by Steven Greenhut
In the seven years since Gov. Jerry Brown shut down California’s redevelopment agencies, their defenders have managed to resuscitate their image. Never mind that these controversial agencies ladled out corporate welfare, wantonly abused eminent domain on behalf of developers and diverted $5 billion annually from public services. A new bill would bring them back to life, and its supporters would have us believe they’re the means to resolve California’s housing crisis.
That argument is bizarre given that “redevelopment” actually helped cause the current housing shortage because it overvalued the construction of sales-tax-generating big-box stores at the expense of home construction. Sure, redevelopment law required agencies to set aside 20 percent of their proceeds to build subsidized apartments, but the relatively small number of redevelopment-created units pales in comparison to the havoc wreaked by the land-use distortions caused by these agencies.