By Roz Rogoff
Welcome to my bubbleUploaded: Jan 10, 2013
I was at the Successor Agency meeting on Tuesday. This is the agency formed to take over the assets of the dissolved Redevelopment Agency. The RDA was made up of City Council members and so is the Successor Agency, which is the City.
It's all very confusing since these agencies are all the same people wearing different hats. Maybe they should be required to wear hats with "City Council" "Successor Agency" "Geologic Hazard Abatement District (GHAD)," and the defunct "Redevelopment Agency," on the brims.
The Successor Agency met Tuesday afternoon to approve the "Due Diligence Review on All Other Funds (Excluding the Low and Moderate Income Housing Fund) of the Former San Ramon Redevelopment Agency." This was one of the final requirements in Governor Brown's process to dissolve Redevelopment Agencies and take their money.
I resented having to go to that meeting. I was tired and had just started teaching my online classes for University of Phoenix after a two week holiday break. I needed to get back up to speed with answering students and keeping the weekly discussions moving along. But I wanted to know who is responsible for deciding the disposition of Mudd's. Is it the Successor Agency, which appears to be the owner now, or is it the Oversight Board, which represents the Taxing Agencies?
I was told it was the State Department of Finance which is gathering all of the information from the different Successor Agencies and determining if it meets their standards, but nobody knows what their standards are until you send it in and it's accepted.
I thought the Oversight Board should be making these decisions since they represent the Taxing Agencies and would be beneficiaries of whatever assets are left with the Successor Agency after all debt obligations are met.
This morning the LA Times reported that Governor Brown's Budget Report was online. The section on Redevelopment Agencies is on pages 77-79. Here's what it says about how property taxes are apportioned to pay Recognized Obligation Payment Schedules (ROPS). The Successor Agency, with approval from the Oversight Board, submitted these last year.
"Every six months, successor agencies submit to Finance their ROPS, which delineates their proposed payments for the upcoming payment cycle. Finance reviews each ROPS to determine whether the identified payments are enforceable obligations, as defined by law. Once Finance has completed its review, the successor agencies are provided property tax allocations to pay the approved enforceable obligations. Any property tax revenue remaining after the enforceable obligations are paid is distributed to the affected taxing entities based on their property tax share."
The Oversight Board is made up of representatives of the taxing agencies, and their purpose is to make sure the agency they represent gets its fair share. The only other asset owned by the Successor Agency that isn't part of affordable housing is the Mudd's Restaurant property.
This afternoon I emailed the section of Brown's Budget on "Tax Relief and Local Government" to the City Manager, Director of Economic Development, City Clerk, and all members of the City Council. Councilman Scott Perkins answered my email, but I left for the meeting before seeing his answer.
Scott Perkins is also on the Successor Agency, since that is now the City, and he is also on the Oversight Board as a representative for Contra Costa County. When I got to the Oversight Board meeting today, Scott told me what he wrote in his email, "The State Department of Finance has played a strong role in oversight of the Successor Agency AND the Oversight Board. I am very confident that the DOF will have veto power over any disposition of property."
I told Scott that "Wishful thinking is my middle name." I do tend to live in a fantasy world where I control the real World though my imagination. That's why I search through obtuse State Code hoping to find a nugget that will support what I hope will happen.
I put in a speaker card for the Oversight Board meeting to read a passage from the Budget, but when I got to the podium I couldn't find my glasses. I usually keep a pair in my purse, but I must have left them at home. So I handed the print out to the City Manager and said, "I forgot my glasses. I usually forget my hearing aids, and I don't have them on now either. I suppose this is to keep me in my bubble where I cannot read or hear anything I don't want to know."
Pat Boom, Scott Perkins, Marc Fontes, and Mary Lou Oliver, who made up the quorum on the OB this afternoon, all chucked. Ah yes, I'm two of the three monkeys. I see no evil, hear no evil, and if the third monkey had a keyboard with his hands tied, I write no evil. Welcome to my bubble. May it reign over Sacramento soon.