December 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

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

Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. 

Liz Lorand Williams

Downtown Sacramento Partnership


The Productive Power of Urban ‘Activity Centers’


A lesson for cities and business owners still trying to lure workers back to the office: Productivity surges in places where people, amenities and jobs cluster together.


California city first in US to partner with DoorDash to deliver food to hungry households

The Mercury News

Targeting the growing struggle for many to put food on the table, Riverside officials are teaming up with DoorDash to boost home meal deliveries in the Inland Empire’s largest city.


Goodbye, water cooler; hello, pool: More Los Angeles offices are becoming apartments

Los Angeles Times

Turning old office buildings into apartments or condos is hardly new. But as companies permanently adapt to remote work, expectations for cutbacks in office rentals have spurred new interest among landlords in switching the uses of their buildings in the years ahead.


Los Angeles County Launches Environmental Justice Department


The new department will develop plans for addressing the impacts of air and water pollution, extreme heat, and climate change on vulnerable communities.


The Pandemic Bike Boom Survives—in Cities That Stepped Up


Covid lockdowns prompted a surge of new cyclists. But the trend has faltered in places that didn't build bike-friendly infrastructure.


10 Years Later, a Return Trip to ‘Walkable City’


Ten years ago, before lecturing cities on how they could become more walkable, I was often asked to explain why it was so important.


Big cities are not dead, real estate researcher says

Smart Cities Dive

Renters are returning to urban areas, which could be a challenge for Sun Belt owners, according to a real estate researcher.


Big Santa Cruz County’s parklets are here to stay. What will they look like now?

Lookout Santa Cruz

It sure is nice sitting outside Anthony Kresge’s deli on Capitola Avenue. Five yellow tables top a bright bed of artificial grass, bounded by wooden planters, which all fits inside a single parking space fronting the establishment.


Do you have your ear to the ground when it comes to the latest downtown news in your region? To submit news to be considered for inclusion in the newsletter, please contact us.

Letter from President of the Board, Rena Masten Leddy

Last week, the CDA Board met in-person for our last meeting of the year. The main piece of our agenda was to discuss CDA’s future and its value proposition for our members. David Downey, International Downtown Association President & CEO, facilitated the discussion. Over the last several years, CDA has grown to be an effective State advocacy group that speaks on behalf of California’s place management groups, downtowns, BIDs, and Main Streets. We have supported legislation that assists our members and supports the economic vitality of our downtowns and Main Streets.  In fact, in a first for CDA, we drafted legislation and passed AB 2890 to strengthen the PBID law for our members. Legislative efforts are a clear benefit to CDA’s members. When it comes to Sacramento, we have your back and the capacity to advocate on your behalf. We identified a number of additional ways to support CDA members.

We will build out programs and initiatives that include more opportunities for our members to participate by doubling the number of touch points you can engage with. New membership offerings will include:

  • Facilitated virtual meetings with topics such as: Leadership Development; Organizational Management; Economic Development, Policy and Advocacy; Public Space Management and Operations; Planning, Design and Infrastructure; and, Marketing, Communications and Events.
  • Regular virtual meetings with CDA’s Board and lobbyist to learn and ask questions about State legislation.
  • Opportunities to meet one-on-one with legislators - possibly a “Legislative Day" at the Capitol.
  • New committee opportunities for members only, including Legislative, Programs, and Membership.
  • Website refresh to include an FAQ section with resources such as State PBID law, Brown Act and CA Public Record Act.

Keep an eye out for details on these new opportunities.

Lastly, congratulations to the following people who have been re-elected to the Board: Kathy Hemmenway, Walnut Creek Downtown Association; Liz Lorand Wiliams, Downtown Sacramento Partnership; Andrew Thomas, Downtown Santa Monica Inc.; Mackenzie Carter, The Hollywood Partnership; Andrew Robinson, East Cut CBD (San Francisco); Suzanne Holley, Downtown Center BID (Los Angeles). Congratulations to Jameson Parker, Midtown Association (Sacramento), who was elected to his first term. Congratulations to the following Board officers who were elected for another term: Rena Masten Leddy, Urban Place Consulting Group, President; Austin Metoyer, Downtown Long Beach Alliance, 1st Vice President; Suzanne Holley, Downtown Center BID (Los Angeles), 2nd Vice President; John Caner, Downtown Berkeley Association, Treasurer; and Chloe Shipp, San Jose Downtown Association, Secretary. 

