Charting A Difficult Course To A Middle Ground

LA MESA -- A couple of the most vocal opponents of the proposed Property Based Improvement District called a community meeting Wednesday night to discuss alternatives to the PBID.

A kind observer of the event as it unfolded might have described it as a fledgling attempt to try and find a middle ground in the increasingly heated debate.

To others, the small gathering of merchants -- many of them showing startlingly little familiarity with the details of the much-discussed issue -- might have stood as testament to why La Mesa Village needs some kind of professional management.

It was noted there are 168 merchants in La Mesa but fewer than a dozen showed for this discussion and several of the merchants took time out from this debate to note how disengaged many of those 168 are from collective efforts to promote the business district.

"A lot of them won't even support the car show,'' railed Anna Sanfilippo, whose pizza fueled this event in the banquet room of her La Mesa Boulevard restaurant.

Local car dealer Rick Bucklew noted that the PBID steering committee had pursued an improvement district to develop a way to get everyone contributing toward the district's endeavors.

But this group was here to bury the PBID, not praise it and Bill Jaynes, proprietor of All Things Bright & British, endeavored to educate the crowd to the subtleties of the issue and herd them toward some form of consensus that could give this gathering a positive outcome.

It wasn't an easy task. Jaynes learned it is clearly easier to be in opposition to something than to find consensus among the passively engaged but strongly opinionated merchants who made up his audience on this night.

The challenge the anti-PBID forces face is that if they succeed in scuttling the PBID effort, the city may scale back the streetscape redesign project planned for La Mesa Boulevard; even some of the most ardent PBID opponents would prefer the full Monty on the streetscape project so they are searching for some cheaper, lesser form of PBID to persuade the city not to diminish the La Mesa Boulevard plans.

Jaynes and former book store owner Deena While were trying to explain the possibility of having a lower-budget maintenance district or a straight business improvement district that could meet the city's desire for maintenance help without dunning the property owners for the $370,000 annual budget for maintenance, marketing, security and events planned for a PBID operation.

When it was clear there would be no rallying around any specific form of collective promotional effort from this group of merchants, Jaynes instead said he would bring a formal request to the city that it lay out for the merchants the different range of street scape improvements and delineate the exact cost merchants could be asked to contribute if the city is to be convinced to deliver the Cadillac version of the La Mesa Boulevard redesign.

City officials have been reluctant to add extra enhancements to a Village redesign if the local property owners aren't going to contribute to their maintenance.

The idea for a PBID gained momentum after the Village Merchants Association, a small and sometimes sparsely funded group, told the city it couldn't find enough support among its members to maintain planters along the historic boulevard.

For much of the last two years, a group of 15 property owners and local merchants hammered out a plan for a PBID that, if passed by a majority of Village property owners, would require all property owners within the district to contribute to enhanced promotional, maintenance and security efforts.

"We have to do something," Bucklew said to the group last night while suggesting a summit with the PBID Steering Committee. "This town needs to come up a notch. We've managed to make it somewhat of a destination, but we need to promote it, year round.''

But Bucklew was expressing the opinion of PBID supporters -- many of them prominent property owners and merchants along the boulevard -- who believe investments are needed in amenities, security and marketing to help the quaint neighborhood commercial district maintain an effective profile in the regional economy.

But to other merchants who were drawn to La Mesa for its low rents, anything that adds to their cost of doing business is met with skepticism at best and outright anger at times. "We don't need more government,'' one merchant muttered at one point.

The meeting ended with the group leaders promising another meeting in a month. Though no specific date or agenda was set, Sanfilippo's willingness to host the meeting, and the quality of pizza she puts out for her guests, should alone guarantee better attendance next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Views: 391

Tags: All Things Bright & British, Anna Sanfilippo, Bill Jaynes, Deena While, La Mesa, La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa Today, La Mesa Village, La Mesa Village Merchants Association, La Mesa news, More…La Mesa newspaper, PBID, Property Based Improvement District, Rick Bucklew

Comment

You need to be a member of La Mesa Today - Community Website & Online Newspaper to add comments!

Join La Mesa Today - Community Website & Online Newspaper

Comment by Bill Jaynes on August 14, 2012 at 3:43pm

I hope it's not too late to join this party!

