Venice BID to get $2.3 million from city of Los Angeles
by Mike Chamness, Occupy Venice, (602) 339-6607
City is Set to Provide $2.3 Million over 5 Years to Fund Venice Beach Business Improvement District
Residents and Stakeholders Gathered to Ask Why the Public Beachfront is Being Privatized, and Why the City is Giving Millions to a Process Intended for Businesses to Vote to Tax Themselves
Residents, property owners, visitors and others are concerned that the proposed Venice Beach BID will escalate gentrification, privatize one of our most treasured public spaces – Venice Beach and Boardwalk, put $2.3 million of City money into an untested organization with little oversight, and utilize private security to target and harass vendors, homeless residents and people of color in Venice.
Business Improvement Districts (“BIDs”) are public-private partnerships, established under State and local laws that give Cities the power to form districts in which all businesses in the district pay assessments to supplement municipal expenditures. Yet the Venice Beach BID is overly reliant on City land and funds. The City owns substantial land within the BID boundaries, and is also paying the assessments for State-owned land in the area; their general fund contribution totals more than 25% of the annual BID budget and therefore they carry 25% of the vote to approve the BID.
Two endorsers of the BID letter to property owners asking for their signed petition in support, Carl Lambert and Andy Layman, are being sued by the City for illegal conversions of rent stabilized housing units into hotel uses.
Though the composition of the Board overseeing the BID has not been made public, the City seems poised to put the control of public funds and the BID activities into an organization with members of its leadership being accused of illegal activity by the City.