Amidst all the talk of the $30 million pulled by the Santa Clara County Oversight Board from the 49ers stadium project, I recently realized I was confused as to the parties involved in all this. It turns out the Oversight Board is actually independent of the county. The Oversight Board was created by the state government when the state got rid of the Redevelopment Agencies across California. The actions of the Oversight Board are actually mandated by the state and they are independent of the city and county of Santa Clara.
The Santa Clara County auditor-controller might have described the confusion best when he said, "I believe that the difficulty is that the Oversight Board, which is not part of the County, has a narrowly prescribed responsibility under the law, and the law is both confusing and changing rapidly."
Santa Clara County issued a press release yesterday (posted after the jump) in which they express support for the 49ers while also seeking clarification about their responsibilities with regards to the Oversight Board. There is a lot of confusion about roles in all this and they are hoping to square that away both legally and for the public at large.
While stadiums often come across hurdles on the road to completion, this is a problem that is unique to California because of the Redevelopment Agencies. The 49ers indicated this will not stop construction because they fronted the money. They were expecting the money to be paid back, but obviously that has become an issue. In terms of building the stadium, however, this would seem to be more a problem on the back end. I'm hopefully going to get a chance to clarify some details of this later in the week.
For now, a Sacramento judge has issued a writ of mandamus (basically a "court order") requiring the Board hold onto the funds until a July 3 hearing on the temporary restraining order requested by the 49ers. For now though, all seems otherwise relatively well between the 49ers and Santa Clara County.
County of Santa Clara Supports 49ers' Stadium Project in City of Santa Clara
Auditor-Controller to Seek Court Guidance on Oversight Board's Duties
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.-Today, the Auditor-Controller of the County of Santa Clara will be in Court to gain clarification about his responsibilities related to the actions of the Santa Clara City Oversight Board charged with "winding down" the City's former Redevelopment Agency.
"Recent events have confused the difference between the actions of the Santa Clara City Oversight Board and the County of Santa Clara," said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith. "The County Board of Supervisors and the County firmly support the Stadium Project and are anxious to see the project built."
On June 28, 2011, the Governor signed ABX1 26 and ABX1 27, which required the dissolution of all redevelopment agencies in California. The law also required the creation of Oversight Boards that are required to follow specific parts of the law that were designed by the state in order to dissolve the Redevelopment Agencies, including the Santa Clara City Redevelopment Agency. The Oversight Board in the City of Santa Clara is neither part of the County government nor part of the City government. The actions of the Oversight Board are independent and are mandated by the state law. They are not actions of the Board of Supervisors, nor does the County control them.
"This project will bring many new jobs to the area, stimulate the economy of our community, and make the City of Santa Clara into a new center for professional football in the Bay Area," said President George Shirakawa, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. "I am very committed to assuring that the project is successful."
ACTION OF OVERSIGHT BOARD REGARDING REDEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS
At the Oversight Board's June 22, 2012 meeting, certain agreements between the Redevelopment Agency and the 49ers were discussed at length and the Oversight Board ultimately voted to terminate one of these agreements pursuant to its interpretation of its duty to uphold state law. This action was not a final action because it is reviewed by the California Department of Finance before it is implemented and will be reviewed in court today in Sacramento. It is also not an action of the Board of Supervisors or of the Santa Clara City Council.
"I believe that the difficulty is that the Oversight Board, which is not part of the County, has a narrowly prescribed responsibility under the law, and the law is both confusing and changing rapidly," said Smith.
ROLE OF THE COUNTY AUDITOR-CONTROLLER
The County Auditor-Controller will implement whatever tax revenue dispersal that is ultimately required by the state and/or the court in this matter. The Auditor-Controller has certain duties, separate from the Board of Supervisors or the County government, that are mandated under the law. These duties include ensuring that property tax revenues are distributed in accordance with ABX1 26 and the new state law, AB 1484, which was just signed yesterday and is intended to further clarify the Redevelopment dissolution process. The County Counsel will be representing the Auditor-Controller in court today, asking for direction from the court related to the application of this complex law to the current situation in the City of Santa Clara.
"We are quite hopeful that the action of the state, and the interpretation by the court, will resolve the confusion about the action of the Oversight Board and the agreements between the 49ers and the Redevelopment Agency," said Supervisor Ken Yeager, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. "The County continues to support the stadium project and has been assured that the project will move forward successfully."