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The abrupt demise of local government redevelopment agencies due to legislative action and a state Supreme Court decision also means the end of the California Redevelopment Association.

The 33-year-old organization has been the Sacramento lobbying operation for the 400-plus local redevelopment agencies, fighting to keep the program alive in the face of political and media criticism.

"With the dissolution of local redevelopment agencies as of Feb. 1, it has become clear to the board and executive staff that the business plan for CRA is no longer sustainable," the organization's interim leadership said in a statement earlier this month.

"The CRA board of directors has now concluded with great reluctance that it has no other prudent choice but to initiate the dissolution of the association. This process will take a period of time ... (and) will include a membership vote to affirm dissolution actions that the board of directors will be asked to take."

CRA had already lost its long-time executive director, John Shirey, who is now Sacramento's city manager. And he's not the only one moving on. The organization estimates that between 2,500 and 3,000 employees of local redevelopment agencies also are losing their jobs.

Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature legislated the agencies out of business last year, saying that the property tax money flowing to their operations would be better spent to help close the state's budget deficit. The agencies fought the decree in court and lost in the state Supreme Court.

So-called "successor agencies" -- usually city governments -- are now winding down redevelopment operations and shifting assets into other public coffers, as local oversight boards and state officials keep an eye on their decisions.

However, local squabbles have broken out in several communities over who should sit on the oversight boards. There's even a lawsuit in Fresno over composition of its board.

Meanwhile, a flock of bills has been introduced affecting the agencies' low-income housing funds -- either retaining them for that purpose or shifting them to other programs -- and create new entities with some redevelopment-like powers, so the Legislature isn't done with the issue. San Francisco, for example, wants to create an agency to prepare facilities for the America's Cup yacht races.


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