California's rapid unwinding of its toxic redevelopment agencies is creating opportunities for reform of city corruption. To his credit, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is seizing one opportunity: He is urging City Council members to liquidate the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles (CRA/LA) and walk away from the money-losing real estate swindles the agency has created and exacerbated.
The council is voting on whether or not to become the CRA/LA's "successor agency." Villraigosa is urging the city to decline that role and just roll the redevelopment agency up.
David Zahniser of the Los Angeles Times is covering this story nicely, with a fact-rich co-bylined print piece and a follow-up from today's council deliberations, which have been struck by thugs and lobbyists trying to keep the corporatist agency alive. (Various state politicians are trying to sneak through legislation to the same effect.)
Madeline Janis, a CRA/LA board member, tells the council: "You've got $400 million worth of projects in the pipeline already. This is your legacy. This is the mayor's legacy."
In the world of honest business, they say your first loss is usually your smallest. Janis doesn't know that, but even L.A. politicians must face up to the truth that there are no more dollars to flush down this hole.