February 2022
Rena Masten Leddy
Urban Place Consulting Group

Immediate Past President
Steve Snider
Downtown Oakland Association
Vice President
Austin Metoyer
Downtown Long Beach Alliance

2nd Vice President
Suzanne Holley
Downtown Center Business Improvement District (LA)

Chloe Shipp
San Jose Downtown Association
John Caner
Downtown Berkeley Association
At-Large Directors
Shifra de Benedictis-Kessner
Oakland Chamber of Commerce

Mackenzie Carter
Downtown Santa Monica Partnership

Kevin Clerici
Downtown Ventura Partners

Josh Coyne
Downtown San Diego Partnership

Kathy Hemmenway
Walnut Creek Downtown
Business Association

Christian Martin

Steve Mulheim
Old Pasadena Management District

Andrew Robinson
The East Cut

Marisa Rodriguez
Union Square Alliance

Bettina Swagger
Downtown San Luis Obispo

Andrew Thomas
Westwood Village Improvement Association

Liz Lorand Williams
Downtown Sacramento Partnership

Proposed bill would exempt UC, Cal State from environmental review for new student housing
Los Angeles Times
"A bill introduced Tuesday — in the wake of a potential student enrollment crisis at UC Berkeley — would exempt public universities’ housing developments from California’s arduous environmental review process."

L.A.'s Housing Element, Considered Among California's Most Ambitious, Rejected by State Regulators
Los Angeles Times
"Los Angeles must rezone to accommodate an additional quarter-million new homes by mid-October after state housing regulators rejected the city’s long-term plan for growth."

Berkeley: Plan may turn Telegraph Avenue into ‘West Coast’s Times Square’
The Mercury News
"A new era may soon dawn, one that could even see four key blocks of one-way Telegraph nearest UC Berkeley raised to the level of its sidewalks to create a walkable plaza where no cars would be allowed."
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Message from the President, Rena Masten Leddy

With the start of the war in Ukraine, changes to mandates around COVID and working hard on recovery, I think we can all use some good news.

First, the 2022 West Coast Urban District Forum is on June 15-17, 2022, in Reno, NV. This year’s theme, Moving into Recovery, will explore how urban place management organizations are working towards balancing the ever-changing nature of public life in the downtown core. This event will focus on economic development strategies, placemaking and activation to bring people back to our business districts.

The conference content will also dive deep into a discussion around public safety, mental health, and homelessness. Join Downtown Reno Partnership, California Downtown Association and IDA for the 2022 West Coast Urban District Forum June 15-17, 2022 and reunite with your peers to share solutions and tools for a stronger tomorrow.  

We are looking for session submissions which will be due March 21, 2022.

Secondly, CDA is actively exploring the sponsorship of State legislation to address issues related to “special” vs. “general” benefits within the PBID law. Over the past 20 years, numerous court cases have challenged the validity of business improvement districts in California. None of the cases have given engineers helpful guidance on identifying and separating “special” vs. “general” benefits. The goal of the new legislation is to add much-needed clarity to the PBID law.

We are early in this process and will keep you updated as we move forward with potential legislation. If you are interested in learning more, I’m happy to chat!
Rena Masten Leddy, CDA President
Urban Place Consulting Group
Legislative and Advocacy Update
Jason Bryant, Government Affairs

Heraclitus of Ephesus was an Ancient Greek philosopher recognized for his revolutionary thinking and noted for his writings about change in the world around him. Around 500 B.C., Heraclitus famously wrote, “The only constant in life is change.” Heraclitus’ philosophies inspired perhaps the most famous philosopher – Plato – who, of course, was a major influence in the emergence of western political philosophy. 
Heraclitus’ revolutionary pronouncements are particularly relevant in today’s political climate in California as we experience a tremendous amount of change in the make-up of the State Legislature. Due in large part to term limits and the once-in-a-decade redistricting process which reconfigures the boundaries of California’s Congressional and state legislative districts, members of the Legislature are departing for other opportunities, including semi-retiring from public office, running for Congress or local office, heading up advocacy organizations or even becoming lobbyists. 
As of the writing of this piece, the Assembly has five empty seats out of 80 – the highest number of vacancies in decades. Six members of the Legislature have chosen to run for Congress in newly-drawn seats. While they will serve out their terms this year, those members running for Congress will not return to the Legislature in 2023. Five Legislators are seeking other local or state elective offices. Twelve other members have decided not to run for re-election. Several factors drive those decisions, including running against formidable incumbents in newly-drawn districts or the prospects of different career opportunities in and outside California politics. Just last month, Sen. Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) announced he was entering the race for Governor (Sen. Dahle is midway through a four-year term, so he does not have to run for re-election to the Senate in 2022).
Two notable and relatively high-profile announcements came earlier this year when Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R – San Luis Obispo) announced he would not seek re-election this year. Cunningham currently represents a San Luis Obispo County Assembly seat primarily. Still, after the redistricting process, the seat expanded north significantly to encompass significant portions of Monterey County and even Santa Cruz County changing the political make-up of this district.  Another notable departure from the Legislature is Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-Chula Vista), who Chaired the powerful Assembly Appropriations Committee. She announced her resignation from the Assembly in January and will become the Chief Officer of the California Labor Federation.   
With the deadline to file for state office, not until March 11, lawmakers still have time to plot their next steps – either run for re-election in a newly-drawn legislative seat or perhaps depart the State Legislature and pursue greener pastures. The coming weeks will likely bring about more announcements from incumbent legislators and add to the growing list of “open” seats that will bring about new legislative contests this year and usher in a new and very sizeable freshman class to the State Legislature beginning in January of 2023. 
It is entirely possible that we will see a quarter of the State Legislature turnover by the end of this year and have 25-plus newly-elected members of the Assembly and Senate. They will be charged with leading our state, engaging on issues critically important to downtowns. 
Over 2,500 years ago, Heraclitus broke from the conventional thinking of the time by suggesting the world – and our place in it – is not static, and change is the only constant. If the 2022 political climate in California is a measurement of those pronouncements – truer words were never spoken.
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