Claremont Insider: A Nail in the Coffin or a Stake through the Heart?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Nail in the Coffin or a Stake through the Heart?

Baseline Project, Not Kids, On Life Support

There has been quite a buzz the last day or two among the In The Know here in Claremont. We began to hear rumors of it yesterday, or was it the day before? We are sure those inveterate Meeting-Goers and Agency-Watchers have been aware of it for awhile. We are always the last to find out.

Seems that someone heard from a friend who was at a meeting sitting next to a guy who had talked to someone whose aunt's step-daughter dates a guy who is on staff at either the Community Development Commission of the County of Los Angeles or the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles.

One of these agencies, or both, have just released guidelines on how to apply to receive the mystical City of Industry Money (see link here) as part of the financing for your friendly, neighborhood affordable housing package: up to $3,000,000 loaned at 3% simple interest for a 55 year term. Sweet deal if you can get it.

Those of us who go way back in the Baseline affordable housing discussion--say, two or three years--recall that the financing for the project was to be put together from a variety of sources. In January 24, 2006 staff report, Tony Witt and Brian Desatnik said,
Affordable rental developments are typically built by non-profit development companies that specialize in affordable rental housing. They are skilled at compiling very complex financing packages, and have management divisions with experience in regulatory compliance for the various funding programs...

The funding programs for this type of housing development area a mixture of federal, state, and local redevelopment. Due to the complexity of the financing...
The magical mystical City of Industry Money was supposed to be a piece of this funding package--maybe a quarter or so. Two, three million dollars; something like that.

Here's the problem, and the reason for the aforementioned buzz: The guidelines from the county agencies (also aforementioned) state the following on page 6: Funds may NOT be used for the following activities [skipping now to the point]: Projects located within 500 feet of a freeway or a major urban roads.

Thus, the League of Women Voters' close-to-heart Baseline site for the affordable housing projects is also a little too close-to-the-freeway. Doesn't qualify for the County Scratch.

Maybe this explains the two closed session meetings of the City Council since the holidays with Marc Gelman of Enhanced Affordable Development. We know from the January 8 meeting, that he was looking for some "considerations". That is Mayor Yao's way of referring obliquely to money, kale, lettuce, moohlah, scratch, greenbacks, or baksheesh.

More later, but unless the Federal Reserve can drop the interest rate back down to near-zero, this project may not pencil out. Look for more turmoil here.