By John Okulick
For the last 17 months there have been no services from the BID. Tara Devine, the manager of the BID, has spent $470,000.00 in 2017 alone, of taxpayer money, on who knows what, since she will not reveal her expenses. Not even to the city clerk’s office as required by contract has the city received timely management reports. As a result of mismanagement partial refunds are being prepared by the city to property owners but only for the 12 months of 2017!
The city pays $500,000.00 a year of citywide property taxes to promote business interests for a small group of Bonin supporters on Ocean Front Walk. This money was taken from public properties, your tax money, from an elementary public school, several public parks, senior center, and vacant land and funneled to a handful of business owners.
Bonin has lied to and discriminated against residential properties zoned industrial and commercial with live/work uses. He stated zoning and not use are the only criteria for higher assessments to our properties in a gerrymandered and arbitrary boundary. Many are artists who have been here for decades. A judge in our lawsuit against the BID has stated there are no benefits to residential properties yet apartments are considered commercial and must pay these fees raising rents. Even vacant lots, according to Judge Calafant receive benefits. So vacant land is considered by the judge benefiting tourism, increased traffic from people and cars, boosterism, increased sales, etc. The judge had no backbone to challenge the city or state in this matter!
At the last meeting of the Venice BID Property Owners meeting, the safety component of the BID stated they would only carry handcuffs and mace. If they saw a crime they would contact the police but not follow the criminal outside of the BID boundaries. So much for safety for stolen goods. Also these safety people have no more authority than any other ordinary citizen creating a huge liability issue detaining people with no training in law enforcement. The cost per year is around $630,000.00!
The clean services amount to $600,000.00 a year for clean sidewalks. If you haven’t noticed most sidewalks are beyond decay. Along with the extravagant $8,000.00 a month office the BID is renting, Ms. Devine is on a shopping spree with our money. The daily cost of these so-called “services” is over $3,000.00 a day. There are 436 properties in the BID, most on Ocean Front Walk. So residential properties including apartments pay more and get nothing. If you are not in the BID area such as the walk streets they will not respond!