 

With apologies in advance to Chris Shea, I herewith add my two dollars to the swear jar. :)

(Please don’t ask how many candy bars I had to sell to have a spare two bucks; it’s far less painful to use PBID math and think of it in terms of Happy Meals foregone):

 

I had thought there was nothing left to be said regarding the shambling corpse that is PBID, but that was before I read what remains of Jim Wieboldt's hastily sanitized outburst and his ex post validation of virtually every assertion I've made regarding his scheme over the last year and a half--from its first public unveiling wherein he told the audience that if we didn't like what was "going to happen", then we were "welcome to move nine miles east" to his shrieking in-my-face personal challenges to "Bring it on!"

Does anybody remain who doubts our stories regarding the climate of secrecy, intimidation and outright contempt we dissidents faced from the Committee during the time it operated openly before going to the mattresses? Is there even one person not on the Team who thinks the cure for what supposedly ails the Village is another two-year course of Dr. Jim's patent medicine suppositories? Does anyone doubt my determination to pursue every legal avenue to ensure that Jim Wieboldt never, ever, has the power to control my family's livelihood?

That Mr. Wieboldt--recently reappointed to the Parking Commission at the behest of his political sponsor, Art Madrid--seems so little concerned with the political fallout of his actions is telling, as will be the Mayor's handling of the wreckage Jim leaves in his wake. It's one thing to have your bargain bin Ramiro d’Orco scurrying about disparaging citizens, constituents and taxpayers (who, I might add are also fellow business owners and Chamber of Commerce members that he ostensibly represents as a board official!); calling them out as mere "two percent candy bar" hobbyists or falsely claiming another is "bankrupt". As we've seen by the statewide reaction to the Legislature's outrageous attempt to undermine the Brown Act (which the Mayor and Council, to their credit, immediately repudiated), it will be something else entirely to be tied at the hip to an appointee who so brazenly scorns those members of our community who push for openness and transparency in our processes.

 

PBID is dead and the Village is moving on. To that end, Deena and I held a meeting to do some fact-finding without any pre-conceived notions and report back to City staff and Council. After a bit of Festivus style “airing of grievances”, the group got down to what we felt was a fairly positive and productive meeting. Jim Wieboldt, who didn’t attend, disagrees.

 

As to some of his expressed concerns:

 

  1. “Less than a dozen people showed up for this meeting.”

Leave aside the comedic value in hearing a Team member (whose meetings often bore the reverse ratio of a dozen Committee members and two in the audience waiting patiently to speak—unless, of course, they favored PBID) decrying low attendance at an informal meeting, the first of many, held with just over a week’s notice during the Olympics and at the height of the August heat wave. Instead, please look at the photo and count attendance for yourself. Then allow for people off camera, or who had to come late or leave early. Then consider that Parking Commissioner Wieboldt advises the Council regarding millions of dollars of our meter money.

 

2. “Some were merchants, some spouses/significant others of merchants and a (maybe/wannabe/oh please can I be) political candidate ('tis the season). Most were NOT property owners.”

In other words, what City Staff and the Team might call “a representative group of Downtown stakeholders” but for the fact that it’s true this time.

 

3. “Most never attended a PBID meeting and have no idea what the PBID is all about”

I have often said that, despite all the Team protestations of transparency and inclusiveness, there are many people who still have no idea what TeamPBID attempted to foist upon them. Thank you for acknowledging the veracity of my claims. And if, at this late date in your so-called process, there remain so many people you’ve failed to inform, how is that on me?

 

4. “except the mis/dis-information and outright mistruths that have been spread around from the beginning by Deena While”

Deena can defend herself from your scurrilous charges. I don’t believe she is a liar, as your half-baked claim that she spreads “disinformation” suggests, nor does anyone else I know and respect.

 

5. “a former committee member on the PBID Formation Committee.”

I’ve asserted that the various Committees have engaged in Brown Act violations and secret meetings where the real decisions are made. You intimate that I, too, am a liar for so saying. You also say Deena is no longer on the PBID Formation Committee. She says she remains a member. I say she is remains a member. Please produce an Agenda and/or Minutes of the Committee to verify your claims that she has been excommunicated and you will prove us liars.

