At a meeting with around 40 invited constituents on Saturday morning at Culver City’s , 26th District State Senate Representative Curren Price Jr. said the informal gathering was an opportunity for him to “gauge the pulse and talk to people before we go back into session on Wednesday.”
Sen. Price said there were plenty of issues that were high on the list including redevelopment. "But," he added, "balancing the budget and health and social service programs are also important."
And while the senator fielded many questions that covered everything from education and health care to jobs and economic growth, the conversation kept coming back to the issues that Culver City now faces after the , abolishing the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency and hundreds of similar agencies across the state.
Price was among those that supported the decision but told attendees that he did so "reluctantly… notwithstanding the good things that had been done [by RDA’s]."
He added that while he represents a specific geographic area he nonetheless also has statewide responsibilities. Referring to Gov. Jerry Brown’s overall budget cuts, Sen. Price said, "I felt that it was difficult to cut health programs and money from K-12 programs, from seniors and from invalids and not touch redevelopment."
Sen. Price said that there was a consensus in the Legislature that "we have to do whatever we can to extend the date by which the elimination [of RDA’s] will occur so there can be an orderly process as activities are refashioned."
Community activist Meghan Sahli-Wells who is running for a seat in the April City Council elections asked Sen. Price how the city will be able to fulfill its obligations for affordable housing without the RDA.
Sen. Price said it was still unclear, but "there is a growing consensus [in the Legislature] that the refashioned redevelopment structure will be focused on affordable programs." He added that there would also be ample opportunity for public comment and input.
However, Councilman Andrew Weissman said that aside from affordable housing, Culver City has many projects that the Senator stated were some of the jewels in Culver City’s crown including safe streets and great schools.
"Redevelopment has been a strong advocate of both," Weissman said, "and has made significant financial contributions in regard to infrastructure."
He noted that Culver City’s RDA is mandated to go out of business on Feb. 23, when all agency assets will be liquidated and moved to the county and asked the senator what could be done to help the important projects that the RDA has supported and help develop in Culver City.
Sen. Price responded that he was aware of the good that redevelopment can and has done. However, he said that "the challenge is to come up with programs that will raise good behavior and not just provide a blank check," adding that the first step is to push back the abolition date of the RDA’s.
On Jan. 4, the California Redevelopment Association issued a statement stating that it is working on an immediate piece of legislation that will temporarily postpone the formal dissolution of the RDA’s. It is scheduled to take place on Feb. 1.