California

California, Cities, Battle Over Redevelopment Agency Land

Everybody wants the leavings of the dissolved agencies

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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.