Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Chinatown Property Owners respond to accusations made by Councilmember Chin
The Downtown Express Newspaper, on July 20th 2011, printed an article about property owners in Chinatown making a "last ditch effort" to stop a Business Improvement District from forming in Chinatown. Local Councilmember Margaret Chin made strong accusations about opponents to the BID in the article including
"“They’re spreading a lot of misinformation about the B.I.D.,” said Chin, who adamantly supports the initiative. “When you give people correct, accurate information, they understand the value of this project, and there’s overwhelming support for it,” she said, pointing out that ninety-two percent of property owners who previously cast a ballot for the B.I.D. voted in favor of it. and
"“The biggest problem here is, we have a very articulate opponent with no regard for the truth. It’s a very powerful enemy, and it’s very hard to combat,” said B.I.D. spokesperson Pat Smith. “If someone comes up to you and says, ‘the B.I.D. is going to raise your taxes,’ and they say, ‘sign this’… the easiest thing to do is sign it.” - Rubenstein PR firm on behalf of The Chinatown Partnership LDC
It is rare for any Council Member to label those who oppose her views as liars, enemies, and combatants, but this one has made it clear she is battle ready and has played fast and lose with some numbers to make it seem as though 92% of all of Chinatown wants the BID, which is simply not true.
Furthermore , she says that it 90 objection forms were submitted to the City Clerk by condo owners who would be paying $1.00 a year towards the BID. Through a FOIA request we have found that in a June 23rd 2010 Meeting of the Chinatown BID steering Committee is was Executive Director Wellington Chen who said that the Steering Committee should, in order to get MORE BALLOTS "target non-profit organizations (since they are exempt from the assessment fee) ; the $1.00 private residential owners and the $200.00 doctor offices" -
Margaret Chin and Wellington Chen conspired to bolster their ballot count by TARGETING residential condo owners who would be paying $1.00 a year into a BID. So before Chin starts pointing fingers and crying foul, perhaps some introspection is in order about how those ballots were obtained in the first place. That is, those ballots which have never been vetted through any neutral party.
According to Aline Reynolds of the Downtown Express: "Contrary to opponents’ claims, the annual assessment fee does not rise with real estate taxes, B.I.D. proponents said. The fees would only change with a majority vote from the B.I.D. board of directors and a final stamp of approval by City Council.
Property owners who oppose the BID responded with a letter to the Editor of the Downtown Express: