November 29, 2011 |

Hold accountable those who have benefitted most in S.S.

In regards to recent articles on the NID in South Side:

I'd like to commend business owners, like Mr. Kramer, that have begun to acknowledge their responsibility for the current situation South Side is in. Contrary, however, to Mr. Kramer's letter (Why a NID is important, Nov. 15, 2011), I do not think we should disregard fault.

It's not the residents that have brought into South Side patrons that do not respect our community and cause the issues that the proposed NID is to address (e.g., absence of enough late night police/security to prevent nuisance crimes like vandalism, public intoxication and public urination, needed garbage and litter cleaning services, and lack of parking for patrons frequenting businesses, etc.)

The South Side community, as built and nurtured by life-long residents and small businesses is a great place. It's been those qualities that have allowed larger scale business owners like Mr. Kramer and others to thrive and expand. There have been neighborhood bars in South Side since there have been mills in South Side.

It's only been over the last decade that these larger scale establishments have expanded, bringing in patrons that disrespect our property, place our community at risk and are now causing it to struggle. Let's face the fact, as residents, any increase in property value, as a result of larger scale business growth, without a commensurate increase of quality of life, only benefits these larger scale businesses and the residents that wish to cash in, sell out and move.

We should strive to hold accountable those that have benefitted most. Should these ‘innovative and best run businesses, owned by such smart people' as referenced in Mr. Kramer's letter also be willing to take full responsibility for the issues their patron and businesses have caused, there would be no opposition to the creation of an NID. Residents and any proposed NID, should not enable business owners to invite patrons into our community to go unchecked and place any burden of cost on residents.

This concept is not unheard of – there have been improvement districts in both Downtown and in Oakland that are sponsored by business owners. The residents of the South Side have been good stewards of the community, I am sure there would be voluntary donations. Let's hold the one percent responsible, not the 99 percent responsible!

Let's also not be confused, South Side has not had the issues with eroding property values that the West End, or other communities, that have considered or passed a residentially funded improvement district have had. Our issues are not the same; our issues are directly related to the growth of larger scale businesses without the same level of investment back into our community by either the business owner or local government (that also benefit from charging us higher property and real estate taxes, ‘drink taxes' and from fines levied from parking infractions). 

Mary Konieczny

via sospghreporter.com

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