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Byline: Kevin Clerici
July 29--Redevelopment agencies in Oxnard, Simi Valley, Camarillo and Ventura this week begrudgingly agreed to cough up $17 million to the state to stay in business -- and more local cities are likely to follow.
The commitments to pay the funds were needed to comply with new legislation by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature that threatens to dissolve the state's 398 redevelopment agencies, which siphon off a share of property taxes to improve blighted neighborhoods. The state agreed to allow redevelopment programs to remain or create new ones if existing agencies collectively fork over $1.7 billion by January. That money would go to local governments and schools, replacing money no longer available from the cash-strapped state. Critics say the state's so-called "voluntary" payments amount to "ransom demands." Groups that represent cities have filed a lawsuit asking the California Supreme Court to block the controversial legislation from taking effect.
With the outcome of litigation in doubt, some …