RDA-Redevelopment Dead on Arrival?

By Emilio, on Jan 12, 2012

This past Tuesday’s city council meeting (Dec. 10th) seemed more like a variety TV show with melodramatic slides and sounds to expound on the success of our Redevelopment Agency (RDA) which is on the endangered species list of taxpayer’s dollars funded programs.

 I had to bite my lip when interim Housing and Economic Redevelopment Director Jan Davidson (a double dipper earning both a salary and pension from the city) said she was not going to list accomplishments by our RDA in her presentation, and then did just that, well sort of. 

 Some accomplishments Ms. Davidson noted which did not include dates when these projects were completed were Cabrillo College (1997), the Mello Center (1992), Soccer Central (1997), and the Civic Plaza Building (2003) which was the last major project completed with RDA money almost 9 years ago.

 What was not included in the presentation as RDA accomplishment at the city council meeting was that we gave Romo Properties (Ms. Stella Romo) a $400,000.00 low interest loan in 2010 for “tenant improvements” for her new building on Second St. across the street from the Civic Plaza. The city sold her the lot for that structure for $25,000 four years earlier on October 2006. And, according to public records, a few months ago this past September, the City of Watsonville may have provided Ms. Romo another loan for this property in the amount of $3,200.00 from federal funds. The reason given to the city council for the $400,000.00 loan was that upon completion of the interior of the building Whole Foods would move in, and with it, 40-50 new jobs would be created. I called Whole Foods corporate headquarters in Texas and a representative said maybe a few jobs were added but it was mostly a lateral move of existing employees. Additionally, $35,165.00 of RDA funds was used for “Jalisco’s Parking Lot”. Jalisco’s is a Romo owned restaurant.

 Another RDA accomplishment not mentioned is the million dollar loan given to a large corporation to purchase some property in Watsonville in 2009. The property in question belonged to the City of Watsonville which owned the land underneath the Evergreen Apartments. The buyers could not afford to purchase the city owned land, or at least that is what the city council was led to believe, so they were given a million dollar loan by our Redevelopment Agency to buy it. The buyers then paid the city the million dollars for the property with the Redevelopment Agency million dollar loan. Basically, what seems to have happened is that one million dollars from our Redevelopment Agency was transferred to the city’s General Fund account in the process of the “sale” of the city owned property so the city could balance its budget which was around a million short at the time.

 According to city records, the city has managed to hand out around $237,000.00 to business property owners in the last 10 years for “Façade Improvements”. This equates to around $23,700 per year. How long have we been paying Redevelopment Agency city staff over a million dollars annually for the past ten years? It seems that the time has arrived that we do some basic math before we thump our collective chests about the “accomplishments” of our Redevelopment Agency. 

 NEWS FLASH RUMOR(s)

City Public Works Director David A. Koch may be retiring. Now, he will be truly missed. Although as a city council member I have known Mr. Koch for only few years it is obvious that his conduct is professional, courteous and exemplary. Best wishes Mr. Koch to you and your family. Watsonville will miss you.

 On another note, the Fishing Report predicted that ex-council member Antonio Rivas would be running for a County Supervisor seat. It was announced today that he will be running. I received a call from a source wanting to remain anonymous who said, “He (Rivas) has the I.Q. of a rump roast and I wouldn’t be worried about him winning, but then look at Caput”. I have to admit I got hee bee gee bees thinking about that combination which reminded me of the time when I ordered the combo plate at a Mexican restaurant and the enchilada was missing.      

 

rump roast combo plate thanks for the laughs martinez

It is public knowledge that the Romo's have given money to city council members when they are running for office. 

Is this why the Romo's (who own a lot of businesses and properties in Watsonville) continually receive money from Redev moneys? Other businesses just take a loan out to do their repairs. I don't think that a new parking lot for a bar and restaurant is proper. I don't think they should have received any redev money for the new building behind their other new building on Main Street.

They bought the property for a criminally low price ($25,000) for a large commercial lot. That price alone should have been enough help. Then they receive $400,000. to do the interior of the top floor. I read a while back about another business owner on Main St. who wanted to receive some redev money so he could paint the front of his business so it would look better. He was turned down.  

Changing the subject, has Romo's Jalisco been required to close earlier in the evening like the Villager? Two young men that I know were stabbed in front of Jalisco's last summer after their hours were extended by the city. They were definitely not gang members. One is employed by the Postal Service. I never saw anything in the paper about the police wanting to change Jalisco's hours like they did the Villager.

Just food for thought.

Mr. Rivas will never win as supervisor. No one in Aptos would want a supervisor who tells people to shut up.

 

   GT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is public knowledge that the Romo's have given money to city council members when they are running for office. 

Is this why the Romo's (who own a lot of businesses and properties in Watsonville) continually receive money from Redev moneys? Other businesses just take a loan out to do their repairs. I don't think that a new parking lot for a bar and restaurant is proper. I don't think they should have received any redev money for the new building behind their other new building on Main Street.

They bought the property for a criminally low price ($25,000) for a large commercial lot. That price alone should have been enough help. Then they receive $400,000. to do the interior of the top floor. I read a while back about another business owner on Main St. who wanted to receive some redev money so he could paint the front of his business so it would look better. He was turned down.  

Changing the subject, has Romo's Jalisco been required to close earlier in the evening like the Villager? Two young men that I know were stabbed in front of Jalisco's last summer after their hours were extended by the city. They were definitely not gang members. One is employed by the Postal Service. I never saw anything in the paper about the police wanting to change Jalisco's hours like they did the Villager.

Just food for thought.

Mr. Rivas will never win as supervisor. No one in Aptos would want a supervisor who tells people to shut up.

 

   GT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man o man....Cilantros and Jaliscos business owners have the political ties and money that rule this town. They have the backing of WPD so they pretty much become this centuries version of the "Untouchables"...Unless they do something that would bring in the FEDS,  of course it wont get to that level because the crimes get covered up by local authorities. This is starting to look like the "wild west". They have organized crime connection. Drug deals happen in the restrooms on the late weekend nights when they have "Banda" groups. These out of town bands provide the drugs, sell them to the local clients, then give an amount to the restaurant owner to "thank them" for selling their goods. Simple as that.

Watsonville is corrupt.

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