Governor Jerry Brown could be wearing one of those old-fashioned bandit masks while brandishing a gun.
He has taken the City of Santa Clarita hostage, according to City Manager Ken Pulskamp, and he’s holding it for a ransom of $750,000.
At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, Pulskamp decribed two bill signed by Brown in June of this year:
“The first eliminates Redevelopment agencies and provides a methodology for agencies to wind down the redevelopment activities and pay the remaining the debts that they have,” said Pulskamp.
The City Manager describes the second bill as “voluntary”, virtually putting sarcastic airquotes around the term.
“The other bill provides a voluntary program where agencies would pay to play by submitting what we refer to as ransom payments. Really it’s designed so the State can make up a $1.7 billion shortfall in their budget,” Pulskamp said.
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He calls the bills “blatantly illegal.”
“They have tried to demonstrate to the public that they are balancing the budget. But when they’re balancing the budget they’re using something illegal as a way to estimate more revenue coming in,” said Pulskamp.
Through the League of California Cities and the California Redevelopment Association the city has filed a lawsuit with the California Supreme Court.
In the meantime the city has to adopt the Enforceable Obligation Payment Schedule and comply with the reporting and posting requirements. The reporting includes payment obligations.
“That is put in place solely so we can make bond payments on money that we owe so we can keep our credit rating intact,” said Pulskamp.
Council Member Laurene Weste emphasized the need for redevelopment agencies to continue to exist.
“I don’t think there’s anybody in any part of Santa Clarita that would say ‘I want my area to deteriorate.’ We all want our community to be nice. We cannot afford to not have stable healthy, progressive maintenance and infrastructure throughout this community. We cannot afford that,” Weste said.
A ruling by the California Supreme Court is expected by January 15th.