Unclassified Info: The Golden Key is not blighted

February 15, 2011|By Gary Huerta

While most of you are reading this, Ray Patel is probably standing in front of the Glendale Redevelopment Agency, otherwise known as the City Council, pleading for the life of his business. He will either be followed or preceded by the Caruso Mega-Machine and his never-ending plans to resurrect and deliver Glendale to the financial promised land with his expanded Americana.

And with the City Council fawning eternally over Rick Caruso's quips and quotes, I must ask: Why are we always turning to Caruso to rebuild Glendale? And what is our definition of blight and redevelopment?

Nothing against the existing Americana — I like it just fine. But for the Redevelopment Agency to stick a fork in Ray Patel and tell him to put up or get out smells fishy, and not in the delicious Katsuya way. It's a very cowardly position and frankly goes against what a redevelopment agency should be doing, which is revitalizing blighted areas of the city.


Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency Commissioner Madeline Janis was recently quoted as saying that "the theory behind redevelopment is to take a blighted area, invest some money in it and make a dramatic difference in the lives of the people there."

In fact, the Glendale Redevelopment Agency was created in 1972 reportedly for the purpose of improving, upgrading and revitalizing areas within the city that had become blighted because of deterioration, disuse and unproductive economic conditions.

Patel's property is not blighted by any definition. Ironically, by its proximity to the Americana, one could easily argue that it sits in one of the most vital business areas in all of Glendale, thus it should be allowed the opportunity to continue operating. It may not be as polished as the Americana, but it's not a rundown tenement.

Patel has a renovation plan, which from my untrained eye would blend in nicely with his mega-neighbor. His business currently employs people, so there can't really be a claim that he's not contributing to the surrounding economy.

So what exactly is motivating the Redevelopment Agency? How does the City Council actually expect to say they are removing blight by pushing Patel out? They can't. And this is exactly how Patel could fight them and win.

Perhaps it is this kind of curiously ambiguous decision making that has caused Gov. Jerry Brown to want all California redevelopment agencies eliminated. That would, of course, include the one in Glendale.

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