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PRESS RELEASE: Dumanis says redevelopment must continue in San Diego

(Editor’s note: SDGLN is not reporting on the 2012 San Diego mayoral race because SDGLN Publisher Johnathan Hale has a personal relationship with City Councilmember Carl DeMaio, who is running for mayor. SDGLN will also not be making an endorsement in the race.

For the first time in San Diego history, the mayoral race has two prominent LGBT candidates: DeMaio and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. Although SDGLN will not be reporting on the mayoral race, we will, as a service to the LGBT community, publish selected press releases by DeMaio and Dumanis to inform our readers about their campaigns. These press releases will be clearly labeled as such so that readers understand they are not written by SDGLN staff members.

In addition, all candidates for any political race are allowed to submit two pieces per month for our Commentary page. SDGLN Editor in Chief Ken Williams can be reached at ken@sdgln.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter or at (877) 727-5446, x713.)


SAN DIEGO – San Diego District Attorney and Mayoral candidate Bonnie Dumanis released the following statement Wednesday marking the end of the Center City Development Corp. and the Southeastern Development Corp. and addressing the need for successor agencies to assist and promote redevelopment in San Diego:

Today is the start of a new chapter for the city of San Diego and a significant change in the way our city will grow in the future. Today, our city takes the first steps to implementing a governance structure and priorities of a brand new agency that will drive redevelopment in San Diego-- a successor agency to CCDC and SEDC.

As we turn that page, we need to engage the diverse communities in San Diego about their vision, their planning issues and their goals for the future.

The change represents a major shift in how residents and businesses in redevelopment zones will work together with city government. And there are challenges facing this successor agency, which will need to work effectively on a much broader canvas, while continuing to create a vibrant downtown and move neighborhoods forward currently in redevelopment zones.

The changeover raises many questions:

How do we create the CCDC model for streamlining the permitting process and yet consolidate resources to finish the job of the redevelopment agencies throughout San Diego? How will the successor agency continue approval procedures with short entitlement processes? Can current city departments follow CCDC’s example with direction for infrastructure and entitlement processes?

As our city begins to answer these questions, it's critical that we prioritize planning issues and carry out CCDC's vision to make urban and cultural amenities accessible to all San Diegans. The legislature has left us no choice but to take over this responsibility. And the implementation of Assembly Bill 26 will require experience and leadership to work in partnership with numerous jurisdictions and agencies.

Today begins the process of identifying the priorities for the successor agency and choosing what should be implemented. I believe it should be a two-pronged approach--continue to develop a world-class downtown while investing in our distinct, unique neighborhoods.

Like many San Diegans, I strongly support the concept of our downtown serving as the regional hub, providing a mixture of office, retail, housing and public uses. Transportation is key and we need to keep the big picture in mind. Coordinated planning efforts with MTDB, SANDAG, housing and employment with the City and County will ensure an efficient use of current resources for transportation throughout San Diego.

Downtown has lost its position as the regional employment center to job centers to the north. A focused strategy to attract technology industries and other future economic sectors is needed. As Mayor, I will advocate for downtown jobs, economic development and redevelopment.

The I.D.E.A. District is a strategy I support for planning and economic development in the East Village. We need to carefully plan the components needed to make East Village a safe and livable neighborhood with a cultural infrastructure, affordable housing, open space and parks, quality schools and jobs.

At the same time, downtown's surrounding neighborhoods can't be ignored. Homelessness and the concentration of social services downtown is an issue the successor agency must continue to address. Expanding Horton Plaza's public space at Fourth Avenue and Broadway, along with the private investment of Westfield, should also be a priority.

We also have to plan for the integration of the marine industry with commercial and residential sectors in downtown and Barrio Logan. The marine industry contributes significantly to jobs and a healthy San Diego economy.

We face serious challenges moving forward. Financial resources are disappearing, so it will be essential to collaborate more often with private investment, like the public-private partnership that led to the development of Westfield’s Horton Plaza.

This new successor agency must also be committed to meeting and exceeding affordable housing and to supporting San Diego’s housing needs. Affordable housing in downtown neighborhoods is a priority.

This change will not be easy. I encourage the Mayor and City Council to ensure that the formation of the successor agency's oversight board will include a diverse cross-section of city-wide stakeholders.

That Board should include transit officials, housing advocates, representatives from downtown, the arts community and others. Input from all corners of our city is needed to assess current projects, address underdeveloped and underutilized areas of downtown and other redevelopment areas, and implement the city’s policies outlined by the City of San Diego’s Strategic Framework and the Economic Prosperity 2008 Policy.

A new chapter begins today. Let's write the first few lines of that chapter carefully. Let's focus our priorities, stimulate a constructive discussion about the issues, coordinate objectives and turn our vision for San Diego's future into reality.