On Quality of Life; Toxic Cities; Redevelopment

Mar 15, 2011

Segment 1: Last month, Forbes magazine released its ranking of the nation’s ten "most toxic" cities, and Bakersfield and Fresno were ranked #2 and #3. While concerns about the Valley's air and water quality are nothing new, this report brings new national attention to the efforts to deal with these problems. In this segment, we examine the efforts to clean up the air with Sayed Sadredin, Executive Director and Air Pollution Control Officer for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. Guest Maria Herrera, of the Community Water Center in Visalia also joins us to talk about the water quality issues facing many small communities in Tulare county, such as Seville, which was recently singled out by a United Nations expert for its nitrate polluted water system.

Segment 2: While California lawmakers negotiate a solution to the state’s budget crisis, the future of the Valley's local redevelopment agencies hangs in the balance. Governor Brown's budget proposal aims to close the state’s over 400 redevelopment agencies, and use $1.7 billion in redevelopment money to help balance the state’s $25 billion budget gap. Critics say redevelopment agencies siphon off property tax dollars that would otherwise be used for schools, spend money on dubious projects, and abuse their powers of eminent domain. Supporters, including most of the state’s mayors, claim that redevelopment is an essential tool in revitalizing urban areas, creating jobs, low income housing and improving communities. How would the Governor’s proposal impact communities in the Valley? We examine those questions and more with Fresno City Council member and Fresno RDA chair Larry Westerlund, City of Merced Redevelopment Coordinator Daniel Ainslie, and Fresno Bee columnist Bill McEwen.