BID's - Business Improvement Districts - A Subtle Coup by Progressives making your local elections insignificant.

Restructuring our Local Governments
BID Handbook and Manual
Say NO to BID - Northhampton BID
Against the BIDs
Why you should oppose BIDs
Wikipedia Definition of BID
Impact of BID Formation
Reason - Beyond Public and Private
Patch Article - Main Street BID Opposition
Massachusetts Govt. - BIDS
Green Infrastructure Handbook
Commercial District Advisor
National BIDs Advisory Service
San Francisco Govt BIDs
What is CBD?
Mildred Warner BIDS
Business Improvement Districts Handbook New
Starting a BID in Philadelphia
BIDs Placement Management
BIDs Handbook on Google
Step by Step BID guidebook NYC

 

10 Reasons to Oppose the BID (Business Improvement District):

1. Gentrification - part of a larger program of removing low income people to make way for upscale luxury business and whiter, more affluent people.

2. Forced displacement of panhandlers & homeless --the BID proposal still includes language about pushing panhandlers out of public space, legislation which was tabled in the council because of overwhelming community disapproval.
 
3. Rising rents & prices--opting in to the BID will raise property taxes by 40%, which will raise the rent of tenants & thus prices for customers all over downtown.
 
4. Privatized police --rent-a-cops or off-duty police patrols with little constitutional restraint or oversight--private police have a long history of civil & human rights abuses.
 
5. Waste of money--$35,000 of your tax money paid to developers while the homeless freeze to death for lack of food, shelter, and social services.
 
6. CLEAN Team "volunteer labor"--court order community service participants and work-release prisoners would be employed cleaning for businesses as opposed to true community service such as working for a shelter or serving for a soup kitchen.
 
7. Exploitation of homeless for free labor - It is strongly implied in the text of the BID plan that “homeless trainees” would serve as a free labor pool for
cleaning projects under the guise of a social service.

 
8. Creating a culture of snitches & informants--Both the CLEAN Team & "tour guides" planted through the city are instructed to be extra "eyes and ears"--obviously, they would be instructed to report crime by people whose
presence hurts the marketability of the town, such as the homeless, rather than, for example, crimes that might be committed by businness owners.

 
9. Privatizing public space – the BID would turn public space such as streets and sidewalk to a privately managed tourism oriented zone, complete with rent-a-cops and tour guides.
 

10. Loss of democracy - the BID transfers local government powers from elected officials to the BID Board of Directors, meaning a loss of democracy &
accountability.



Letter to the City Councilors About the BID


More about what's wrong with the BID 

 

BOTTOM LINE - ONE - TWO YEAR TERM LIMITS MUST BE ESTABLISHED
TO REVIEW BID AND EITHER RENEW CHARTER OR DONT RENEW CHARTER
THEREBY HAVING TO OPTION OF SUNSETTING THE BID BASED ON THEIR PERFORMANCE AND CONDUCT.
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LOCAL BID TODAY BEFORE ITS TOO LATE - 
SUGGEST, RECOMMEND, THEN DEMAND TERM LIMITS
(MUST BE REVIEWED BY LOCAL TAXPAYERS AT PUBLIC BOARD MEETING)
ONE OR TWO YEARS MAXIMUM BETWEEN REVIEWS 
OR SIMPLY
DEMAND BID MUST APPLY TO RENEW ITS CHARTER EVERY YEAR OR BE SUNSETTED
THIS WILL BRING THE POWER BACK TO THE PEOPLE AND AWAY FROM THIS QUASI - GOVERNMENT

TAKE MY ADVISE OR LOSE YOUR VOTING RIGHTS FOREVER!
 

--Once approved by the Council, we will not be easily rid of the BID.  The dissolution
of the BID calls for the vote of 51% of the district's assesed value. Even if such a vote
was made, a BID that still owes debt must remain intact--other BIDs across the country
have actually intentionally incurred debt as a safeguard against being dissolved! Those who
 opt into the BID will be locked into the contract in perpetuity unless they opt out after 30 days.
 Even then, they will still be dramatically affected by the BID indirectly. 
 

