Last week, the council had public hearings regarding the upcoming 2009-2010 Redevelopment budget. Mayor Reed ensured that the public had both a day and night session to attend, allowing more people to participate. In addition, tonight (Nov. 16) at 6pm the mayor is hosting an additional public meeting at City Hall to garner feedback on the RDA budget.
During last week’s public hearings, the usual lobbyists—those who are paid to speak at council meetings on behalf of special interests—attended and spoke. The lobbyists have also been known to orchestrate the other speakers, giving them colored stickers to wear and scripts to read from.
Others spoke on what the RDA money should be spent on, which happened to be items that might affect their own future employment. For example, people who work for an affordable housing developer will speak to the need for RDA money to be spent on affordable housing.
This past October, I held a meeting in the District I represent (on a Saturday) to talk only about the RDA and the upcoming budget decisions. At my meeting, there was nearly unanimous support for spending the limited RDA funds on economic development. Unfortunately, the council is not hearing this at the public hearings at City Hall since most residents are busy with work, family or seeking a job.
Therefore, I have prepared a web survey for San Jose residents to fill out online. This survey is much shorter then my May 2009 General Fund budget survey, but does require that each question be answered and may be only taken once. I will share the results here on San Jose Inside.
The link is here: Redevelopment Agency Budget Survey.