Reed Reveals Battle Plan to Save SJ

Mayor hopes Redevelopment Agency funds will ignite growth

With funds from the government's $700 billion bailout package out of the question, San Jose is getting creative in an effort to boost the city's economy.

Tuesday San Jose mayor Chuck Reed said he hopes to use Redevelopment Agency funds to give the economy a jolt.

"We have many opportunities to swim against the national tide," Reed said. "We need to take advantage of each of those opportunities to try to do as best we can in these very difficult economic times. This is the worst we've seen in a generation."

The City Council planned to hold a vote on the proposal, which is part of the mayor's economic stimulus plan, Tuesday.

Reed said the plan will encourage four main things in the city, jobs, tax revenues, new development and private investment.

Reed said he believes the money will make it easier for people to open up a new business by removing roadblocks and speeding up the permitting process.

He said the money would go for projects like the expansion of the McEnery Convention Center, which if all goes well, would begin next year.

Reed said the Redevelopment Agency money could accelerate housing projects which would in turn create construction jobs.

Reed said he also hopes to encourage the investment in biotech and clean tech in the city, something that might cushion the city against the economic crisis facing the country.

Reed reversed course and decided not to ask the federal government for a slice of the $700 billion bailout plan in mid-November.

He had said that he planned to request 2 percent -- or $14 billion -- of the federal government's bailout package to pay for mass transit improvements and expansion of the area's clean-technology businesses.

Later, the mayor issued a statement saying he would not ask for any of that money, unlike Philadelphia, Atlanta and Phoenix, which have requested funds.

Reed said that if the federal government passes a stimulus package for cities he will request San Jose's fair share.

The City Council also planned to vote on whether to open up a portion of City Hall for use as retail space.

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