Rena Masten Leddy, CDA President

Urban Place Consulting Group

[email protected]

Call for WCUDF Sessions Now Open

The West Coast Urban District Forum Programming Committee invites you to submit your best sessions for the 2023 Forum themed Leading in Transformative Times. We are seeking proposals that provide solutions for emerging trends facing urban place management organizations today. We will explore leadership skills and strategies needed to sustain and grow strong communities and discover new ways to motivate our staff, boards and stakeholders. We welcome proposals showcasing best practices to transform communities with an equity lens in retail, office market, placemaking, affordable housing, public safety, homelessness and mental health Don't delay, as the deadline to submit proposals for the 2023 West Coast Urban District Forum is Friday, January 6, 2023.


Government Affairs Report by Jason Bryant

The California Legislature Convenes the 2023-2024 Session

On Monday, December 5, the California Legislature convened its 2023-2024 Session. The November 8 election resulted in one of the most diverse Legislatures we have seen. California elected at least 49 female lawmakers and could seat as many as 51 — up from the previous record of 39, set during the previous legislative session. Republican Bill Essayli of Riverside is the state’s first Muslim legislator and Democrat Jasmeet Bains, who won an Assembly seat representing Bakersfield and will become the first South Asian woman in the Legislature.


As of the writing of this piece there are two races that are still too close to call. In the Senate, Republican David Shepard trails Democratic incumbent Melissa Hurtado by 12 votes (out of more than 136,000 votes) for a state Senate seat looping around east Bakersfield. Democrat Christy Holstege trails Republican Greg Wallis by 69 votes (out of more than 169,000 votes) for a state Assembly seat straddling Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The only votes remaining to be counted in the two races are the last of the mail in and provisional ballots. The Secretary of State has until December 16 to certify the elections.


Nearly half of the 20 Senators sworn into office are newcomers to the Senate. Senator-elect Janet Nguyen is the only newcomer who has previously served in the Senate (2014-2018) and in the Assembly. Nearly one-third of lawmakers — at least 37 of 120 — are new to Sacramento, which will usher in new political dynamics and legislative priorities reflecting new perspectives. 


The outcome of the two close races does not change the Democrats’ supermajority, which allows them to pass bills and budgets unilaterally without a single Republican vote. At this point, Democrats control 62 of 80 Assembly seats and 31 of 40 Senate seats and it’s expected that the Democrat-controlled supermajority will remain for the foreseeable future given the outcome of the redistricting process.


The December 5th Reconvening

Why does the Legislature convene on December 5, and then recess until January 4? The Joint Rules of the Legislature require the Senate and the Assembly to convene the first Monday in December to organize. Organization involves electing leadership of the house, appointing certain officers, and adopting rules. On Monday, the Senate elected Toni Atkins as President pro Tempore, and the Assembly elected Anthony Rendon as Speaker. The Assembly Democrats also designated that Rendon would remain as head of the party’s caucus, and thus Speaker of the Assembly until June 30, then transfer power and the Speakership to Assemblymember Robert Rivas on June 30. This transition comes after months of tense and sometimes acrimonious struggle for power between the two lawmakers and their supporters within the Assembly Democratic Caucus. 


Introduction of Bills

The Legislature convenes for one day in December, not only organize itself, but also to introduce legislation. As such, 132 bills were introduced on Monday. When the two Houses return to Session on January 4, 2023, they will resume introducing bills (thousands of bills) until the Bill Introduction Deadline on February 17.


Extraordinary Session

The Legislature also convened an Extraordinary Session on Monday, called by Governor Gavin Newsom as provided in the State Constitution. The Extraordinary Session’s purpose is to act upon legislation necessary to deter price gouging by oil companies by imposing a financial penalty on excessive margins, and to provide greater regulatory oversight of the refining, distribution, and retail segments of the market to prevent avoidable supply shortages and excessive price increases. There will be a great deal of high-tension political maneuvering in the Extraordinary Session, which based on recent reports, may not convene until January. 


Upcoming Issues

Lawmakers convene the new session under fiscal uncertainty and a State Budget cloud. The Department of Finance has projected $25 billion budget deficit which means legislators, including dozens of freshmen, have an unenviable task ahead: deciding what programs to cut or defer, or whether to draw down state budget reserves. Economists have stopped short of predicting a full-blown recession, and the last few weeks have brought shreds of optimism, but the state’s fiscal experts warn that the state's economic picture remains shaky and unclear. 


Other major public policy issues the Legislature is expected to tackle next year includes homelessness and affordable housing, drought and wildfire, inflation and costs of goods, reproductive rights, gun violence, worker rights and environmental sustainability. 


Jason Bryant 

Bryant Government Affairs

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