Blumenfield Moves the Chains on Redevelopment Plan

LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today secured Council support for a long-range spending plan for $86.4 million in unused CRA bond dollars, stemming from the dissolution of the state’s redevelopment agencies.

The proposed Bond Expenditure Agreement and Bond Spending Plan between the CRA/LA and the City would allow the City of Los Angeles to utilize $86.4 million of existing unused CRA bond money to improve public infrastructure, support affordable housing, invest in catalytic investments, and provide business assistance. Some $20 million of which is designated for the former CRA project area in Reseda in Councilmember Blumenfield’s West Valley District.

“When the courts struck down my bill, AB 1X 27, and effectively killed the redevelopment agencies, potentially catalytic redevelopment efforts were stopped dead in their tracks and promises made to our communities were on the verge of being broken,” said Blumenfield. “Today’s council action is a critical step towards delivering on those promises.”

Working within the confines of legislation, AB 1418, also authored by then-Assemblymember Blumenfield, which allows successor agencies to utilize unobligated pre-2011 tax allocation bond proceeds, the Councilmember worked to ensure that any future use of the bond dollars would be held to the highest standards of transparency and accountability.

In August, Blumenfield traveled to Sacramento to head off potential loss of the funds, meeting with the Director of the Department of Finance and the Governor’s office to stress the importance of allowing the City to utilize these bonds to make investments in communities. In September, the CRA/LA Governing Board and Oversight Board approved the Bond Expenditure Agreement and Bond Spending Plan and placed it on the Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS), meaning that those excess bonds proceeds will be transferred to City accounts in January 2015.

The plan approved today is reflective of input from each of the taxing entities on the Oversight Board, including the County of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) and the Los Angeles Unified School Board (LAUSD). It now goes to the oversight boards and Governor for adoption.

Blumenfield also authored an amendment that directs the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) to establish a Memorandum of Understanding with LAUSD to commit both entities to work together on a plan to fund the Safe Routes for Schools program and prioritizes those areas of our City that are of the most urgent need, including the potential application and leverage of CRA/LA unused bond funds, along with state and federal grant funds and MTA call for projects grants. The amendment was an additional show of good faith for LAUSD and cements the partnership between the City and School District on implementing Safe Routes to Schools.

“This victory will be a victory of great partnerships. I want to thank the CRA/LA Governing Board and Oversight Board, and our partners at the County level, the LACCD and LAUSD, Mayor Eric Garcetti and my colleagues on the City Council for working together to deliver for the people of Los Angeles,” concluded Blumenfield.

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