LB Opinion

A YES Vote for PBID Protects Our Downtown


  • Kraig Kojian (Downtown LB Associates [DLBA] President/CEO)
  • John Sangmeister (DLBA Board Chair)
  • Jeff DuChateau (PBID Steering Committee Chair)
  • David Cannon (Downtown Residential Property Owner)


    (July 19, 2012) -- Across our state, years of declining public revenues have forced government agencies to make difficult decisions to meet the needs of citizens and the infrastructure on which they depend. Further setbacks such as the elimination of Redevelopment Agencies, has stripped cities of their go-to instrument for improving blighted areas and revitalizing struggling neighborhoods. Unfortunately, it has become clear that governments are no longer equipped to carry the entire burden of city building, but thankfully there exists other ways for communities to bootstrap their own vitality.

    To address the difference between a community’s desire and a government’s capacity to perform, the State of California enables cities to establish a variety of self-assessment districts, such as Property Based Improvement Districts (PBID). These districts create the opportunity for all property owners within a defined area to band together to maintain and improve our community’s quality of life. Individual districts determine the types and levels of service that will be provided, and the approval of those plans is subject to the State laws that govern proportionate benefits and contributions.

    Recently, our community participated in charting the direction for continuing the Downtown Long Beach PBID, which was established in 1998 and renewed in 2003. Through an extensive public planning process that spanned the course of a year, more than 1,000 voices played a role in articulating the community’s priorities. Throughout this process, persons with diverse backgrounds, interests, and perspectives of all types described the programs and services they believed are vital to the future of our Downtown.

    Their intention was clear - the PBID should provide a clean, secure, and vibrant environment. The services they desire - such as regular sidewalk cleaning, safety patrols, celebratory events, and business attraction programs - are not being provided by the City of Long Beach at all, or to the level the community demanded, and therefore should be continued under the PBID renewal.

    Proven as a self-empowering community improvement mechanism, PBIDs are by no means unique to Downtown Long Beach. Every major downtown across California transforms the proportionate contributions of all property owners within their respective areas into the programs and services articulated by their unique communities. That list includes the downtowns of Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Fresno, Santa Monica, Pasadena and Sacramento, among others. In each of these cities, residents, public administrators, non-profit, and commercial interests are working collaboratively to better their communities, neighborhoods, and homes. Other areas in Long Beach are also actively exploring the establishment of PBIDs to help produce similar results for themselves.

    Now in place for almost 15 years, the Downtown Long Beach PBID has diligently provided resources to enhance the community. It has facilitated our safe, clean, energetic and prosperous Downtown. However, it is only through this PBID renewal, that the enhanced programs and services Downtown has come to expect, will be able to continue.

    The final phase of the renewal process has begun with all property owners receiving a ballot, and we urge a YES vote to protect Downtown’s future. Each property owner’s contribution, leveraged with thousands of others, is essential to the well-being of our ever-evolving Downtown. Now is the time to stand together and support our Downtown.

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