Love where you live!
LA MESA -- It was the best of times and the worst of times for the Property Based Improvement District committee Wednesday night.
There were moments of great democratic wrangling and priority setting and low moments of on-going personal infighting between committee members and critics in the audience.
On the best side, after weeks of slow wrangling about little details, the group shared food and moved ahead quickly setting general parameters for spending that would be done on behalf of the downtown property owners if a PBID gets property owner approval.
The group also voted to establish marketing as a main purpose of the organization by establishing a budget goal of $100,000 per year -- two times higher than originally proposed -- to spend promoting the downtown Village area.
The group also voted to put aside at least $50,000 in its budget for permanent downtown lights, an attempt to extend the holiday festive look all year round.
Still the meeting was punctuated with occasional sideshows in which a critic in the audience traded barbs with the PBID committee members.
Bill Jaynes, owner of All Things Bright and British, has been a constant thorn in the side of the committee, often accusing it of illegal and unethical actions, though not filing any formal complaints with authorities.
On Wednesday night, Jaynes, as is his routine, used his three minutes to raise concerns about the committee's process and actions, ending with a request that the committee apologize for members who had accused the PBID critics of spreading misinformation.
As Jaynes' performances go, it was relatively mild, but it raised the ire of committee members who took their comment time to criticize Jaynes.
Still, sideshows aside, the PBID committee is clearly moving quickly to a point where it will be able to determine the assessments that would be made against downtown properties to fund maintenance of the city's planned $5-million redevelopment effort.
If property owners agree to the assessments, the PBID committee would form a board, hire an administrator and begin investing in maintenance, marketing and security for the downtown commercial district.
However, if the PBID is not approved, city officials have said they would scale back its investment in the area, saying they don't want to build facilities without a funding mechanism in place to maintain them.