Los Angeles Times – More than a year after its founding, the Venice Beach Business Improvement District has done little but stirred up plenty of angst.
There are no cleanup crews or safety patrols. Community activists complain that nearly $2 million annually — which includes city funding derived from public property in the new district — is being controlled by an unelected board that looks little like Venice. They fear the new district will eventually become a tool to roust homeless people and privatize the public boardwalk, changing the face of the Venice they love.
Unhappy property owners are suing the city and the new entity, trying to dissolve it. They argue that the Venice Beach Business Improvement District improperly folded in homes, apartments and other properties that will get little benefit from the new charges, but must pay thousands of dollars annually.
So far, property owners have been billed twice. In August, the new district got its first infusion of nearly $1.7 million. Yet as of January, the Venice Beach Business Improvement District had no website and no office. It had yet to turn in a required annual report on its plans, which city officials said could hold up future funds.
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