 

6. “She did however make the motion to accept the PBID Draft Management Proposal which proposed the plan and budget for the PBID and voted in favor of the $378,000 budget. However she now represents herself as some sort of advocate for the Downtown Village? Not Hardly!”

Let me get this straight: Anybody who voted for PBID’s absurd $378,000 “budget”/AKA wish list is thereby disqualified as a credible defender of the Village? Okay….

 

7. Regarding your little tantrum about me. I have never threatened to sue anybody on the Committee. I have promised to take the City to court over the Brown Act violations everybody knows occurred only if and when the Committee is foolish enough to force the City’s hand into ramming your scheme through. And, I will win.

 

Glenn’s opinion is that my descriptions of Staff’s and the Committee’s actions—none of which you dispute, from holding meetings outside the proposed district to apparently colluding behind the scenes to downsize the Committee lest a skeptical voice gain a seat at the table—don’t rise to a violation because the Team is not a product of “formal” Council action. I believe the City Attorney has narrowly read the Act and that a court would more broadly interpret the law in light of its commonly understood purpose, long judicial history, legislative revisions and constitutional reinforcement over the years. You could jack up the Streetscape for years if you want to test these competing theories. That’s would be the only way the Streetscape and PBID get linked again, despite your continued assertions to the contrary.

 

Instead of suing, however—dragging the City and our political leaders through an interminable judicial nightmare whose outcome is foreordained, I have tried to give everyone involved in this fiasco ample time to come to their senses, attempted to work from inside and out to improve the product and process, and now—as PBID gasps its last---am moving forward with Deena and the rest of the Village to craft a real solution to real problems we face. You are always welcome to join us.

 

Understand, though, that I don’t have any “people.” The citizens of La Mesa and the residents, business and property owners and our churches in the Village are not my pawns and playthings to bleed to sustain my personal aspirations.

 

We seek A Village United and your productive input. Our next meeting will be in about three weeks and everyone is welcome to participate.

 

Bill Jaynes

ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BRITISH

619 464 2298

 

P.S. This monsoonal weather has cut into our tea sales. Once you are through telling people about our low, low prices on luxury English chocolate, would you trowel some ridicule on a few other of our products? We could use the business, and then I might even be able to truthfully say PBID has finally done us some good.

Comment by Deena on August 9, 2012 at 11:29pm

I really like Jim Wieboldt and consider him my friend, regardless of what he says about me.

Here to counter Jim Wieboldt's own brand of MIS-INFORMATION:

I am a born and raised La Mesan.  My heart is in La Mesa.
I am a community volunteer and a business owner.
I have a La Mesa Business License and pay sales tax to the City of La Mesa.

I am a property owner.  As a board member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist Church, and paid employee at our Christian Science Reading Room on Wednesday mornings, I am the appointed representative of both of these village properties.

I am a current member of the PBID Formation Committee.  We were assured we could decline to participate in the Petition Gathering Phase, and when that phase was ended, we all would come together again to continue in the next steps in the PBID process.  

I didn't vote in most of the PBID meetings because I did not agree on the boundaries nor the budget, but I repeatedly tried to reduce both.

The meeting last night, to discuss alternatives to the PBID, was a great beginning.  We are communicating with our entire community.  There is an alternative out there.

I wish Jim Wieboldt the very best.  I wish him peace and friendship.

Comment by Jim Wieboldt on August 9, 2012 at 5:24pm

What a great and informative article!

Bill Jaynes has been informing anyone who had ears that a "LARGE" group of merchants existed that were opposed to the PBID, that preferred other "OPTIONS" and that were ready to step up and support a "MAINTENANCE ASSESSMENT DISTRICT" in order to receive the benefit of nearly 5M dollars in street scape improvements. All would have expected a huge response to this opportunity of OPEN and TRANSPARENT meetings... not to mention Momma was serving the best pizza in the county. So who showed up?

Less than a dozen people showed up for this meeting. Some were merchants, some spouses/significant others of merchants and a (maybe/wannabe/oh please can I be) political candidate ('tis the season). Most were NOT property owners.

