Making absolutely clear that local government officials are divided over the Proposition 22 -- the ballot initiative that bills itself as a measure "to protect local services" -- Ventura County Supervisor Kathy Long this week joined with other county supervisors from around the state to denounce Proposition 22.
The ballot measure, sponsored by the League of California Cities, has been officially opposed by the Urban Counties Caucus, an organization that includes the state's largest counties, representing 80 percent of the California population. Long has been an active member in the group.
In a conference call with reporters, Long said Proposition 22 would protect certain local services -- namely, redevelopment agencies and transportation -- at the expense of other local services, such as public safety and human services.
The measure would constitutionally protect all the property taxes that now go to redevelopment agencies -- about 12 percent of property taxes paid by Californians. It would prevent the state from diverting any of those taxes for other uses, such as education or public safety.
Long was critical of the way cities have created and maintained redevelopment agencies for purposes other than improving blighted areas. In practice, she said, many current redevelopment agencies serve little function other than to carve out property tax revenue. "Cities have learned to live off them," she said of redevelopment agencies.