January 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

Planners tried to define what makes San Francisco special — in 1971.
San Francisco Chronicle
A plan for the San Francisco of 1971, as viewed from 2021? Not as far apart as you might think.

Newsom’s latest housing fix: More Californians living downtown
Los Angeles Times
Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to shift home construction in California away from rural, wildfire-prone areas and toward urban cores as part of his $286.4-billion budget plan.

Metro awarded $1.24 billion from Federal American Rescue Plan Act
The Source
Metro today announced that it had been awarded $1.24 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (P.L. 117-2) funds to help pay for expenses incurred by the agency during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Let's Retire Our Ideological Labels For Cities
Wildlife bridges have long been built over highways to protect roaming animals whose populations are threatened by the vehicle-centric lifestyles of humans.
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Message from the President, Rena Masten Leddy

It was a bit of a tough start to 2022 due to the latest COVID-19 variant and let’s face it, maybe we were a bit bummed that Betty White didn’t make it to her 100th birthday. There is also increasing crime, homelessness, mental illness, and drug addiction, but I don’t think we need to be stuck with a sense of hopelessness. 

We are all reading the news that the peak of the variant is on the downslope. Tests and over-the-counter meds are on the way and possibly as early as the second quarter of this year we will be living somewhat normal lives. So, while some of our local and state governments may be slow to respond to the current challenges of our cities and towns, there are signs from the private sector that the places we manage, market and love are beginning to heal and revive.

Take this for example:
• In Los Angeles, Adidas and Forever 21 have moved their corporate headquarters to the LA Fashion District, taking almost 300,000 square feet of space in a newly renovated 2-million square foot office complex and everyone’s favorite chef, Jose Andres, is choosing to open a DTLA restaurant.

• In San Francisco, Twitter is leasing entire floors of space in mid-Market and Sephora has moved its North American headquarters to 200,000 square feet in the Salesforce Tower downtown.

• In San Jose, Google is moving forward with a downtown campus that is 80 acres of land, and includes 7.3 million square feet of office space, 20,000 workers, and thousands of housing units.

So, I don’t think downtowns are dead nor is our work over. Cities and town centers have been around for many years. They continue to evolve and reinvent themselves and we get to have a seat at the table. I think this year will be only the beginning.

One exciting thing to look forward to is the West Coast Urban District Forum (WCUDF). We had to cancel the 2020 & 2021 WCUDF, but we are moving forward with planning an in-person conference for 2022. Stay tuned.

Lastly, on behalf of the CDA board of directors, thank you to Steve Snider. Steve has been a kind and impassioned leader for CDA. We are so grateful to him for his time and energy. We are looking forward to his continued tenure on the board and his role as Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee Chair. Personally, thank you to Steve for warmly welcoming me to the Bay Area.

Rena Masten Leddy, CDA President
Urban Place Consulting Group
Legislative and Advocacy Update
Jason Bryant, Government Affairs

Governor Gavin Newsom this morning unveiled the “California Blueprint” overviewing his proposed investments for the state’s Fiscal Year 2022-23 Budget. Bolstered by an estimated $31 billion budget surplus, the 2022-23 Proposed Budget totals $286.4 billion in state funding, eclipsing last year’s record $262 billion budget. Buoyed by strong economic recovery and tax revenues that coming in at higher than anticipated, this year’s budget reflects a 9% increase over last year’s spending plan.

While the Governor’s budget is a framework of his major priorities the release of the document kicks off negotiations with the State Legislature which must pass the state budget by June 15th. The Legislature will have significant influence over the final budget plan, but thus far the response coming from the Assembly and Senate has been positive.

Key aspects of the Governor’s budget include $300 million in funding to place law enforcement in front of businesses and investigate and prosecute organized crime.

The Governor has also proposed allocating $2 billion to distribute grants to local governments to convert hotels and motels into supportive housing for the homeless. Included within that budget item, the Governor would spend $1.5 billion to provide temporary housing shelter and another $500 million to clear encampments.

Newsom also signaled that he would likely support legislation this year to alter the state’s conservatorship laws in cases where the individual cannot care for themselves.

In response to the recent surge in COVID cases, the Governor also announced a $2.7 billion proposal for pandemic response which would come in the form of assistance for hospitals to hire additional staff and to expand testing and vaccination efforts.

Just this week (on 1/25/22), the Governor and Legislative leaders announced they had come to an agreement to extend paid sick leave benefits for employees who have contracted the virus. Although the details of that agreement have not been released at the writing of this update, it is believed that the paid leave proposal would require employers with over 25 employees to provide up to two weeks of paid time off for employees who have contracted the virus. It’s believed the benefit would begin retroactively on January 1, 2022 and cover employees through September 30, 2022. This proposal could see a vote in the Legislature as early as next week. More details will be provided as the proposal is unveiled.
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