edlee_swornin.jpgMayors of California’s largest cities, including San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, met today with Gov. Jerry Brown to try to dissuade him from a proposal to eliminate city redevelopment agencies to help lower the state budget deficit.

Meeting with reporters in Sacramento this afternoon following today’s meeting, the mayors said the meeting had been productive and that Brown had agreed to set up a working group on the issue.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said that his city and others “depend on the workability of the redevelopment agency” and its ability to leverage private money to help the most impoverished neighborhoods.

The agencies use funds to revitalize blighted urban areas.

Lee said redevelopment agencies were vital to job creation.

“To eliminate that would be the wrong direction,” he said.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said her city is fighting 18 percent unemployment overall and 40 percent unemployment among young black men in East Oakland.

“Most important, the kids tell me, they need jobs,” Quan said.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said his city, which has a comparatively lower jobless rate of 10 to 11 percent, was competing with other states to keep jobs local.

Reed said some of the most important tools he had to do so were redevelopment funding and enterprise zones, which provide tax incentives to businesses.

“We need these funds to create jobs,” he said.

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