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Dueling Ads, Controller's Report Fuel Redevelopment Battle

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, March 7, 2011

You can always tell when it's crunch time at the Capitol: the political ads begin.

Radio Ad #1: "Sign the petition to stop politicians from stealing our local government funds. Remind them what we voted for…" (0:07)

Radio Ad #2: "We lay off cops and firefighters while the mermaid bar recently advertised to hire a merman. I'm sure we all feel a lot safer already!" (0:09)

The first ad warns Governor Jerry Brown and state lawmakers against eliminating redevelopment agencies just months after voters passed Proposition 22.  The second urges them to do just that, saying redevelopment funds are too often spent inappropriately.  Against that backdrop comes a new report from State Controller John Chiang.  It looks at 18 of the more than 400 agencies - and says they don't have a common definition for the blighted areas they're supposed to redevelop.

Chiang: "And so for instance, in the Inland Empire, one of the areas of blight was a four-and-a-half-star golf course."

Redevelopment supporters call Chiang's report a "politically-motivated campaign piece" that uses cherry-picked problems to draw overly broad conclusions.

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