October 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


DLBA picks internal candidate as first new CEO in 25 years

Long Beach Post News

Austin Metoyer, a graduate of Long Beach Poly and Cal State Long Beach, joined the DLBA in 2016 where he most recently served as economic development and policy manager.


California Senate votes to support CARE Court

Clock News

The California Chamber of Commerce, 21 local chambers and the California Downtown Association support Gov. Newsom’s mental health proposal


Why Downtown Won’t Die


As the office recedes in importance, central business districts are transforming into spaces to live and socialize, not just work. It’s a process that began before Covid-19. 


This Oakland Group Has a Plan to Make ADUs Easier to Finance and Build

Next City

A recent study shows that BIPOC homeowners have less awareness of, and access to capital for, building “granny flats.” A new program is working to change that.


In groundbreaking plan, California allows affordable housing on some commercial properties

Los Angeles Times

In a historic deal between affordable housing groups and labor unions, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two major bills Wednesday to convert underutilized and vacant commercial buildings into housing.


The Controversy Over How to Regulate Wheelchair Service by Uber and Lyft in California


The state of California is working to ensure that people who use wheelchairs and need wheelchair-accessible vehicles (WAVs) can easily access ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft.


Oakland tests electric transit buses for resilience in vehicle-to-building pilot

Smart Cities Dive

Battery-powered buses will contribute six hours of backup power while hydrogen buses will provide 11 hours.


Saying ‘Yes’ to the City

Talking Headways Podcast

This week, Max Holleran talks about his book, “Yes to the City: Millennials and the Fight for Affordable Housing,” about the rise of YIMBY vs. NIMBY housing politics, the changes in housing activism, and how housing fights are going global


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

As a statewide membership and advocacy organization, CDA worked hard this year to produce member benefits such as an annual conference and advocacy of important legislation affecting our commercial districts. Most significantly, CDA sponsored and passed its first legislation, AB 2890, which will greatly improve the PBID creation and renewal process. Last month we issued a membership survey which confirmed that advocacy and conference programming are important to the CDA membership. We also learned that members would like to see more networking opportunities with peers. We will work on bringing additional networking opportunities to you in the future months. 

The 2023 planning for the West Coast Urban District Forum (WCUDF) in San Jose has begun. The conference will take place in March with details to follow in upcoming communications. If you are interested in sitting on the program committee, send me an email at rena@urbanplaceconsulting.com.  

Lastly, as we enter the last half of the year, we are working on the legislative agenda for the coming session. Each year, the CDA legislative committee works with Bryant Government Affairs to review the 100s of bills that are proposed at the start of the session. The committee reviews them based on the following categories:

Priority 1 | Downtown Environment: Safe and clean public spaces are the foundation of a thriving and viable urban center. CDA advocates for policies that provide access, services and resources.

Advocacy areas: Public safety; Homelessness; Mental health 


Priority 2 | Economic Vitality: Active investment for housing, retail, business expansion, mixed-use and other downtown projects is an economic multiplier. CDA advocates for policies that spur new resources and development opportunities.

Advocacy areas: Urban housing development for all incomes; Redevelopment/Tax increment financing; Infill infrastructure Improvements, Economic Recovery from the Impacts of COVID-19 and the Variants     


Priority 3 | Operational Effectiveness of BIDs: The activities, maintenance, and improvements provided by BIDs provide special benefits to assessed properties and are essential to the continued growth of California’s urban centers. CDA advocates for policies that ensure BIDs can fulfill their core mission efficiently and effectively. 

Advocacy areas: BID renewal; Special districts; CPRA

The Committee makes a recommendation to the Board on which legislation to follow, support, oppose, etc. This keeps us focused and ready for the myriad of new bills that pop-up, changes and proposals throughout the session. We will keep you informed each step of the way and encourage you to email me with any questions or suggestions.  

I want to thank the following organizations for their support of AB2890:  

  • Downtown Center BID, Los Angeles
  • LA Fashion District
  • Central City East, Los Angeles
  • Downtown Berkeley Association
  • Figueroa Corridor Partnership, Los Angeles
  • The Hollywood Partnership
  • Downtown Long Beach Association
  • Oakland Downtown/Uptown Lake Merritt
  • Sacramento Downtown Partnership
  • San Jose Downtown Association, San Jose
  • Downtown Santa Monica
  • SOMA West, San Francisco
  • South Park BID, Los Angeles
  • Union Square Alliance, San Francisco
  • Downtown Ventura, Inc.
  • Walnut Creek Downtown Association
  • Westwood Village Association, Los Angeles
  • Block-by-Block
  • Urban Place Consulting Group, Inc.

