Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Rebuilding California cities

In 2011, the legislature worked in an effort to abolish California’s Redevelopment Districts. Although some RDAs were poorly managed, their abolition deprived cities of an important tool that had often been successfully used to stimulate business, create new housing and revitalize blighted areas, especially for older cities

Last Week, the Assembly Local Government Committee, on which I serve as Vice Chair, passed Assembly bill 2945 (AB 2945) introduced by Assemblyman David Alvarez (D – Chula Vista). The bill establishes Reconnecting Communities Investment Agencies (RCIAs), to establish project areas immediately adjacent to freeways (and above or beneath them) so that established communities divided by past highway construction can “reconnect.”

RCIAs will be limited to local jurisdictions that already have reconnecting agencies in place to deal with neighborhood blight that can result from highway construction through established communities.

During my time on the Escondido City Council, I saw this first hand. Escondido was incorporated in 1888, and the freeway that was built through the town in the 1970s split the city and led to a downward spiral for many adjacent neighborhoods.

Unlike RDAs which were established in many communities throughout California, RCIAs will be limited in scope. There are currently only 10 California cities with reconnecting agencies, including San Diego, San Jose, Los Angeles and Oakland. And like RDAs, oversight, transparency and accountability will be enforced – and annual audits will be required.

RCIAs will be limited to a one-half mile radius, low and moderate income housing must make up 30% of all new homes, and any homes removed during construction will be replaced with new homes for similar income levels.

RCIAs would be established at the local level. Financing sources include incremental increases in revenues from property taxes over time, bonds and private sources of revenue. It is my hope that final passage of AB 2945 will restore an important tool that allows local communities to begin rebuilding themselves.


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