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Whose streets? Oakland’s shadow government presses City Hall to end the occupation

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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 12:16 PM
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Whose streets? Oakland’s shadow government presses City Hall to end the occupation
November 11
by Adrian Drummond-Cole and Darwin BondGraham

In a letter addressed to Oakland’s Mayor Jean Quan on Nov. 8, two little-known entities, the Lake Merritt/Uptown District Association (LMUDA) and Downtown Oakland Association (DOA) implored Mayor Quan to “step up and provide cohesive, common sense leadership.” Cohesive leadership, according to these two organizations, means giving the Oakland Police Department a green light to eradicate the now month-old Occupy encampment. “It’s time for Frank Ogawa Plaza to be given back to the people of Oakland,” they conclude.

Who are the LMUDA and DOA? What gives them the authority to make such demands? Further, who are the “people of Oakland” referred to in their letter? If those occupying the plaza do not constitute the people of Oakland, then who are the rightful owners of this contested public space?
The privatization of public administration

“Lake Merritt/Uptown” and “Downtown Oakland” are not community associations or neighborhood groups comprised of Oaklanders with historic roots or identity in Oakland’s larger patchwork. Rather, they are business improvement districts, or “BIDs,” an apt acronym given their focus on commodifying and privatizing government and public space. Both LMUDA and DOA were founded in 2008. BIDs are commercial districts within cities where special taxes are collected on properties for use towards activities determined by the BID’s board of directors. As hybrid public-private entities, their explicit purpose is to increase property values and rents and to cultivate other profitable opportunities in designated geographic areas.

Because they have the power to levy and spend taxes, BIDs must be formed via a petition process and then by majority vote of businesses and property owners within the chosen area and finally approved by the City Council. However, once the BID is established, it largely operates under its own discretion. It does what it wants with its money, which can involve funding events, contracting for extra sanitation and trash services, and even hiring private security to patrol public space.

http://sfbayview.com/2011/whose-streets-oakland%E2%80%99s-shadow-government-presses-city-hall-to-end-the-occupation/
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 12:31 PM
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1. k&r
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 01:03 PM
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2. Kick
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a simple pattern Donating Member (426 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 04:08 PM
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3. Way to call attention to yourselves, little-known entities!
Let's name some names!
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