CBDG switcheroo is not a done deal

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For anyone who believed that Mayor Newsom was merely proposing a) to merge the Mayor’s Office of Community Investment with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development and b) change how community block development grants are spent, and that none of this would happen until he got the Board of Supervisors's approval, as is required, according to the City charter, here’s a letterthat suggests that the MOCI/OEWD merger is a done deal, and that changes to community development block grants use are about to be rammed through, give or take a community comment, or two.

Dated April 16, the missive states that, “The Mayor’s Office of Community Investment (MOCI), now merged with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, is proposing to amend the 2005-2009 Consolidated Plan.”

The Consolidated Plan, in case you are wondering, sets forth the strategy and goals for the city’s use of four federal funding sources: community block development grants, emergency shelter grants, home investment partnerships and housing opportunities for persons with AIDS.

According to the OEWD April 16 missive, Newsom’s proposed amendment seeks to undertake “economic development, housing and public service activities with CDBG funds” and promote “innovative programs in economically disadvantaged areas.” It also designates the Western Addition as a “neighborhood revitalization strategy area.”

You can check out the entire draft plan here.

The plan certainly makes for revealing demographic reading. Families with children over five, readers learn, are still leaving in disproportionately high numbers, along with blacks and African Americans of all ages.

And as of 2006, 41 percent of households in San Francisco were people living alone. One out of every three residents was foreign born, with sixty-one percent of this foreign-born population hailing from Asia. Fifty-one percent of all residents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher—twice national rate. And 60 percent of the City’s south eastern sector is at low and moderate income levels.

But when it came to making a compelling case for changing how CDBG funds are spent, and why this would be better than what the city is currently doing, this document failed to deliver. And despite the document's introduction, which suggests that the Board has approved the plan's 2009-10 budget and preliminary recommendations, last I checked Board approval seemed far from automatic.

So, stay tuned.