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This Saturday night, January 29, 2011:
Steven Greenhut, CalWatchDog.com's editor in chief and former deputy editor and columnist for the Orange County Register and author of Abuse of Power: How Government Misuses Eminent Domain, joins Ron Kaye, publisher, editor and columnist for RonKayeLA Blog in a discussion on Redevelopment.
Podcast Part 1 & Part 2
Podcast: Part 1 Larry Sand of the CA Teacher's Empowerment Network
and Intro to Steve Greenhut and Ron Kaye
Part 2 Steve Greenhut and Ron Kaye on the CRA/LA, Gov Jerry Brown's proposal to abolish it, the corruption it breeds, and the LA Convention Ctr and Stadium Project that is a poster child for how rotten it makes all the players involved.
Governor Jerry Brown set off a firestorm almost as soon as he took office, after announcing he was going to dismantle Redevelopment in California (CRAs). Local city government officials have been scrambling to divert funds and political officials and consultants to defend the program or to equivocate over the merits of some Redevelopment Programs over others.
Most people don't know what it is, unless they've been victims of forced evictions by threat of eminent domain, or their homes or businesses have been incorporated into a Redevelopment Zone where all of a sudden their equity became hostage or dramatically reduced. Current Assemblyman Chris Norby's short pithy illustrated book on the subject is aptly titled, Redevelopment: The Unknown Government. It explains the billions of dollars in property taxes that are shifted from public services to Redevelopment Agencies.
Dan Walters, a veteran senior columnist for the Sacramento Bee wrote in a column on Thursday: As the battle picks up momentum and the factions exchange barrages of self-serving propaganda, the only safe haven is a report by the Legislature's budget analyst, Mac Taylor.
Taylor concludes that there is "no reliable evidence that redevelopment agencies improve overall economic development in California" and that redevelopment tends to "shift development from one location to another but does not significantly increase economic activity statewide." That's pretty damning.
A Superior Court Judge ruled this month in favor of the ACLU versus The Los Angeles Unified School District over the district's last hired first fired layoff policy.
It is a landmark decision hailed as such by education reformers, but teacher's unions denounce it as a step toward dismantling tenure policies.
The Washington Post reported:
"The ruling by Superior Court Judge William Highberger approved a settlement between the ACLU, the state and LAUSD in which the district agreed to shield 45 of its lowest performing schools from layoffs and to ensure that the redistribution of those layoffs will not be sent to a school that will experience greater than the district average of layoffs for that year.
It also calls for an incentive plan to attract and retain teachers and principals at the struggling schools.
"This settlement is about giving our most disadvantaged children a fighting chance at their schools," said Mark Rosenbaum, ACLU-SC chief counsel.
Teachers union United Teachers Los Angeles UTLA will appeal the ruling because it is unfair to pass on layoffs to teachers who have earned their jobs and skills, said Vice President Julie Washington.
"What it is really saying is that experience in teaching has no value," she said. "We feel that this remedy, if allowed to go through, will actually exacerbate the problem."
The union was supported by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, who filed a brief opposing the settlement on Friday noting it "could have far reaching, unintended consequences throughout the state."
Larry Sand of the California Teacher's Empowerment Network joins me to talk about this ruling, the firestorm it has caused statewide, and you can be sure nationally as well, and what happens next. He'll also speak with us about a little known law that was passed by the legislature last year, as part of a move to capitalize on the President's Race to the Top financial incentives for states to adopt certain education reform measures. This law is unique to CA and the brain child of Ben Austin, Executive Director of the Parent's Revolution and it says simply that a simple majority of parents at any failing school can force a change of staff and programs. It gives the parents of failing schools power they have not had before.
But Governor Jerry Brown's first action as Governor was to remove Ben Austin from the State Board of Education as well as a majority of the board who supported the Parent Trigger Law and replaced them with what many critics call union sympathizers. What is the fate of the Parent Trigger Law?
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