Private security patrols pull out of downtown Arts District
Private security patrols and cleanup crews have pulled out of the downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District after a court ordered the city to dissolve a special district that had assessed property owners as much as $1.3 million a year to spruce up and protect the neighborhood.
L.A. County Superior Court Judge Joanne O’Donnell ruled that the city had improperly approved the area’s business improvement district, or BID, spending money on public relations activities including business recruitment tours and hanging street banners as well as cleaning and guard services.
The lawsuit was brought by loft owners, including those in the Biscuit Company and Toy Factory projects. Lawyer Geoffrey T. Stover said some of his clients have their own street maintenance and security staffs, and had resisted being brought into the BID in a 2011 expansion.
“That’s kind of the lesson of this: if everybody’s on board, there’s no problem,” he said.
Half a dozen downtown BIDS have been credited with transforming the city’s historic core by sending a small army of workers, dressed in brightly colored shirts, into the streets each day to remove graffiti, power-wash sidewalks, move homeless people along and collect trash.
The once-gritty Arts District along the Los Angeles River east of the Civic Center is the latest frontier of downtown gentrification, drawing admiring comparisons to New York City’s Meatpacking District with its industrial buildings converting to shops, design studios, galleries and restaurants.
Chief Deputy City Atty. Bill Carter said the city would consider an appeal.
“These BIDs have been very successful in turning downtown around, “ Carter said. “Just walk downtown you see younger people, new businesses, less trash and people feel more secure.”
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