during the creation and implementation of the business improvement
district. Cianfrini, the association's founder, resigned last week.
"You could say we're collectively protesting," Brown said. "I just
felt that we weren't treated with respect."
The City Council is expected to vote on creating a business
improvement district at tonight's City Council meeting, and the
merchants association has been the driving force behind the district.
The district will require the 50 merchants in Adams Square to pay an
annual assessment to the city. The assessment money would be given to
a merchant organization to use to promote the area with advertising
and public events.
But merchants' association members believe the council twice
First, the council told the merchants association that the city
would match any assessment fees collected up to $15,000. The
merchants set the fee at $300 to maximize the matching funds. But
some merchants who are not members of the association led a
last-minute protest that could have thwarted the district's creation.
The council lowered the fee to $120 to placate those merchants and
promised to fund the full $15,000.
"The city does a complete flip on us," Valenzuela said. "What it
does, it basically puts egg on our face. It's pretty embarrassing for
the merchants' association. We look like we're out for blood."
Then, council members insisted on an election to determine the
district's advisory board. City officials had told association
members that the association's board would serve as the advisory
board, at least on an interim basis, said Director of Development
Services Jeanne Armstrong.
"We've been in the thick of this thing, we set the thing up, and
now all of the sudden we're not going to be elected," Brown said. "It
doesn't make sense to me."
Now, with the board decimated, Adams Square must start its
business improvement district with little experience. Bob Gallegos,
who owns Dr. Bob's Auto Repair and who led the group of merchants
protesting the $300 fee, said several merchants have already told him
they want to be on the board. He said he expects to run too.
"I don't want to say anything bad against the [old] board,"
Gallegos said. "They thought everything would run exactly the way
they had been running it before. Now they've involved everyone else,
so things are going to be a little different."
Councilman Dave Weaver said the council made a mistake by
insisting on elections.
"I'm very, very disappointed to hear that those guys resigned,
because they've done so much of the work to get it where it is,"
Weaver said. "I believe the whole board ought to still be on. Now
it's just going to implode."