget-strapped state.
Local officials cried foul at Brown's money-grab, but the CRAs' fate was ultimately sealed in court.
And keep in mind, once more, that the so-called CRA/LA is a group that is supposed to be helping out folks in the ghetto.
Instead they're giving $52 million to the likes of billionaire Eli Broad so he can build a parking lot downtown. Really.
We won't rehash too much of the CRA's sleazy story, except to say that it appeared to be doing a lot more for politically connected developers than for people in South L.A. and the Eastside who could use new shopping centers, grocery stores and housing.
In 2009 our own Tibby Rothman reported how the CRA had used its authority to decimate a downtown barrio, where the very people it was supposed to be helping lived, and essentially handed the land over to a billionaire-controlled corporation so it could develop the entertainment-and-hotels district known as LA Live.
But today the City Council, a big CRA supporter in the past, suddenly couldn't seem to swallow the fact that the agency's average salary was higher than the rest of the City Hall workforce's already healthy $72,000 (which is not too far down in the 99 percent, if you ask us).
Councilman Tony Cardenas, for one, was reluctant to let the poor CRA employees go, despite warnings from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and city administrative officer Miguel Santana that they're too expensive for a town that's $70 million in the red.
Cardenas said in a statement:
… The courts have dealt a devastating blow to the city's ability to invest in its neediest neighborhoods.
Yes, our needy billionaires will have to look elsewhere for their free money. Pity.