They discussed the League's strategic priorities for the year and talked specifically about the need for action on legislation to correct deficiencies in the redevelopment dissolution legislation and lay the ground work for aggressive local economic development efforts. President Kasperzak was joined in the meetings by First Vice President and Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard, Second Vice President and San Francisco Treasurer José Cisneros, Executive Director Chris McKenzie and Legislative Director Dan Carrigg.
The afternoon meetings led off with Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway (R-Visalia), during which the discussions focused on pension reform, local control and the need to have a strong state economic development strategy that complements local economic development efforts. During the meeting with Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), the League officers discussed the need to move AB 1585 (Pérez) through the Senate expeditiously to correct many of the problems associated with last year's redevelopment dissolution legislation, protect funding for affordable housing and to reimburse cities for loans to redevelopment agencies.
The meeting with Speaker John Pérez (D-Los Angeles) focused on the urgency behind his AB 1585, which has now moved to the Senate and our mutual interests in working on the next generation of economic development legislation. The Speaker reiterated his commitment to work to fix the problems in last year's legislation and to offer constructive ideas for stronger local economic development tools. The Speaker has appointed a special post-redevelopment/economic development working group of members of the Assembly, chaired by San Diego Assembly Member Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), with whom the officers and staff met before seeing the Speaker.
Finally, the officers and staff spent approximately 30 minutes with Senate Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) discussing the urgent need to fix immediate problems with the redevelopment dissolution process and the issues connected with reinvigorating the local economic development process to focus tax increment financing on shared state and local revitalization goals, protect redevelopment assets that could create significant state and local benefits, and involve other local agencies in the local planning and reinvestment process. Senate Pro Tem Steinberg offered substantive observations about how to successfully transition to a stronger state-local economic development partnership.
Commenting on the meetings, President Kasperzak said: "We appreciated the chance to meet with each of the legislative leaders as well as Assembly Member Atkins on the first day after their spring break. We were strongly encouraged by their offers to work with us to clean-up the many problems with the RDA dissolution legislation, develop strong local economic development tools, and focus on other shared priorities. We agreed to stay in touch over the next few weeks and months. In fact, our League staff is already following-up with their respective staff on a number of issues that arose in the meetings."