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Is Manteca RDA like Ripons RDA?
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

I read your article on Manteca’s Redevelopment Agency with interest.

You promote the RDA as an engine for improving the community. This is a good thing. However, have you looked at the justification document for the RDA? I have not, but I have looked at the document for Ripon and I am going to assume the documents are similar since the same consultants often do the work for multiple cities. Ripon’s justification study carves out an area within the “project area” and conducts a study of the area. That study concluded that 80% of the blight in Ripon is within the study area. Those results are used to justify the RDA. The document then sets goals for the use of funds. None of the goals address the blight in the study area.

Since its inception, Ripon’s RDA has taken in and spent over $30 million. Less than 4% of that money went to projects that could in any way be said to address the blight in the study area. The city’s most recent update reaches the same conclusions. What the city has is an area of blight it is using to justify collecting money for use elsewhere. The blight is not being addressed. I wonder if the same might be said of Manteca’s justification document.

When it was first established, redevelopment was a good thing. It was intended to establish a taxing mechanism to correct physical and economic blight in a community. Cities have taken that original intent and bent it to allow them to use the money to support growth and improve the community. That is not necessarily a bad thing, unless the city has also ignored the blight that justifies the RDA. I know Ripon has done this. Might Manteca be doing the same?

Leo Zuber
Feb. 17, 2010