Thursday, May 3, 2007

The downtown tax district was approved last night.

I was mildly opposed to the first version of this, about a year ago. Mostly I didn't like the surveillance cameras, which they have very sensibly dropped.

It helps a great deal that Chuck Arnold, the executive director for the Bend Downtowners Association is a personable fellow, who has shown a low-key ability to build consensus and deal with problems.

It doesn't hurt that he comes by my store occasionally to chat. Simple thing, really, but it means a lot. One of the things I could never understand about the Mt. View Mall managers, was why they would hide in their office. Some of them I never met more than once. I always thought it would have been a huge public relations coup to simply take a walk-around through the mall, once a month, listen to the owners. Once a month, listen to us bitch, and move on.

Chuck's actions have pretty much confirmed that notion. I may not have any power in the Downtowners (I've only gone to one meeting in 24 years); but it probably doesn't hurt to keep me on his side anyway.

These positions tend to become self-sustaining after a while, whether the director is efficient and helpful or not. It could easily turn into a very political position where the money goes to help the most influential members of the downtown community. But I've decided it can't hurt, at roughly .01 a foot per month.

I also think it helps that Chuck actually ran a record store in L.A. for 5 years, so has a passing acquaintance with retail.

So, here's hoping that he brings an energetic and effective organization into reality.


Jason said...

I'm curious ... what exactly is the BDA? I've never heard of it before.

Heh, I suppose I could just do a search ... like everyone else these days, I'm sure they have a website.

Duncan McGeary said...

Just a merchant association.

I'm just not a joiner in clubs. Too much like high school. I like some things they do, but don't like others. They are very promotional minded, and I'm not.