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Video: The Mayors Press Conference

Here is video of the press conference held by nine of the “Big Ten” Mayors on Wed:

Most of the mayors mentioned Enterprise Zones specifically, but the focus was certainly on Redevelopment. Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin was the most articulate in her argument for the Enterprise Zone program. She indicated that Governor Brown raised the results of the recent PPIC polling that found a large majority of Californians supporting the idea of eliminating Redevelopment and Enterprise Zones, and she reacted to that very strongly (her remarks begin at 11:27 into the video):

We talked with the Governor just a few moments ago, and he made the point that, “You know, Redevelopment really isn’t as popular as you might think. People in our State really don’t think it’s that big of a deal.” And our response was, well that’s simple because they don’t understand the way it’s used by local government. I guarantee you that every Californian understands the importance of job creation in this day and age and in this climate.

The only tools we have in California to recruit, to retain, and to attract businesses into the areas of our State that are the hardest to attract investment into, are the Redevelopment Agencies and the Enterprise Zones. Those are the things that are on the chopping block, and, you know, they have funny titles and people aren’t really sure of the way they work. All they know is that they want us to be doing everything possible to create job opportunities for the residents in our communities. We’re trying to do that, we have to have tools in order to do that.

At the same time we’ve got to be at the table, we want to help come up with some other ideas. But, at the end of the day, completely eliminating the only tools we have to create economic opportunity is a non-starter for the Cities represented here today.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s comments begin at 19:15 into the video, and he made some very compelling comments regarding the business perspective:

I am talking to CEOs in Silicon Valley on a daily basis about where they are going to make their next investment, where they are going to add their next jobs. Silicon Valley is a wonderful, creative, innovative place – they are creating jobs, they are not necessarily staying in California. When I go to the table with the CEOs to talk about that, they want to know, what can we do? Because I’m competing with the State of Texas, the State of Arizona, and the State of Oregon; they have huge funds available to get California jobs to move there. The tools that I have are Redevelopment funding and Enterprise Zones. Sometimes we’re successful and we can keep the jobs here; if we take away those tools, then we’re going to lose more jobs, and we’re going to have more people unemployed…. That’s why we have said collectively that it is totally unacceptable to eliminate Redevelopment Agencies and Enterprise Zones.

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