Because it will be approved. We know that. But we also know that Mike Bonin might be susceptible to political pressure. He even thought about moving the hearing date, presumably in response to political pressure and cogent criticism. Maybe the same tactics can help improve what’s presently looking like it’ll be yet another version of the worst that this City’s BIDs in Hollywood and Downtown have to offer. So here are some things which might be attainable politically and which might help mitigate some of the worst excesses to which BIDs are prone.
First of all, maybe you remember the recent tumult over the Arts District BID. If not, there’s a1 version of the story here. In short, some property owners got a judge to dissolve the BID, there was a big fuss about getting a new BID formed, and in order to settle the controversy, José Huizar stepped in and brokered a compromise involving the composition of the Board of Directors. As the L.A. Business Journal put it:
City Councilman José Huizar, whose district includes the neighborhood, on Tuesday announced that the Arts District Community Council Los Angeles has agreed to drop its application to create a BID and support an application sponsored by a group called Arts District Los Angeles. The ADLA, in turn, agreed to give Community Council representatives at least four seats on an expanded 23-member board. In addition, the area’s homeowners association will get three additional seats on the board.
If Huizar can negotiate seats on the Arts District BID Board, Mike Bonin can certainly change the composition of the Board of Directors of the Venice Beach BID if he wants to.2 The composition of the Board is a political matter which can be influenced by political tactics. The Arts District dissenters got four seats out of 23, not enough to change things, although by no means an empty victory. A vote, four votes, is not nothing in such a closed-off political entity. Another moral is that the homeowners association got seats on the Board. That is, Huizar got people who live in the BID a voice on the Board. This is also not trivial.
On October 7, 2014, Hollywood Media District BID property owner Toni Werk wrote to Jim Omahen, HMD operations director, about her parcel at 6065 Melrose Avenue. The gist of her complaint is this:
For the more than $12,000 that I have contributed to the BID, I, or my tenant, have not received one word of promotion in your newsletter. During business hours, my tenant says he has seen your bike patrol only a few times. And during after hours, there is no one staying on our property to phone your Security Patrol if there is an issue. As I originally did not want to participate in the bid [sic], and I voted no against it again, I have been forced to pay a tax that has not been any benefit to me or my tenant.
Jim, rightfully, forwarded this complaint on to his boss, the jolly but rather knuckle-headed Steven Whiddon, who replied, in characteristically evasive1 fashion, replied:
I am happy to report that Captain John Iragoyan [sic] and myself [sic] completed a site visit of your property 6065 Melrose Avenue. We spoke with your leasee, [sic] Tom Pena about the issues you stated in the email below. We made sure he understands we are here to serve and has all of our contact information. He understands that he can contact us at any time to assist with the issues below. …