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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Is Venice Getting a Business Improvement District

Is Venice getting a designated Business Improvement District (BID)?  What is a BID?  When did all this occur?  Debbie Dyner-Harris, district director for Councilman Mike Bonin mentioned it at one of the Venice Neighborhood Council meetings but there was no discussion regarding this.  That is all some know.  Some know they are going to be assessed for this, yet know little or why.  Some are opposed and saying this is taxation without representation.

At present Update has received only information regarding opposition to a business improvement district  being formed and implemented in Venice.   Update is investigating. Apparently, it is scheduled to go before the City Council on 23 August for approval.  At this time, Update has a map showing the areas but without a legend. Update has a form letter of opposition to the formation of a BID and the other a letter of personal objection to the process and formation.  Update is trying to get information that is for the project at this point and is emailing the City Council office regarding a BID for Venice as well as people possibility involved in the formation.

Opposition asks that the City postpone the scheduled vote, meet with a group  opposed and establish a public process to engage the entire Venice community before any further action is taken on this proposal.

According to Wikipedia, a business improvement district (BID) is a defined area within which businesses are required to pay an additional tax (or levy) in order to fund projects within the district’s boundaries.  The BID is often funded primarily through the levy but can also draw on other public and private funding streams.  These districts typically fund services which are perceived by some businesses as being inadequately performed by government with its existing tax revenues, such as cleaning streets, providing security, making capital improvements, construction of pedestrian and streetscape enhancements, and marketing the area.  The services provided by BIDs are supplemental to those already provided by the municipality.


Proposed BID

Proposed Venice Business Improvement District


Opposition Reasons

  1. The process for establishing the BID has not been public or transparent. None of the details or documents about the potential Venice BID have been made public, including the proposed area of coverage, the bylaws or other governing documents, the process for membership, the results or timing of any petitions or ballot processes, and other relevant information.
  2. Business Improvement Districts in the City of Los Angeles, and particularly the security forces they hire, have a history of hostility toward homeless and low-income residents resulting in several lawsuits since their inception in the late 1990s regarding unconstitutional practices.
  3. Business Improvement Districts are a way to put the control of public spaces and services in the hands of private, commercial property owners that disenfranchises or harms those that don’t own commercial property and limits democratic control over resources.
  4. Business Improvement District assessments are not feasible for all businesses or property owners to pay, particularly non-profits and small business owners. Additionally, non-profits and small businesses that rent their properties are likely to have to pay their portion of a BID assessment without any voice or vote in the approval process.
  5. The founding premise for the Business Improvement District is at fault. It is claimed that a BID is needed because the City of Los Angeles is not providing the proper public services. While the city is not currently providing all needed services, the solution is not giving grossly disproportionate control of public spaces to the select few who own businesses in a neighborhood. We vehemently oppose any privatization of our public spaces and services. The city is responsible for providing the necessary budget to provide these services.
  6. Currently, and for at least the past five years, some of the wealthiest global technology corporations such as Google and Snapchat have enjoyed an 80% tax break from the City. Simply requiring these companies pay their fair share would help properly fund our needed public services.
  7. Residents, small businesses and other stakeholders in and near the proposed Venice Beach BID are not in favor of the BID, yet have no voice or vote in the process. A petition documenting the opposition is attached.



Comments (2)

  1. Stuart Falk

    There is a conversation happening in Venice right now about the formation of a Business Improvement District (BID) to help improve the neighborhood. David Graham-Caso, the Communications Director & Environmental Policy Advisor to Councilmember Mike Bonin reached out to Yo! Venice, saying there has been some inaccurate information about BIDs posted on another Venice-focused blog.

    Here Caso provides some background information to help explain what a BID actually is…


  2. Nick Antonicello

    A glaring example as to why Venice needs to #Vexit!

    Services are so awful that retailers and businesses would rather pay another out-of-pocket expense they control then deal with the massive bureaucracy that is Los Angeles. In effect, they want smaller, accountable local government. What they really desire is in fact, city-hood for Venice!

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