Rena Masten Leddy, CDA President

Urban Place Consulting Group


Government Affairs Report by Jason Bryant

Governor Signs CDA Priority Legislation into Law 

As the 2023 Legislative Session comes to a close, the CDA Board is pleased to report that the Governor has signed a number of legislative priorities that the CDA championed this year.  

AB 2890 (Bloom, D-Santa Monica) – Business Improvement District Renewal – SPONSOR/SUPPORT.


As CDA’s sponsored bill this year, AB 2890 is needed to ensure PBIDs can continue to be a viable, successful financing tool for the economic engines powering our cities forward. In 1996, Proposition 218 changed the requirements for PBID assessments, and the law now requires a professional engineer to prepare a report stipulating that “special benefits” be separated from “general benefits” relative to the services or improvements paid by assessments for the assessment to be approved. However, there is no implementation guidance for how engineers are to identify and separate the two benefits. This ambiguity has made it difficult for PBIDs to determine what assessments can be charged and has led to an increasing number of unwarranted lawsuits against them challenging their calculations. AB 2890 provides the necessary details to help parties comply with the benefit separation requirement. 

Specifically, AB 2890 clarifies the special benefit of the programs, which will help PBID assessments avoid unnecessary and costly legal challenges. Litigation arising from this lack of clarity threatens the viability of all of California’s PBIDs and the employment, public health and safety, and economic development benefits they foster. As businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, PBIDs continue to be an especially important tool helping finance improvements and services that positively energize California’s commercial areas, and AB 2890 is needed to ensure that PBIDs continue provide the best experience for our residents, employees, visitors, and tourists.  

SB 1338 (Umberg, D-Santa Ana) – CARE Court / Mental Health Treatment Program – SUPPORT. SIGNED INTO LAW. 

SB 1338 would establish the Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Court Program, which would authorize specified persons to petition a civil court to create a CARE plan and implement services for individuals suffering from specified mental health disorders. If the court determines the individual is eligible for the CARE Court Program, the court would order the implementation of a CARE plan, as devised by the relevant county behavioral services agency, and would oversee the individual’s participation in the plan. 

All people should have the right to make their own decisions about medical treatment, but there are individuals with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, who at times, due to their illness, lack insight or good judgment about their need for medical treatment. In cases like this, a higher level of care may be necessary, but must be the last resort. It is inhumane to leave struggling Californians with mental health or substance abuse challenges without lifesaving care and too often on the streets.

CARE Court would allow people like family members to refer individuals with severe mental illness or substance abuse disorders who are often homeless to be both prioritized and required to participate in treatment through a court ordered CARE plan. Under CARE Court local government will be held accountable for providing services including treatment and housing, and participants will be held accountable to following their treatment plan through court orders.

AB 2097 (Friedman, D-Glendale) – Parking Requirements for Residential & Commercial Development – SUPPORT. 


AB 2097 will reduce the cost of housing while slashing the pollution that causes climate change by eliminating expensive parking mandates for homes and commercial buildings near transit, or in neighborhoods with low rates of car use.

Parking mandates, which require parking for cars to be included in new housing, are common in cities throughout California and can add $40,000 or more to the cost of construction per parking spot, while also increasing climate pollution. Eliminating these costly parking mandates will give Californians more choices about whether they want to pay for parking, or have lower-cost housing in walkable, transit-accessible neighborhoods.  

California cities are currently over-producing parking — Los Angeles alone has 200 square miles of parking — largely because of rules that require the construction of parking with each new home or business, even when there is no need for additional parking. AB 2097 increases housing choice and will make it easier to provide lower-cost, walkable- and transit-accessible housing across the state.

SB 922 (Wiener, D-San Francisco) – CEQA Exemption for Transit-Related Projects – SUPPORT. SIGNED INTO LAW.

SB 922 will help transit agencies and local governments build the active and sustainable transportation projects that will result in a safer, healthier, and more equitable future for all Californians. In 2020, recognizing that CEQA is often used by project opponents to stop or delay clean transportation projects, the Legislature passed, and Governor Newsom signed into law, SB 288 (Wiener), temporarily exempting from CEQA certain clean transportation projects. Under current law, these CEQA exemptions sunset on January 1, 2023. 

SB 922 would eliminate the sunset and provide greater clarity about how to use the exemption and which types of projects are exempt.  SB 922 will streamline CEQA with targeted statutory exemptions for transit and active transportation projects that significantly advance the state’s climate, safety and health goals, including projects that would: 

  • Make streets safer for walking and biking;
  • Speed up bus service on streets and improve its on-time performance;
  • Construct infrastructure or facilities to refuel zero-emissions transit vehicles;
  • Expand carpooling;
  • Run faster bus service on highways;
  • Modernize and build new bus and light rail stations and terminals;
  • Support parking policies that reduce drive-alone trips and congestion;
  • Improve wayfinding for people using transit, biking or walking.

Jason Bryant 

Bryant Government Affairs

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