Why Detractors Criticize BIDS

Detractors have called BIDs a burden on the city, unfair to workers, and even anti-democratic. Among the accusations:

1. Undemocratic: Residents in a district vote for the BID’s board of directors, but there are specific slots for local public officials, as well as representatives of property owners, business owners, and tenants, and public officials. But the system is weighted towards property owners, a fact that has inspired lawsuits. One such case occurred when residents in the Grand Central Partnership BID argued that the board violated the one person, one vote clause of the Constitution. A court ruled that such consideration does not apply to the limited function of a business improvement district – restoring and promoting business activity. Residents have recourse through their elected officials, who oversee the BID.

But the dismissal was not unanimous: District Judge Jack B. Weinstein issued a dissenting opinion , announcing that "Granting a more powerful vote to some because they own real property constitutes such a derogation from constitutional principles, such a denigration of equality of political rights, such a diminution in the practical political power of citizens, that I must respectfully dissent."

2. Unfair Treatment of Workers: Moshe Adler, a frequent critic of BIDs and senior economist at the Fiscal Policy Institute, has argued in testimony to the City Council that BIDs have contributed to a deterioration in wages and benefits for workers. He contrasts workers employed by BIDs who get paid minimum wage and no benefits with city employees who perform similar work for wages starting at $13 an hour with full health and pension benefits.

In one instance, the Grand Central Partnership was one of two BIDs embroiled in a scandal over its hiring practices. In 2000, they paid $816,000 in back wages to settle a lawsuit that alleged that they violated minimum wage laws.

Robert Walsh, the Commissioner of Small Business Services, disagrees, and points out that the BIDs directly employ over a thousand people. "These jobs provide opportunities to many workers who otherwise may not have found employment, and almost all of these jobs pay a decent wage with benefits." Walsh says.

3.Too Much Debt, Too Little Oversight: A 2002 report by Cornell University's Department of City and Regional Planning catalogs the debate surrounding BIDs and their potential pitfalls. It notes that a BID's debt counts toward the city's debt ceiling, and that BIDs' borrowing has the potential to crowd out investment in other parts of the city. It also points out that government oversight "decreases dramatically once the district is established." The formation process mandates numerous public hearings and approval by a series of public officials, but once it is approved, oversight is limited. And halting the formation of a BID requires that a majority oppose it, rather than a majority show support, and as a result, the report posits that many of them are created due to a lack of knowledge, rather than by active support.

4. Unclear Support While it has always been required that a BID take a survey to show that adequate support exists within a proposed district, the creation of the Madison Avenue BID is an example where this process failed, according to the City Council. When significant opposition to the BID's creation surfaced after the approval process, the Council conducted its own survey to see how the the BID's survey did not account for it. After using methods similar to that of the Madison Ave BID survey, and only being able to contact about 5 percent of commercial property owners in the district, they concluded that the inability to account for support "places the entire BID approval process in question." Of the small number actually contacted, half had heard about the BID only after its approval. Only one proposal for a BID has ever been denied, the Manhattan Ave. BID, in Brooklyn, where a majority of property owners opposed it.

So what is the record for BIDs as a whole? The only comprehensive analysis of the city's BIDs was published in 1995 by the City Council's Finance Committee. It concluded in its executive summary that while "overall, BIDs have had a positive impact on many New York neighborhoods, BIDs nevertheless require additional oversight and in some cases serious operational restructuring." Two years later, it issued a supplemental report detailing legislative proposals to begin addressing the concerns that surfaced in the two reports.

In response to that report, the Department of Business Services - the agency that dealt with the BIDs at the time - instituted some reforms. It required, for example, that renewal of a BID's contract be based on a performance evaluation and be accompanied by a survey of constituents that shows continued support.
 
     
 
 
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