County Cities Stock Redevelopment Oversight Boards While Ceding More Local Control

Feb. 17, 2012 | Alameda County cities are preparing for the next step in what officials complain is a stripping of local control of government. As redevelopment agencies go by the wayside, a spate of successor groups are beginning the process of appointing representatives to their respective oversight boards.

Next Tuesday, San Leandro will be one of the first local cities to begin stocking the seven-person committees eventually charged with overseeing existing redevelopment projects and winding down past obligations over the next two years.

Last month, the California State Supreme Court affirmed Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to end the six-decade old government bodies once created to turn blighted areas into prosperous ones. Critics of redevelopment agencies have long held the belief they had become magnets for rich developers to enrich themselves on the public dime.

The San Leandro City Council is poised to name former city manager John Jermanis and current Community Development Director Luke Sims to its successor oversight board. The existence, though, of just two of the seven slots afforded to the city to control the fate of its redevelopment future only reaffirmed already vociferous language coming from cities who say the end of redevelopment was not part of a plan by the governor to realign state tax revenue, but a brazen attempt to force localities to cede even more local control to lawmakers in Sacramento.

This stage of the winding down process has the potential of becoming an enormous bureaucratic mess in Alameda County. During an Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting, Board President Nate Miley called the new law “stupid” and feared the burden of 12 separate oversight boards in the county, alone.

According to the law, the seven member board is to be made up of (2) appointments from the County Board of Supervisors, one of whom must be a public person; (2) appointed by the successor agency, which is now the city; (1) appointment by the largest special district board within the successor agencies boundary; (1) appointment by the county superintendent of schools and (1) appointment by the chancellor of the community college district.

The post is unpaid and with no stated qualifications for each position. Each meeting of the board is also subject to the Brown Act, according to the law.