“The branch doesn’t fall far from the tree” vis á vis City Heights and Albertson’s
By Remigia Bermúdez’
“The branch doesn’t fall far from the tree” comes to mind in so many respects as I read with great care the insightful article written by SDFP’s Anna Daniels on the economic prospect’s and livelihood of City Heights residents without a clear direction as to who does what about City Heights’ concerns losing a major supermarket, jobs, economic base and faith in local government.
My comments are my professional/personal opinions in an attempt to answer the original questions posed by Anna Daniels in her outstanding article on the impact of Albertsons departure from the City Heights redeveloped project area:
- 1) Who benefited most from the original redevelopment project in City Heights
- 2) Who are the parties of interest?
Having worked about 9 years in redevelopment for two redevelopment corporations of the City of San Diego Redevelopment Agency (AKA City of San Diego City Council) as project manager, I believe to have some expert opinions on these questions and other issues that time and space do not permit covering here.
I was the internal watchdog at Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC) for approximately 7 years charged to keep CCDC in the straight and narrow as mandated by the City Council due to CCDC‘s past practices of underhanded special deals to developers and associates as well as its discriminatory employment and contracting practices.
Although, prior to that, I worked for Southeastern Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) for two years, I actually led in unity with community advocates the victory that fended off SEDC’s attempts (over 15 years) to take over 5 communities (Sherman Heights, Memorial, Grant Hill, Logan Heights and Stockton) within “SEDC’s” area of influence. First-hand experience in both of these entities helped our communities champion freedom from SEDC/SD Redevelopment Agency fangs (coffers).
“The branch doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Who benefited most from the original redevelopment project in City Heights? Could they be certain former SD City official(s) and SD City administrator(s) who had internal information as to how the City of San Diego operated?
William Jones was termed out as City Councilperson from the 4th City Council District and Jack McGrory was in the City Manager’s office for years and years (prior to the current flailing Mayor from of management) and ended up retiring as the City of San Diego City Manager. Both Jones and McGrory in their capacity as City officials and administrators also wore a second hat (second set of responsibilities for the City) as officials and administrators of the City of SD Redevelopment Agency.
Both Jones and McGrory were at the helm of the developer company who led the redevelopment of City Heights. So with their internal knowledge, political connections and preferred developer connections, it appears that the most who benefited from the City Heights redevelopment were Jones, McGrory and affiliates.
“The branch doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Who are the parties of interest? The sources to answer that question are basically at your (City Heights) fingertips. Janice Weinrick and Jerry Selby are products of CCDC.* CCDC practically ran City redevelopment politics and had great influence on redevelopment practices throughout the City.
Weinrick was the senior vice-president of operations for CCDC for over 10 years. In my opinion, her shrewd redevelopment and managerial tactics helped CCDC stay afloat at the expense of affected parties (communities, staff and others). Needless to say, Weinrick moved on to work at the City of SD Redevelopment Agency until “redevelopment, per se, died.”
While Selby also worked at CCDC as project manager for over 7 years, his well-intentioned pro-community and contractual fairness attempts were often ignored or thwarted by CCDC management. Selby moved on to become the Director of Redevelopment for Imperial Beach until “redevelopment, per se, died.”
“The branch doesn’t fall far from the tree.” More than anybody, I believe that Weinrick and Selby would be knowledgeable as to the length and validity of Disposition and Development Agreements (DDA’s) and Owner Participant Agreements (OPA’s). Also, the City Heights CDC should have archives with all information as one of the operating entities involved at the time..
“The branch doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Let’s not forget the SD City Council, the SD Interim Mayor, the soon-to-be-elected Mayoral candidates and Civic San Diego as parties of interest.
I always recommend that community advocates appear at, and present to, the City Council meetings at 9am and/or 2pm on Tuesdays at 202 C Street, San Diego, 12th floor speaking out and demanding official due diligence during the public comment period. This coming Tuesday,1/28/14, at 2pm is a perfect opportunity. Contact Lucy Contreras at 619/533-7132 or at Contreras@civicsd.com or Council members Alvarez (email@example.com /236-6688), Faulconer (firstname.lastname@example.org /236-6622), Emerald (email@example.com /236-6699) and Interim Mayor Gloria (firstname.lastname@example.org /236-6633).
