California, Cities, Battle Over Redevelopment Agency Land

Everybody wants the leavings of the dissolved agencies


Cerritos, the Los Angeles suburb that lays claim to having the world's biggest auto mall, is one of 36 California cities, including Oakland and bankrupt San Bernardino, facing a state land grab that mayors say will devastate their finances.

Controller John Chiang has ordered Cerritos, a city of 50,000 about 20 miles (33 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, to liquidate $171 million in assets including land leased to dealers at the auto mall and a performing-arts center. The city's redevelopment agency held the property before the state dissolved blight-fighting districts in 2011.

Chiang, a Democrat, said three dozen cities improperly took over similar assets when Governor Jerry Brown, a 75-year-old Democrat facing a budget gap, scrapped their development agencies to free about $1 billion.