Most never attended a PBID meeting and have no idea what the PBID is all about except the mis/dis-information and outright mistruths that have been spread around from the beginning by Deena While, a former committee member on the PBID Formation Committee. While served on the committee but abstained from nearly every vote. She did however make the motion to accept the PBID Draft Management Proposal which proposed the plan and budget for the PBID and voted in favor of the $378,000 budget. However she now represents herself as some sort of advocate for the Downtown Village? Not Hardly! This even after While's bookstore went out of business and she has no affiliation in the village...not as a merchant...not a business owner...and never a property owner... but now an advocate for ALL of the village? While isn't even a resident of La Mesa...she lives in El Cajon.

And let us not forget Jaynes who from the first meetings of the PBID threatened bullied, predicted, opined, rumored and spread large mis-truths about the entire process. In fact Jaynes promised the PBID committee members a trip to court (via lawsuit) and the overturning of the PBID for violations of the Brown Act. To this day Jaynes who has filed numerous Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Public Records Act (PRA) requests on the City of La Mesa has yet to make his promises good. In fact, Jaynes has a letter from City Attorney Glen Sabine advising that "there have been no violations of the Brown Act whatsoever". It makes you wonder why Jaynes did not talk about those details last night. Again...just talk.

I think it begs the question. Well Mr. Jaynes...where are your people?

The PBID Action Committee remains strong and determined to make La Mesa Village the best destination in the east county. A street scape project that is complete. A village that is clean and inviting. A business district professionally managed that markets La Mesa in a positive light. A village that we can ALL be proud of whether a merchant, property owner, resident and city official!

PBID...Great for the village...great for the businesses!

Comment by Marie McLaughlin on August 9, 2012 at 4:13pm

After scanning Mr. Wieboldt's contentious comments, I'd just like to mention that Mr. Jaynes & Ms. While are two people who care about the well being of business owners in The Village.  Forcing churches, schools and hard working people to pay steep assessments is not in their better interests--and I for one am grateful for that.  

The most important point to come out of this meeting is the fact that we need a more definitive idea of what Cityscape improvements would be made and what time frame is involved.  The ambitious Cityscape plans aren't necessarily going to come to fruition, so how can we come up with a fair alternative without more assurance of completion?  La Mesa businesses don't want to suffer the same fate that many did in El Cajon when streets were torn up for months on end.  Customers had limited access to businesses during that period, and many shops could not withstand the transition.  Add the burden of PBID assessments to this mix and the consequences could be dire for some of us struggling in an already weak economy.

The current PBID plan seems to have garnered insufficient support, likely due to the exorbitant assessments for many properties.  It appears that the majority of property owners do not want a PBID or at least not this one, or the petitions in favor would have passed the 50% mark.  Many out of state owners aren't likely to support higher fees, even if they can pass the cost on to renters.  They aren't likely to attend solutional meetings (such as last night's) either.   Our property does not seem to be effected by crumbling sidewalks and shedding trees since we aren't on The Boulevard, but we are willing to pay our FAIR share for an improved La Mesa Village.  Finding assessment numbers that are advantageous to all businesses involved is no small task, but at least we're willing to try to work toward something for the betterment of the Village and not the detriment of Villagers.

Comment by chris shea on August 9, 2012 at 3:09pm

I remember once upon a time I did a newspaper article about a very popular "faith healer."  Opinions on the gentleman were very divided.  Either loved or despised.  When I wrote the article, because I endeavored to present the facts about him and not my opinion, I worked very diligently to select words that didn't add even a whisper of prejudice one way or the other.  The effect was, happily, that people who read the article learned a lot about him: and people who loved him thanked me.  So did people who disliked him.  Because it was just the facts.

I think the difficulty with this PBID has been far too much pettiness and name calling. " Two per cent candy bar hobby"  and "some sort of freedom fighter " would be an example of the opposite of choosing words with care.  

La Mesa Weather

HousingWire

La Mesa Photos

  • Add La Mesa Photos
  • View All

La Mesa Member Videos

  • Add La Mesa Videos
  • View All

La Mesa TODAY is news intended to promote the betterment of La Mesa and its nearby neighborhoods. We want members who share this goal.

© 2019   Created by La Mesa Today.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service