Dear Editor – What Are Our Priorities ?

Dear Editor,

I agree with your observation in the article Redevelopment on the Chopping Block, “In Culver City it is obvious- in many places visually obvious- that many redevelopment projects are beneficial. The issue is whether state and local governments can afford to keep adding more of them when every other public service needed for a healthy community ( public schools, parks, fire and police departments and infrastructure maintenance) is being cut.” [emphasis added].

Although Redevelopment has been very good for Culver City, the question is this; in our current economy, what are our priorities?
This question was at the forefront of my mind during the special Redevelopment Agency/ Council meeting on Thursday February 17th which had to do specifically with issuing bonds.

The Redevelopment Agency is issuing bonds for $61 million in order to pay for several parking structures. My question was: if redevelopment agencies cease to exist as proposed by Governor Brown & tax-increment financing is no longer an option, will the city have to pay back these bonds out of the General Fund? If so, I would seriously question prioritizing parking structures if this in any way threatens other vital services. During the meeting, a special consultant answered my question by saying that to the best of her knowledge, the city will not be liable for paying back the bonds. Let’s hope that the best of her knowledge is really solid, informed and correct. The alternative would be disastrous.

It is extremely frustrating that Culver City residents and local journalists weren’t given the chance to research the issue before it was voted upon: the special meeting to decide on this was noticed after 3 p.m. the day before the meeting took place. The supporting documents explaining the issue were over 150 pages long. For all we know, this may well be a great use of bond money – however, it’s nearly impossible to study the matter thoroughly with a little over 24 hours to do so. One wonders how the Council/Agency members themselves were able to make such an important decision with so little time to research the supporting documents.

Meghan Sahli-Wells

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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