From the

In the midst of a dramatic all-night budget negotiation, Sacramento lawmakers slipped in a bill that would give the state’s approval to raising the cap on downtown San Diego redevelopment to support construction of a new NFL stadium.

The bill would allow San Diego’s Centre City Development Corp. to raise its spending cap from $3 billion to $9 billion for downtown and continue sequestering tax dollars from the rest of the city, county and state.

The maneuvering came at an awkward time. For one, the city is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars supposedly studying whether downtown is blighted and needs to increase its redevelopment activity. It also comes as the City Council and mayor plea with residents to increase the city’s sales tax or face drastic service cuts. 

The bill was attached to the budget through a “trailer bill” that had been crafted to support the Williamson Act, which protects rural farmland from development. It also has provisions supporting redevelopment in the city of Richmond. We’re trying to find details of the bill.

I called Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña. She said she did not support the bill, declining to vote on it.  “I was just astounded,” she said. “This is a specially worded sweetheart deal that gave Williamson Act supporters, the city of Richmond and San Diego’s CCDC very special and preferential treatment.”

Sean Wherley, the spokesman for Sen. Christine Kehoe, e-mailed me that Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher authored the bill. Saldaña said last-minute dealing to pull together the votes to pass the massive California budget was pervasive and “this was Fletchers deal to get his vote.”

As debate about it proceeded, Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine), tweeted that the bill was “a last-minute budget bill allowing scandal-plagued Centre City Redev. in San Diego to use public money for NFL.”  And the Sacramento Bee quoted Assemblyman Chris Norby calling the maneuvering for the new Chargers stadium “corporate welfare at its worst.”

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Jim the Realtor
Jim is a long-time local realtor who comments daily here on his blog, which began in September, 2005. Stick around!

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