By Josh Dulaney Staff Writer
Posted: 04/14/2011 10:32:00 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – The not-yet fully formed board of the San Bernardino Economic Development Corp. – a nonprofit agency recently given oversight of millions in city redevelopment dollars – held an informal workshop Wednesday night to discuss how to move forward under Gov. Jerry Brown’s lingering proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies.

“It would appear to me that we need to be moving in a direction as we decide are we going to do this for real or are we just doing this and posturing at this point?” said Emil Marzullo, interim economic development director. The City Council, acting as the Economic Development Agency board, last month voted 4-1 to approve a $525 million funding agreement between the city’s redevelopment agency and the San Bernardino Economic Development Corp. in a move to shift redevelopment oversight to the nonprofit agency.

Officials said the action would shield redevelopment money from the state, as lawmakers hammer out a budget that still has a $13 billion gap.

One of Brown’s proposals is to eliminate redevelopment agencies and plug $1.7 billion in redevelopment money into education, public safety and other services.

Marzullo said the San Bernardino Economic Development Corp., which he pointed out is technically just Mayor Pat Morris and council members Rikki Van Johnson and Tobin Brinker, will need to take action in the coming weeks to demonstrate that the entity is valid in the state’s eyes. That includes appointing three more board members that would come from the San Bernardino City Unified school board, the county Board of Supervisors and the San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce board, under last month’s measure.

Already, the San Bernardino Economic Development Corp. has filed an action in court to validate its agreement with the city’s redevelopment agency, and has moved more than 150 properties, including Carousel Mall, under the nonprofit entity’s authority.

“The concern I have is that we’ve really not done much more meaningful than that,” Marzullo said. “We’ve moved properties as a shielding mechanism, but we haven’t done anything in the way of (where) we’ve actually established this corporation as a viable entity.”

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