Residents Get More Say in Redevelopment

A scandal over bonuses and the recession leads to change in project to redevelop Southeast San Diego, but some critics want to see more construction, not just kumbaya.

Open books and open contracts. That's what a San Diego development agency had to do, to rebuild credibility after the public learned the now-former agency director gave close to $900,000 in bonuses to herself and her staff.

Cruz Gonzalez is the new chair of the Southeastern Economic Development Corp, charged with using property tax revenue from a 7.2-square-mile area southeast of downtown to create affordable housing, improve infrastructure, build parks and coax developers to replace blight. He tells Craig Gufstason of the San Diego Union Tribune "[w]e're trying to increase visibility, responsiveness and transparency so when the economy turns around, we'll be able to invest in development."

Indeed progress has been slow, in part because of the recession. Eddie Price, a small-business owner from Valencia Park says
"[t]here's oceanview property around there that needs to be developed and it's not. And telling me that the economy is the reason why ain't going to get it, because I know developers around the country who would love to come in here if the leadership would have the proper conversation with them."

Other cities grappling with how to kickstart stalled redevelopment efforts may be able to learn some things from San Diego's experience.

Full Story: Development agency rebuilding trust

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