Has the Gold Line Been Derailed by the Dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies?

Some say we are going backward in our rush to get the Goldline extension moving ahead - Photo by Terry Miller

Has the Gold Line Been Derailed by the Dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies?
By Susan Motander
Unless the state legislature acts by February 1, there will be no redevelopment agencies in the State of California. Successor Boards will pay off the debts of the agencies which now exist and will dispose of the property currently owned by the agencies. These actions will require the approval of an oversight board and then the approval of the State Department of Finance.
On Wednesday, in a Special Meeting of the Monrovia City Council, the members appointed the city itself as the successor agency to the Monrovia Redevelopment Agency (MRA). Prior to taking this action, Larry Spicer was sworn in as the temporary member of the Council to fill Clarence Shaw’s seat while Shaw is on active duty with the Army. Mayor Mary Ann Lutz said the council felt that Spicer needed to be sworn in to take part in this important decision regarding the city’s redevelopment agency.
But what does the council’s action appointing itself as successor mean for the projects currently in development, specifically the Gold Line Construction Authority (GLCA) Maintenance Yard?
The simple answer is that the sale of the property currently held by the MRA is still on hold. According to Interim CIty Manager Mark Alvarado, the city will continue its negotiations with the GLCA. Alvarado said “We are both still speaking together.” But can they do more than just talk?
When the issue of the legality of the MRA continuing was still undecided pending the ruling of State Supreme Court on the legality of the legislature dissolving local redevelopment agencies, the GLCA began the necessary legal steps to acquire the property needed for the maintenance yard in Monrovia via eminent domain. Alvarado said he understood the construction authority had taken this step only to keep the process moving forward in order to avoid delays, but that “they are still dealing with us (i.e. the city of Monrovia).”
On December 29, 2011 the court upheld the legality of AB X1 26 (which dissolved the redevelopment agencies), but struck down AB X1 27 (which allowed individual agencies to continue operating by paying a fee to the state of California). The city of Monrovia had approved the payment of such a fee if the State Court ruled in favor of its validity. Since the court disallowed it, the Monrovia City Council appointed itself the successor agency to its Redevelopment Agency. But this does not resolve the problem of its sale to the GLCA.
Even if the council approved the sale of the property to the GLCA that sale would also require the approval of the oversight board to the successor agency. The oversight board should be established by May 1. This oversight board will consist of seven members, two appointed by the city of Monrovia, two by the County Board of Supervisors, and one each by the County Board of Education, the County Sanitation Board and the State Community College Board. Even when this oversight board is established and if it approves the sale, such a sale will still require the approval of the State Department of Finance. Is this complex enough yet?
There is another wrinkle to this whole question of the Gold Line Maintenance Yard being built in Monrovia. On December 28, the Los Angeles Superior Court ruled that the Supplemental Environmental Impact Report on the property in question was “based on erroneous facts.” This means that the construction of the yard cannot begin. The GLCA announced last week that it has submitted a formal objection to that ruling. And has requested a hearing on the matter.
Last night at its usual meeting, but in closed session, the Board of the GLCA discussed the purchase of the properties and the status of the pending lawsuits brought by Excalibur Property Holdings and George Brokate and the eminent domain actions taken by the construction authority on the properties owned by Excalibur Property Holdings and George Brokate and owned by the Monrovia Redevelopment Agency.
Simply put, because of the legal issues involved, the city and the construction authority are doing everything they can pend resolution of the legal obstacles.

January 11, 2012

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