Addressing the Council during public input serves many purposes:
- Places issues on the record,
- Runs on cable TV for a month (garnering support from other community advocates),
- Causes items to be placed on subsequent City Council agendas if speaker requests such,
- Causes Mayor to mobilize management (if speaker request such) to provide answers to the City Council and the public (…if only in a fair society…), and apropos
- Reaches both mayoral candidates, currently functioning as SD City council members.
Keep in mind that the public comment must state the speaker’s request for adding item(s) to council agenda.
“The branch doesn’t fall far from the tree…”Civic San Diego as a party of interest? Per , “IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Diego (Agency) is dissolved as of February 1, 2012, per Assembly Bill 1X 26 (AB 26). The City of San Diego, serving as the successor agency per Resolution No. R-307238 (PDF) (January 12, 2012), has assumed the former Agency’s assets, rights, and obligations under the California Community Redevelopment Law, subject to some limitations, and is winding down the former Agency’s affairs and taking other actions in accordance with the dissolution provisions in Part 1.85 of AB 26. For questions regarding either the enforceable/recognized obligations of the former Agency or the Oversight Board, contact the Office of the Mayor at (619) 236-6330 or email@example.com. This website remains intact for historical reference purposes.”
…And CCDC lives on, still commandeering (in my opinion) City Hall. Earlier, I stated, “CCDC practically ran City redevelopment politics and had great influence on redevelopment practices throughout the City.“ The “successor” of the City of San Diego’s Redevelopment agency ended up being Civic San Diego. Per “Civic San Diego (formerly Centre City Development Corporation and Southeastern Economic Development Corporation) is a nonprofit public benefit corporation wholly owned by the City of San Diego with the mission of managing public improvement and public-private partnership projects of the City’s former Redevelopment Agency.
In addition, Civic San Diego has been granted land use authority to perform planning and permitting functions, administer the downtown San Diego parking district and implement its improvement projects, design and manage the construction of parks and fire stations through Development Impact Fees, and develop and execute economic development strategies. Civic San Diego’s [vis á vis CCDC, writer’s comment] 37-year track record of redevelopment has earned it a national reputation as a model agency for successful urban revitalization and forward planning.”
Perhaps all is not lost yet. “Civic San Diego is a city-owned non-profit that is the entrepreneurial development partner for targeted urban neighborhoods. We are a one-stop shop with a Neighborhood Development Toolbox that lets us move quickly with public-private development projects and programs.
Works in Progress
Projects of the Former Redevelopment Agency continue to be active and are listed in the Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS). Project lists are also categorized by Council District. To view projects categorized by area, visit any of our Neighborhood Pages
Given the paragraphs above, clearly Civic San Diego and the currently elected officials, should be able to further respond to City Heights’ concerns about losing a major supermarket, jobs, economic base and faith in local government.
I wonder, “Was there a Community Benefits Agreement?”
The least our city government should do is ensure that the dislocated workers be the first to be rehired by the “Albertson’s” replacement(s), that the “minimum” wages are livable wages, and that the “Albertsons’” replacement cater to the needs of the multi-ethnic City Heights community…affordable, quality life staples.
*Correction: The original post incorrectly stated that Janice Weinrick and Jerry Selby are current members of the City Heights Community Development Corp (CHCDC) Board of Directors.
Remigia (Remy) Bermúdez is a SDFP Contributing writer and community activist/organizer, who has over 20 years of professional experience with city, county federal, state and regional governments, 9 of which are in California Redevelopment in San Diego. With a Social Science B.A., a Master’s in City Planning and insider knowledge of city government and administration, Bermúdez uses all on behalf of communities as an ardent advocate for social justice. Coining, “May Justice Prevail,” Bermúdez owns and operates RemyLinks whose motto is “Responsible Government for Better Communities.”