In response to Mr. Wolfe’s Jan. 16 letter regarding “Placerville city redevelopment plan: the perfect storm,” you correctly pointed out many of the negative issues surrounding redevelopment. The City Council has insisted that redevelopment is “about people,” to create jobs and to attract businesses so everyone benefits, not just developers, bond brokers and consultants. If I owned a successful business with good paying jobs and I was looking for a place to relocate and to hire a diverse cross-section of employees, as a responsible business owner there are several criteria I would analyze.
People want good schools, safe neighborhoods and quality of life, among other things. And yet, by using incremental tax financing for redevelopment, those are the very things that will be impacted. The schools will suffer most, because the state is broke and is now prohibited from taking back from redevelopment agencies the taxes that have been diverted. The same goes with police and fire protection. Why would a business relocate here under these conditions?
People want decent roads, water and sewer lines that are maintained, parks that are clean and safe, local shopping, recreational opportunities nearby and a sense of community, all of which will suffer with redevelopment. City staff is already short-handed and yet they will be expected to support the Redevelopment Agency’s demands, diverting more resources from the work that needs to be done. Instead of finding ways to support the community, and by doing so, to attract viable businesses, redevelopment puts the cart before the horse. Redevelopment proposes subsidizing chain stores to entice them to locate in Placerville, hoping there will be jobs to go along with them and in the process, draining customers from our local, independent merchants.
People don’t move to a particular place because it has a Starbucks or an Applebee’s or a Target; you can find those anywhere. People don’t move to a community because new roads are built with landscaped median strips to make the traffic go faster; they want to be able to walk or bike to where they need to go, and to take their children with them. People want a diverse community where everyone feels welcomed.
Redevelopment will hurt those who are least able to protect themselves, the economically underprivileged, disenfranchised minorities and marginalized groups. Why would any business want to move here?